On we go, to the end of the world

The carers - Ruth, Marilyn, Jan, Ian, and Vivienne - have begun arriving in Porto, Portugal, where the Carers Walk for Wellbeing begins on 2 May. 

Flights have been disrupted by storms and technical difficulties, and at least one hotel reservation has gone awry. 

But that's all behind us. 

The ancient city of Porto has been a good training ground for the coming 240 kilometre walk, with its cobblestoned streets, steep descents down to the River Douro, and long flat stretches through the narrow streets. 

We are a group of strangers, some embarking on this long journey by foot for recreation, others to recognise the daily efforts and important role of family caregivers. 

Why travel across the world for such a walk? 

This was done for the carers.

Often we are told that carers can't fully relax, 'let go', unless distance releases them from the likelihood that they will be called back. 

For those caring for loved ones who have serious conditions, it can be a challenge to coordinate respite for longer breaks. 

And it can be hard to release themselves psychologically to focus on time away just for themselves. 

Many carers have said they struggle to fully relax unless they are on an aircraft, where no matter what is happening on the ground, they have no option but to release themselves mentally ... to literally give themselves a break. 

Not everyone can indulge in such journeys, which is why Carers NZ has developed a range of wellbeing and respite programmes to help carers relax for at least a few minutes each day. Promoting these programmes and resources is a key focus for Carers NZ not just during the upcoming Walk for Wellbeing, but through the coming year. 

Learn about these each day by following our Facebook page

Meanwhile, we'll introduce the carers making our journey to Finisterre, the end of the world, in regular blog posts here at the website. Follow our journey day to day, and learn about our wellbeing resources for carers, most of which you'll find at the site. 

And if your organisation would like to host a wellbeing event for carers, we've made it easy with our MeetUps planning guide!