Roam 4 Eva – A Rough Itinerary

One of the biggest mistakes I made during the walk around Australia was to set an itinerary and make bookings for talks and accommodation according to the distances I expected to be able to achieve each day. It was an ambitious itinerary and physically I struggled to meet it everyday which caused equal mental stress of failing to arrive places on time, disappointing the people expecting me, losing booking deposits on camping and accommodation and disappointing myself.

I won’t be repeating this mistake during the ride around Australia.

Although there are events I want to participate in, like the Byron Bay World Naked Bike Ride for the “Can You See Me Now” safety awareness campaign, I am not committing myself to it until I am there. It will be more enjoyable for me to relax and ride with the flow.

The only things, very important things, which will limit this freedom of time are the seasons. If I miss the seasonal windows for safe riding it will be a big buzz kill.

The Tropic of Capricorn, a circle of latitude sitting at approximately 23 degrees and 26 minutes south of the equator or 23°26’S, crosses Australia at Rockhampton on the east coast and near Coral Bay on the west coast.

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Image: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Australia-north-of-the-tropic-of-Capricorn-Source-CSIRO-2014a-p-5_fig1_264311449

North of the Tropic of Capricorn you have 2 main seasons, wet and dry. There are other subtle seasons marked by changes in humidity, storm build up, predominant winds, flowers and fruits but wet and dry pretty much split the year for agriculture and tourism.

Wet season, from early October to late April is hot and humid with lots of rain. If you are not acclimated to or raised in the tropics it can feel unbearable and can be fatally dangerous if you go exploring unprepared. The heat alone can vary between 36 to 45 Celsius ambient and the humidity is like a Turkish sauna, relentless. You can’t go swimming in beaches or estuarine rivers because it is saltwater crocodile and box jellyfish seasons. Salties have been known to migrate more than 500kms inland via river systems and waterhole to waterhole in wet season. Roads can be closed by floods for weeks, sometimes months, towns and homesteads marooned. Every evening the sky fills with storms and for a moment everything is violently lit by lightning and cooled by the rain. Unless you have experienced a wet season it is hard to imagine.

An example of how hot is gets is an experience I had in April 2016 during the walk around Australia while attempting to walk south in Northern Territory. I ended up being hospitalised on my first attempt but one day a late afternoon storm passed over dumping about a month of water in 5 minutes. It had been a hot day, 36-38 Celcius but not too much humidity. I walked down the quiet Stuart Highway, the air above the road was about 60C and the road was melting at above 70C. My drinking water inside the barrow insulated by clothes was 40C and the water bottles hanging in the air outside were too hot to drink unless there was a breeze which could cool down the dampened bottle carriers. When the first drops of rain hit the road they hissed and turned to steam! The steam off the road hurt to breath.

Dry season, May to September is completely different, it cools down to a very pleasant 20-30C and the air is dry. At night in the desert it can even drop below 0 degrees Celsius! Salty sightings are generally only further north in the Top End and no deadly stingers in the water.

Everywhere else in Australia you have a general European 4 season pattern. As I ride through different regions I will expand on more traditional Australian seasons used by First Nations for travel and harvest. The European seasonal calendar is basic compared to the seasonal calendars used by both settled and nomadic aboriginal groups throughout Australia.

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Images: http://www.abc.net.au/science/features/indigenous/

For this reason I have set a goal of reaching Townsville no later than May 2019 so I can rest for a week and push for Cape York, around the Gulf of Carpentaria then through the true outback to the west coast by September. It will be hot and humid from Brisbane on the east coast heading north and from Broome heading south. It will be uncomfortable sometimes but I will have dodged the worst of it.

The first year of this 2 year ride is designed around that big section across the top. The second year is all about loitering around the southwest exploring walks and rides until summer passes, outback 4WD adventure traffic picks up again and it is safe to set my course through the deserts to arrive at Yulara in winter 2020.

When I say “rough itinerary” I mean week to week and day to day but also season to season. I start in Adelaide Hills on October 18th 2018 riding counter clockwise and hopefully finish in Canberra in November 2020. I will also have tailwinds most of the way!

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Patreon Photo Gallery

Did you know I have a Patreon page?
 
My page is called Terra Roams and I am posting adventure stories, photo galleries and the occasional video for Team Roam!
 
Team Roam are the supporters who have pledged a minimum of $2/month to help as I write 2 books (was 1, now 2) and ride around Australia for 2 years.
 
These are exclusives which I will not be posting on facebook, instagram, linkedin or the blog.
 
There are 7 levels of support starting at $2 and every level gets access to locked posts, photos, stories, videos and a real stamped postcard from me.
 
Today I posted 10 K’gari photos, unedited.
 
Click the link, have a look around and pledge $2 🙂
 

Roam 4 Eva Sponsorship

Sponsors are a big part of any expedition. Most expeditions could not be achieved without them.

Sponsorship was my bane during the 4 year solo unsupported walk around Australia and I have since learnt my approach to it was completely unprofessional on top of a general lack of interest in women’s expeditions.

In July the legendary adventurer and ocean solo yachtswoman, Lisa Blair, gave me a powerful and educational sponsorship mentoring session. She handed on great advice and guidance which I have begun using.

The biggest challenge in sourcing financial support is finding the people and businesses most closely aligned with the ethos of my own expedition and personal values. I can’t compromise because I will be carrying it in my conscience for 2 years.

At an estimated $50,000 Roam 4 Eva is a very tight budgeted expedition. Many smaller, shorter expeditions budget hundreds of thousands. I know from experience how to keep the budget down to $500 a month, forage for wild plant food, edible weeds, dumpster dive and grab food left on plates as i walk past alfresco cafes and dinning. I mostly free camp, even sleeping rough in towns which can be a bit scary. I repair and patch clothes and replace gear only when it doesn’t work anymore or is beyond repair.

The biggest issue I have trouble articulating to potential sponsors is the massive brand exposure they get just from the thousands of people I meet. Literally, thousands of people stopped to chat or came over to my camp while I walked around Australia, many ask about my kit. I will happily rave about the good quality gear from people who support my expeditions.

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My hammock is Tier Gear, tent is Mont, jacket is Mister Timbuktu, footwear by Slappas, stem pouches made by Wilderness Threadworks, handlebar bag custom designed by Terra Rosa Gear and pannier racks purchased with the an Adventure Junky sponsorship. All these are Australian companies and top shelf quality. If my gear isn’t sponsored or supported I won’t say much about it.

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Support vs Sponsorship:

Support is from small businesses and individuals who generously donate-in-kind or offer a discount according to their own budget. It is an investment in someone who can promote them in the field where most potential customers will see their brand being used. Depending on the value of the donation or discount they will receive a little or a lot of mutual support.

Sponsorship is a significant financial investment or partnership with naming rights primarily for brand exposure. These days this is heavily guided by social media influence. $2,000 over 2 years is the starting level for Roam 4 Eva sponsorship with a very generous benefits package. $20,000 or 4 x $5,000 secures naming rights. Obviously, the more you offer the more you get and it is negotiable.

But hey, let’s be honest here, beggars can’t be choosers, I’m happy to accept sponsorship to the same retail value of donations-in-kind, eg, $2,000 of phone bills over 2 years or a $2,000 camera package to help document the ride.

Currently, the biggest expense is the Telstra phone/data bill at $126/month+late fees (i use a lot of data and always pay late) but I’m waiting for their reply to my sponsorship request. Telstra, call me, you have my number 🙂

The promotion of adventure tourism supporting conservation, culture and community projects and businesses will be a new expense for this expedition and will very likely cost more than my phone bill.

On the technical side of promotion I’m looking at extras like a small camera for videos and stills which works as well underwater as it does dry. I had a Gopro souvenired early during the walk around Australia 😦 The idea of a drone camera tickles me but it is expensive. When I work out exactly what I need/want I’ll hit up an Australian IT store for a donation.

I have a sponsorship page on the website waiting for sponsors. If sponsors want to be part of Roam 4 Eva I am happy to chat about how we can work together.

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Big Heart Adventures Event

In Adelaide I had the pleasure of meeting an intrepid adventurer, Lisa Murphy, who has turned her passion into an empowering business called Big Heart Adventures.

We caught up a few times to share stories and organise a speaking event in Adelaide before the ride begins.

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Lisa took me under her wing and introduced me to other adventurers and women of impact. Some real eye and heart opening moments meeting women who gave me new perspectives.

We have organised a night to talk about the record setting solo unsupported walk around Australia, which I finished in May, and launch the next big adventure, Roam 4 Eva.

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On October 16th, 19:30 – 21:00 at Fullerton Park Community Centre I will be presenting a slideshow and regaling the audience with stories from my 17,000km solo unsupported walk around Australia. I’ll share insights and fun anecdotes from 30 years of adventure travel and solo wilderness trekking with a few big life lessons thrown in for good measure. Before answering questions I’ll launch Roam 4 Eva and introduce the big 2 year ride around Australia which starts in Adelaide Hills 2 days later.

This is a ticketed event and $2 of each ticket sold goes to Trees For Life. Roam 4 Eva will be an adventure platform to promote conservation, culture and community so I have chosen to support a South Australian not for profit conservation group for this event.

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Tickets cost $15.34 and we have sold nearly half the tickets already! Click HERE to but tickets.

If you are in Adelaide and have that night free please come along and share it with me.

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Roam 4 Eva

As a minimalist vagabond, a human powered adventurer, a gypsy traveller staying in one place for more than a few weeks is not natural. What is the most likely thing I could do next?

 

In October 1990, the day after my final school exam, at the age of 18, I left home and began a life on the road, travelling the world for work, volunteerism, adventure and leisure.

 

I thought the years I spent walking around Australia would have somehow made stopping more desirable but it did the opposite. In fact, it cemented into my heart and mind how completely I am psychologically and emotionally wired for wayfaring. I get very sick, mentally, when I try stopping. The only careers I have flourished in are those which allow lots of travel, like working on ships or on the harvest trail.

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While you may think I am living the dream, I often dreamed of settling down alone or into a relationship, with a career, living in a flat or apartment and having the same postal address every week. Several times I attempted this, for a year at a time but always, after 3 months, I became mentally ill. Now, in my late 40s, I know this is not for me.

 

In 2014, while walking across the Nullarbor, I decided the next adventure would be riding around Australia. That year I met many people cycling solo and as couples across and around Australia, some were riding around the world. I was loving my walk and didn’t for a day consider changing walking for riding before completing my circumnavigation but I was thinking of ideas for the next adventure, daydreaming.

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One of my favourite quotes since my 20s is

 

“All [wo]men dream but not equally. Those who dream in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous [wo]men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.” TE Lawrence

 

I am that dangerous dreamer who makes it possible and in 2017 I started paying off a Surly disc trucker touring bike.

 

Her name is Eva! Named after Eva Dickson, a great Swedish explorer and the first woman to drive across the Sahara. (I have no plans of emulating her adventures on a bike, yet)

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Two months ago I picked up Eva in Adelaide from Bio Mechanics and Repairs, fitted out for touring. My parents bought a set of back panniers and I added a set to the front and for the last 2 months I have been adding all the essential bits and pieces to my touring set up to personalise it and make it as practical as possible without compromises. This will change as I go and learn a new form of human powered travel.

 

In Glenelg, Adelaide, on the 18th October I hope to start Roam 4 Eva, a 2 year 20,000km bike tour around Australia. It is named and voted for by facebook supporters, a play on roam forever using both our names.

 

It certainly will be a steep a learning curve, a shock to the body, especially the bum and a little bit scary being so close to traffic when on the sealed roads and close to towns. I am not completely new to bike touring, returning after 28 years, and remember how much I enjoyed multi day mountain bike and road touring as a teenager. Once my body adapts it will be a very enjoyable tour.

 

Enjoyment, fun, discovery and freedom are the main goals of Roam 4 Eva. I will be sharing the adventures along the way through Patreon, here on the blog, YouTube, Soundcloud, Facebook and Instagram. Mostly it will be through Patreon where people can support what I do, I have nicknamed my supporters Team Roam! They will be roaming around Australia with me, receiving stories, photos, postcards, videos and copies of my books (like a pre-order) among other benefits in exchange for pledging a minimum of $2 per month for 3 months. There are 7 levels of support and I will be posting more about this soon.

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Using fun and adventure Roam 4 Eva will also be a platform for promoting ethical, sustainable and responsible adventure travel through participation and support of conservation, cultural and community initiatives. In each region I will look for projects and initiatives to photograph, video and write about, people and groups I can interview and showcase Australia’s Natural beauty while travelling in the most sustainable way possible, by bike.

 

Roam 4 Eva is not a record setter or breaker. It is most likely I will be riding alone but my sister Linda, geocacher extraordinaire The Downunder Geocaching Adventures of No Tomorrow, might join me for a part of it in her 4X4/support vehicle and I wold love the company of other riders, especially social rides in towns.

 

It will be hashtagged #terraroams and #roam4eva and when it begins there will be an announcement about a social media game which everyone can play.

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What Is Happening?

What’s happening with the book?

 

On the 2nd May, when I arrived in Newcastle after walking 17,200kms around Australia I announced big plans for this year.

 

In the ignorance of someone who has never written a book I decided I could do this in 3 months. Let’s just say I’m not as ignorant as I was then. It is taking longer, it will probably take the normal amount of time, 2 years, to have my first book ready for distributing to publishers or have squirreled away enough to self-publish.

 

The big adventure book has evolved into something else, 2 things happened in the last 3 months of writing.

 

Firstly, I am sticking to the original plan of writing a collection of short adventure stories from the last 28 years of travel and trekking. The first draft is nearly half complete and each month I share a short story or segment with supporters on Patreon.

 

Secondly, I intended on including stories from the walk around Australia but when I tried writing these ones I began struggling with PTSD from some of the scary incidents which occurred during the last 4 years solo and unsupported. The second book will be dedicated solely to the story of my women’s record setting solo unsupported walk around Australia. Because some of the trauma is still raw I will wait before tackling more of these.

 

You don’t need to wait until either book is published to read the stories. As mentioned above, each month I share a short story with Patrons who have pledged a minimum of $2 a month support. These stories are exclusively for my Patrons who I call Team Roam. Some of these stories may not make the final cut before being published (I have more stories than will fit one book). Pledges of $20 will receive an ebook when it is finished and $30 will receive a signed hardcopy.

 

I’ll tell you more about my Patreon page, Terra Roams, soon. There are great benefits for supporters and 7 levels of pledges. It is an exciting and innovative way to support creators and adventurers.

 

I have had the advantage of being donated a new laptop by Phil after the old one started dying and house sat for a longtime friend Sarah in Adelaide Hills for nearly 2 months. These friends have helped tremendously. Thank you!

 

I enjoy writing and even though the next adventure will be another biggie the book writing will continue until the Collection of Short Adventure Stories is complete.

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Hayley Talbot

“We can kayak across the river? I’ll tow a kayak across and meet you there. Let me check the tides.”

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Kayaking across the mouth of the Clarence River is nothing for Hayley Talbot who became the first person to kayak the 400km length of the river, from source to sea, solo and unsupported in May 2017!

It turned out the afternoon tide was unsafe so I met the legend in Yamba at the ferry jetty. All afternoon, evening and the next day we shared stories, anecdotes, dreams and passions.

It doesn’t matter if your solo unsupported expedition is 4 years long or 400kms long, we discovered we shared very similar physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological challenges and were rewarded in ways we could not possibly have imagined before starting out on our epic quests.

Incredibly, when Hayley began planning her kayak expedition down the Clarence River she had never kayaked before. We can all learn a thing or two about dreaming big and turning it into reality from her story.

There is no holding her back! Hayley has more adventure planned.

Hayley is also a talented writer and spoken word poet. 2 months ago she published her first book of poetry, Of The Ocean, inspired by the river, ocean and their connection to our lives. Her words are moving, descriptive, inspired observations and presented beautifully in a textured book full of photos of light and sea.

You can buy the book at hayleytalbot.com/product/of-the-ocean/

“Surrender and control are not mutually exclusive –

Just because you fall doesn’t mean you can’t swan dive”

Thank you Hayley for inspiring and empowering young women to be true to themselves and live their dreams.

You can learn more about Hayley Talbot and follow her blog through the website hayleytalbot.com

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http://www.travelplaylive.com.au/magazine/hove-to-from-the-source-to-the-sea

https://thenorthface.com.au/blog/hayley-talbot-on-motherhood-adventure

https://www.dailyexaminer.com.au/videos/hayley-talbot-river-journey/49525/

https://www.dailyexaminer.com.au/videos/hayley-talbot-arrives-home/49536/

Hayley, we’ll paddle together when I visit again.

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I Did It!

On the 2nd May 2018 I became the first woman to walk 17,200 kilometers “AROUND” Australia alone and without any support vehicles.

After more than 4 years of walking, injuries, surgeries, mental health management, starting 4 different blogging platforms and abandoning 3 of them, quitting facebook with 6K followers then starting from zero again a year later and the same with Instagram, quitting Twitter at 1K, constant changes to plans, 3 very close calls with death and circumnavigating an entire continent on foot, it is finally a completed quest.

There will be no more of these walking diary posts because I have another big quest starting in 2 months. I’ll leave you with a bunch of photos and media links.

Australian Geographic

Red Bull

ABC News

Weekend Today

Newcastle Herald

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And that’s a wrap!

 

T Minus 3,2,1

The last three days went by in a blur.

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Until April 30 I had not taken the time to walk the Tomaree coast track between Fingal Bay and Boat Harbour. It is extraordinarily beautiful, wild and rough. I saw only 1 other person on the track until Samurai Point. It is an easy track with regular bench seats and picnic tables and the landscape changes around every bay. You should be warned of 2 things. The track passes the sewerage treatment plant so there is a stinky bit but if you force your mind to look for Nature’s beauty it helps reduce the olfactory offense. Part of Samurai Beach is nudist butt don’t worry, they’re used to people walking through from the track.

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I’d say it is a fast half day walk if you start early or make it an easy full day walk with lots of photo stops on the way. The walk can take you the whole way around the coastline to Nelson Bay with a climb up spectacular Tomaree Peak and that would be a big day of walking. There are small tracks but no single track which joins Boat Harbour to Anna Bay, there is a shared pedestrian and cycling track beside Gan Gan Road. Pack everything you will need including water and food as there is no kiosk or store between Boat Harbour and Fingal Bay. It is 9kms between Fingal Bay and Boat Harbour, 13 to Anna Bay, 21kms from Anna Bay to Nelson Bay with Tomaree Peak and 25 with a detour to Shark Island at low tide. Shark Island and Point Stephens Lighthouse should only be attempted 1hr either side of low tide when the spit is above water otherwise it is too dangerous.

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That night I met the wonderful Monique and Hurricane from Elemental Adventures. Monique had been following and supporting the walk for a long time and until that night I had no idea we already knew each other. Back in 2008-10 I was involved in marine conservation and actively promoting Sea Shepherd through fundraising, film nights, awareness walks and as crew aboard the activist ship MY Steve Irwin. Monique and I had met through Sea Shepherd 10 years ago. Elemental Adventures are also supporters of the next expedition!

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As I write this you will not see any mention of First Nation’s history on the Tomaree National Park website. This is a shame because the Woromi Nation lived here. Birubi Point is a place of significance and Worimi National Park all have a rich history and protected land.

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The last big physical challenge of this walk of this walk was Stockton Beach. This beach is 32kms long with a large dune system. Camping is not allowed because the privilege was abused. Some campers simply couldn’t respect the land so now nobody can camp there. The mess behind the front dunes is pretty bad and would require a massive clean up initiative.

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The easiest way to walk the dunes between Birubi Beach and the start of the conservation area/quad bike park is in the dunes. There is a vegetated zone between the front dunes and the big ones and the dunes through there are mostly an easy climb and the sand is not so soft. It is very quiet as all the traffic is on the beach. The dunes look intimidating but they are not too high and there is always a good ridge or set of smaller dunes to use to get to the top.

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The wind blows clean the dunes of tracks so you can easily imagine being a brave solitary explorer crossing a desert, until you reach the top and see the ocean and Newcastle only 20kms away.

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Monique packed me a yummy vegan lunch which I enjoyed perched up on the highest dune like an eagle watching everything to the horizon.

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Until that moment it hadn’t fully sunk in that I had walked 17,200kms around Australia alone without any support vehicles. I looked toward Newcastle wondering what I was supposed to feel. I felt proud of myself for never giving up and returning to the walk after every set back. I felt a sense of relief that, after more than 4 years, this pursuit was finally coming to an end I could start preparing for the next. That was all I felt. Some fighter jets flew over low, returning to Williamtown RAAF Base and I continued walking through the dunes, studying animal tracks and markings, observing old WWII barricade ruins and enjoying the surreal shapes formed by rain and wind on the sand.

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That night I was a guest of Alwyn Garland a long time resident of Tin City and Jess. We drank a little whiskey, shared some yarns and I learnt a lot of history about the place. If you are ever passing through, ask after Alwyn, he is a wealth of knowledge and a good story teller. Did you know some of Mad Max (1979) was filmed at Tin City, you can still recognise the corrugated iron shack they used.

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I set off early across the dunes, setting a good pace. I had a schedule set for the afternoon and phone interviews with radio and TV stations throughout the day. I’m glad I started early and walked fast because once I crossed from Worimi National Park into the Conservation Area the sand was too chopped up and soft to walk faster than 2-3kms an hour. The beach was too steep and soft for walking so I tried to find lines through the front dunes between those stupid noisy quad bikes and the water. It was exhausting struggling through all that soft sand with the noise pollution of recreational vehicles surrounding me. I just wanted to turn around and walk back to the sanctum of the silent dunes and stay there.

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The fighter jets were out doing exercises again, they flew past so close I could see the pilots and I waved, just like a kid. Colin and Dad joked later it was a fly by just for me.

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That day I learnt how to do live facebook and instagram videos but also learnt I need to do them wearing glasses because I can’t see the phone screen without them.

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When I reached Stockton I was running a bit ahead of schedule so I had a few rest breaks. Each time more people joined me and by the time we reached Nobbys Beach there was a small group of us walking together including Andrea who flew over from Western Australia, an old school friend Jason Kimberly, Colin from Nelson Bay, Dad, Steve, Sil, Jayde and Linda. Complete strangers started recognising me.

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I was wondering what feelings I would experience and a little perplexed that I was feeling nothing more than stress about running early and relieved I wasn’t walking the last few kilometers alone.