Have you ever been on a big adventure - say, a hiking or biking journey - and felt that you just couldn't go any further? That moment when your body is beyond exhausted and you wonder how any human could ever overcome this feeling?
What keeps you going? Or, what stops you from giving up?
In this week's episode of the Trip Notes podcast, the NZ Herald Travel team discusses active adventures, including multi-day journeys that stretch the boundaries of both body and mind.
The episode is inspired by editor Stephanie Holmes' article Pushing Through Tears, published at the end of last year, about her gruelling but rewarding feat with Adventure South's Coast to Coast itinerary.
The epic journey consisted of a 65km cycle from Christchurch to the West Coast, a 30km hike over the Southern Alps, 40km raft down Waimakariri River Gorge and a final 70km cycle to return to Christchurch.
Stephanie reveals in the podcast, however, that she began to have second thoughts about the trip, shortly after agreeing to it.
"Part of me was kind of hoping that we went into some sort of lockdown so I didn't have to go," Stephanie told me and deputy editor Maggie Wicks.
She admits she felt completely out of her comfort zone, even from early on in the trip, despite being a keen cyclist.
"Once you start the walk, there's no easy way out. You have to keep going. It would have been just as bad to turn around and go back out after 8km as it would to keep going and get to the end. So it was a real mental challenge as well as a physical challenge."
In her article, Stephanie writes about not just the physical intensity of the trip, but the emotional journey too.
"I'd cried earlier, too, but that was entirely warranted – I'd just slipped from an algae-covered rock into the fast-flowing waters of the Deception River, my hip and thigh landing hard on a boulder. The cold water did nothing to numb the pain, and the shock and frustration manifested in hot, embarrassed tears."
More tears were shed throughout the journey, but also "fat tears of relief and overwhelming pride".
"There are multiple points where I feel I just can't continue, but despite my brain telling me to quit, my feet somehow keep propelling me – ever so slowly – onward. Eventually, 12 hours 15 minutes after we set off, I make it to the finish line with tears rolling down my cheeks - cheeks that are stretched into the biggest, proudest grin."
In the podcast, we also discuss other adventure trips in New Zealand, such as skiing holidays and chairlift fails, hiking in Jordan and Italy, as well as discussions about more subdued ambling and gentle hiking holidays.
To listen, tune in on iHeartRadio or hit play on the podcast player above.
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