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.
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…
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?