Meet the inspiring young couple who walked the entire length of New Zealand to raise money for the Nepal earthquake rebuild.
Walking for Nepal
This is a couple who live and breathe adventure with purpose. After witnessing the devastation of the Nepal earthquake, Adele Harris, 26 and fiancé Carl Hutchinson, 30 wanted to help, and sought to walking the length of New Zealand while raising money for the cause. How did your journey to walk the length of New Zealand for charity evolve?
Adele: We left the United Kingdom in November 2014 on a one-way ticket to India to travel, with a working holiday visa for New Zealand afterwards. We always knew we were going to come here, but we didn’t really have any set plans – just to work and travel.
Carl: When we were travelling through India we spoke to so many people who talked about the Vipassana Silent Meditation Retreat [in Nepal], who recommended it and told us about how amazing it was. They were all the sort of people we really got on well with and respected, and so we went, and it was life-changing. It really altered our outlook on life.
Adele: It taught us about not being so self-centred and to be more selfless. You were at this meditation retreat in Nepal when the devastating earthquake, which killed more than 8000 people, struck. How did this affect your NZ plans? Carl: The earthquake happened and [after volunteering] we decided what we were going to do with our time in New Zealand. It felt really strange leaving Nepal, because we had the opportunity to leave when there were so many people who didn’t; they had to stay and suffer. We felt that we needed to use that opportunity that we had – to leave – to help those who had to stay.
So you decided to trek the Te Araroa Trail from the top of New Zealand to the bottom, and raise money for the Himalayan Trust? Adele: We wanted to do something that would challenge ourselves. We’d never tramped for more than three days consecutively, and it meant we’d be completely pushing ourselves to help raise awareness for the cause.
Carl: When researching for charities we came across the Himalayan Trust. Their ethics and practices were completely in line with the way we thought things should be done. We got in touch with them and had their full support. What was it like during the trek? Adele: We spent 51 nights in back country huts, 38 nights in other people’s homes and 75 nights camping in our tent. The other nights were in random places like sheep shearers’ quarters and hostels. People got in contact with us through the internet because they’d heard about our fundraiser and offered us places to stay when we passed through. What were your most significant learnings from your trip?
Adele: It gave us loads of time to think so that we can approach life a little bit more deliberately. Instead of letting life just happen, we’ve been able to actually think about what we want to do, and I think that’s all to do with sustainability. We also learned that anything is achievable, all you need to do is make those first steps and then continue taking steps.
Carl: We want to approach everything we do in life now with a purpose. We also discovered that on the trip, beauty isn’t in just what you see, it’s also what you’re smelling, what
“We learnt that anything is achievable, all you need to do is make those first steps and then continue taking steps.” Adele Harris
you’re hearing and the energy that you feel at different places. You might be walking through a forest and it might not be the most beautiful forest you’ve ever seen but the sound of the birds and the smell you’re getting and the way the light comes through the trees... What are your future plans and goals?
Adele: We want to apply producing as little waste as possible in our lives from now.
Carl: While we were walking we thought about how we’ve never done anything in the UK like we’ve done here in New Zealand. So we’d love to walk the UK next time, while encouraging people to get outdoors. We spend so much time in front of a computer screen and we want to promote how amazing it is outside. We’re also looking at making the walk waste-free. What about your day-to-day lives? Adele: We’re becoming more and more interested in the environment and trying to develop our place in the world, and for us it’s all about conserving the planet for the future and conserving it for the next generations.
Carl: I’m an electrician but when we return to the UK I want to go into renewable energy, and Adele’s thinking about going into environmental studies or sustainable tourism. How much did you raise during your trek for the Himalayan Trust, which is going towards the rebuilding of schools in Nepal? Carl: About $15,300. All the money goes on to Give A Little (givealittle.co.nz) so all of that money has gone straight to the Trust.
Adele: And the rebuild over there is coming along really well, they’re building the first five schools at the moment. g
love shack Some of the remote huts that Carl and Adele stayed in were especially endearing signposted Adele and Carl kept a blog and posted many photos along the way. ourrambles.com