This week I was lucky enough to paint up at Blue Lake, in a remote corner of Nelson Lakes National Park. This beautiful and very special spot has become quite busy with many trampers passing through on their Te Araroa journey.
Te Araroa is a walking track which stretches the whole length of New Zealand, 3000kms from Cape Reinga in the north, to Bluff in the south. The track passes through farmland, cities and some of our most beautiful National Parks.
While I painted away beside the lake many passing walkers took time out to talk with me, both about my painting and their journey. I was surprised at the age demographics of the trampers- many under 30, quite a few over 65, not many in between. I guess those in between are at work saving up their money for the "maybe one day trip". Some of the older walkers are tackling the walk a bit at a time - and parts of it are very demanding, with high rugged alpine passes - many of the younger people, both from NZ and overseas, are taking a few months to walk the trail. One common theme which I heard over and over again was that people are doing Te Araroa as a sort of pilgrimage. Learning to rely on yourself (many are walking solo) , being happy in your own company , meeting challenges, and of course, enjoying the amazing views.
Inside Blue Lake hut (and probably many others along the trail) there is a noticeboard on which walkers have left poems, thoughts, comments and dreams about what they're doing- very inspiring.
On a sadder note, we lost a friend a couple of weeks back in a diving accident... but she was doing something she loved, and had spent her life tackling new things, enjoying travelling , working as a conservation volunteer and having adventures with her family.
So if you're looking for a challenge in 2016 I'm not suggesting that you should pack up and do a 3000km tramp - but maybe you can take the time to do something now which is important to you, rather than putting if off till "someday when you have the time or the money".I'd love to hear from you if you do....