Elina Osborne is a story-teller-film-graduate-hiker-extraordinaire and one of the Kiwis we’re proud to be supporting this summer. After graduating at the end of 2015, with a degree in Video Production, Elina left New Zealand to begin her working holiday dream. Since then, Elina has lived in New York, travelled to the Amazon and even hiked the Pacific Crest Trail.
Now Elina is back in Auckland and about to set off on her next adventure: hiking Te Araroa. For those not familiar, Te Araroa is New Zealand’s long-distance tramping route that stretches 3,000 kilometres the length of the country from Cape Reinga to Bluff. Elina’s plan is to create a film about Te Araroa, and bring attention to this trail that not enough Kiwis know about and highlight the wonderful mental, physical, and spiritual benefits of hiking, getting out of our comfort zones, and exploring our own backyard.
So before Elina hits the road, we asked her a few of the important questions.
Q: I’ve just arrived on the planet, who is Elina Osborne?
Oh hello, welcome to Earth (but also where is this alien planet.. asking for a friend). Elina Osborne is a storyteller at heart. Usually, through the medium of video, she likes to get out of her comfort zone, get out into nature, and create hiking propaganda.
Q: You’ve been able to travel to a lot of amazing places, what has been your favourite trip so far and why?
Travel is a weird one when you feel like you’ve only touched the surface of a place, I’ve always enjoyed places more when I’ve been able to “live” there a little bit. In saying that, my favourite trip has got to be when I went back to Japan in 2014 with my sister and mum. My mum is Japanese, but it’s an interesting thing when you grow up not feeling connected to a whole aspect of your identity, being so far removed in West Auckland. I’d been once before as a five-year-old, so it was incredible to go back and experience my other “home” as an adult.
Q: What has been your most challenging hike to date?
It was the longest, so it would be unfair to not say the Pacific Crest Trail. Being physically, emotionally, mentally tested for four and a half months through the desert, high Sierra, forests, and mountains of California, Oregon, and Washington was one of the most memorable experiences of my life purely for that aspect. It’s also difficult to summarise in a sentence, which is why I made a film all about it ;)
Q: How were you introduced to Coffee Supreme?
I was looking to gift coffee to a friend and asked around “hey, what’s the best NZ coffee?.” I felt like I’d been out of the loop having been back and forth from the US for the past couple of years. The answer was, of course, Coffee Supreme. From there, I found their Instant sachets and knew I’d hit gold for when I’d hit the trails.
Q: Three things that are always in your pack?
Coffee, Peanut Butter, Poop Kit (trowel, toilet paper, dirty TP bag, hand sanitiser - leave no trace, kiddos).
Q: If you had to hike 3,000km with one person, who would it be?
Sir David Attenborough, hands down. If any 93-year-old could walk 3,000km it would be him.
Q: Smooth or crunchy?
Look, I’d never discriminate against any peanut butter but if you put a jar of smooth or crunchy in front of me, I would go for smooth (finish the jar, then consume the crunchy). There’s something about the way it sticks to the roof of your mouth. You just can’t beat it.
Q: What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Other than the promise of coffee? It would be the desire to bring stories to life, to move others, to move myself, and to be of service to someone. Also, peanut butter.
Q: What’s on the cards for 2021?
By March I should have completed my thru-hike of Te Araroa! From there I’d like to create something from what I film out there and bring a bit more light to this incredible trail we have in our backyard. After that, it becomes COVID-19 dependant - I’d love to head back North America ways and explore some opportunities there, maybe another thru-hike in there for good measure. But if I’ve learned anything from 2020, it’s that we’ve always got to keep our minds open.
Q: What question are you dying to answer that we haven’t asked?
Cats or Dogs? All I’ve known are cats, but one day when I’m more settled I shall adopt my own ex-racing greyhound (I’m well aware they’re alien dogs).
We'll be keeping Elina caffeinated with our Instant while she walks Te Araroa this summer. You can keep track of Elina’s Te Araroa adventure here and donate to the Te Araroa Trust here.