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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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