Between Each Step: A Married Couple’s Thru Hike On New Zealand’s Te Araroa, by La Vigne

 

Shedding years of societal conditioning that dictates school, work and life, Patrice and Justin La Vigne do their best to maintain a nomadic whimsy. However, this nontraditional life presents just as many moments of joy and grace as moments of stress and hardship. It’s in the rawness of long-distance hiking that the couple builds confidence to continue their “life less ordinary.”

In 2014-15, Patrice and Justin opted for the human-powered route to explore New Zealand. For four months, they tramped along Te Araroa, a continuous trail gaining notoriety stretching roughly 2,000 miles from Cape Reinga at the top of the North Island to Bluff at the bottom of the South Island. The adventure would either strengthen their bond to each other and their commitment to a nontraditional life, or it would break them apart.

This travel memoir powerfully captures the essence of trail life, New Zealand’s unique culture and the tradeoffs to an off-the-beaten path trajectory. Told with suspense, style and humor, backpackers and armchair adventurers alike will learn that this newly created trail in an exotic locale is sometimes zany, but the healthy vulnerability to its rugged nature rewards self-awareness and growth. Readers will feel the pain of every blister, experience the fear of life-threatening tides and be blown away by the hospitality of the Kiwi people, all at the same time.

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