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.

Can you please help?

Can you please help?
I’m needing a bit of help at the moment to cover the costs of the walk like sports therapy, food, shelter, camp fees, cooking gas, phone data…
I ran out of money 2 years ago after putting in $70,000 of my own, including selling everything of value, and in the last 10 months i have been donated $3,500 through crowd funding, gifts and the Australian Geographic Society  sponsorship.
Last night i was generously donated a room at @the_spotted_chook This is a rare luxury, donations in kind and sponsorships don’t happen often and i never take them for granted.
This morning  i have $3.53 to my name. Yesterday morning i had $8 after someone left $5 beside the road for me but i needed to recharge my phone so i bought a coffee and waited an hour before walking the last 12kms. In the afternoon i unsuccessfully tried finding the bins at another cafe on Baroon Pocket Dam to look for scraps because i was hungry.
It causes me some stress and embarrassment especially not having money for laundry or replace my torn and stained clothes and broken gear.
This walk for Lifeline has required many personal sacrifices and money has been the biggest.
No Lifeline donations have been used for walk expenses.
If you can help please visit https://www.gofundme.com/thehappywalk 
A temporary link is also in my thehappywalk Instagram bio if you go to my page. 
If you prefer to make a direct bank deposit my Westpac account details are: BSB: 732-720 Account: 557812 and it is still in my old name.


Thank you to everyone who has already helped outšŸ¤—

Newsletter

I hope this newsletter finds you well.

In less than 2 weeks I will be enjoying the first days of the final 2,900km east coast leg of this epic 16,000+km walk around Australia for Lifeline.

I have minimised my online activity to only 4 places making it easier for both you and me. WordPress blog, Instagram, my crowdfund campaign and the Lifeline fundraising account.

The blog is now the main information hub and website for The Happy Walk. 

https://thehappywalkblog.wordpress.com/

Here is where I will share regular photos and updates about the walk, scenery, people, places and sponsors as well as occasional thoughts and ideas. If you have the old website thehappywalk(dot)com, which has been active since 2011, bookmarked it won’t work anymore because the domain host has locked it and I have no access. It is free to subscribe to my WordPress blog.

For all the photos and quick daily updates (phone range permitting) please follow The Happy Walk on the free Instagram app.

https://www.instagram.com/thehappywalk/

The crowdfund campaign for The Happy Walk helps cover the costs of basic needs that are not donated. If you can contribute please visit my GoFundMe page. If you can’t donate please share the link so others can. This is the only active crowdfunder for The Happy Walk so please ignore google search if it gives you another.

https://www.gofundme.com/thehappywalk

The last website is the GoFundraise Lifeline fundraising page. I have been fundraising for Lifeline for more than 4 years. I’m not the world’s greatest networker so it is also one of the slowest fundraisers in the history of fundraising. The target has been changed twice from an unrealistic $1M then an ambitious $100,000 and finally a more realistic $20,000. This target has been reached through online and cash donations and supporters of The Happy Walk, Lifeline and suicide prevention can continue donating until the end of the walk. Each donation goes directly to Lifeline and they are using my fundraiser to help their 131114 24/7 mental health crisis hotline. You can donate anonymously if you prefer and it is tax deductible in Australia.

https://makingadifference.gofundraise.com.au/page/thehappywalk

Please share these links with anyone who may be interested in the walk or cause or might like to help.

Thank you to everyone who has already helped The Happy Walk. If you can help during this leg of the walk with safe accommodation, food, water and sports therapy don’t hesitate to contact me.

There is a lot of happy news to share!

The Australian Geographic Society have selected The Happy Walk as one of their adventure project sponsorship recipients. This is a big deal for me. It feels like finally being recognised as part of Australia’s adventure community. I’ll definitely be milking it for as long as it lasts. The walk will be mentioned in their magazine on the Society page and after I finish I’ll write them a detailed report which could potentially become a story for the Outdoor or Australian Geographic publications. The sponsorship will help me subscribe to the magazine so I don’t miss my story or those of other sponsored members.

http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/

http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/outdoor

In the next 5-6 months I will walk a meandering path down the east coast along beaches, bushwalks, fire trails, 4WD tracks and back roads avoiding the highways altogether. There are maps and a rough itinerary on the blog.

https://thehappywalkblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/01/gladstone-to-canberra-pt2-itinerary/

https://thehappywalkblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/01/gladstone-to-canberra-pt1-maps/

To walk many of the offroad terrains between the ocean and mountains I am leaving Dory, my bright blue/yellow barrow at THW Basecamp II and carrying an awesome ultralight Luxmore 45L backpack made from D40 Dyneema cuban fibre sponsored by Wilderness Threadworks. https://www.wildernessthreadworks.com/

On the 21st of June I leave THW Basecamp I for Sydney where I will attend the Happiness & Its Causes conference with my brother and his wife. 

Happiness & Its Causes gifted me 2 complimentary tickets so I decided to delay the final leg and fly to Gladstone from Sydney on the 24th. I attended their 2012 conference and it was a buzz, I walked away with some new life skills and loads of enriching information and stories. In 2012 it was also 2 days before an important walk, my solo 150km Sydney Coast Walk, the first training walk for The Happy Walk. This year I will be starting the last leg on another happiness high. http://www.happinessanditscauses.com.au/

I have a boot sponsor!!! Barefoot Inc Australia have donated 2 pairs of Inov8 Roclite 325 GTX ultralight boots. They are incredibly comfortable, waterproof, good arch support and vegan. http://barefootinc.com.au/

Dirty Hippie Cosmetics is another amazing new sponsor organising regular supplies of organic, handmade, cruelty free soap and shampoo bars, sunscreen with insect repellent, deodorant paste, cooling foot and warm muscle balms. Everything made here is sustainably geared and produced with green energy, even the packaging is recyclable, refillable and compostable. https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/dirtyhippiecosmetics

Leaving the highways and roads and walking through national parks and conservation areas beyond phone range means I need to start carrying maps to safely navigate the trails and tracks. I’m an old-school map and compass hiker. Although I have tried GPS navigation I much prefer unfolding a topographic map and seeing 20-50kms of my path with detailed terrain laid out in front of me rather than a palm sized screen. I trust my map skills but I don’t trust electronic gadgets in the bush, a map and compass don’t need batteries or recharging and don’t break if dropped.

I was recommended a store called Coast Maps and Charts who have assisted other long distance expeditions in Australia and overseas. It is a small business with a penchant for thoroughness, detail and service. Coast Maps have also offered me a discount because I’m buying all my maps for QLD, NSW, ACT through them. http://www.coastmaps.com.au/

I have good health news! I am well! 

Since November, after being forced to rest due to physical injury and mental illness I have experience the healing power of Nature and learnt most of my injuries, including depression and anxiety, were all directly linked to a twisted pelvis. The longer I tried pushing myself without chiropractic examination and treatment the more it twisted until I started passing out from pain. The exhaustion associated with all this almost destroyed me. If it wasn’t for a small core group of people, their presence, support and treatment I wouldn’t have had the strength to stay focused on this goal.

In February I started travelling to the mountains but was forced to stop when the back spasms started dropping me to the ground (literally). In early March I finally made it back “home” into the Kosciuszko National Park. With great care not to aggravate the back I hiked to several places offtrack, between 1,700 – 2,200m altitude, for solitude and recovery. It had been 7 years since I was last in these mountains which have been home physically and spiritually for many years. 

With no other place on Earth do I feel more familiar and a part of the wilderness and wildness. The psychological healing began as soon as I arrived and was swift and complete. My body released a lot of tension and the twisted pelvis, braced firmly by my backpack hip belt, gave me little grief while I hiked through wilderness exploring new and visiting old favourite places. I was lucky to be camped in the first Autumn snows.

After sensing the back was not going to fix itself before I intended on resuming this walk and I was not going to acclimatise to subzero camping quickly enough I returned to Mid-North Coast where I was diagnosed and treated by Brett at Camden Haven Chiropractic. Not sponsored but I am impressed enough by the results to mention him.

I want to make a confession. This paragraph has been re-written many times in the last week. I don’t feel comfortable sharing it but I have tried to be as honest and transparent as possible throughout this entire walk and personal journey of recovery, hope. health and happiness. It might attract criticism but I don’t care. It was hell being bed-bound in constant 24/7 physical, psychological, emotional agony, wanting to die while knowing it was irrational and feeling like an absolute hypocrite through it all. During this break I did not take care of myself physically and fell back on food addiction to cope, putting on 30kg. It is an unhealthy vice I have used since depression and PTSD began almost 38 years ago. No matter how strong I am or how much healing and “letting go” I do, this still happens. Unfortunately, my mental illnesses require daily management and lots of self-love and therapy. I’m not good with people or affection so discipline, solitude and Nature immersion are essential to my holistic health. This situation, the injuries and relapses, resulted from a lack of self-care and ignoring anyone who suggested I stop. I’ll never be psychologically ready to stop this walk, the next walk and any other challenge I set myself. This is both a strength and weakness. How i use my stubborness is the difference between courage and stupidity. This a lesson I am yet to learn.

I don’t think I have much more to say right now. However, there will be plenty to share on the blog and Instagram until the next newsletter. I look forward to sharing the next 5-6 months of adventure with you.

Hope Health Happiness

Terra

How Can You Help?

When you help The Happy Walk you also help me carry a message of hope, health and happiness while raising awareness about Lifeline and suicide prevention.

Listed below are ways you can help. If you can please contact me in the comments below, DM me on Instagram, email thehappywalker@gmail.com or call 0487264508 (phone is often out of range or off so please leave a message or text)

The basic needs are always top on the list;

Shelter – simply a clean, dry, quiet and safe place to rest, wash and recharge for 1 or 2 nights. A donated room in an hotel or motel, donated powered tent site or cabin in a tourist park, a spare room with a supporter, a patch of floor for my sleeping bag or patch of grass in the backyard for the tent.

Food – simple again, as a vegan I’m perfectly happy with a fresh colourful salad and fruit. Easy! I won’t eat meat, dairy or eggs for reasons I will explain in another post. 

Water – tap water is fine. Rain water, sweet bore or filtered creek water is always a treat. I hope not to need purifying too much more during this walk. But I am trying to avoid using store bought plastic bottled water. We all need to stop buying single use plastic bottles, more about this later too.

Last year my body suffered badly from lack of attention so this year I am seeking regular assistance with sports therapy. Massage, physio, acupuncture, basically I won’t say no if someone donates their healing therapy to help ease pain, manage stress, alignment and speed recovery during the rest days. I’m open minded and willing to try out anything that might be beneficial to my physical and psychological wellbeing. (How do I embed a subliminal message for a spa resort full pamper package šŸ˜† )

IGA, Woolies and Coles gift cards go a long way and allow me the flexibility to buy food as well as other necessities like batteries for the headlamp, tea tree oil, tissues, baby wipes and maybe a small treat. With a gift card I don’t need to go dumpster diving.

All donations to the GoFundMe crowdfund campaign help with the above basic expenses where on-ground support is missing. Any funds I don’t use before the end will be donated into the Lifeline fundraiser.

Many people i meet are surprised they haven’t heard about The Happy Walk. It is an epic undertaking for an important cause but with limited resources it has flown too low to be seen. If you ask your local radio, newspaper and TV to share the story we can change this. Share links to this blog and Instagram through social media so your friends, family and community can be part of the walk too. If you know what I’m doing and where I am you can contact me as I get closer to your town.

Moral support is as important as all the above so please don’t be shy. Your words of encouragement, sharing your empowering stories of strength and survival, your parallel adventures and journeys are wonderful and give me strength. I often screenshot messages and on the harder days, when I’m tired, hurting or sad reread them to help me smile and keep walking.

And please remember this is still a Lifeline fundraiser and donations can be made to help them save lives through my Making a Difference – GoFundraise account.

For what ever reason you support The Happy Walk, whether it be the cause, following the journey, you’re a friend or relative, supporting women’s achievement or have an interest in plant powered adventure and pursuits you can be involved.

If you can help please contact me in the comments below, DM me on Instagram, email thehappywalker@gmail.com or call 0487264508 (phone is often out of range or off so please leave a message or text).

Dirty Hippie

Sweat. Sunburn. Stink. Stings. No problem.


Dirty Hippie Cosmetics has just become the sweetest smelling sponsor of The Happy Walk! Danni, the amazing creator of this organic, handmade, cruelty free business has organised a regular resupply of sunscreen with repellent, deodorant paste, ocean soap bar, shampoo bar, cooling foot and muscle heat rubs.


Hygiene is a big deal when out on a long trek. It doesn’t matter if you’re walking for a week or a year it is important to make some basic personal hygiene practices daily habits.



Everything in my body care pack is a luxury item but on the east coast washing will be part of the normal routine again. Not just an event I only dreamt of most days while walking around Australia.
Showers and baths, hair conditioning treatments, shaving and waxing, smelling clean are not priorities when you carry only enough water for drinking


When I walked across the Nullarbor, up the west coast and across the top of Australia I would regularly go a week without washing between towns or roadhouses but I took every opportunity to wash myself and my clothes when I passed through or arrived somewhere with water. 


Sometimes I used water troughs in cattle yards, bailing out water with my bowl careful not to scoop up too much slime and tipping it over my head and body for a quick freshen up. 



Every night I sleep in the bush it is routine to use a few wet wipes, clean the tropical zones to avoid infections like UTIs and blocked sweat pores and rub the feet with antifungal essential oil (the only glass bottle I carry). Infection and fungus sound disgusting right? That is why basic hygiene is important for longterm hiking.


Without a shower, bath or a quick dip into fresh water I start to smell myself after a few days and by day 4 or 5 I need to stand downwind whenever someone stops for a chat (unless they smell equally bad). This is the reality of any long distance walker, runner or cyclist travelling across or around Australia without a support vehicle. Water is too precious to waste on washing!



The east coast is a different story. When you pass through towns and roadhouses with showers and laundromats almost everyday there is no excuse for stinking. Washing is still a luxury but also a deliciously sweet almost-daily indulgence. I will never take running water, flushing toilets, big fluffy towels or hair care for granted again.


As a minimalist the size of my shower kit is a slight compromise for a couple of extra items. It is functional and still light but a gram counting ultralight hiker would roll their eyes.

Toothbrush cut short (no toothpaste)

Small nail clippers

Tea tree or sage oil (10ml)

Mini afro comb

Soap cut in half

Shampoo bar cut in half

Pot of deodorant paste

Pot of sunscreen with insect repellent

Peppermint foot rub

Muscle heat rub

Small soft pack of tissues

Small pack of baby wipes
It sure will be good feeling and smelling clean almost everyday during these final 2,900kms.

Thank you Dirty Hippie Cosmetics!

thehappywalk.com website is broken!

With the preparations to the next section of the walk there is one more change to introduce to you, the need for this change has only recently come to my attention and is not voluntary. Hopefully this will be the last significant change for a while.

 

The website, thehappywalk.com, which I have been using since 2011 isn’t working anymore and the host won’t give me access to it. It is broken.

 

This blog is now the place for all the news and Instagram is the place for all the photos.

 

I’m not worried about the website going down permanently. In fact, it is a relief of sorts. Without any professional assistance it was a hack job and was there only because people needed links for donations. To get around this I will regularly remind anyone who reads the blog and visits Instagram where they can make online donations to help Lifeline and the crowdfund campaign to help the walk.

 

The Happy Walk fundraising link for Lifeline is https://makingadifference.gofundraise.com.au/page/thehappywalk

 

The crowdfund campaign for the walk is https://www.gofundme.com/thehappywalk

 

I would like to say a special thank you to Swedish photographer and minimalist adventurer Mats Andren for the use of his photo on the website and blog. Many journalists and photographers have taken photos of my solo walk around Australia but this is the only one taken by a professional photographer who has also allowed me to use it. I didn’t need to pay for a photo shoot because we met on the Stuart Hwy while Mats walked from Stockholm, Sweden to Sydney and I was on my way to Darwin from Perth. Before we set off in different directions the next morning we posed for each other’s cameras. You can read about his 20,000km trek at the-walk.se

thanks3

Changes

This is a quick post about some changes to the walk.

In the last two weeks I have started and tinkered with a few posts but they are all still drafts. I haven’t been able to focus very well, distracted with another project and a bit of mental illness. If this sounds confusing it is because I am not well so I will keep it as simple as possible.

I have severe social anxiety issues which are getting worse so some of these changes are to protect my mental health.

The walk will now be entirely off the highway, following alternative roads, 4WD and fire trails, official walking tracks and beaches. Where any section of the walk gives no alternative than to follow the highway I will thumb a ride through that section. I think there are only about 50-60kms of road left without options. These lost kilometres will be made up in other ways.

The barrow Dory will not return to the walk. Many of the terrains I plan to cross will not be suitable for pushing a barrow. I will go back to my preferred style of walking, with a backpack. The first leg, 1,250kms around Tasmania, was with a backpack. I quickly learnt a lot about packing light for longer. Wilderness Threadworks have very generously donated an hand crafted Luxmore D40 45Lt pack. Thank you!

From Gladstone QLD all the way to Canberra I will walk as many official multi-day bushwalking tracks between the hinterland and coast, starting with the Fraser Island Great Walk. Using the barrow for the last 12,000kms I have missed many beaut tracks through wild places as I follow the scenic roads catching only glimpses. It will feel great being fully immersed in Nature without the noise, exhaust smells and safety issues of the highway.

When the walk resumes in June I will be more assertive about asking for health, food and accommodation help from businesses. This was self-funded for 2 years, I sold everything of any value and am completely broke. I have had a 98% support and sponsorship rejection rate, this pretty much eroded the little confidence I already had to ask for help but last year I ran 2 crowdfund campaigns raising $5,600 to help with the things businesses were not willing to donate. The GoFundMe campaign will resume with the walk. Thank you to everyone who helped!

Outdoor adventure and women’s empowerment magazines, radio, newspapers and TV are always welcome to cover the story of this solo unaccompanied walk around Australia but I won’t chase them or sell myself anymore. If they are not interested on first contact they miss out. Self-promotion makes me feel dirty. I always feel angry when they are not willing to make the effort to support their community through an interesting and uplifting story of hope, suicide prevention and Lifeline. This anger eats at me so I will be minimising the energy I put into reaching out for media support. Local ABC radio has usually been the most receptive and I will continue to call them first. ABC don’t sensationalise or judge and that is probably why they are still the most listened too radio broadcaster.

There will be no more public speaking events. My social anxiety is so extreme now it cripples me, only last weekend I ended up in hospital because of it. A pattern emerged during this walk where I needed days of rest to recover after speaking to schools and interest groups. It takes a lot out of me and there is no support person to lean on or help.

No facebook! This was increasingly using up too much data and time. It was necessary to help raise $20,000 for Lifeline and awareness but it is no longer needed. It feels amazing being free from facebook since deleting my account and pages on the 1st January. My primary social media platform is this blog.

And no more comparing! I am not the Storm Trooper! I am not Sarah Marquis! I’m just a charity walker trying to walk a lap of Australia for Lifeline. Solo unaccompanied is very different to anyone who has walked with a support vehicle or sponsored entourage. Walking around Australia is not comparable to walking across. I need to stop comparing my walk with others and shut down anyone else who tries. It is not helpful for me or them.

There are other little changes in the works but these are the main ones which will make what is already a very difficult endeavour just a little easier.