So, it’s just over six weeks until I leave London heading to New Zealand for #WalkNZ.
I’m still excited but the fear and stress is starting to kick in.
My to-do list appears to be growing rather than shrinking, training is virtually non-existent, and don’t even talk to me about my four-page-long kit list (clearly all of which is not going to fit into the ultralight and rather small backpack the boyfriend bought me). Add to that everyone else’s fears that they are imposing on me, and at times I seem to have forgotten the excitement of this grand adventure.
Certainly, the last couple of weeks my head has been in a bit of a state trying to comprehend all that still needs to be done, and all the while there has been a little voice in the back of my head increasingly whispering the same old question to me: “Do you really think you can do it?”
Sometimes I think this planning stage for the Te Araroa trail is the hardest part. Putting one foot in front of the other seems decidedly easy in comparison to the self-inflicted stress I’m putting myself under.
More than once I’ve come up with an excuse why I can’t go to the gym or why I failed to do a training walk. Some people think it’s acceptable to train as you walk during the expedition. I’d like to at least be a little prepared.
The thing is all these thoughts are blinkered. If I take a step back away from the craziness in my head, I realise that actually I should be giving myself a great big pat on the back.
“If you ‘think’ something is possible, there is always room for doubt. If you ‘know’ something is possible, doubt will struggle to get a foothold”
I’ve actually finished my route plan and trip details (all 33 pages of spreadsheets). And although after tallying up all the days I will only just make my plane back to London, this is a minor technicality and the simple removal of some rest days gives me back some flexibility.
I’ve completed a kayaking course and a river crossing course – both of which have upskilled me and given me a boost in confidence knowing that I can tackle both these demons while self-doubt should stay firmly in the background.
I’ve also already had several sessions on self-defence – the muscle memory is a bit slow but it’s fascinating and a good laugh, and the warm-up is quite a good cardio workout. I just hope I never have to use what I’m learning.
I’ve also sorted my tax return (and paid) for this year, booked the dentist before I leave, had an eye check, bought some prescription sunglasses, and have purchased a super lightweight tent.
So why do I still feel so shit?
Well, some days I don’t. It really all depends what thoughts might be streaming through my head in any given moment.
The important thing for me is to not buy in to the naysayers and fearmongers, the bad thoughts and negative voices that tell me I’m not good enough and there’s no way I’m going to be able to do this.
Because actually that’s not true. I can do this. Anyone can.
I’m solo walking the 3,000km Te Araroa trail down the length of New Zealand to raise awareness of self-doubt and low self-esteem, which are linked to mental health problems. I want to show that these negative thoughts don’t have to hold us back from achieving our goals and dreams.
In aid of this cause, I’m fundraising for Mind, the mental health charity in the UK, so that money can go to services and support systems to help people with mental health problems, some of whom may also have been affected by the debilitating effects of self-doubt and low self-esteem. To lend your support and donate, please visit my fundraising page here.
If you’re in New Zealand and want to support my effort and mental health, I’m also fundraising for the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. To support my cause, please visit my fundraising page here.