Having spent 11 days traversing the length of Central Australia’s Larapinta Trail, we have finally come to our end, surpassing a whopping 200kms. Despite being very excited to get off our aching feet, reaching the finishing line has not quite evoked the sense of triumph and elation that we had initially anticipated.
If anything, we feel an undercurrent of sadness in knowing that we soon have to return to the ‘real world’ of alarms, deadlines, traffic and routine. It’s very interesting too that despite not having showered, slept on a bed, eaten freshly cooked meals or having contact with the outer world for the entire time, we feel very at peace and could go weeks more without such luxuries. Perhaps it is testament to our seeing of the journey as the destination, rather than just a means to an end.
Before we close the book on what has been such an invigorating and uplifting adventure, we’d like to share with you some of the lessons that have blossomed out of our trials and tribulations.
1.Don’t forget to look up
When walking on rocky terrain, you really can’t afford to take your eye off where you are stepping, not even for a second, as it could easily result in a nasty, injurious fall. But that’s easier said than done. Try keeping your eyes on the ground when immersed in such serene settings of tranquility and natural beauty!
Unfortunately at times, we found ourselves victim to chewing up large distances of the trail without even looking up to appreciate just where we were, where we had come from or where we were headed. Our best days of walking were those that comprised of us looking for any excuse under the sun to stop and admire the beauty around us.
2. It’s always worth the climb
Many a time our seemingly flat trail would lead us to an abrupt vertical climb, which by default sets our minds into a distressed state. But every climb we encountered not only instilled in us a greater sense of achievement, but has also imparted memories that will stay with us forever.
3. Things don’t always go to plan
I believe that having goals and dreams is a wonderful thing. It’s the very source that keeps the planet spinning. But what we have learnt is that when plans are measured to the teaspoon, they are doomed for downfall. Our initial plan was to walk 223km in 11 days, but over the course of the trail I think our itinerary was chopped and changed about 100 times.
Fortunately, we had a level of flexibility that allowed us to adapt to the realities of walking the trail, beyond what could be studied from guidebooks or forums. Planning is never a problem. Its being overly meticulous and rigid and not allowing the journey to unfold artistically that leads to trouble.
4. Laughter is indeed the best medicine.
Despite six years of vigorous medical training, I am still convinced that this is the case. We got our daily dose this morning having tagged onto a free walking tour of Uluru, where our youthful keenness saw us to the front of the group, bubbling with thoughts and questions.
We were in our element until our tour took an unexpected turn with the guide leading us on a 2km detour away from the desert to a deserted road….. and a mysterious bus. The group fell silent, and all eyes fell on us. What on earth was going on, we thought. Was there another amazing Aboriginal artwork to marvel at in our perimeter? Or were we about to make the next ‘outback abduction’ headline?
It should have been obvious enough, but it took a kind gentleman to tap us on the shoulder, “you know this is a private tour, right?” for it all to click. Just as embarrassment was setting in the reds of our cheeks, a group wide explosion of laughter diffused what could have been a hostile situation.
Not sure of whether being laughed at or with, we waved our tour-paying peers goodbye and ‘walk-of-shamed’ our way back to Uluru where in the midst we noticed the large crowd that we were meant to join. That being said, if we could rewind the clock, I’m sure we would have done it all again!
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