I’m trying…

I’m trying. I’m really trying to accept the fact that I’m not hiking anymore. That I’m going back to a normal life in Sweden in a couple of weeks. It’s bittersweet. I’m genuinely happy that I’m done, I don’t wanna walk one single meter in the mud anymore…but on the other hand, I miss the “easy” life on trail – to wake up when the sun rises, walk from a to b and go to bed when it’s dark (or usually earlier). A huge part of me misses my routines though, and I’m really looking forward to coming home to my family and friends. Confusing.

The hardest part is not the confusion, though. It’s the fact that I don’t understand what I’ve done…well, I know I’ve walked 3000 kilometers, but what does it mean to me? And why are the memories blurry already, why can’t I really remember what I did between October 30 and March 8? I need to sit down, look at my thousands of photos and read all my journals…’cause right now, it’s kind of faded away. 

Everyone else I talk to seem to understand, though. They can’t believe it and keep telling me what an achievement it is to walk the length of an entire country…especially people living here who haven’t seen even a tiny part of what I’ve seen along the way. 

I received an email from a woman I met just before the Tararua Ranges on the North Island, the part when I had the scary, windy and foggy experience on Mount Crawford and the hardest part on trail that far (before I reached the South Island with all its mountains, that is). Emails like this help me to understand, but still – it’ll take time to let everything sink in. 

“I was really inspired by you and was seriously contemplating doing the Te Araroa walk myself, so I got my Mum to drop me off at the Shannon end of the Mangahao-Makahika Track, with the intention of taking 6-7 days to walk to Otaki – a very easy goal to attain. Well it was anything but! I only made it to Waiopehu Hut (not even sure if you stayed there?) Anyway, I had the hut to myself with great views. But omg, it was so hard – up & up & up & up & UP. When you go down you don’t wanna go down because you know you’ve still more up. Course I thought of you quite a bit and I have to say, I think you’re ABSOLUTELY AMAZING for what you’ve achieved. Physically and mentally. My pack was only 10kg inc. tent – how you did it with a 25kg one, I do not know. The main reason I didn’t make it tho’ was because my boots fell apart, which I was secretly pleased about. Need to buy a new pair. Someone told me later that the Tararua range (where we met), is the hardest part of the Te Araroa, but after reading your site, I don’t agree!”

Will I ever understand what I’ve done?

Lunch break in the Tarauas, January 2016.


Wow, I don’t know where to start. I’m back in Auckland, and the distance that took me 7 hours with a bus one month ago took me almost four weeks to walk… This trip is already a lifelong memory and I’ve done “only” 595 kilometers so far. 595 ot of 3000.

The last four weeks, I saw beaches with soft, white sand. Forests muddier than I could ever imagine. Colorful birds. Breathtaking coastlines. Heavy rain. Dolphins(!). Stunning grassy hills that seemed taken straight ot of a fairytale. Sunrises. Huge trees. Sunsets. Black beaches. Views that took my breath away. Tiny towns. Small towns. Bigger towns. Never ending farmlands. Gardens. Highways. Beautiful forest tracks. Rivers.

One of twenty dolphins…hard to catch with the camera.
A hill worth climbing.

I felt happiness. Hunger. Strength. Sadness. Belief. Hopelessness. Weakness. Thankfulness. Relief. Pain. Doubt. Hope. The sweet taste of victory…victory over my body but even more often, my mind. I had some amazing days and some days that made me want to go home. Days that made me think this hike over twice, three times…a million times. Why am I doing this? Why the h*ll am I doing this, with mud up to my knees, shaking legs and tears in my eyes..?

The Herekino Forest…muddy!

This is not an easy thru-hike (thru-tramp to be correct). Some of the sections have been absolutely exhausting and on the edge to undoable with a 20 kg backpack, and at the 500 km marking in another muddy and steep forest, I had my first mental breakdown and seriously just wanted to give up. But at the end of the day when I’m in my tent (Hilleberg Enan – best tent ever!), so far, it has been worth every single, sweaty step.

Soft sand. Wind. Heavy backpack. Still smiling.

New Zealand is a beautiful country, and the kiwis are just as amazing. We (me and my trail friends Rune, Bella and Mat) have met so many friendly and helpful persons along the way, I can’t even believe it. We’ve been invited to put up our tents in gardens and we’ve been offered lift (not allowed on trail of course, but off trail…), once a policeman drove us back from a supermarket. That would never happen in Sweden. Right now we are all staying (three rest days…luxury!) in a beautiful house of an amazing woman named Emma, who I met just one month ago. I’ve never felt so welcome in a country before and I’ve never felt so safe and relaxed being away from home. I had big expectations when I came here but so far, I’ve been positively surprised and it has been way much better than I could ever imagine.

Have you ever felt this welcome by a road sign?

We’re having another two days off from trail in Auckland, well earned recovery after 4 weeks and 595 kilometers of tramping. It’s mixed feeling though, one part of me just want to get out there again and one part knows that this rest is needed for the next coming days…weeks…months. I guess I just have to try to calm down, listen to my tired body and relax a bit. After all, we’ve been invited to a Christmas (is it really Christmas soon!?) party here in town tomorrow and that can’t be missed, right?

I’ve been a disaster when it comes to updating my blog and I promise you to try a bit harder the next 2400 kilometers. Luckily, Bella and Mat are writing a BEAUTIFUL blog where you can be updated more often. Find it here: It’s just a long walk.

I’ll be back soon. In the meantime, enjoy the view of Helena Bay…

My first tears. Helena Bay.