To Brisbane

Usually i try not to walk on rest days but sometimes there are places of interest which need a relaxed stroll for best experience. The water front from Scarborough to Woody Point via Redcliffe was a welcome walk after the hills and increasing traffic on narrow roads. 

The salt air immediately lifted my spirits after a couple of hours waiting on train platforms and riding public transport. I find cities perplexing. To avoid getting lost at every intersection ideally i need someone beside me with more experience in civilisation! After i finish my solo lap i welcome good adventure company, not just to guide me through towns and cities but to share the special moments and support each other.

I put out an open invitation for people to meet me at Redcliffe jetty. Nobody turned up. It felt oddly amusing and helped reinforce who i am (or am not) and how tiny The Happy Walk is in the greater scheme of things.

I didn’t stay in Brisbane that night but went down to the Gold Coast to catch up with friends. It was great to see Greg and Cyndy again and enjoy some good quality time together. It was a trip down memory lane seeing and visiting places where i once spent a lot of time, meeting old acquaintances and hoping others are happy and well.

My rest days passed too quick and it was time to return to Woodford and keep walking. 

Things didn’t go to plan last week. First of all i was trying to travel to a small town on a regional public holiday without a bus service. Then the twisted pelvis gave me grief for 2 days. Thankfully The D’aguilar Pub donated accommodation and i impatiently waited until i could walk without drugs again. It hurts a little bit all the time but exercises and stretches help manage the imbalance and twist. Sometimes it just needs more rest. The chiropractor says different and on his advice i will switch to riding next year.

I was good to go by Thursday and spent most of the day walking up Mt Mee. I stopped for a coffee at Birches where they gave me a $5 donation for Lifeline. I try not to take cash donations and ask people to go online where they will get a tax deductible receipt. I think most people end up donating through the Lifeline website instead of my gofundraise page. It does not matter how they donate, every dollar helps Lifeline save lives.

Later that afternoon, as the light softened into dusk i stopped to chat with Jenny and Gayle who were waiting for the last school bus from the city to drop their teens off at the end of its route. When they found out what i am doing Gayle donated online and shared the walk through facebook. Jenny owns Cabins @ The View and offered me a luxury hillside cabin with a spa for the night and shared The Happy Walk on the local community page!!! Thank you!

I thought going uphill for 15kms was a good challenge but the next day decending 15kms to Dayboro was hard. The road narrowed and became even more winding plus there were high winds gusting to 70. It was a cross wind and each time the road crossed a saddle in the hills i braced myself, sometimes walking across leaning sideways into it at an angle. Once i actually fell when the wind suddenly dropped and i didn’t have time to right myself.

On the way i stopped at the Blue Dog Farm roadside stall. Blue Dog came out to say hello, and so did Jacqui, a fellow intrepid trekker who traversed Europe.

A few times on the way to Dayboro i thought seriously about thumbing it past the bends but each time i saw ahead a stretch of verge with a metre of space for me to walk along. I crossed back and forth all morning using the “safest” side. Safest would have been not to walk but if i rode in a vehicle i would have spotted all those sections of verge and regretted not continuing to walk down. I’m glad i did stick it out. It was a beautiful road, both sides of the hill, with amazing views.

In Dayboro, following Jacqui’s recommendation, i stopped at Grate Life Cafe for a huge salad and fresh vitalising juice which they donated!!! Thank you!

Late that afternoon i spotted a 4WD track concealed from the main road behind Samsonvale Fire Brigade. It turned out to be unsuitable for pitching a tent but behind the fire shed there was protection from the roaring wind on one side and the traffic noise on the other. As well as being soft flatish grass it was out of sight from the road. I called Craig, the captain, and he dropped by with fellow fire fighting volunteer and wife Liane. They opened the shed and invited me to use the shower before putting up the tent then allowed me to camp inside! That was another trip down memory lane taking me back to the years i volunteered with Wasp Creek and Kingscote brigades. Thank you!

From Samsonvale i was able to reach the edge of the city of Brisbane before dark and made my way on the trains to my hosts.

It was time to take a couple more days of rest from the walking, kind of.

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Thank you

Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who responded when i reached out to you. Your response was overwhelming. I don’t know how to adequately thank you but you give me more motivation and the means to continue. This walk is our walk!
My money situation became a bit embarrassing on the weekend and i needed to ask for help.
I imagine myself being able to survive without money but in reality i feel like i have failed at life when it looks like my next meal will come from a bin, i start sizing up public parks for camping near public toilets and spotting taps that still have their handles so i can have a quick little splash bath and wash some clothes under the cover of darkness. I was also scared i had become a category 1 homeless person, struggling to hold onto my dignity while walking around Australia for Lifeline and mental health awareness. It doesn’t make sense.
It is hard to imagine in 2012 i was wealthy thanks to a gift from my parents. I never hesitated to help others and support good causes because saving lives, helping friends and protecting Earth was/is more important than my own money or possessions. How things have changed. My values have not changed but my ability to act on them has.
It is an humiliating desperation born of my reluctance to keep reminding people of what i’m doing, why i’m doing it and hoping some will deem it worthy of their financial support. If you have been following since the walk began it might feel like i’m nagging after a few requests each year. I don’t want you to feel like that so i try not to ask.
On Sunday and Monday i had the added stresses of an injury needing professional help before it created too many other problems and a miscommunication that lead to this weeks food supply box still sitting on the shelf back at basecamp when i went to collect from the post office.
I had $3.53 to my name and no idea how i was going to get through the week. It takes me a lot of courage to ask for help but i reached out to supporters through Instagram and the previous blog update explaining my predicament and hoping for kindness, compassion and deep hearted generosity. The crowdfund is at The Happy Walk GoFundMe.
Thank you to Mum and Dad, Steve and Sil, Phil, Lisa and Tony, Melinda and Family, Kimmi, Sarah, Mel and Bethany, Q, Fran, Barry, Louise, Katz, Dr Kate, The Brooks, Jayson, Sharyn, Kate, Jason, Lauren and Justin, Karen, Nathan and Sandra for your donations!!!
Thank you for the phone calls and messages of encouragement and love!!!
Thank you for sharing The Happy Walk in conversation and the links with your social media networks!!!
Today i could afford to visit the podiatrist, eat salad, use data on my phone and do laundry because of you. The podiatrist, Jason at Stepping Out Landsborough, also donated a custom fit mould for my toe when he found out what i am doing!

Since completing the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk i have received even more generous support through accommodation sponsorships and food.
On Sunday night The Spotted Chook Ferme Auberge, a beautiful French style BnB in Montville donated a night in one of their rooms with a big bathtub which i soaked in for 2 hours. I have never enjoyed a bath so much in my life. Thank you Jane and Leeroy for your generous spirit of giving.

Last night after 8, arriving in Landsborough 3hrs late, lost and in a fragile emotional state i found the Pines Caravan Park. When the manager, Lisa, came down to help me i fell apart from pain, exhaustion and relief. Then Lisa donated the Birdsong cabin for the night so i could fully rest and recover. Thank you for your empathy and care for my wellbeing.

This morning Lisa organised for Henry & Co Organic Cafe to donate breakfast and coffee. I couldn’t believe how much i was craving mushrooms, avocado and spinach until it was placed on the table and i devoured it!

Tomorrow night Glasshouse Mountains Ecolodge have donated a room after i spend the day wandering through some of the most picturesque and culturally significant pinnacles in Australia.
On the weekend i am taking a 2 day break with old friends, Greg and Cyndy, on the Gold Coast before returning to resume the walk near Brisbane next week. I will not be walking through the city because of mental health reasons and i get terribly lost in towns and cities but i am still looking for somewhere quiet to stay in Brisbane on Friday night so i can meet any friends, family and supporters who have time and transport.
I still haven’t written about or shared photos from the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk but i’ll get onto it soon. The photos are slowly being sorted, about 80% get deleted then some need filtering. I realised a lot of my old phone’s limitations last week in dark forest with bright sun or cloud glare slicing through or washing it out around midday and low res in low light between dusk and dawn. When beauty is everywhere all day i must take photos. At least it is a Samsung Galaxy S, the best mobile phone cameras, even if it is 4 generations old. I can’t and don’t need to buy a new phone camera but am open for Samsung sponsorship.
This update has been written tonight on a note app but i will post it tomorrow morning with free wifi, i hope it doesn’t confuse you.

Day One (of the last leg)

This morning I return to The Happy Walk after 7 months recovery break feeling good about it.

With only about 2,900kms remaining I am not concerned about time, deadlines, racing the seasons and especially not breaking any personal distance records.

This year the walk will be relaxed, setting comfortable distances and achievable goals. This year I’m number one. My wellness and wellbeing will come first. Not a new concept but something I have never applied seriously before.

Throughout this leg of the walk I will be seeking support and sponsors who can help me stay focused, balanced and strong through wellness therapies, chiro and physiotherapy. It is my nature to push myself as far beyond my limits as I can before my body or mind snap. This is not the smart way to do things so I need to rewire my brain for self-care and responding appropriately to warnings. I’m proud of my mensa IQ but this doesn’t automatically translate to high emotional or body intelligence quotas. In fact, on these levels I am like a child.
For this reason I am prioritising self-care as one of this years personal growth goals and there is no better place to learn than in the environment where I find it most convenient to ignore my own needs.

On Thursday and Friday I attended the Happiness & Its Causes conference with my brother and sister-in-law, Steve and Sil, in Sydney. It was amazing! Beth Phelan, the organiser extraordinaire of Vijrayana Institute Conferences made this possible. Thank you Beth!


Many of the presenters have given me plenty to think about as I walk and I’ll share a few of their insights and research with you through Instagram stories.

I haven’t tried this Instagram story thing before so please bear with a week or so of mistakes. I’ll still post to the normal feed as usual.

I’m feeling well rested after a luxurious night in Gladstone Mercure. I felt like a queen! Thank you to Craig and the staff for sponsoring The Happy Walk and looking after me in Gladstone. I arrived exhausted and almost missed dinner because I fell asleep as soon as I stretched out on the giant bed. They even made a personalised room card!!!


Writing this is now becoming a procrastination. I need to get going. I can’t guarantee how often I blog, I’ll try as often as I get free wifi.

If you would like to catch up as I walk down the coast please email me at thehappywalker@gmail.com and we’ll try to catch up. When I reach Newcastle in October I will be completing the “solo” lap of Australia and, if you want to plan ahead a bit, from there to Canberra I welcome walking buddies to join me for a day or two, especially along the Great North Walk.

I hope to meet more supporters along the way so don’t be shy, come say “Hi!”

Thoughts

Love – how does it enrich you?

Love enhances happiness, kindness, joy, peace, friendship, values, belonging, compassion, tolerance, self-esteem, hope, health, care, enjoyment, gratitude, security, creativity, forgiveness, all the positives in life.

In many ways I am fortunate to have been born with a different kind of mind. Love is a subject I had to first learn and study in theory then connect experiences to categories. My mind interprets love differently but through this process of recognition and appreciation I value love in my life.

The love I feel is not the icky romance and intimacy most people naturally think about and want. I am not familiar with that love so it means nothing personally. From researching it I understand it is a big deal in most people’s lives.

The presence of love in my life is manifest in how I feel towards people, events and things. Some can be described through the 7 Greek loves but others are more simple or obscure.

I love my friends and family, their company and conversation. I want only the best for them and I feel an emotional connection, empathy for their celebrations, dreams and struggles.

I love hommus, it makes me weak at the knees, I can never get enough. Hommus is the key to world peace. I’m sure of it! It really is that good!

I love my trekking kit and sometimes grieve if a  piece of equipment breaks or is lost. There is gear in my kit which can save my life. I don’t own much as an extreme minimalist but what I do own is important and valuable for its purpose in my daily life and survival.

I love trekking for so many reasons. It brings me peace, health and belonging. It nurtures my constant craving for Nature and Solitude.

I love animals, plants, Earth so much that I changed my life to protect them. The choices I make everyday are making a difference to the health and future of our planet and fellow inhabitants. I love Earth, it is home, it provides food, shelter, clean air and water and I must care for her as if my life depends on it because it does.

I love the intangibles which make me stronger like freedom, self-awareness, determination and direction. Through self love I have found strength and purpose. From surviving darkness so heavy I tried to die I have learnt the value of ethereal things which make us simultaneously vulnerable and victorious.

I love truth, beauty, kindness, equality and activism.

What does love mean to you?

Thoughts

It is better to uplift others and praise their accomplishments and efforts than compare them to your own.

Encourage everyone following their dreams, answering a calling and finding their purpose as part of the rapidly expanding movement of awesome humans making this world a better place.

It doesn’t matter how big a project is, whether it is an 100km walk to end hunger, letter writing to politicians, protecting the habitat of a threatened species, turning a farm into an animal sanctuary or inventing a fast, easy way to make clean drinking water, the participants feel the same passion and commitment.

The level of personal sacrifice, investment, previous attempts or expertise gained through years of study and trials might vary greatly but each individual’s commitment, no matter what size, is contributing to change.

Comparing yourself to others isn’t healthy, it is an ego trap where we find ourselves either lacking or superior. We are neither.

Our stories, our expeditions, discoveries, inventions, our achievements are a valuable part of a worldwide revolution of change, of compassion and strength, warriors and heros rising up to protect and save what we love.

You are important!

Your participation is valuable.

We are all in this together.

We are equal!