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.

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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 out🤗

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!”

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

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

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What is the delay!?

I am still in Katherine. There are several obvious reasons including being sick and barrow repairs. There are also a few other reasons.

Part of this walk is raising awareness about wellbeing and suicide prevention. I promote talking about it, not being ashamed of being unwell, seeking help and using therapy.

Today I needed to do all that to prevent PTSD relapse.

It has been a rough last 5 days. I arrived in Katherine tired. My barrow needed repairs. A migraine knocked me off my feet for 2 days and I took another day to recover from it. Yesterday admin and PR started piling up and I felt a bit strange, uncomfortable about walking so I used these as an excuse to stay another day.

This morning I woke before 6am intending to walk and immediately started getting the first warning signs of a panic attack. Something was wrong. I have laid low all day, reading, writing, chatting with people I trust, analysing why I am starting to feel scared about leaving Katherine.

There are the obvious physical things like remoteness, distance, lack of phone range, heat, headwinds, flies. There are the psychological aspects such as too much time alone. Yes, there it is, I love solitude, lots of solitude, but when I hit a wall of exhaustion it turns into isolation and being alone becomes loneliness. I am too familiar with this kind of exhaustion. It is possibly the hardest part of this walk, especially knowing I am walking into it again.

This morning, when it was obvious my reluctance to start was connected to PTSD, I felt embarrassed. After the many years and thousands of kilometres of solo wilderness and highway walking around Australia I get hung up on something as insubstantial as fear.

Unfortunately, there is a lot more to it than isolation and exhaustion.

Fortunately, after some heart work, looking deep into the cause of this discomfort, I see how far I have come in my recovery, especially the last year, there has been a lot of healing.

Darwin is the source of a lot of trauma. On New Year’s night 2007 I was raped with a pig hunting knife held against my throat. Later I had an abortion. I was not able to report it because the rapist (since convicted) threatened to hunt me down and cut me open like a feral pig if I squealed. I lived in fear for my own life and for the lives of other women. I was pregnant with a monster’s child in my womb. I had to go through all this alone in silence. For years Darwin was the darkest place on Earth.

When this happened I started falling apart and was subject to workplace bullying and discrimination which resulted in a couple of serious injuries including a dislocated shoulder and fractured hip.

Each time I visit Darwin it gets easier. Last year a friend flew to Darwin to help me, he was like my bodyguard, wouldn’t leave my side. Again, this year there were always friends nearby. I felt safe but the memory was fresh in my mind.

Some of the side effects of this trauma are experiencing flashbacks when I smell testosterone, hear a male voice or smell a particular kind of body odour, when I come within 3 blocks of the crime I start shaking. I fear meeting the people I worked with. For a long time I was scared of police in case the monster found out I was talking to them, in case the police saw I was broken and asked questions.

The paper I appeared in yesterday had a disturbing headline on the cover about a rapist who escaped from Darwin. As soon as I read it my mind and body began shutting down. I had to force myself to relax, breath, self-talk, remind myself that I am safe. What I experienced yesterday carried across to today. My hesitation is PTSD.

I have come so far since I started recovery in 2010. Depression and complex PTSD dragged me so low I tried taking my life 3 times that year. I look back now and wonder who that person was. I am not that person anymore. Darwin is only a small part of the complex PTSD. I have been subject to trauma since 1978. Healing began in late2010.

My recovery will take some time but it is days like this which encourage me because I can see how far I have come. If this happened in 2014 I would be in a relapse and have Lifeline ready on speed dial, if it happened last year I would go into hiding for a week. This year I am taking a day off and moving on.

One more little hiccup early this morning was the discovery of some stalkers on my facebook page. Over the last couple of years I have attracted some interesting people. I have been harassed, gaslighted and abused. I report, block, ban and warn people who don’t want to play nice. Today they caught me with my guard down, found an exposed gap in my armour.

There is a bit of trauma history here too. In early 2010 I did a controversial solo walk for shark conservation in a very volatile place years before the “No Shark Cull” movement. As I walked beside the highway I had people yelling abuse, throwing glass bottles at me, some of them stalked me on the road following in their cars telling me what they would like to do to me. I had invitations out on shark fishing boats so they could use me as bait and death threat emails. That walk was supposed to be 1,400kms but I had to abandon it after only 450kms. I flew back to the east coast in such a bad state of mental health and tried to take my life. Finding a few problems on facebook today brought back those frightening memories again.

It has been a rough day but I will bounce back. I have thousands of great supporters, many have my back. I don’t ever walk alone with you all walking beside me. Thank you.

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