A world citizen may provide value to society by using knowledge acquired across cultural contexts.
The Overland Track is going to be a story in parts for me. Much like most of the trip thus far. There are the day to day dealings – sights and sounds. There is the inner journey. And there is the interactive aspect, the other people. Jumping into a weeklong overland hike solo pretty much gives you the chance to meet people if you want. In the huts people are tired, unable to walk with no desire to do so, waiting and talking with the same people they’ll see for a week. You are a fresh face, and enigma. Solo? Not Australian? And that’s before they get to talking to me and asking questions like, “So what are you doing in Australia?” and “Did you have a girlfriend back home?” My answers get some entertaining looks and responses.
The crew I stayed with in the first hut was a couple and a couple couples. The former, Doug (Australian) and Yumie (Japanese) are married and allowed me to tack on for half of today’s hike. After seeing the sights and singing songs in my head over and over, a chance to talk was welcome. I got their backstory, what he does, advice and info and explained my situation. They had a steady pace and took breaks, something I’ve been bad at. His suggestions to her (“Are you drinking your water?”) were good to follow.
Back at the hut I met the couple couples (brother and sister and their partners I think). Richard, the least into backpacking of the four, the one that tags along for these trips but doesn’t suggest them, is the one that I’ve talked to most. Cricket discussions (the popularization of the 20 is killing the pool of test cricketers) and music (Nick Drake, Jeff Buckley, Nick Cave, Roger Waters). He set me up with a sip of Chivas as well – a welcome and familiar taste. Jennifer, his partner asked me about my plans and suggested locations over dinner. The dinner was provided by the other woman, Allison, who put a delicious vegetarian meal together based on textures (crunchy facon bits, peanuts, walnuts, chewy rehydrated mushrooms, squishy veg, and pasty soy protein). They fed me then gave me extra ramen they didn’t want.
The extra ramen will help me with the new excursion I might add on. Jamie the bus driver suggested the Labyrinth. This was confirmed by the Hobart guy*leading the tour of campers. Over biscuits he wanted to offload, he explained the Labyrinth is a two day add on most people don’t do. There is something alluring about tacking on and not just doing the default path. But I’d need food for the extra days. At the rate I’m going through what I brought, I might be okay. With the extra ramen (and bag of chips the guide gave me) I should be set. If only my body holds out.
Funny, even on this trek of hikers I have assumed my role of scavenger quickly and handily. Perhaps this will get me better fed. It sure as hell won’t lighten my load.
*Is someone from Hobart called a Hobartian? As far as I’m concerned, yes.