The Long Stroll – Part 3
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Journey of Jory
“While some people may see a jobless, barefoot hobo in a flax coat, I see a chance for survivalist craziness.”
The idea of walking 3000 km’s is something most of us would never contemplate, let alone do. Yet this is exactly what Jory Akuhata is going to do, and FLINT is going along for the ride (or walk) as Jory makes his way down the Te Araroa trail in New Zealand.
Te Araroa spans the length of New Zealand, from Cape Regina (the northern tip of NZ) to Bluff (one of the most southern points of NZ) passing volcanoes, mountain ranges, beaches and cities and all sorts of other wild shit.
Barefoot and armed with only the most basic supplies and mostly self made equipment, Jory will survive by hunting his own food and in general will be looking like a hobo after the first five minutes.
Before the journey even begins, Jory has been preparing himself for whats ahead. Completely changing his lifestyle. Welcome to the world of Jory.
With the walk only three months away, it’s time to consider my weaknesses.
1. Have type 1 Diabetes!!
Diabetes means I will have to carry food and meds at all times during my walk. If I miscalculate it can be dangerous and having low blood sugars in the middle of nowhere would not be fun.
On the upside
The reality is diabetes makes you plan ahead as a habit – I have been carrying back up food and meds since I was 16. Planning out my day and adapting to unseen circumstances is part of everyday life when trying to manually balance blood sugars on a daily basis.
2. Making stuff
Making stuff is incredibly time consuming. With technology making packs and hiking gear lighter and more efficient, I’ll end up spending most of my time repairing and replacing heavier and less efficient stuff.
On the upside
Six months of continuously using gear will always lead to it breaking no matter how good it is, and making my own gear gives me the flexibility to adjust items; improvements are slow but inevitable. The skills i’m left with are pretty solid – I can make over 12 ft of rope in under 40 mins.
3. Walking barefooted
Carrying extra weight without heel support! The wear and tear from long days walking over broken ground, smashed glass and gorse is not going to be enjoyable. Diabetics are more prone to infection on top of all that – I don’t stand a chance.
I’m sure I will be full of regret when I get to gorse riddled sections, but i’ll have a first aid kit and back up shoes (both of which I will be making myself)…but no blisters, no wet socks and no smelly feet. A lack of heel support will help me to learn to walk properly (I have a whole 6 months and 3000 km to practice).
4. Hunting and gathering as a food source.
Another waste of time especially without a gun? Can I even get enough calories to sustain myself on the trip? With my own equipment I hope to be able to hunt in a sustainable and responsible way, without staving to death!
There is plenty of pest animals that are tasty and bad for the environment, and I have been told I should get used to the taste of bugs by hunters who have done similar stuff.
This is the last major challenge I face before the walk. All I can say is that I am quietly optimistic.
Jory Akuhata is hunting, gathering, and making his way across New Zealand.