Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Blog Post from the Bush of Stewart Island

One of the fundamental rules of blogging is to keep on subject. My subject would be best described as “Communications Technology for Business”.

I’m sure that the irony of me writing this post with pen and pad while sitting in the bush on Stewart Island will not be lost on you.

The nearest town is a solid day’s tramp south; my two hunting/camping companions are at different ends of the Murray’s Beach block we have called home for two weeks and all I can see in any direction is trees, moss and fern.

I have forsaken technology for a more primal hunter/gatherer lifestyle. My cell phone is of little use as Vodafone have no coverage here, so the only real modern tools at my disposal are a battery-powered lantern to light my tent, an LED headlamp and a torch.

We cook our meat and other food by campfire and brave the elements as best we can. For early May, considering we are so far south and despite the rain, it is reasonably warm. One of my companions is my father – the reason I have made this trip. He brought me here at 16 and that was 30 years ago now so I thought it was well time I made the effort to spend some time with him again. He has made the pilgrimage to Stewart Island almost annually, this being his 25th trip.

Making the effort to spend some quality time with people certainly helps you to understand them better and more importantly, to appreciate them. Dad’s knowledge of the bush, its flora and fauna has amazed me. Where I see endless bush, he points out endless varieties of native plants and shows me how to use them for medicinal and other purposes. His skill has taught me a valuable lesson in how to make what would be to some, basic survival, into a relative luxury by the application of common sense and practical know-how.  This is something I will apply to my everyday and business life moving forward, we are all capable of so much more than the self-imposed limits we bound ourselves by whether deliberately to be safe or subconsciously because of fear.

My fathers bush dexterity also has extended to the cookhouse. A few tarps, a table built out of manuka poles with a thatch top and a campfire have produced meals consisting of venison steaks, stew, pot roast, scones, pikelets, “Billy” bread, and “Floaters” – which are reputedly a handed-down Maori version of fried doughnuts (complete with sugar and cinnamon coating with long-life whipped cream and jam). We’ve also dined on paua fritters on a few different occasions and we have yet to try our luck at fishing, given we are on the coast. Needless to say going hungry has been the least of our concerns.

The removal or escape from technology certainly has been refreshing. Its forced retirement has enabled me to temporarily abandon responsibilities (and stress) that used to take up the majority of my working day. Of course this has done little good for my business as being “off the radar” means that I would quickly become irrelevant in today’s fast paced, need it now society. I loved every second of the isolation I have experienced but would I forsake modern technology for it, I think not.