Plans afoot to walk off kilos (+audio)

Matthew Smith on foot to Queenstown. Image/ Matthew Smith
Matthew Smith on foot to Queenstown. Image / Matthew Smith

A Waiheke Island businessman has set out on a remarkable Auckland to Queenstown walking challenge in order to shed unwanted kilos.

Principal owner of real estate agency Ray White, Matthew Smith, left Waiheke Island for his 1500-kilometre walking challenge on the morning of August 10.

His early days out on the road were challenging. Painful blisters, sore muscles and fatigue were all companions, and it was a simply a case of “mind over matter”, Smith says.

Smith, 41, is currently embarking on a life-changing journey. Since his departure from Auckland, he says he feels “a lot lighter and fitter” having lost an impressive 10 kilos four weeks into his journey.

One of Smith’s motivations is his business focus. “I’m a business person, I’m a business leader, I have to set an example,” he says.

Some may think Smith’s journey is crazy. But for him, it’s both a resolution and a solution.

“I had to keep reminding myself I chose this, I want to shave ten years of bad habits off my body,” he explains, adding that his journey hasn’t been without its physical challenges.

“I don’t think pain matters too much,” he says. “This is what is going to give me the results when I get back to Auckland.”

Smith has built up his on-foot mileage to an impressive 40-50 kilometres per day. “It’s getting easier to do a longer length,” he says.

His longest day was a 78 kilometre effort to the Kaikoura coast, which saw him “walking to 2am in the morning”. Lodgings can be challenging, and Smith has to plan well ahead where he will stay.

There have been some special moments along the way, says Smith, adding that people have opened up their homes and hearts to him.

Crayfish diving, drinking local beer, enjoying the character of each spot have all been a part of Smith’s journey.

Facebook and his smart phone have also been his only real constant while on the move, with each day brings at least 5 new ‘friends’.

So far, Smith has funded his own journey. He had considered sponsors but felt at peace “paying for it as I go, its an investment in my whole future”.

Explaining the motivation behind his journey, Smith says: “When I make a decision to do something I like it to happen now”.  And he encourages others to pick up new challenges.

Smith is now on his way to The Staging Post B&B, a further 26 kilometres away in North Canterbury. He is hoping to reach Queenstown by early-to-mid October and will be greeted in Frankton by several Queenstown Ray White staff.

Listen to the full interview below: