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Get Lost Walk

Come Home With a Book

Since time immemorial, men have left their caves, grass huts or whatever with their women’s parting counsel ringing in their ears: “Don’t come home until you’ve found me a big fat woolly mammoth!”

Rose made it clear she expected me to come home with the modern equivalent of a successful hunt. “If you’re going to abandon me for months without an income, promise me you’ll come back with a book!” she said. It was a fair demand. I envisaged a coffee table book with text and photographs.

One look at Rose’s face told me that a camera was out of the question. So it would come down to me and my smartphone, a clapped out piece of gadgetry that sucked the life from a battery faster than a hippy drinking a wheat-grass smoothie.

Nonetheless, if I could find a way to keep the power-hungry little brick powered up, it would be a virtual Swiss Army knife with a digital tool for every purpose. Loaded with free or low cost apps for maps, ebooks, podcast recording, photography, video, blog content creation and, oh yes, telephone calls, what could go wrong? I would be on my way to internet stardom in no time and Rose could check in with me anytime.

Rose jumped on the internet and found a portable solar panel which promised to deliver on-the-trot recharging. Fixed to the top of my pack, it would charge itself by day and power up my smartphone by night. Better yet, it cost less than $100.

Purchase made and package delivered, I trialled it on the beach and it worked perfectly.

Next, I signed up to a free blog hosting service and started to tap out a test post on my smartphone. My thumbs cramped within a few minutes on a keyboard made for munchkins. Using it would lead to a book fashioned from chapters with no more than 140 characters each. I hunted around for a spare Bluetooth keyboard and re-purposed an old cassette tape case as a phone stand. Voila! I had fashioned an instant adventure travel blogging hack.

I could not wait to show the set up to Rose. She looked from it to me and said, “You’re not taking that great big keyboard tramping?”

“Sure! It’s great! Every night as I gaze at the stars, I’ll post about the day and you can read it. It will bring us closer.”

She crossed her arms. “I think you’ve become unhinged,” she said.

“Great! I’ll write about that now. Look.” I opened up my email account and wrote a headline: “Unhinged Shrink Seeks Midlife Neolithic Nirvana on the Te Araroa,” took a selfie, attached it to the email and pressed ‘Send.’

I opened up the blog account and there it was.

“See? You can post by email. How amazing is that?” I said.

“The saints preserve us,” she said. “Just come back with a book.”

By Richard Margesson

Director of Free The Tree- a biosecurity and biodiversity restoration service on Waiheke Island in New Zealand's Hauraki Gulf.

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