The Demons of Being Positive

I’m never truly alone when I’m walking Te Araroa. Just like a dark storm-cloud looming on the horizon, there is a topic which I do my best to pretend does not exist.

...between a rock and a hard place...


Deciding to embark on this adventure was not the most sensible financial option I could have chosen:

  • After a less-than-successful year of commission-only sales, I’m carrying a sizable debt.
  • I had purchased a ‘new’ second-hand car better suited to the new job which I’ve been unable to sell yet I still have to make payments on.
  • There are personal insurances to pay and the monthly mobile phone bill to cover, yet I have no income because I’m walking.
  • ACC is not covering the doctor and physio visits I’ve had for my shins and feet – those injuries fall outside their criteria.

So when I’m walking, I’m pretty good at not thinking about the bank balance. If anyone asks how the trek is going I always respond “Great!” yet inside I feel like a fraud, knowing I’m not being completely honest with them, or myself.

  • If I hadn’t received the fabulous donation from the Jamboree’s Xtreme Sub-camp this week, I would not have been able to pay the overdue phone bill.
  • I cringe every time I realise my day’s walking will finish me at a campground: summer rates mean a simple tent-site can be $45. A hot shower is extra.
  • I’m going to need another pair of walking shoes soon, plus of course more trips to the supermarket to restock my supplies. I joke how I don’t want to eat “twigs and berries” yet I’ve already lost about 6kg, so there is a serious health-side to my humour too.

Yet despite all this and cutting my expenditure to the bone, I still want to continue the charade: being externally positive. I don’t want to ask for help. The thought of a hand-out embarrasses me. I’ve even offered the pre-purchase of my yet-to-be-written book so that I’m not getting ‘something for nothing’.

I know I have a deep belief that I can’t have fun and earn money at the same time. Looking back I realise that’s held me back from both fun and financial stability my whole life. I’m working to change that. In the meantime I have a big decision to make…

We do really live in paradise.

I want to keep walking. I’m loving the experience: witnessing the wonderment in the eyes of the people I’m meeting; hearing how my adventure is inspiring to them; seeing the natural beauty this country has to offer.

But unless I pre-sell another 20 books (or receive $1,000 another way) by 4 February, my adventure is over.

Mixed emotions are flowing as I type this: heart heavy from the weight of the situation I have created and a lightness from getting it off my chest and baring everything.

If I were to wave a magic wand and have the demons disappear completely, I would creatively suggest an elaborate plan of corporate sponsorship which sees me sorted for several months ahead. As it is, I just want to trust things will work out for the next couple of weeks.

Can you please help me keep walking a bit longer?

About Stuart Fleming

Just a guy who likes to walk and write.
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16 Responses to The Demons of Being Positive

  1. Aaron says:

    When you get to Marlborough, there’ll be a bed, a hot shower, and plenty of food waiting. You may even have a couple of walking buddies.

  2. Pip says:


    Your honesty impresses me… the cruel reality of what you are doing and achieving does create a heavy heart.

    I have posted on my facebook this blog and will have a thinking cap on, to help come up with a source of funds to help carry on.

    Chin up… the law of attraction does work. Think about it positively and it will come.


  3. Yasmin Irani says:

    Dear Stu,
    Thanks for the honesty. Keep walking please. I will be getting something organised in my circle. Take care of yourself.

  4. Michelle Forrest says:

    My book preorder has been sent through.
    When you get to Palmy there are many offers of beds, food, showers and quite the wee group of us who want to walk with you for a few days perhaps.

    I will see what else I can do to help spread the word of your awesome adventure around my circles.

  5. Liam Anderson says:

    Oh man, Michelle just said it all for me, we’re lookin forward to seeing you down our way. Believe in the power of positive thinking mate keep up the hard work.
    All the best on behalf of the Eastman rovers here in palmy.

  6. Ed Kulik says:

    Hi Stuart,

    I read your posting yesterday and asked David Thorpe to put our name down for 2 books to help you along and for the Zone readers. Also asked him to spread the word in our region and UNI to see if there can be more sponserships for you to complete the walk. Will let you know how we get on.

    Keep it up. Cheers

  7. Dave Stanton says:

    Dave Stanton from Aoraki Cottage @ Geraldine
    – Heart of The South Island, NZ

    We will shout you a nights accommodation at our Aoraki Cottage Adventure Farm stay

    We are very keen Scout supporters, we will also share what you are doing with Geraldine scouts who are camping here on the 25 and 26th of March. You could almost make it here by then.

    Please let us know approximately your dates.

    Dave @ Aoraki

    • Gee, thanks Dave! That’s very kind of you. I look forward to making it to your neck of the woods – reading the trail notes and other trekker’s blogs I have some serious walking to do before I reach you, so I’ll be very appreciative of a comfy bed to crash in 🙂

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