Hats off to Eric

By Don Farmer

Adventurers have always inspired many others to take on something a bit out of their comfort zone, and thereby experience life a little more fully.

So, on reading this week of the exploits of Eric Diamond, I feel sure more than one of us got to thinking "that's what I would like to have done" or perhaps even "that's what I would like to do".

Eric, for the record, is well into achieving his life's ambition of walking New Zealand's coastline.

Not just a piece of it, but virtually all of it.

The 62-year-old began the massive task - expected to take two years - 14 months back when he set off from Stewart Island, crossed to Bluff and set his sights on Cape Reinga.

This week, Eric arrived in Wairarapa and was photographed looking remarkably tanned and fit - as he should be by now - carrying his 25kg swag.

Inside that backpack were all the necessities for life, without any trimmings.

He had a small tent, food, clothes, a wee cooker, water and a blow- up pillow.

What he has also had for the past 14 months, and what does not need to be packed away, is his freedom.

Freedom of movement, freedom of choice and, most of all, freedom of thought.

Wonderful, and no doubt his adventure is the envy of many.

By his own admission, Eric doesn't spend every night under the stars as the generosity of coastal dwellers along the way sometimes cuts in and he scores the odd night's accommodation in the luxury of a donated bed, able to tuck into a meal he hasn't had to think out for himself and prepare.

His journey reminded me of the old swagger Russian Jack, who spent years on our roads and became a familiar sight to many, especially coastal dwellers, as he walked the lower North Island.

I am sure all Wairarapa people wish Eric well for the remainder of his epic journey, which he is planning to complete either late this year or early next.

What a huge tick he will then be able to make on his bucket list.


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