Pressing Pause and Leaving Wombat Behind

The art of isolation on expedition

Over 3 years, I spent the majority of my time alone, hiking my way through remote regions, where crossing paths with another person was rare. 

I walked from one satellite town to the next, falling in love with navigating abandoned trails. Some of these trails felt all the more lonely for being overgrown, while others had been scarred into the earth from prolific overuse by an ancient civilisation who built them some 500 years ago. 

I often wondered about the ghosts that walked those trails: who they were, why they were there, if they were peacemakers, rebels, or missionaries. I had heard plenty of stories and could see how such a complicated history had influenced the people I met. 

Yet in spite of the violence in their history, the people were much like an extension of their scenery – In the deserts they were stoic, yet warm and protective, and in the mountains they were watchful, gracious and open armed. 

I would pass through a town every five days or so (though in some regions it could be much longer), and almost always I was invited into a loving home to spend the evening with a family.

Because we would forge a lasting connection, leaving towns became more and more difficult. Each departure was a goodbye to those who cared enough to bring me into their homes – attempting to fill the absence of a family they knew I must be missing. 

Laughing together because she didn’t want me to pay. I paid.

These interactions were the cornerstone of what kept me going. They would tie me to a home and a community, give me a sense of safety and a feeling of belonging which would renew my energy to continue. 

But for all the love I have of being adopted into communities – I didn’t always have time to stop in town, because each country has a limit on how much time a tourist can stay, and with every day’s rest brought me closer to the risk of becoming an illegal resident…

And so, there were long periods when I didn’t stop at all. I would simply resupply and continue on without so much as having had a meaningful conversation for the sake of ensuring I didn’t overstay my visa. 

From this experience, I learnt that I am completely incapable of experiencing the fullness of joy when I’m alone. I haven’t been joyless, but I have missed the intensity of shared joy along with being able to reminisce about memories I would ordinarily share with someone else for years after.  

Arriving in to town alone was always joyful and nerve racking. I always hoped I would be adopted by a town Mum as these experiences were the coroner stone of what kept me going. Credit: Danyal Taylor

Perhaps because so many of us fear the loss of happiness as a result of being alone, some of the most difficult questions I’ve been asked since coming home are about how isolation affects me, what revelations I’ve had with so much time to myself, and, of course, I’m asked a lot about Wombat. 


From loneliness to solitude

I first noticed the toll of loneliness in the depths of Argentina where the landscapes were as romantic as they were isolating.

Hiking in Patagonia Argentina right before being caught in the worst winter storm they had in over 20 years. Credit: Andrea Torselli

During this time my penpal Rebecca was going through her own lonely journey battling a medical condition that chaperoned her from one futile procedure to the next. 

She shared stories with me that I could see no one else could touch – Our isolation was similar, yet the reality of our struggles couldn’t have been more different. This difference allowed us to support each other in a way no one else could, and in this process my mindset shifted. 

I continued through the expedition less bothered by daily obstacles, using audiobooks and podcasts to keep me company. In these days, the isolation rarely affected me. It wasn’t until much later when I had to say goodbye to long awaited visitors, or hear of loved ones back home who were ill or in need of support, that the tugs of isolation returned. 

These moments were an awakening to both the impact of my absence from home, and the absence of home from my life. I could see all the significant milestones I had been missing, and would continue to miss – and had a realisation of all the achievements I would reach, without having those who mean the most to me, there to share them with me.

Yet, in these early days, I had learnt how to put aside the larger objective – as its global scale was as isolating as any mindset could be. I had trained myself to focus on the short term goals and the mechanics of the expedition. To appreciate each stretch for what it was, and find joy in small moments or observations. 

Pan de Árbol is a mushroom considered as the bread of trees by groups indigenous to Patagonia.

“So much explains why people with a strong sense of purpose and meaning, or simply with a strong narrative […], are protected from loneliness regardless of the circumstances in which they find themselves” The Joy of solitude.

Finding Wombat

Security was the practical reason why I wanted to find a dog but I think subconsciously I wanted a friend, because Wombat’s presence was instantly transformative. I stopped grappling with the enormity of my expedition, stopped forcing myself to focus on short term goals and instead, somehow became immersed within them. 

Wombat also removed a degree of fatigue from practicing vigilance. We shared a readiness for problems like rogue dogs or the unwanted attention of men who lost their confidence at the sight of what they thought was a “wolf!”. 

Wombat being as intimidating as a blue steel pose will allow.

Wombat also helped me feel welcome in towns. Locals often thought his “grey hair” was a sign of old age and were bemused by his boundless energy, and how he liked to play tricks and games. To them it was novel to see him carry his own backpack. Some said I was being mean, but in an endearing way, and this would always draw friendly interactions, offers of help and occasionally homely accommodation.

Without Wombat I was more vulnerable and less open to these interactions. I had to employ strategies for outwitting interruptions and continue on only once I was confident I was safe. Without Wombat I’d lose my anchor, the companion who gave me confidence and in moments of despair, eased the feeling of isolation. 

Background: I’m an Aussie attempting to become the first woman to walk the length of the Americas. It bugged me that in the 37 years since it was first achieved, about 3 people have completed it, but no women. Three years on, I have walked the length of Chile, through its desert, continuing along the Incan trails of Peru and Ecuador. When I arrived in Colombia COVID19 was declared a pandemic, and the expedition put on pause.

When I started planning the expedition, I was certain I’d find a dog. What wasn’t clear was when I’d find one because I was unsure how far through the expedition I would get.

Each year four people begin an attempt to walk the length of the Americas but rarely does someone make it past the first year. Before I committed to finding a dog, I wanted to outlast that first year and make sure I had the finesse, or whatever special something it is, that’s necessary to keep going.

When I was ready, I laboured over options between rescue and adoption and, after months of overthinking it, I found him from a litter of dogs a local farmer was rehoming. 

I was especially drawn to his breed because of their distinguishable personality traits, physical stamina, and for the relationship I knew we’d foster which gave me certainty the dog I’d chosen would be mentally and physically capable for the challenges ahead… It was also nice to have a mascot from home.

Raising Wombat 

I knew ahead of time the hurdles we had to overcome in training; teaching Wombat to sleep in the cart, to heel beside me when he had excessive energy, the risk of chewed equipment and controlling his bite drive that had my hand covered in scabs and bruising. 

And while all of this reads as I expected when taking on a high energy puppy, the reality of stopping and slowing, and having longer, hotter days in a formidable place synonymous with fatigue and impatience, was especially unglamorous.

But of course our bond grew as he did… and so did his cunningness. 

He learnt to enter market halls unnoticed by heeling beside me, then tucking under my chair to sleep. The older, more bolshy Wombat would wait for a less crowded time at the market to pull out his bowl from the side of my backpack, sneak over to the store vendors, and drop his bowl down at their feet. They would oblige him by filling his bowl with a fresh warm meal (usually, the same as mine).

At night, he worked out how to tuck into me so he would also be covered by the sleeping bag, and how to hide in its footwell in the mornings to avoid being woken by my head torch, as he is unapologetically not a morning dog.

Soon he started chasing off dogs that charged at me, and growling at people he didn’t like the look of. His focus on me and his disdain of strangers won me over. His moodiness matched mine (YouTube clip). We were a mirror – if I didn’t have the patience to deal with harassment in town, he’d growl at whoever came close. If I was desperate for a conversation, he’d prance up to a friendly face and dramatically roll over at their feet for a belly rub… or feign exhaustion by collapsing outside the window of someone’s kitchen, to be invited in for food (which worked more times than you can imagine).

And while some people are uncomfortable with our lifestyle, to me a life in the wilderness, wandering across ever changing landscapes of both beauty and isolation, was natural. 

Laguna Cushuro, Peru. Credit: Danyal Daylor

Our travels

We trekked across the desert of Chile and Peru. By his first birthday we were out of the harshness of the sun and back among streams of running water surrounded by plant life. We climbed high in the Andian mountains to subzero temperatures where there are high winds, hail storms and altitude to be reckoned with – yet we were grateful for the change and Wombat was seemingly unaffected by altitude – though patient of me as I struggled. 

Here my walking pace dropped to as much as 2 km an hour, and our breaks increased to 20 minute intervals. Nights became so restless from the lack of oxygen, my racing heart, and recovering body, that I barely slept at all – and there was Wombat, always at my side, watching over me.

Despite the acclimation period, crossing Peru was a joy, never too far from the next town, no town so big it felt unsafe. There was endless beauty and remarkable people.

Moving into Ecuador was drastic. We dropped out of the mountains back down to sea level emerging into searing heat we hadn’t spent enough time away from to miss. 

We arrived at a remote border crossing that connects the two countries by a river bridge. The police huts didn’t have computers, so the officers took a photo of my passport and whatsapp’d it to nowhere meaningful – as I learnt when I went to leave the country, and found I wasn’t registered despite having the passport stamp.

Crossing that river border changed the climate entirely – it was suddenly misty and humid, and we were surrounded by unfamiliar plant life and the uninterrupted threat of rumbling thunder.

But Ecuador too was a treasure. We followed a remote single track across the country which extended the distance considerably, but kept us in prehistoric scenery and safely away from the highways and big cities. 

Over Christmas I stopped in with friends in Quito to rest, by which time we were hearing the first whispers of a SARS virus. 

I set off again before the terrestrial border between Ecuador and Colombia closed, in hopes of continuing through Colombia uninterrupted. 

And then the world stopped.

By the time we reached the first town, the virus had reached Colombia, curfews had been introduced and I became worried it would take more time than my tourist’s visa to traverse the entire country. 

Then the Australian Government issued a world-wide travel ban, which voided my travel insurance, and the echoes of concerns from family, friends, strangers and the media grew harder to ignore. 

Yet Wombat would not be accepted by Australian customs. And the trauma of putting him through pet freight, on a logistically messy flight schedule, when flights were being canceled and only specific flights were equipped to carry pets, meant there was no reasonable option to bring him home. 

The idea of leaving felt like betrayal. 

The fear of the traveller’s virus meant that people were fearful of me. I was asked to leave by the municipality in one small town – and noticed the discomfort of strangers.

By the time I arrived in the first major city, the Colombian President had announced a full lockdown and domestic airport closures. I wouldn’t be able to continue and I couldn’t leave the city. 

Wombat and I were accepted to stay in a family run hostel who were offering half their daily rate to accommodate stranded travellers.

One of their neighbours dobbed them in on a facebook group, saying they were harbouring sick foreigners, and so it came that they were questioned by police. 

Each time I went to the shops (which I was allowed to do twice a week during allotted time-frames based on my passport number), I would be asked for ID and proof of when I arrived in Colombia to determine if I should be indoors on a 14 day quarantine. It was trying – but I understood. 

Their economy began to feel the effects of the curfews, people were going hungry, unable to go to work or sell produce on the street. The Australian embassy was urging travellers to return home – but Wombat couldn’t come.

Repatriation

In the hopes that a repatriation flight would be organised like they had been for people in Peru, I wrote to the minister of agriculture, explaining our situation and that I had life-long proof of Wombat’s vaccines, and health certificates (which I had been doing regularly during our two years together – just in case I had problems at borders). 

The reply from their office took 2 weeks (because there were many people in the same situation as me) and, just as I was about to miss an opportunity to buy the last seat on the final commercial flight out of Colombia and with no promise of repatriation in the future, they sent me a sympathetic, though standard, response: “No”.

Finding a foster carer

I wrote to a contact who lives in Colombia’s capital, Bogotá, who had been writing to me for nearly 3 years since we crossed paths in Argentina, and more regularly now I had arrived in Colombia. 

Throughout this time he had promised to house me and Wombat, or just Wombat if needed, for as long as we needed. Yet in this hour of need, only a few days since we last spoke, and just when I was ready to step into a privately hired car with embassy permission to travel the 15 hours to Bogotá through police blockades, he stopped responding. I needed a new plan.

Incredibly though, while stress was high, I found Santi through a follower on Instagram! Santi lives in Medellin (Colombia’s second largest city) where there is another international airport, and he seemed interested in looking after Wombat – Not only was he familiar with Wombat’s breed, he had handling experience, and had also been a kennel owner and dog trainer!

After years on the trail I’d experienced enough let downs during moments of desperation that my guard was up. I hesitantly reorganised travel permissions and an authorised private taxi needed to travel through the lockdowns. The one thing that gave me hope was that Santi’s suspicion of me was as elevated as mine was of his.

So we took the leap together.

I organised over 800 km of travel from the Amazon to the other end of the country. The trip took 18 hours of non-stop driving, and 3 near death experiences along broken, unsealed roads. 

When I arrived I was fatigued and shell shocked. Santi and I had three days to suss each other out and become more comfortable about our arrangements – so I put on a brave face, determined to spend as much time with him as I could.

I was adopted into his friendship circles, and Wombat was immediately loved and adored by a gang of dogs and their owners. There have been many moments where I have been floored by the goodness of humanity – this was one. I was as content as I could be. I also felt safe and a sense of belonging among my newfound friends – which made it or the more compelling to not want to leave.

But I had booked the last seat on that last flight, and all the arrangements were in place, and, as with any urgent travel, my desperation added tariffs to the cost of leaving that at this point had bludgeoned more than a year’s budget out of my savings.

Leaving

The heartbreak of leaving behind the little mirror of myself, who had been my closest companion and fiercest guardian, is something I’ll never be able to put words around. Emotions wrapped with self loathing for breaking an oath of loyalty, and relinquishing all ties of control and protection to a soul who would never do the same to me.

In the final hours, I treated Wombat like it was any other day. Same routine, same gestures, same amount of affection. I didn’t want to give him the sense that something was wrong.

As I got into the taxi to go to the airport, I was careful not to look at him or let him sense my anxieties. Instead I fixed my eyes on Santi and focused on gratitude, determined not to let slip how on the inside my world was fracturing.

But as I closed the door of the taxi, I snuck one last glance towards Wombat who was tearing off back into Santi’s yard to play with his other dogs. I felt a pained satisfaction that I had not passed on the anguish of separation anxiety.

And as the taxi drove me away, I finally had enough space to take in all that had passed, and in the hopelessness of it all, I fell apart.

Credit: Danyal Taylor

Epilogue: How is Wombat going? 

When I’m asked how Wombat is, or why I haven’t posted photos, this cluster of emotions is what flurries. Talking about it doesn’t help the grief or the guilt – which I’m sure you can understand.

How do you explain all of this to someone asking a passing question? That he is there, and I’m not. He’s with someone else, not with me. I can’t get the same sense of him as I can when I’m with him, or help him if he needs it. How as the months pass, I worry that our bonds will break and I was the one who relinquished them. To think of it makes me uneasy. I didn’t just leave behind a dream, the record, and my identity.

Wombat brought purpose to the expedition. We shared the sorrow, fatigue, and relentlessness, as well as the joy, accomplishment and the greater expanse of the wilderness – who without, I find myself once again, walking alone.

Credit: Danyal Taylor

How are you?

I’m currently in Australia emerging after unpacking the emotional deluge of coming home. I’m working hard to ensure I can return to Colombia as soon as possible – which because of reasons relating to travel restriction, funding and avoiding the monsoon seasons, I have no idea when that’ll be. 

While I’m in Australia, I am in pursuit of a new job to help replenish the savings I lost. I am in regular contact with Santi, and Wombat is still playing with those same dogs who keep him in the blissful state that I left him in. 

If you’d like to support Wombat while he’s in Colombia, please consider a donation to the expedition fund. Each month I send funds to cover Wombat’s costs, and support Santi during a time of fluctuating economies and job insecurity unique from the ones we know at home.

“The great thing about solitude is that you can stop worrying about becoming a better person and chasing success […]. Solitude, the joy of being alone, stems from, as well as promotes, a state of maturity and inner richness” The Joy of Solitude.


Cover photo by Danyal Taylor

Referenced quotes

The quotes referenced in this post come from The Joy of Solitude, which goes a long way to articulate some of my greatest lessons and experiences from the expedition.

Some themes such as choice, control and resolve aren’t included in the article – but I tied it into my publication because it has been a starting point for me to understand and speak about the past years and some of the emotions I’ve been through. 

I hope it has a similar impact for some of you. 

The joy of solitude: Full Article

-end-

70 Comments

  1. a great read Lucy… loved the “…adopted by a town Mum” line. regarding Wombat, he is certainly a character and I am sure that when you continue your journey, he will just tilt his head to one side as if to say “hey, I remember you. you’re my Bestie!” take care.

  2. Beautifully written, but so sad at the same time. Lucy, I hope it is not too long before you can be reunited with Wombat, but if for reasons beyond your control, that doesn’t happen, it sounds like you’ve found him a safe and secure second family. I look forward to reading about your continued adventures.

    • Thanks Sean, yeah Santi has been wonderful and fingers crossed I don’t have to cross that bridge!

  3. Hi Lucy. So glad that you have posted this. I eagerly look for updates but alas….The world as we know/knew it certainly has changed. I can imagine that you are missing Wombat but it’s good to know that he seem to be in good hands. It is no doubt good to be home again amongst family and friends. I will be donating to his upkeep. Animals are wonderful things and have a sense of security with someone and as soon as he sees you again it will belike old times. I hope the that time is not too far away. Kind regards Geoff

      • This post is incredible. I live in the US and am from South America, and reading your posts in the past two years has been great. I was especially happy when you and Wombat found each other and until now I was still unsure why you had to part ways. This post now only explains it, but describes so well how bittersweet some of the decisions in life are. You are admired and I look forward to your reunion with Wombat. He will not forget and he will not hold grudges. Dogs are superior beings and he will feel only the love you have for him.

  4. Thank you for this. It was a joy to read and broke my heart at the same time. You did everything you could and Wombat knows he is loved.

  5. Oh what an utterly brilliant, gorgeous and inspirational person you are! You write beautifully! I have enjoyed reading of your adventures! ❤️❤️

    • You know I have to give credit to one of my most patient friends on that one. Emma reads and proofs all of my blogs, multiple times which always involves a major restructure!

  6. So wonderful to hear the updates. Here’s to hoping you can get on the trail again and be reunited with Wombat. Cheers.

  7. Hi Lucy.
    What a beautiful and heartfelt read, thank you! (I’m not crying, you’re crying ).
    You and Wombat taught each other so much on your physical and metaphorical journey together. I feel like this article only just scratched the surface of your stories. I can’t wait to read more.
    So glad that both you and Wombat are safe a well and will someday meet again.
    Averil

  8. Beautiful Lucy. Made me teary. That is one cute (and lucky) dog.

  9. Lucy & wombat the Aussie version of Tin Tin & Snowy, imparting such wisdom along the way.
    You’re a legend Lucy and
    I’m sure you and Wombat will cross trails again!
    Jodie – Brisbane

  10. Oh Lucy, you write so beautifully, I am still sitting here in tears. A dog gives so much to us humans and demands so little in return. I left my scotch collie with a friend for a year whilst travelling overseas and on my return, whilst initially not recognising me, a trip to the beach with a ball brought her memories flooding back. And that was a very special moment!

  11. Hello Lucy

    My heart aches for you.

    I have a loyal bluey, Katie, and had Klaus and Diesal, also blueys.

    It’s wonderful that you were able to get back to Australia safely.

    You’re a tough cookie.

    Take care
    Roslyn

  12. Lucy I have missed your regular updates that I have keenly followed since the beginning. Hopefully you can resume your adventure soon and glad that we all have a safe haven to ride out this storm. Cheers, Pete

  13. Has me in tears knowing the strong bond that develops with a dog – such a life changing tumultuous journey I pray you will be reunited before too long. So so much admiration for both you & Wombat

  14. Lucy, great to hear how you are. Your writing is from the heart. Have you thought of Skype video sessions with Wombat? Dogs certainly recognise a lot of details since digital TV and communications took over. Keep safe, regards, Allan.

  15. Hi, I have followed you and wombat for some time, glad to hear wombat and yourself are doing fine, I have missed your stories and will be glad when you start again, will be glad to help financially, take care , Wayne

  16. Hi Lucy – thank you for the update and the beautiful read, and I’m glad you’re well and safe. So heartbreaking to leave Wombat but he sounds like he’s in such great hands and I know when you return, he’ll absolutely remember you. Cattledogs are so devoted. Best wishes & I’ll donate too x

  17. Lucy, thank you for sharing this. I eagerly await your updates, and this was so beautifully written. I am currently trying to not cry at my desk at work (lol!) thinking about Wombat. Hopefully you will be back sooner than expected.

  18. Very nice to hear from you Lucy and to read of your journey’s which i have followed and will follow again once your able to resume. Maybe you need to come back to Darwin to work for a while! Enjoy a beautiful dry. Take care Chris

  19. Beautifully written (as always). Boy, did I cry! You really hit my heart.
    I so have missed reading your posts, but no where near as much as you are missing your adventure and Wombat. Xxx

  20. Lucy such a wonderful evocative essay. I look at my three girls (blue, red and kelpie) and the thought of leaving any of them is crushing. Go well. Keep safe. I will support your cause. And please keep writing. Love Anna

  21. Beautifully written, Lucy. Thanks so much for sharing from your heart – I’ve been wondering how you’ve been going. I can only imagine your heartache at leaving Wombat. I hope the world will settle down soon so you can be reunited and continue your journey. Take care x

  22. I woke this morning and thought of you and Wombat….and here you are.
    Can’t imagine how you are feeling….your words are so insightful though.
    The reunion will be beautiful and to see you both pick up where you left off both spiritually and on the track will be what I hold for you both in my heart and head.

    Onwards xxx Angela

  23. In the last year, I had to say goodbye to my 15yr old best friend, it’s not a pain I wish on anyone and so hope you can both be together again soon ..never fear dogs don’t forget, as soon as he smells you, it’s going to be like you were never apart ❤️

  24. hey, lucy …
    nice to hear you’re well … and i’m sure, after the miles you and he have logged, he will remember you forever! your bigger problem may be prying him loose from santi! i do hope you succeed in making it back on to the trail, though i do worry about your transit through Mexico! i know you will love your trek up the coast of the US and Canada. my wife and i too have been ‘stuck’ (no complaints; best place to be!) in Melbourne, unable to return to the US as normal last May. might well end up being ‘from here’ and ‘visitor there’ the way things are going!
    stay strong & good luck,
    poppeetim

  25. Wow, what an adventure you and wombat have had, so many gr8 memories.
    That would have been heartbreaking leaving him but he is happy and I hope you get back ASAP! ❤️

  26. Woah you got the tears rolling! You absolutely did the best thing possible and I’m positive Wombat will never forget your amazing bond. It’s one of a kind.
    Good luck finding a job and for your continuing journey

  27. thank you for your story .it doe take courage to set off into the unknown like you have..especially without a human companion.. too leave it all behind my wife and i have done that 40 years ago sailing the world ..in a tough ingrid design boat i built..been together 51 years now ..NO regrets..go do it..may luck be with you..sandy mckinnon

  28. I hope this works Lucy. My IT skills are terrible

    You the most inspiring and brave women. Resilience should be your second name

    You did your best for wombat. Keep that in your heart

  29. Hi Lucy,
    After following your journey on instagram, I have been wondering how you are getting on and hoping that you are ok. I am sure that Wombat will remember you – my parents’ dog, Dougall, is also a Blue Heeler and he remembers me even when I haven’t seen him for a couple of years (faithless friend that I am, I only see him when I come home to visit from Europe).

  30. What an absolute pleasure it has been to read this Lucy. Yours is such a captivating story, and so beautifully written, I’m looking forward to whatever comes next for you and wombat. How lucky you were to find each other, he’ll never forget you. All strength and patience in planning your return to the path.

  31. Wow.

    What an impactful reflection. I am Australian and live in Colombia (I moved here during the pandemic in October 20) and had been wondering what had happened, I started following your story before your first steps in Patagonia. I thought the delay was related to Covid, which it was, but never did i realise what you went through. I hope you make it back and reunite with Wombat. It would be amazing to hear that you continued your journey with your best friend, but either way you walked from the lowest point in Sth America to Colombia which is unbelievable.

    Whatever you do in the future, you’re already an inspiration.

  32. Love your blog Lucy. You have the courage to do what so many of us only dream of…..trusting that underneath we humans have much more in common than separating us….and launching into the void! And doing it alone until Wombat came along….so impressive…
    Beautiful heartfelt writing – I feel your pain. You had to get out, and Wombat is in the second best of situations…and I’m sure he’s thriving. I hope you’re having good times reconnecting in Australia and wish you a speedy return to your travels. Best wishes always, Clare x

  33. This article was moving and beautiful. Thank you for sharing your journey. It’s is truly inspiring! Whenever you pass through the US I’d love to give you a place of refuge if you need it! Good luck to you. 🙂

  34. I, just today, listened to some of your podcasts. Of course I immediately looked up your blog.. wondering how you were travelling after 2020. I cried reading this post, I can’t imagine how hard it would’ve been leaving Wombat and my heart breaks for you. Don’t be hard on yourself though, you found him a wonderful loving place to await your return. I hope you are together to continue your adventure very soon.

  35. I’ve been following your story on and off since when it started. It’s always a nice “oh, what is she up to now!” moment, with mixed feelings of envy and admiration, wonder and adventure that your tales bring into my boring city worker life. And I was sad when covid happened that it put a pause to your adventure. Today reading this I also felt a glimpse of the strong emotions you faced with Wombat and it’s heartbreaking.

    I can’t offer much more than the best wishes, but I’ll say this : I am convinced and know from personal experience that such a strong bond between a dog and a human is never forgotten or broken, it is only put on pause until it resumes.

    Thank you for the update and best wishes !

  36. Thank you for sharing your amazing and tender story with me!

  37. Thanks for a beautifully written account of what is obviously has been a tough time. It’s been a very inspiring journey that you’ve undertaken and we wish you all the best for the next phase (whatever it is).

  38. You are a legend, glad I met you and loved the blogs on your trip, hope to catch up again one day

  39. A fantastic, albeit gut-wrencjing, read. So glad you managed to repatriate and have not been stranded like so many others. Gutted about your separation from Wombat. I hope you’ll be able to pick up the trail (and the pooch) in the not too distant future. Bill Q.

  40. So happy to hear from you Lucy. I saw your face on the Tv the other day and I’ve been thinking about you and Wombat throughout the last year. I’m sure you have been on an emotional roller coaster dealing with everything life and Covid have thrown at you. Take care Lucy and keep in touch with us all. We are right behind you both and dearly want to see you complete your world record journey together. Sending hugs. Heather

  41. Oh Lucy it’s so good to have an update, I’ve looked and looked and looked for information on how you were doing. The transition into normal life would have been so hard.
    To hear that Wombat is safe and being cared for is also comforting, you had me tearing up reading about the way you had to leave him.
    I do hope you get back to your expedition (and Wombat) soon.
    You write so beautifully and we all look forward to updates in the future. You are an incredible strong woman, a great inspiration to so many.

  42. Well done!. I hope you’re able to return soon, pickup Wombat and head North on your adventure.

  43. I would love to give you a big virtual hug. Been wondering how you’ve been. Thanks for sharing.
    Also, beautifully written piece.

  44. Bonds in trust through solitude between ones four legged companion are so heavily laid on the feelings and emotions. I am glad you managed connections with a great Dog Hospice. I cared for a dog from a friend who said he had to give him up. The dog was partially wild in a people socially way, it took him a few months to completely accept me as a friend. There were some trying times in four years, but he had a great time hiking in the mountains and on trails and got to do things other dogs had not experienced. He had developed an enlarged heart and I was told the end would be fairly quick when it came, and I would have to put him down. The time did come and the haunting last look from his eyes of sadness is still etched in my heart and memory, so reading your trials leaving Wombat had me shedding a few tears. My dog was still around however after his death as he did show up in a few OBE (out of body experiences) and he would be in the house. I had a cat once that even though I was 600 miles away, It jumped up on my bed and I felt it lay by my side the night It had died. I had learned a week later it had passed away on that night. You have a lasting bond with your friend Wombat and you will see each other again regardless how events unfold. There is a bridge across forever. I have wondered on your wellbeing over the last year, you sound great. Peace.

  45. Such an honest piece of writing, Caro. I also read somewhere that joy is delight shared with someone you care about. The bond with Wombat won’t be lost by mere distances – you are both just waiting to continue. Much love to you both x

  46. Do not despair. Wombat will not forget you and your unique bond will still be here. Never underestimate the strength of a human and dog bond. xo

  47. Hi Lucy a beautiful read you are one classy lady, hopefully it won’t be too long before you can go back get reunited with Wombat and re start your journey Im sure he will remember you as you had such a sensational partnership. Stay well and I look forward to re- starting and finishing your journey. Kind Regards Wayne

  48. Hi Lucy That was a beautiful read, you are a classy young lady. I’m sure Wombat will go crazy when you are finally re-united, you had such a sensational relationship with him there is no way he would have forgotten you. Like heaps of people I look forward to you re-starting your journey,stay safe.
    Kind Regards Wayne
    Ps I did send a response earlier but not sure if it went through

  49. You are amazing Lucy, and this story brought tears to my eyes. Wombat is so lucky to have such an amazing bestie. I hope things settle down again soon and you are reunited and continue your journey.

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