K-Way – Travel
Adventure racing at a young age must be one of the best preparation schools for any person wanting to explore beyond the borders of his own town the day he is old enough. If you are lucky and do not pick up any serious injuries, bankrupt yourself in the process of buying gear or by accident have quadruplets at the age of twenty-two, you can participate in adventure based activities until a very ripe age. Whilst participating in adventure racing from a young age you get exposed to various things that in modern times are seen to be a bit, well, uncivil and not necessary. On the other hand, let’s look at what it can prepare you for.
Adventure Race Camp with Helpmekaar Kollege Students
With normal adventure racing you get given a map with PC coordinates (Passport Controls) that you have to plot on the map and then at your own pace you have to find these PC points. Normally a schools adventure race consist of running, mountain biking, swimming and/or canoeing that serve to transport you to various other activities like abseiling, rock climbing, archery, shooting, rope work, jumping from obstacles and any masochistic activity thought out by the organizer. The whole adventure layout and plan is normally aimed to make sure the athlete gets a fairly good injection of adrenaline, get to know their personal physical limits whilst at the same time enjoy nature in its purest form. At the start and during the entire race the athletes have to plan their own journey carefully as not to get lost, run out of fluids and make sure that they eat enough and therefore have to carry everything for sustenance and survival with them. Speed is always of utmost importance since after all, it is a race. Careful planning must go into what type of fluid taken, food carried, shoes worn and clothing to be carried with you to cope with the elements and survive whilst pursuing the adventure. Simple things like sunblock, basic medical provisions, emergency cold weather clothing, some survival equipment like a knife, a means to make fire and lighting must be included to ensure you do not get stranded without being self-supported. Dirty clothing, no hot water to wash your face, sleep deprivation, craving for mom’s food and being constantly tired are but a few of the challenges you have to overcome on an adventure race.
However, adventure does not need to be the pursuit of adrenaline only and this is where K-Way comes into play. Without him knowing it I know now who they named the clothing and adventure travel accessories line after that is sold by Cape Union Mart. It must be deducted from the König Way. Many very privileged children, and by that I do not mean that they are always financially privileged children, get to experience KATS (König Adventure Travel School). If you have been unfortunate and never participated in Schools Adventure Racing nor have travelled with Klaus König then you are now very fortunate to read about the KATS experience. Every year during the winter break for private schools Herr König takes a few very excited school kids on a tour, plainly called the August tour or the Overseas tour. To get accepted on the tour works on a first come first serve basis and apparently no bribe whatsoever will get you included if you do not make the cut, cut-off date or default on payment dates. Klaus König is the charismatic, widely loved, immensely respected, sometimes controversial, always direct, big-hearted, travel loving, born educator and principal of Helpmekaar Kollege in Johannesburg where he is instilling some fundamental ethics and basic principles of hope and certainty into the life and future of many a young person, adding the icing to a potentially stale education process, through KATS.
The tour is meticulously planned and booked well in advance with specially selected establishments that not only provide reasonable accommodation but very importantly they are fairly affordable. Remember you actually are going on an exploration to provide a historical and cultural experience and by staying in five star accommodation would not serve the purpose of the idea. All students are provided with a folder that include the entire itinerary together with detailed information on the history of the country and all places of interest that will be visited. This enables students to read in advance and understand the significance of what they will go and experience. With his team of teachers that get allocated to a few students for chaperoning on the tour, Herr König is only left to lead the group and can leave the nitty-gritty of herding and controlling to his officers. Every eventuality, risk and activity is investigated and dissected to plan ahead that could delay the trip and even recommended pocket-money is suggested based on experience.
Planning for a trip with KATS is so easy because everything is done for you. The only thing you have to do is to get a bit of training behind you since the man with the walking legs do not wait for the weak, he only pushes on and on and on.
This is where the similarity to Adventure Racing comes in and where the experience you gained from doing some Schools Adventure Races come in very handy. The similarity is actually scary when you look at it. When you travel with KATS or the K-Way you use planes, trains, boats and busses for getting around to go visit the places of interest and with SchoolsAR it is Mountain bikes, running shoes, tubes, rafts and canoes. The distances just differ quite drastically. You both go into the unknown but for the sake of safety the route gets checked by the organiser long in advance. See the relationship? As with an adventure race, with KATS you have to keep up or you get left behind. The tour group get divided into groups with a teacher as overseer of the group which is very similar to the captain of a SchoolsAR team. Likewise you do not leave any of your group members behind and everybody need to look out for their buddies. Lots of travelling is squeezed into a fairly short period of time to maximize the exposure one gets. This means that on a tour with KATS doing it the K-Way you also get very tired, sleep deprevated from travelling at night, blisters on your feet, get thirsty and many other symptoms in line with those encountered in SchoolsAR.
The clothing you take, the shoes you choose, when to drink fluids, when to eat and many other pre planning issues are unbelievably closely related to that of a schools adventure race. Before you start any activity you need to know exactly where you are going, how you are going to get there and plus minus how long it will take. When you get lost you return to the last place you remember where you know you were and then orientate yourself again to take the correct direction.
KATS in China
The consequence of graduating from KATS is simply astonishing. The K-Way automatically pops out when these graduates get into travelling mode with parents or other people afterwards. Get up early, move, explore, move, explore, move, go to bed late, don’t complain, just go. Being fortunate to have an inbuilt desire to explore beyond the norm, our family has had the privilege of having two graduates from the König Adventure Travel School. One explored the Far East and the other had the rare fortune of multiple qualifications because he traveled to India and then also to North Africa and Europe with KATS and The K-Way. Both definitely know the K-Way and the oldest seems to have been born with the K-Way in any case.
Apart from the graduates now not at all afraid to travel on their own, they also thrive on grasping the opportunity to get sponsored by their mother and simultaneously try to stop me to SKI, as in Spend Kids Inheritance. However, the exposure obtained by travel and the consequential damage caused by it (my pocket) cannot be compared since the exposure far outweigh any negative. My K-Way kids now appreciate history, geography, cultures, heritage, architecture, communities, cities, villages, art and most importantly they understand diversity through their K-Way experience. The consequence of the König Adventure Travel School is priceless.
Well, I believe that Herr König is planning something new for 2017 that will involve some close friends and acquaintances and obviously some very lucky kids. The love for travel need never be hampered by physical limitations and maybe because of the pace of the youth, mechanized transport could replace some of the “on the trot” trips to ensure that more is seen in shorter a time but without putting too many kilometers on those worn out soles. Yes, an iron horse trip I believe is in the planning to explore previously unreachable destinations in faraway countries with hidden gems. Kids, do not worry, Schools Adventure Racing and KATS will stay and The K-Way will grow and grow.
Once the travel bug has bitten you………….there is no cure, just do it The K-Way !!!