Long Trails

Why I am walking for WaterAid

The simplicity of life on the trail is probably the most appealing thing to me. I am not someone obsessed with always having to push the limits. I’ll happily take a sneaky short cut or laze around camp, while others are off scaling a nearby peak, because it’s there.

This may seem ridiculous for someone who is about to walk almost 2000 miles, but I can be a bit lazy at times.

On the trail you are generally restricted to what you can carry on your back. The daily routine is simple. All you really need is something to drink, something to eat and somewhere warm to rest your head. They are the four basic survival needs – water, shelter, fire (warmth) and food.

Water

One of the biggest planning headaches for the long distance hiker is access to water. Water is heavy. One litre weighs almost as much as my tent! I expect access to water won’t be so much of an issue on the TA trail as it would be hiking across the Californian desert on the PCT, for example.

Water can also end up being an enemy to the hiker. One of the most challenging aspects of Te Araroa is crossing rivers. Sadly, too many lives are lost every year this way. Respect for the natural environment is paramount.

Confession time

I did n’t originally plan this as a charity hike, but it seems crazy to spend four to five months walking and miss an opportunity to raise some money and good cause awareness. The next task was to choose a charity.

Me at a previous charitable endeavour, a 12 hour softball match in Bristol, England

Me at a previous charitable endeavour. A rain sodden, 12 hour softball match held in Bristol, England (Sept 2011)

There are almost too many good causes around the world and it was a challenge to narrow the list down. I started to think back to the four basic necessities of life and it was water that struck a chord with me.

This may only be my perception, but certain global issues can drift out of fashion. Some disasters no longer capture headlines like they did,  but that doesn’t mean to say the problem has gone away.

Everyone needs water

On average you will only survive three days without the wet stuff. Not only is clean drinking water an issue, so is access to sanitation. One person out of three doesn’t have access to adequate sanitation and 900 children a day die as a result.

This area of charity stands out for me as it helps people who have been dealt a particularly poor hand in life.

So this is how I arrived at WaterAid.

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A very good cause indeed!

I am not going to continually nag people for donations. At times we are  bombarded with monetary requests to support charities, particularly with the introduction of social media.

Even if you just click around the Wateraid site and read about the issues and their work, then that’s cool with me. You might be surprised by what you learn.

For charities like WaterAid, donations are of course important, but so is raising awareness.  My goal is to at least achieve the latter over the next five months, along with having walked the entire length of a country that’s close to my heart.

My charity page @justgiving…

https://www.justgiving.com/teararoa

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