$3,000 for 3,000km & 3,000+ lives!!

$3,310 of $3,000 goal
Given by 77 generous donors in around 6 months

Walking 3,000km while Fundraising for I Am Hope and planting one tree for every $10 raised.

Nationwide

Kia ora friends and whānau!!

I’m about to take on Te Araroa - New Zealand's Trail. While doing so, I'll be fundraising and advocating for two causes I'm most passionate about - creating a healthy mind and a healthy environment. If you're interested in knowing more, all the info is below!

WHAT AM I DOING?

Te Araroa is New Zealand's thru-hike spanning from Cape Reinga in the north to Bluff in the south. It's a 3,000km route and should take me approximately 4-5 months to complete! Along the way, I'll get to explore everything New Zealand has to offer. From connecting with local families to making my way through Aotearoa's various terrain such as beaches, volcanoes, mountains, rivers, lakes and valleys. If interested, you can find more info here: https://www.teararoa.org.nz.

WHY AM I WALKING?

Basically, I realised a few months ago that I'm carrying a lot of crap into adulthood and I'd kind of like to dump it somewhere. So, I thought the trail could provide a good place for me to leave some of it.

In all seriousness though, I thought this would be a good way to take some time to do some mental processing. At the end of 2018, my sister Whitney took her own life. She had been struggling with some severe mental health issues which meant that there was a multitude of catastrophic events taking place that lead to that point. Some of these events took place throughout childhood but were intensified in the last few months of her life. While I won't go into details, I will say that I became extremely numb to the grief and loss I was feeling (or should have been feeling) after she died. I think I knew that if I allowed myself to start healing, it would bring up a lot of unprocessed childhood trauma as well. So, I just chucked it in the too hard basket because why on earth would I want to face emotions that I’d been suppressing for pretty much my entire life?

But, you can't run away from these things forever! It wasn't until the beginning of this year that certain triggers started surfacing. This meant that I had to identify where these triggers were coming from so I finally chose to take responsibility for my own healing. I realised that I actually wanted to be able to feel negative emotions again and find a way to process them in a healthy way. So, I decided to start seeing a counsellor which helped me to do this.

Anyway, you're probably reading this and wondering why I'm sharing or where I'm going with this. So, I guess to go back to answering my original question of 'Why am I walking?', I've recognised that I'm still only at the beginning of this healing journey. While I've learnt so much about myself over the past year and seen more personal growth than ever before, I'm aware that I still have so much processing to do. There are moments when it's fricken awesome and witnessing the growth is super bliss. But, there are also times when bringing up past trauma and grieving feels unbearable and never-ending. Although healing probably is never-ending, I've realised that upon finishing uni this year, I’m in the prime time to give myself the space to slow down and just be. On top of that, I just wanted to take some pressure off and give my brain a break before entering the workforce.

In all honesty, I'm actually loving this stage of growth that I'm in. I just thought that Te Araroa would be one of the best ways to allow myself to fully experience all of the emotions possible. Also, I figure that if I get to the end of the 3,000km and I haven't found a place to dump the weight of the load I'm carrying, then at least I'll be a lot stronger and know how to carry it with more ease. Nevertheless, this whole ramble leads to my next point of who I’ve chosen to fundraise for.

WHO AM I FUNDRAISING FOR?

Along the way, I thought it would be cool to raise funds for a cause close to my heart and one of my fave charities - I Am Hope. Every year throughout Aotearoa, between 120 and 180 young people die by suicide and an estimated 3,500 more attempt to take their own lives. Some of these youth can be stuck on counselling waiting lists for up to 6 months to receive the help that they desperately need. I Am Hope have recognised that this is not okay and they allow young people to take agency of their own mental health development. They do this through speaking and communicating directly with kids and providing counselling by registered mental health practitioners when they need it most. As outlined above, counselling and taking action over your own mental health is something that I find really beneficial. I wish that I had gotten over the stigma associated with counselling a lot sooner and I wish that my sister had received better mental health care. So, all donations will go directly to I Am Hope so that our rangatahi can also receive the benefits of counselling and ending the stigma associated with mental health issues. Although it’s hefty, my goal is to raise $3,000 for the 3,000km I’ll be walking and the 3,000+ youth who attempt to take their own lives each year. You can find more info on the charity here: https://www.iamhope.org.nz.

TWO ADDED BONUSES!!

Anyone who knows me well will know that I can be terrible at making decisions!! In fact, I contemplated for a looooong time whether I wanted to add a fundraiser to my walk or not. (I actually wanted to delete all social media and disconnect from society altogether.) But, my friends and family have insisted on updates and I also figure that if I can do some good and advocate for something I'm passionate about along the way, then why not?! Although I knew straight away that I Am Hope were a charity I wanted to fundraise for, I also really wanted to fundraise for an environmental organisation as spending time in nature and looking after our environment is another one of my fave things! Plus, I believe that creating a healthy environment goes hand-in-hand with creating a healthy mind! However, I couldn't choose an environmental organisation that I knew enough about, so I decided to advocate for the environment in my own way - I am pledging to plant 1 tree for every $10 donated! I know that planning the logistics of this could be a bit difficult - like where the heck am I going to get the trees from?!! But, I do know that if I want to do something bad enough I'll always make it work (& I've got five months of walking to think about the logistics 😅)!!

Secondly, to make the fundraising more FUN and hopefully encourage donations, my friends suggested doing some challenges along the way (because walking 3,000km isn't enough 😆). One friend has already suggested the first one - if I can raise $250 by the time I reach the end of ninety-mile beach (the end of day four/100km point), then I have to eat my dinner (some kind of rehydrated hot mush), out of my deliciously sweaty tramping boot! So, 4 days to raise $250 - definitely achievable!! I’ll try to post updates on this page at various points along the way as well as on my Instagram: @bailey_whitnack, if you feel like following along (obviously permitted to having cell phone reception & battery). Or, if you have any challenge ideas, then please send them my way!! Even if you can't/choose not to donate, I'd still love you to get involved through suggesting challenges!! It's gonna be fun and will give me so much encouragement on the days that I feel like giving up and going home! (Disclaimer: I won’t do any challenges that I think will put the safety of myself or others at risk.)

If you've taken the time to read my ramble, then thank you!! I appreciate you! Also, thank you in advance for supporting me and these causes!! I'm both excited and terrified of the challenge to come but I definitely know it'll be worth it!! Oh, and if you feel like joining for any sections of the trail, I would literally LOVE that!!! So if you feel like coming for a walk, please get in touch! :)

Aroha nui,

Bailey

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Latest update

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It’s been a while…  6 April 2022

Kia ora e hoa mā! Hello friends!

So it’s been a while…

It turns out that writing updates & being on any form of social media is a lot more difficult than I’d anticipated while walking Te Araroa. Having long periods of time where I’m disconnected from civilisation & a fast-paced society makes it feel really overwhelming to check social media when I do have reception. But I do have a moment now so I’m going to try my best to write a small summary of my time on the trail so far.

I am currently in Twizel where my friends Kevin, Danny and I were warmly welcomed into a local Trail Angel’s home last night to stay in her Hobbit House! It has been such a cool experience to live out some of our Middle Earth dreams!! We have made it 2462km’s down the trail & been travelling on & off together since meeting on the very first day from Cape Reinga, along with some other friends! We’ve formed a wee trail family now & it has been so incredible being able to learn & grow alongside other people throughout this journey.

In all honesty, I’m not entirely sure how I can sum up the last few months in so few words. My body has well & truely adjusted now; I feel like I could walk forever!! Not only am I fit enough to boost up mountains at a pace I’d never imagined but I actually get excited for the climbs now too! They no longer feel painful & exhausting & I don’t need to take a break every 5 minutes. 😅 But in all seriousness, I am so grateful for the way my body has adapted. I am in awe of its strength & don’t think that I could ever say a negative word about it again. The peaks it has gotten me to are incredible. Additionally, there is nothing like reaching the top of a climb & just standing there, being mesmerised by the world around you. I have learnt how easy it is to find joy with nothing but a pack on your back filled with only the essential items to survive. I have learnt how simple life is & that we, as a society, have really over complicated it. Stripping away the distractions & fully immersing myself into our natural environment has allowed me to find a deep sense of peace & stillness within myself & I am more relaxed about where my life is heading than ever before. While I’m still changing my mind everyday about what I want to do after the trail, the uncertainty no longer terrifies me or causes me to feel stressed. Instead, I am excited by the prospect of it knowing that I have the choice to go wherever I want to go & do whatever I want to do.

Life is good. Life is simple. In saying this, I encourage you to take a moment to disconnect from society as well. Try and make a conscious effort to let go of what is outside of your control & just be. I’m sure it will also work wonders for your mind as it has done for mine.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me this far. Your donations have gone a long way as well as your words of encouragement. I am grateful for every form of support even though I haven’t been giving updates as much as I’d anticipated. However, if you do want some more current updates of the trail life (with photos) you can see some on my Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/bailey_whitnack/ (although these are also about a month behind - social media is mind numbingly hard these days! 😅) But once again, thank you!! Although I only have about a month left on the trail I promise I will post at least one more update - it just might not be until I’m done walking at this rate.

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Latest donations

Jodi
Jodi on 13 May 2022
Well done Bailey - awesome achievement and I love that you are fundraising for a good cause too!
$20
Josh
Josh on 13 May 2022
You’re amazing!! Congrats on finishing such an accomplishment 🎉
$10
Olivia
Olivia on 06 May 2022
Wow wow wow I am proud of you 💜 the coolest person I know!
$10
Aroha
Aroha on 01 May 2022
You are absolutely amazing Bailey, so proud of you ❤️
$100
Lloyd
Lloyd on 01 May 2022
$400

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Bailey Whitnack's avatar
Created by Bailey Whitnack
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This page was created on 21 Nov 2021 and closes on 21 Jun 2022.