Fri 10: Into the wild

After three weeks’ training and with limited outdoor experience, an Auckland teenager took that first step on a journey of more than 7000 kilometres. Could you do the same?

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Below are some talking points and activities to pass the time, all relating to today’s story. If young readers find it tricky; just look at the pictures and read the captions to figure it out.

Talking points

Discuss the ideas presented in the story with your family—at home or over video conferencing. Find ways to involve as many people as possible, especially those who you know are isolated by the lock-down.

  • In the pictures, what looks challenging about Brando’s journey?
  • For the first four days, Brando walked south along Ninety Mile Beach. It rained. At night, he camped on the beach in the cold. He had cramps and mosquito bites. How do you think he might have been feeling at this point? Do you reckon you would have given up?
  • The hardest part of Brando’s journey was in some ways dealing with being alone so much. What would be weird about being on your own, without speaking to anyone for up to 11 days at a time? How do you think it would affect you?
  • Brando used his crossbow to shoot wild goats, rabbits and possums, dived for paua and crayfish and ate all sorts of plants, roots, berries and even insects as part of his decision to “hunt and gather” rather than buy food from shops. Does that lifestyle sound appealing to you? Would you eat a possum or insects if you were hungry enough?
  • Brando felt like going on a huge adventure was really helpful to him. Why do you think an outdoor adventure might make someone grow emotionally and mentally?

Task—Wild food foraging

Go on a wild food hunt and see if you can find any of these common edible wild foods, all available in autumn:

  • Grape leaves (make dolmades, or just eat the smaller leaves raw)
  • Violet leaves (great in a smoothie)
  • Nasturtium leaves and flowers
  • Puha
  • Dandelions—pick the younger leaves and eat raw, or boil them and add olive oil and lemon—this is a specialty of Greek grannies

A few foraging rules.

  • Don’t pick from a busy roadside where car fumes may have polluted your snack.
  • Only take 1/3 of the plant – this leaves it plenty of energy to grow back for the next person who needs some nourishment.
  • Avoid mushrooms unless you’re with a mushroom expert—most New Zealand mushrooms are not edible.

Grape leaves

Violet leaves