Our Last 48 Hours

The planning is done and the only thing that’s left is packing. We packed up our room a mere 2 hours before the Epic Thanksgiving celebration.  This year a pig bigger than my nephew was roasted and the 30 pound turkey and piles of crab made their appearance.  We celebrated our last meal with so many friends and family. It was an amazing send off.

The packing started in earnest today. All items were gathered on the bed and we checked each and every item off our list.  Surprisingly we were missing nothing (that’s what half a dozen camping trip prepares you for).  The hardest part was packing up the resupply boxes. But Mike is proving quite resourceful (I ask for nothing less in a travel partner). See picture for the solution. Everything fits.

Without food or water our packs will weigh about 10 pounds each. We have 1 sleeping quilt for the two of us, carbon fiber walking poles, titanium stakes, a tarp that weighs less than a pound, two half toothbrushes, 3 socks a piece (yes, 3 socks, not 3 pairs of socks).
Notable items not included:
Deodorant, shampoo, a towel, a fourth sock, a pillow.
Two luxury items that we couldn’t do this trip without:
– My journal pages and a pen. I plan to write everyday.
– Mike’s phone. How else are we gonna send everyone pictures.



The farewells were hard. The flight leaves in 14 hours. 25 hours of plane later we’ll be in Auckland, meeting new friends and starting the adventure. Stay tuned!


Getting Ready

Things are coming together quickly and the flight is approaching at an alarming rate.  Like Mike said, there isn’t much else to do but eat lots of turkey and spend as much time with our friends and family as possible. IMG_20131123_164351

Some fun things that we’ve done in the last couple of weeks:

  • Bought a 1300 page book that we cut in quarters to ship to ourselves.  I’m the faster reader so will read a page, rip it out, give it to Mike and when he’s done, he’ll dispose of it.  We’ll be consuming the book as we travel.
  • Printed up over 70 pages of maps on water-proof paper.  Geez, you’d think we were hiking through the back country of New Zealand or something.
  • Loaded music, language tapes, audiobooks and podcasts (thanks Amy!) on my iPod.  I know…not very minimalist, but the weight is negligible and what better way to learn German than to spend 12 hours a day walking and listening to language tapes.
  • Packed up our resupply boxes to be sent to Ngaruawahia, Wellington and Lake Colridge.  These will include shoes, socks, batteries, maps, journal pages and sunscreen and toothpaste refill.  Unfortunately we won’t be able to ship thick, juicy steaks to ourselves.
  • Procured FitBits for each of us.  I think that Mike’s daily step count will be about half as mine, but that’s what you get when you go tramping with a man 10 inches taller than you.  Check out our daily updates by clicking on the links in the sidebar.
  • Managed to find 48 Gigs of SD memory.  Plenty of room for pictures and videos of EVERYTHING we do.  Don’t worry, only the most interesting will make it to the blog.
  • Realized that our flight is at 1pm instead of 11pm.  Man, am I glad that I checked that again.  It wouldn’t have been a very good start to the trip to miss our flight by 10 hours.

I’m not sure how often we’ll be able to update the blog, but please keep checking in and leave comments.  Today is my last day of work before leaving.  I’ve spent the last year at SquareTrade and it is tough to leave the amazing people that I work with.  They’ve been very supportive and I look forward to seeing them again when I get back.

Three more days of fun to be had before the adventure starts.  Let’s make the best of it!

And so our journey begins


It had to be done. The hair had to go.

Zeina and I leave on Saturday and I’m reminded of a blog post I wrote just before I did the PCT, in 2005. My buddy and I had been planning the trip for about a year and a half and it was go time. After all the planning, all the preparation…after a certain point, there just wasn’t much more we could do to prepare.

Zeina and I are nearing that point rapidly. I’ve got one more day at work before we go and then there’s Thanksgiving, the day after that. After Thanksgiving, we have Friday to wrap things up and Saturday morning, with stomachs full of leftovers, we embark on the insane series of flights that’ll take us to Auckland, and whence to Cape Reinga, where we’ll begin our five-month, 3,000km march south to Bluff. It’s been a while since we’ve been thinking about this in various ways and yet the list of things left to do is still daunting. At the end of the week though, come what will, we leave. We begin walking and it all will work out.

The past few months have been pretty crazy. Back in May I quit my job with Recommind and began working on founding the Free Law Project, the successs of which is in equal measure to my frustration at walking away (literally, ha!). When I began working on it, I didn’t know how it’d go, but I promised that even if it went exceedingly well, I’d continue to New Zealand, setting it aside until my return. Now that it’s been successful in its small way, it’s hard to step away, even though I know my partner, Brian, will have little difficulty managing things on his own for a few months.

On the personal front, it’s no easier. Zeina and I have a great circle of family and friends and saying goodbye ain’t gonna be easy. We’ve been saying goodbye to a few friends at a time, but there’s still a lot of people to whom we need to bid farewell in the next couple days. Of course, we’re only going to be gone for five months, but something about the distance from home and the rawness of the trail makes it seem longer. We’ll be back soon. Really, we will.

It’s fair to say that our preparations have risen to a fever pitch. On the one hand, it’s just backpacking, pure and simple, but on the other it’s a five month expedition. On top of the usual things that you have to do to prepare for a trip, we’re also dealing with things like getting our visas (done!), planning our entire schedule, packing three major resupply boxes (they’re sitting here neatly), and subletting our room (arranged, but nothing’s packed). It’s a lot to do, but we’re making good progress.

The last week has been hectic and the next few days promise to be worse, but at the end of it all, we’re just walking. That shouldn’t be so hard, right?