In the Great Walks Feb-Mar issue, editor Brent McKean gets personal on why we should all seize the day.
"With all his weight on a walking frame my father shuffled ever so slowly by my side, a reminder of the passage of time we all experience.
It really doesn’t seem that long ago that I was a kid looking up in awe at his imposing figure. We moved to Singapore when I first started school and one of my enduring memories is of Dad coaxing me to jump off a boat into the warm ocean.
I remember shaking my head, telling him I was scared but his face said: “Trust me, you’ll be fine. I’ll swim with you”.
So we leapt together into the current and swam side-by-side to the beach. Me, showing off my best freestyle. Dad, effortlessly gliding beside me. As a man of the Royal New Zealand Navy for 20 years the ocean was his happy place.
Now it was his turn to make the effort, to show he could still do something scary, even if it was only the 20-metre shuffle from the bedroom in his Auckland retirement village to the cafeteria where he ate his meals.
I gave him a look that said: “Trust me, you’ll be fine. I’ll walk with you” and step-by-step, side-by-side we made our way to the table. Over dinner we talked about family, travels and our many adventures.
When it was time for me to leave for the airport, I gave my Old Man a hug. There were tears in both our eyes and neither of us wanted to let go. He's almost 90, and we both know he doesn’t have long on this earth.
For a man who has travelled around the world a couple of times in Navy Frigates, fought in the Korean conflict and collected a drawer full of medals, I know his proudest achievements are his four kids, of whom I'm the youngest.
Our time is limited and there’s nothing we can do about that but to make the most of each day, approaching it with a positive attitude and being open to adventures big and small.
I hope the Feb-Mar issue of Great Walks will give you many inspiring ideas for your next adventure, be it a short day walk or a mighty multi-day trek.
For the well-experienced we offer challenging walks like our feature story on Australia’s toughest one-day walks, the Portuguese Camino and the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail. For the less-experienced walker we offer the Bay of Fires and Tarkine guided walks, and easy day walks less than 90min from Melbourne.
I hope I'll get back to see my father again in the next few months. I know his legs don’t work and his speech is limited but he’s still my Dad and that is enough."