6 months ago
Three years ago, I completed my ninth and final NZ Great Walk. In completing one challenge, I knew the doors were opening to the next, and my appetite for the great outdoors was well and truly whetted. But. The day I got back into civilisation, my heart broke. While I’d been enjoying the comfort and safety of a Great Walk, with the well formed tracks and careful advice from DOC hut wardens (who held us back a day due to flooding rivers), Otago Uni international student Ally Willen lost her life on a nearby track, when the rivers flooded and she was separated from her fellow hikers. Ally’s tragedy has stuck with me, ever since reading her own personal writing, and hearing about her heroism and her dedication to improving the lives of those around her. This kid was destined for great things, and now the world is all the poorer without her. Though I never met her, Ally’s lessons stick with me, and remind me daily to think higher, to feel deeper, and to leave good fingerprints. The world would be a better place if we all lived like Ally. So, if you haven’t heard her story before, thanks for reading, and I’d love it if you take a minute every now and then to try and #livelikeally . - Ed.