If you’re a cut to the chase type, quotes are after the story at the bottom… along with the background of the adventure and where I’m up to now.
Red faced, and feeling like a dork covered in mud from long days (and possibly from not having a shower since I don’t know when)… I jump over a fence, tear a pair of tights that won’t tolerate another mending and spill out onto the road.
It’s been a day.
Failed shortcuts. False summits. It’s humid. I’m bothered. I have 2+ hours to go. I’m late. It’s getting dark. I have an absolute hatred of setting up camp in the dark but between cliffs, rocks, the incline, barbed wire and presumably foresters with guns, there’s nowhere comfortable.
I throw my head back the way you do when you want to break the monotony, and wish a car would come past… or a tractor, or a horse or even a cow.
5 minutes later I hear the creaking sounds of a shed collapsing in on itself. Excellent, I think, the ground will be flat enough to camp. I hope the farmer will let me stay… or in my antisocial state I hope there is no one at all… for years.
The collapsing shed gets closer and I realise it’s not a shed, it’s a car. Winding its way along the road, I can’t tell what direction it’s coming in, but I can tell Mum wouldn’t be happy with me accepting a lift.
Held together with fencing wire, my Stead and Knight arrive. They’re not quite what I had in mind.
Now you might wonder what someone thinks when they see a girl underneath a mountainous backpack, covered in mud, walking up a deserted mountain away from the nearest town… But let me tell you, on this occasion I didn’t even attempt to cover up my how-is-your-car-legal-and-by-the-way-I-think-you-left-half-of-it-on-the-last-bend, expression.
He twinkled his bloodshot eyes at me, slunk a little out his windowless car and asked a drawn out:
I’m not sure if he’s asking me: am I alone, am I lonely, or am I single. Usually I can gauge this from the preceding questions but there weren’t any so…
I impatiently shift my weight to one foot and feel my lips purse the way Mum does when she’s irritated at Something and she knows the Something has no idea why… To be honest, even I’m not sure what about this situation is irritating me so much. It’s not as though I was expecting Chris Hemsworth.
I Answer: No, I’m a walker.
He looks confused, realises this is going to be more difficult then he thought and starts from the beginning.
I’m not listening. It’s at this point, as it has all week, a quote comes to mind: No matter how sore or exhausted, you always have enough strength to take one more step forward.
I cut him off. Explain what I’m doing and then I make a joke about how I eat a lot and have to walk or I’ll get fat. He scoffs in agreement. Falls back onto his milk crate substitute for a front seat and continues driving.
Later that evening I find a tiny patch of almost flat ground, give up on my goal distance, and set up camp… in the dark.
My tights held together for a few more weeks… and when I got to the next town, gave them a respectful see-ya-later and chucked them out after discovering that not only were they full of holes, they were also see through!… answering my curiosity about the Knight’s first question: All of the above.
I’m (an Aussie) attempting to become the first woman to walk the length of the world – a feat first completed by George Meagan (1983*) and attempted by only a handful of others.
It didn’t just happen as suddenly as I describe (though the idea may have). I have a lot of support from friends, sponsors and the community here (ig) here (fb) and here (t), who pick me up on hard days, shout me hot chocolates and send me on my way.
I’ve wanted to quit a few times, like the time I took an involuntary plunge into arctic waters, or the times I had very public bouts of gastro, and especially when parts of my teeth fell out(?!)… but I’m still out here giving it a go, one piece of emergency chocolate at a time.
I will say this: I will always be grateful to the people who believe in me, no matter how far along this journey I go.
Where am I?
I’ve passed 4000 km to reach La Serena, a seaside town acclaimed for its seafood culture. Let me tell you, they know seafood!
Up next – the Atacama Desert
The Atacama Desert is over 1000 km long spanning both Chile and Peru. It is the oldest, largest, hottest and driest desert on Earth.
Its conditions are so inhospitable very few plant and animal species are present, and in some regions, no species exist at all. Temperatures flux from below 0 to above 40 degrees and it’s not uncommon in its hyper-arid regions to receive no rainfall.
What could possibly go wrong?
Thanks for giving me your favourite quotes. I couldn’t fit them all in but I have categorised a bunch of them into the type of occasions when you might think of them.
Disclaimer: I don’t have the authorship of some of these quotes and since some are contested … I left them all off except for the 3 poems at the very end.
Let me know which ones you like the best or which you think should be here in the comments.
Reasons to be you
The worst thing that can happen is you move back home with your mother.
~ Mum said this to me when I was 22.
If I had listened and followed the advice of ‘experts’ I would never have left my little town.
She had blue skin and so did he;
He kept it hid and so did she;
They searched for blue their whole life through,
Then passed right by and never knew.
~ Shel Silverstein.
Take it easy, but take it!
If it’s to be it’s up to me.
The brave do not live forever but the cautious do not live at all.
Warriors are not the ones who always win but the ones who always fight.
Motivation during planning
She turned her can’ts into cans and her dreams into plans.
It doesn’t matter how slow you go, so long as you don’t stop.
Even if you on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.
For the Dreamer’s first steps
If not now, when?
Don’t stand in doorways.
Even if I knew tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.
Doubt sees the obstacles. Faith sees the way. Doubt sees the darkest night. Faith sees the day. Doubt dreads to take a step. Faith sores high. Doubt questions who believes, faith answers I.
At the end of a tether
The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need tomorrow.
All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.
~ so if you’re having a bad day, go for a walk. You never know where it may lead.
Don’t quit 5 minutes before the miracle happens.
Inch by inch life’s a cinch, yard by yard life is hard.
90% of all the value is in the 10% beyond the point you want to quit or turn around.
No matter how exhausted or sore, you can always take one step forward.
So far you have a 100% success rate of getting through the hard days.
The end of a chapter
There is no end to the journey.
Far from what I once was but not yet what I’m going to be.
Everything is always ok in the end. if it’s not ok. it’s not the end.
A smile is like the flame of a candle, it doesn’t diminish by lighting others.
Never underestimate the power of your encouragement.
Things I ramble on about… ( you can go ahead and attribute these to me).
Failure is our greatest ally. Without it, achievement does not exist.
~They also make for the best stories
Just because it’s different doesn’t make it wrong.
It’s not our errors that matter, it’s how we recover from them.
Better to measure success with a value of fulfilment than a value of delivery.
There’s always a way. Find yours.
We’re so obsessed with success and failure when what we should be preoccupied with is having a go. The outcome doesn’t matter.
Poems: for times when you feel misunderstood, or your boss says no for the fun of it, or your neighbour keeps stealing your Aldi catalogue because they have a no junk mail sign…
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
~ By Robert Frost
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
~ by William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
The man in the arena
~ by Theodore Roosevelt
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends themselves in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
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