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.

Week 1

I’ll let the photos do most of the talking (:

Sometimes I um and ah about side trips, especially I have not heard any recommendations. So it was a pleasant surprise when I discovered a local secret, Tannum Sands. The walk/bike track all g Boyne River was equally as beautiful. I met Jan and Karl from Scotts Head who invited me to rest for a chat and cuppa.














There was a section of highway I skipped to get to 1770 and Agnes Water but I stopped in Benaraby, a small community about 20kms south of Gladstone.




This is my favourite part of the dry season. It is cool, low humidity, perfect weather everyday and the paperbarks are in bloom. The fragrance is intoxicating and frenetic bird and bee activity in the paperbarks is mesmerising.



Since 1998 I have dreamt of visiting the Town of 1770 and on Thursday my dream came true. In the late 1990’s I lived on a yacht at Marina Mirage on the Gold Coast and the owner came from up this way. He would reminisce for hours about this part of the coast, especially 1770 and Agnes Water. I fell in love with a place I had never seen until this week and I exceeded my expectations!










You can walk all the way from Agnes Water to the 1770 Headland but if you’re feeling lazy there are a few carparking bays to take shorter 1km section walks to the butterflies, lookouts and beaches.

I met a beautiful family from Tambourine Mountain who walked with me to their camp and we had a cuppa in the sunshine sitting on the beach. Sue, Majeed, Kian and Layla have invited me to stay with them on my way south. Thank you!


When I made a rough itinerary and started sending out accommodation requests I jokingly wondered if I would be blessed with a sponsorship from a spa resort. Lagoons 1770 Spa Resort made another dream come true!

Lagoons 1770 is something special! Initially they donated 1 night but after a terrible night of back problems and waking with spasms each time I tried moving I called the local chiropractor and explained my predicament. I was expecting to pay for the second night but Lagoons 1770 very generously sponsored a second night. Wow! How awesome is that!

It is a really beautiful resort in a perfect destination. If you are planning a visit to Agnes Water and 1770 spoil yourself.











This morning, as I enjoy the clear, clean sunlight reflecting off the pool while indulging in my last real coffee for the next week I am grateful for everything I have and have been given. I am well and rested, the back is behaving and more beautiful places wait for me to find them

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!”

Earth

Environment Day! 
The choices we each make everyday effect the health of this planet and ALL her inhabitants. The balance of our environment, the parametres within which we can live are fragile. We can all act to create a sustainable future. 
The health of this planet relies on us remembering we are not separate from our environment.
“Climate change is intrinsically linked to public health, food and water security, migration, peace, and security. It is a moral issue. It is an issue of social justice, human rights and fundamental ethics. We have a profound responsibility to the fragile web of life on this Earth, and to this generation and those that will follow.” 

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

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!

Thoughts 1

The human mind and heart is endlessly evolving through new ideas and experiences. Shifts in awareness, thought patterns and values come about through meditation, interaction and questioning old beliefs and habits. An open heart and mind are essential to expanding ourselves beyond self-imposed and cultural boundaries.

 

We have at our fingertips a multitude of paths and platforms through which we can gain to access the world. No longer can we remain ignorant in the belief that our way is the only right way.

 

Instinctively humans are tribal, needing to feel secure in a sense of belonging to a community, religion, or movement. Now we live in a global society where there is no longer room for protective tribal behaviour, especially the lies and impositions of religion.

 

The survival of our sanity as a species relies on us evolving beyond tribalism, there is no more “us and them”. The survival of Earth, the health of this planet relies on us remembering we are not separate from our environment. We can not survive if we continue down our current path of exploitation, destruction and denial.

 

The mind and heart are not measurable like intelligence or emotion. We have an endless capacity to grow, love and learn. Each day, every new experience, conversation, book, insight, each moment in time is an opportunity to evolve.

 

Terra’s Top 10 Staying Sane

Welcome to the 2nd installment of Terra’s Top 10. Staying Sane is something many of us hope to do in this crazy world. I don’t admit to being an expert at staying sane but I’m still here right.This is my top 10.

1 Turn off the TV

Try this out, the results are amazing. Calculate how much time we lose watching TV, including movies online and catchup TV. Think of what we could be doing instead. Art, exercise, reading, family time, old fashioned game nights, study, trying out a new recipe, gardening, calling a loved one… Turn of the TV for Health

 

2 Smell the flowers

At any time during the day do you stop and smell flowers, crush a fragrant leaf in your palm or take in deep breaths of fresh air? “Take time to smell the roses” is a phrase I take literally and metaphorically. Pausing to appreciate all that life has given me, the blessings and the lessons, reminds me to be grateful I am here now. Pausing to smell flowers as I walk past a beautiful garden, picking up a freshly fallen eucalyptus leaf and crushing it in the palm of my hand, sometimes rubbing the fragrant oil on my wrists and neck like perfume, taking deep breaths of clean air full of the pungent Earthy aromas of wet soil, grass, leaf litter and bark after a storm trigger the happiness transmitters and receptors in my brain. So many times I have been walking through nature, along a wilderness coast track or through the mountains and get a thrill when a storm comes through because I anticipate the wonderful smells and how they lift my spirit.  https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200711/the-hidden-force-fragrance

 

3 Not taking myself too seriously

“I am unique, just like the rest of you!”

Seriously, life is too short. I can’t look at myself without pulling faces. If you see a Terra selfie somewhere you can be sure there were a bunch of silly selfies on my phone taken before and after. One of the sure signs of my mental health declining is the loss of my sense of humour. As an aspie (someone born with aspergers on the autism spectrum) I don’t get most sarcasm or innuendo but I love comedy and the older I get the more I can laugh at my mistakes. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/14/10-successful-people-who-_n_4262766.html

 

4 Mindful breathing

It is like meditation and mindfulness but it is all about the breath. I was taught two kinds in India back in 07 and have used them regularly since. The first I learnt in Shimla is relaxing, breathing in, filling from the bottom of my lungs to the top, holding for 10 seconds then breathing out and holding for 10 seconds. The length of time I hold increases but I remain comfortable, not like struggling underwater. I do this for 10-30 minutes when feeling stressed or over-stimulated (an aspie hyper-sensory thing). Before, during and after this practice I check my heart rate and it drops by at least 5 bpm. http://healthland.time.com/2012/10/08/6-breathing-exercises-to-relax-in-10-minutes-or-less/ The other breathing exercise I learnt was a form of laughing yoga I learnt in Kolkata. It is fun and silly and really feels good. It is very energetic starting with stretches, then yawning laughter, rhythmic laughter, belly laughter, hand shaking laughter, arm swinging, jumping, lunging, toe touching, rolling, limb shaking laughter. All the while concentrating on pitch and resonance, where in our body our laugh is coming from, ie, head, nose, throat, chest, belly and where we can feel it vibrating. I practice this while walking, without the rolling and lunging of course. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laughter_yoga

 

5 Volunteering

Altruism is great for mental health and so is meeting new people and a sense of belonging to a community or organisation. As a volunteer, and there are literally thousands of groups in Australia who only exist to help others because of volunteers, you are giving a gift of your time and skills. It can be teaching ethics through drama in schools, peer mentorship, walking wounded in emergency service training, feeding homeless, teaching English, maritime rescue, fire fighting, rescuing and raising wildlife, rehabilitating and releasing birds rescued from oil spills, rehabilitation of sensitive ecosystems, caretaking historic BnBs and bird observatories, help establish an LGBTI support program, wash and walk rescued and impounded dogs, rescue marine mammals, take shifts for a 24/7 phone hotline, crew aboard an activist ship, clean enclosures and feed koalas at a rescue hospital, drive a support vehicle for a campaign rider…these are some of the volunteering I have tried and loved. I have made many great friends through volunteering in Australia and around the world. It gives me great satisfaction giving to someone or something else in greater need than myself. http://www.volunteeringaustralia.org/wp-content/uploads/Media-Backgrounder-Volunteering-and-Happiness-The-Facts-FINAL1.pdf

 

6 Not comparing myself or my achievements with others

I grew up with a strong competitive influence on my life and never felt good enough. Even in my mid 40s I still catch myself comparing my choices, lifestyle and achievements with my old school friends. They have apartments, houses, careers, steady jobs, cars, partners, families but I know none of these things are for me because I have tried them and they made me sick. My life is profoundly different from most people, I have learnt in recent years that it can not be compared. Wanting what they have, having what they have will not make me happy. Ironically, in the last decade I have discovered that many friends think I’m the one “living the dream.” https://www.becomingminimalist.com/compare-less/

 

7 Love

I can’t really speak about intimate romantic types of love because I am not familiar with them but I do know how important it is to have friends and family you love and care about. I have both my parents, a grandparent, 1 brother and his beautiful wife, 1 sister and her husband and 7 awesome nieces and nephews. I love all of them and they love me. I think the human heart and mind is programed to love. It feels natural to love and be loved. It feels good. http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-17284/5-unexpected-health-benefits-of-love-friendship.html

 

8 Time out

For some this may be the rarest privilege of all, especially single parents, but it is sometimes the only thing that keeps us sane. Time out might be calling in for a mental health day, taking a weekend micro adventure or a massive annual leave holiday or just 30 minutes in the day to sit quietly without any phone calls to meditate or dance, walking home through the gardens instead of taking the peak hour train or sitting in the backyard with a coldie watching the sunset. Time out is simply getting away from the tedium, distractions and noise of a busy life, time to switch off the work, student or parent brain and tune out. I use time out to prevent and manage my anxiety and depression relapses and asperger meltdowns. If I fail to see the warning signs before taking time out I get sick and need more time out to recover than I would have needed to prevent it. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/featured/how-to-find-time-for-yourself.html

 

9 Saying “no”

This gets easier with practice. To put it simply, if you say yes to everything people will start taking advantage of you. Saying no can prevent burning out or having a breakdown. Decide who and what your priorities are and focus on them. http://lifehacker.com/how-people-pleasers-can-learn-to-say-no-more-often-1524324151

 

10 Flexible planning

Depending on how long you have been following The Happy Walk you will understand where I’m coming from on this one. It is one of the biggest lessons I have learnt since I started walking. In 2011/12 I meticulously planned every aspect of this walk. Since the first step in 2013 nothing has gone to plan, in fact, I have changed my plans more than I can remember. Now I have a rough idea of where I want to go and when I want to arrive and hope for the best. Removing all the pressure attached to plans makes working (or walking) towards your goals much more enjoyable. When things go wrong, which they often do, keep some flexibility built into your plans to prevent stress. I am fortunate than my cause, Lifeline, allows my itinerary to be as flexible as I need it be. http://lifehacker.com/allow-goals-to-be-flexible-to-maintain-optimism-1443893133

 

These are only 10 of many things I do to stay sane, cope, survive, manage my mental health, get by.

What are some of the things you do?

Have you tried any of these and how did they work for you?

 

Next week’s Top 10 will be fun, something uplifting and joyful. I started doing next week’s list today buy my gut told me to do Staying Sane which I hadn’t even thought about until after lunch. I hope it helps.

 

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