Seven miles in, seven miles out
As I write this, I’m hanging out in the South Island of New Zealand spending two weeks in the Mackenzie region at the High Country Cabin. I booked this trip some seven months ago, shortly after my nearly nine year relationship broke down, as I was looking for some isolation to focus on me. To be fair, I really needed the time back in September 2018, however this place is so well loved and booked I couldn’t get two weeks consecutive nights in a row until April/May! But since I also love winter, this worked out for me.
My plan for this time was to spend two weeks hiking, writing, reading and generally doing some self-care. Today was a particularly nice day so decided to drive to Mount Cook and do a hiking trail - I have a good quality pair of hiking boots that I rarely get to use because I live in Queensland and I kinda hate hiking in the heat - which is about ten months of the year, so it was great to put them back on again today in a much colder and picturesque climate.
Man, was it hard. I only started on the one hour track because I’m not fit and it has been years since I hiked. If I’m honest with myself I’ve gained significant weight in the last four years and it was going to be hard work to get it off - so I wanted to be kind to myself and start slow.
I once had a personal trainer (who had a history of weight gain) tell me that weightloss is like walking back out of a forest, you waked in seven miles so it’s going to take seven miles to walk out. Therefore if you gain 20kgs, it’s going to be hard work to get those 20kgs off. This made perfect sense to me - so i know my road is long. I have more than 20kgs to lose and I’m not fit, nor am I any longer in the habit of regular exercise or eating well, so I have a lot of barriers to cross before I can get to where I used to be.
This is why travel is such a great opportunity to help bridge some of those barriers - despite the popular opinion that travel is just about leisure and eating all the foods, this is true but… it doesn’t have to be the only way to think about travel. For me, I love hiking, but I hate being hot and I live in a hot climate, so I chose somewhere cold to go and spend two weeks to help rebuild a habit. Now, it’s true that I’m currently hiking in the beautiful alp region of New Zealand and back home I live in the middle of city suburbia, but it helps create a habit without the pressures of work, family and general life. Me being here on my own means I’m all about me and what I need.
Back on that trail was hard - and it wasn’t a hard trail, but my body is no longer used to moving, used to picking up heavy boots and putting them back down again, used to walking at inclines. But I did more than I did yesterday and that’s what I need to keep telling myself.
I did better than yesterday.