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.

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 😆 )

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).

Abundantly Supported Solo Unaccompanied

When I started planning this back in 2010 I imagined walking solo with a support vehicle and behind-the-scenes team but it didn’t turn out that way. 

When I started trying to explain walking around Australia alone without a support vehicle it immediately felt wrong saying “solo unsupported“. Even though all other charity walkers, runners and riders without vehicles use this term I knew it was not true. 


When I started the first leg, 1,250kms around Tasmania, I called this a solo self-assisted walk. During the first 2 continental crossings I also called it self-funded until I ran out of money and started crowd funding to cover walking expenses. Before the 3rd year of walking someone in Lifeline HQ called it solo unaccompanied and I have been using this term since. 

There isn’t a vehicle following or a team helping with logistics, my wellbeing, media, fundraising and admin but there has been support in many other ways. 

If I have the right grattitude to recognise and acknowledge support, it has been abundant. 

Support comes in a myriad of actions. Thoughts too because I understand when people send strength, good energy, hugs and prayers it is because they wish they could do more to help but can’t. 

I appreciate everyone’s support without comparison or measure. A piece of fruit from one person can hold the same value as $1000 from another, I have no way of knowing therefore I am equally grateful for each gift. 

In many ways, I have a giant support team and it changes everywhere I go. 

My support team is the community I walk through, families, businesses, individuals and groups who offer shelter, food, water, wellbeing and warm welcoming companionship. 

My support team is online through Instagram and here on the blog, supporters and followers who walk with me vicariously, write words of encouragement and share the experience. 

My support team is each and every person who has made a donation or regular gift to help my Lifeline fundraiser and the ongoing costs of the walk

My support team includes those who believe in me and my cause, the thousands of people with lived experience who understand the importance of my message and story of survival, the thousands of people inspired to live, dream, be strong, free and vulnerable. 

My support team are the adventurous wild women empowering and empowered by this walk. 

My support team is the rapidly growing community of compassionate plant strong, cruelty free, vegan friends, athletes and followers. 

The biggest support of all is knowing you are there, watching, willing me on, sharing my progress with friends, family and community and starting those important conversations about mental health and suicide prevention.

Lifeline 13 11 14

Meet Jekyll

Wilderness Threadworks has sponsored The Happy Walk a D40 Dyneema (Cuban fibre) Luxmore 45L custom built pack, an awesome ultralight, ultradurable backpack which I will be living out of for 5-6 months this year.

The same week I decided to leave The highway and put Dory, my barrow, in storage to backpack the last leg I saw the beautiful Luxmore pack designed by Australian artisan and adventurer Dan Pitt. I checked the specs and knew immediately it was my pack. Dan did more than make one, he donated one!

Jekyll and I went for our first short training walk together today. 11kms with a 2/3 load of 6kg it felt great. 6kg without food and water isn’t quite ultralight but much lighter than I usually carry trekking.

Why Jekyll? Almost before my time there were a couple of cartoon magpies i loved called Hekyll and Jekyll. My pack reminds me of a magpie with its bright new white and black. But there is the other Jekyll, Dr Jekyll. Sometimes the pack won’t feel light and comfy, it will be heavy and cumbersome on the rare occasion I need to load up 4-5 days of water. Then it will feel more like carrying Hyde! But Jekyll will return as the load lightens between towns and tanks.
Thank you Wilderness Threadworks.
* Dan also makes bike packs!

Final Prep Pt5

The Happy Walk is still a Lifeline fundraiser and I am still carrying a message of hope, health and happiness.

Without the exposure I had pushing a barrow down the highway and after ending my toxic relationship with face book I will need to prepare some epic pitches for media, sponsorship, donations and connecting with supporters on the way back to the national Lifeline HQ in Canberra.

This part of preparation and continual management, even with the extra exposure of previous years, is exhausting. It is hellishly difficult, time consuming and soul crushing. 

My mental health was compromised badly by this aspect of the walk. I didn’t cope with being brushed off or not being taken seriously. Even after walking more than 3/4 of the way around Australia people still don’t believe me. 

I needed to choose between continuing this damaging pursuit of assistance and awareness or just doing what i do best, walking and sharing with the people I meet along the way.

This year I have chosen a compromise. In each town or region I walk through between Gladstone and Canberra I’ll call ABC radio because I appreciate their integrity and the local community connection feels great. If they are not interested it won’t matter, I’ll just try again in the next region. The less media I contact, the less often I’m rejected.

It is a decision for my own wellbeing.

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.

Today I am not okay

For the last 2 months my mental health, specifically social anxiety, has been deteriorating and last night I was in hospital.

It was voluntary. I was scared I would do something stupid and permanent. I needed to be somewhere safe from myself.

I had to discharge myself early because my aspie hypersensory issues were starting to show the early warning signs of meltdown. Hospitals are not autism friendly places but I sincerely appreciate the nurses and drs respect for my decision not to accept drugs. I am always wary of the adverse side effects of autism and drugs.

(Disclaimer: I do not recommend refusing prescribed drugs. This is my personal choice. Natural recovery is bloody hard work and requires 110% full-time commitment and a lot of strength. However, I do suggest talking to your care professional about complimentary natural therapies and using drugs only short-term until you’re back on your feet. Schizophrenia and manic depression require ongoing assistance balancing chemicals in the brain, 100% natural recovery is NOT an option)

The psychological pain has been as debilitating as the physical pain and last night it became too much, I could no longer cope.

I don’t want to die but I’m tired of living. I don’t have the stamina to keep fighting.

Anxiety is experienced differently for each person but hope if you do not understand anxiety now you will never understand it from lived experience. I don’t wish that on anybody. It is hell condensed into your cranium causing havoc with your senses, safety and space. It distorts reality and thought. It can feel like you are dying or that death is the only way to escape the pain and fear.

My social anxiety came back in June after the cattle road train driver tried killing me. It was manageable until November while I was still able to walk and escape anonymously to quiet and pretty places when the relapses were more difficult to walk and meditate through. But the further I walked south, into denser populations, the more often I needed to hide away. 

My ability to cope with anxiety was weakened by the increasing pain from injuries and the fear of failure brought with it. I had injuries pestering me for months but I could block the pain. It required a lot of energy and will power to manage the pain without drugs. The only times I resorted to using paracetamol and ibuprofen was when the pain started interfering with my eyesight and threatening blackouts.

The combination of pain and anxiety management was exhausting alone but I kept walking, never giving up until I could physically no longer put weight on my injuries without blacking out.

Since the day I was forced to stop and take a long rest I have battled against feeling like a failure and feeling trapped. I have started loathing myself and selfharming through comfort eating (I know where to find all the convenient vegan junk foods).

Unable to sit, stretch, exercise or even stand long enough to prepare a meal without severe pain I have not been able to self care so the decline in my mental and physical health has been rapid and feels uncontrollable.

There are many other factors at play here but I won’t go into detail except the one which almost pushed me too far last night.

I hate what I am. I live everyday knowing I am a burden on whoever has offered to give me shelter. I dream of love once I complete this walk but in reality that will never happen. Nobody needs this in their life, I will never let anyone close enough to become their burden, they will be pushed away for their own wellbeing. In 2016 I was confronted and almost crippled by loneliness. Not the solitude of aloneness I thrive on but the realisation that the people I love are far away and didn’t call to see if I was okay. To know you are not loved, are unlovable and a burden is not easy to live with so why bother. Why live if welcome solitude becomes an empty life.

Unfortunately, I have no solutions right now. I will continue to apply the therapies and activities I can do without pain and try not to stress about how much physiotherapy is costing (it will be more than $1,000) and focus on the beauty of Nature. 

I know from lived experience, surviving 3 suicide attempts and many relapses, these feelings will not last long. Tomorrow, next week, next month I will be stronger.