Photo credit: Wangi Falls flowing fast – Tourism NT/Evelien Langevela
It’s crazy to think that we’ve been planning the NT Grand for over a year and now here we are, with only weeks to go until we head off to Uluṟu. Each day I wake and feel a mixture of excitement and fear in my belly! I’m never really sure which one it is, or maybe it’s possible to feel both together?!
Our little crew of four have been very busy working out the final tweaks to our daily itineraries, adding to the food and supply list, testing our gear, researching sustainable travel, and of course spending more time on the trails, clocking up more kilometres in our training, so we can be physically prepared for the long days on the trails.
I was asked by a friend recently, why I want to do this expedition? It’s a great question, because the “why” needs to be strong enough to get you through the many challenges and lessons and self doubt that you are bound to go through not just during the expedition, but in all the weeks and months beforehand: I am willing to put in the hard work, training, sacrifices, time and energy that it takes to get an expedition like this off the ground, because I love adventures in nature. I treasure the gift of going to new wilderness places, and being given the time and resources to journey along trails to hidden gems, beautiful waterholes, grand vistas and stunning cliff top views.
I also value the lessons I learn out there: resilience, courage, team work and problem solving. I know I can adapt and pivot when the situation changes and things outside of our control demand that we take a different route. I am also open to giving myself to the expedition knowing that very little will go to plan and that I have the best team of people to work with to resolve each challenge as it comes.
That’s not to say there won’t be tears, or heartache, or physical pain and exhaustion. Those are a given! Some days I’m petrified I won’t be able to finish the kilometres as they stack up day after day..But there will also be tons of laughter, so many “wow” moments, hundreds of images captured in my mind of magical wilderness places and many hours of putting one foot in front of the other, whilst pondering life’s lessons.
There’s also another strong “why” behind this expedition: On a recent hike our crew of 4, started to look at our impact. What footprint do we leave when we set out on an adventure? And what can we do the minimise that?
The NT Grand is an expedition with a difference. Underpinning this journey across the NT, is a desire to learn about how we can best travel and adventure in the most sustainable way possible. This part of the expedition has actually been very difficult to navigate and continues to present us with more questions than answers in some respects. The words “sustainability” or “sustainable” are being used all around us, in so many contexts and can genuinely open up full-on debates, depending on who you ask, and how they have gathered their information. This makes some aspects of “offsetting” very difficult to quantify, or not yet possible to implement in the locations we are going.
So we are approaching this as a learning opportunity: we are not experts in this space nor do we propose to be. We are every day adventurers who continue to seek information , resources and assistance on simple ways we can limit our impact as we travel both on foot and by car from Uluṟu to Kakadu. As we journey across the NT we will share with you the simple steps that we can all take to reduce our impact on the wilderness areas that we choose to visit and also other steps which aren’t yet readily available or accessible to us to be able to fully offset our adventure.
Interview with Luke Edwards
My adventure buddy Luke Edwards, shares here his perspective on our upcoming adventure:1. Why are you taking on this crazy expedition called the NT Grand?
1. What drives you?
Luke: Honestly it just makes me happy! Having a huge audacious goal such as this adventure brings excitement, purpose and a genuine bloody good feeling in my bones
2. What has been the biggest lesson so far?
Keep the belief and tread your own path, ultimately everything falls into Place. It may not be the same puzzle as the one you started but every piece is there – you just need patience and focus.
3. What do you anticipate being one of the main challenges of this expedition?
The distance over time – sounds like a math equation! We are not professional athletes, we fit training in around all the other parts of our lives, as working parents with young families, so we need to be aware that this will take a toll!
4. How/why did you choose your team mates?
Lisa my trekking buddy is one of the best people I know. A genuine, kind and caring person who has the most beautiful connection to nature. Lisa has made this adventure come together, her ability to organise is a delight ;). And her strength to keep going a superpower!
Matt aka moon! My best mate, a brother and the bloke who showed me the outdoors and has taught me more about the great outdoors than any book/documentary out there. The energizer bunny with a fine attention to detail, makes this fella a force to be reckoned with.
Sarah, our sustainability champion, outdoor adventurer and explorer in her own right, fantastic cook, Biodynamic farmer, beekeper – she has so many strings to her bow as well as an endless energy, the ability to laugh in the face of challenges, and able to whip up damn good meal on a camp stove!
We look forward to sharing with you the next chapter, as our preparation and planning for the NT Grand in June 2023 unfolds,…