Wikipedia tells us that pigeons are stout-bodied birds with short necks, and short, slender bills with fleshy ceres (which I initially thought was their thighs, but turns out is the bumpy bit at the top of their beaks). Among birds pigeons are fairly common place. You see them about town doing their biz, earning the odd crumb, and flying home at the end of each day to roost. Nothing extraordinary about them really - pretty average.
That's me. Short and stout bodied (although last time I looked I didn't have a lump at the top of my nose or fleshy nostrils for that matter).
Doing my biz.
Pretty average really.
There is nothing exceptional about me that makes me more likely than the next pigeon to walk New Zealand, all 3000km of it, mostly solo, end to end.
So why do it?
The short and the most unsatisfactory answer is I'm not exactly sure.
There's a big part of me that just wants to see if I can. There's also that bit that wants to stick it to the nay sayers with their 'can'ts' and their 'shouldn'ts' and show them 'I bloody well can' and 'I bloody well will!'
Am I doing it to get rid of my demons and clean out the skeletons in my closet? No, I don't think so. I quite like my demons and my skeletons. They make me who I am. Besides I think they'll be excellent company.
Do I think The Trail will change me? Likely. In fact I predict, given the quantity I'll be consuming, that after I finish, I will never want to eat a Carmen's muesli bar ever again.
I will also probably be shorter.
I remember once in College I was flipping through a magazine and I came across an article about people walking in New Zealand (the Milford Track I think). I thought it was one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen. Full of storybook gardens carpeted in moss and ferns, dappled paths in every shade of green imaginable. So different to the dusty, dry brown, tussocky paddocks I was used to. I remember thinking how much I wanted to go there and walk down that path. Except I didn't, not then.
I've been to New Zealand a few times now. I've even done the Milford and it is truly beautiful, but I'm not sure that I've walked down that path. Not yet.
PS For my Trail buddies and others that like that sort of logistical stuff, I promise to talk a bit about my prep and planning next post