• Hannele & Folkers

Saying ‘I Do’ to an Adventure

Ever since we met each other, tramping has been very much in the picture. We learned to know one another in the mountains, and we have learnt a great deal about ourselves while tramping in the wilderness – whether it was in a great company or in pure solitude. Eventually, wilderness becomes a necessity as John Muir, also known as “John of the mountains”, stated in his reflections.

There is something fundamentally humbling about going out into the nature, giving yourself over to something much bigger than you – yet seeking to stand straight in the hard blowing winds and claiming one’s space on this earth, too. As conflicting as it can get, ultimately, tramping sets you free, regardless how tough the ordeal is.

As we are rather prone to adventure, we started calling our marriage a life-long adventure since the moment we were heading towards it. On this journey that started in July 2017, we committed ourselves not only to love each other until the very last day, but also to make it our kind of an adventure. The first adventure, the so-called honeymoon, has now evolved into this: tramping 3000 kilometres across New Zealand on the Te Araroa trail. How we got ourselves into this, we’re not so sure of.

We had spoken about Te Araroa for quite some time, when we actually realised that everything started working out the way that we could take on this adventure and make it happen. As much as we have doubts in life whether we are capable of doing various things or not, we should push ourselves to say ‘yes’ and allow new things to enter our lives. Sometimes it requires tramping your own path, taking unorthodox steps outside your comfort zone or letting go of something secure. Taking on this adventure does not guarantee we’ll make it, but at least we have decided to give it a chance. Whatever the outcome will be, we’ll surely find ourselves in a new space and with something we didn’t know of before.

Te Araroa is a relatively new hiking trail; it was opened in 2011 and it is still finding its final route. It crosses vast landscapes, mountains and rivers. Some parts of the route will be done kayaking, some in knee-deep muddy forest – basically anything may await a hiker on the way. Not many people have discovered it yet, however every year the numbers are growing bigger and hikers are forming their own community that brings together people across the world.

To be honest, tramping is something people usually do for their own souls. And there is nothing wrong in it. We are also doing it for our souls, for our well-being – for various reasons. But we also wanted to make use of this opportunity to show support to those who are on their way to make their dreams come true as well, although often in harsh conditions. We are raising funds to support women’s entrepreneurship skills in developing countries through a volunteer network Women’s Bank.

The last couple of weeks will be spent with final gearing up, letting go of unnecessary belongings, enjoying the South African Spring and opening our minds to an adventure that we don’t know much of yet. Solvitur ambulando! (“it is solved by walking”)

Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grasses and gentians of glacial meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of nature’s darlings.” –John Muir

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