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August 2022 Issue
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I’m doing it to instil a love of the outdoors in my children

The Chin family are taking a one-year sabbatical to walk all over New Zealand

Thomas Chin wants his children to grow up loving the outdoors and walking.

To Thomas Chin, exercise is medicine and this year his family is getting a bumper dose.

The sport and exercise physician, his wife Sophie, also a doctor, and their two preschool children are spending 2022 touring the country in a campervan.

Thomas says the year off is a chance to prioritise family time and to hit some trails.

The Chins joined the Walk1200km challenge in May, with Thomas saying it will be nice to have a record of how far they walk for the rest of the year.

It will also motivate them to keep walking as a family when they re-commence work in 2023.

Thomas says the 1200km target wouldn’t be a problem for him and his wife alone, but achieving it with their three-year-old son and 18-month-old daughter in child carriers will make it harder.

It means each walk needs to be well researched to ensure distances and gradients are achievable and huts aren’t too busy for young children.

The couple hopes to instil a love of nature in their children, so they are careful not to make the walks a chore.

“We want everyone to be happy,” Thomas says. “The kids are good, but it’s still better not to take them out when it’s pouring with rain.”

The Chins’ walks have included overnighters to the summit of Mt Fyffe and to McIntosh Hut near Glenorchy.

Shorter trips count too, such as a 2km walk to the “centre of New Zealand” on Botanical Hill in Nelson, where the family were holed up recently due to bad weather.