Howdy! We are Jeff (TBD) and Sarah (Filibuster or Fili), and we are hiking (tramping, as the Kiwis say) the South Island Te Araroa NoBo in New Zealand. We have put cramped cubicles and fluorescent lighting on hold while we travel the globe for a year-ish in search of adventure, awesome trails, great beer, and decent coffee (tea for Sarah).
The first six months of our world tour were in Europe, Africa, and the west side of the USA. We went from daily pastry strolls in Europe to backpacking strenuous treks and ending the day with dehydrated meals. We will be on the TA for about three months, and then we’ll see where the wind takes us for the last part of our journey.
We are originally from Texas where Jeff was an Engineer and Sarah was a Public Health Researcher. We do our best to show the dichotomy of our adventures where even though we are doing the same thing, our experiences can be quite different.
When asked why we are doing this, Jeff’s best answer he could come up with is, “As my wise father once said, Why do I hit myself in the head with a hammer? Because it feels so good when I stop.” For Sarah, she thrives on adventure and discovery. While one does not need to quit their jobs to explore, she did not think such an adventure would happen before retirement. Now that we are halfway into our gap year, Sarah hopes for more sabbaticals in the future. We only live once and are uncertain what the future holds so why not take time off for adventures? We planned for this time off and are excited to see where Te Araroa will take us after the trail. We are looking forward to the mountains, rivers, and trail magic!
We’re a married couple and the proud fur parents of Nacho (eternal puppy) and Spaghetti (kitty cat). They are both living in resorts essentially while we are abroad. We think Spaghetti is going to have a hard time coming back to the real world once our sabbatical is over. On most of our travels, we try to find the balance of urban life (excellent eateries) and the great outdoors (Sarah can be satisfied with city parks if forests are inaccessible, but Jeff cannot be bothered with that and would rather go to where you cannot hear cars).
Jeff grew up in central Texas and relished any opportunities to escape the unrelenting hot summers by going to the Rockies. Hanging out in Cloud Croft and breathing in the crisp mountain air was the first time Jeff realized that that world might have more to offer to him. Sarah had the privilege of being able to see new places growing up either during camping trips or visiting family members in Minnesota and Maryland. To this day, she remembers their hikes in Colorado and believes that ignited her love for the mountains. If you want to read more about us, feel free to check out a post from our website here.
We are relatively experienced backpackers, but Te Araroa is our first thru-hike. We are also as far from hardcore backpackers as we think we can possibly be. Jeff carries quite a bit of (un)necessary electronics with him, and Sarah struggles with her pack’s total weight (it might have something to do with having a first aid kit that has her ready for any potential mega disaster). We also find ourselves to be the last people to reach various campsites; not sure if that’s because we are slow or everyone else is superhuman (leaning towards the latter).
We hope you enjoy our adventures as well as lessons learned 🙂 If you want to check out more and join us on the trail, follow us on Instagram, visit our Website, or peruse our YouTube channel.
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