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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Meeting Supporters

Meeting my supporters is always a thrill. I love to say thank you in person, exchange a hug, smile into each other’s eyes.

Supporters often open their homes to me when I pass through their town and I often detour so we meet.

One of my big supporters is Heather from Fishermans Reach. Over a year ago I received a lovely message offering assistance and support in Stuarts Point when I walk through and lots of messages of encouragement. It took longer than expected to get there and meeting Heather and Bob on their patch of Paradise was a highlight.

The night before I stayed at Scotts Head and slept in the recreation hall. I stopped early because there was a section of road walking ahead I wanted to avoid at dusk and used the hall so I could pack everything away dry for a quick dawn start.

When I reached Grassy Head Holiday Park for a rest in the shade the owner gave me a Cola. I don’t normally drink soft drink, I think it is one of the most unhealthy things we can put in our bodies, but when it’s hot and I’m sweating like crazy and my body is craving sugar and caffeine I enjoy the guilty pleasure of Cola or Solo. I have staved off many coffee withdrawals with Cola.

I was getting closer to Heather and Bob’s, I couldn’t walk fast enough. Meeting Heather was something I had been looking forward to for more than a year. On the way she had posted on social media that I was in the area so I was getting lots of friendly local waves and toots. Later Heather posted a request for any boaties who could run me down the Macleay Arm and across the river the next day. A quick snack on lillypilly fruit foraged from beside the road gave me a spurt of energy.

The bushland is beautiful through here! 2 little dogs ran out yapping to greet me on the driveway. Heather and Bob warmly welcomed me to their patch of Paradise. I do not exaggerate when I say Paradise. Some years ago they bought this land after an aquaculture farmer’s dream failed. The tidal ponds now attract a wide variety of wildlife, especially birds. The lawn brings in wallabies and bandicoots.

But the most amazing part of their bush block is the diverse recovering ecosystems. On their land they have tidal mangroves, tea tree swamp, rainforest and tall dry eucalypt forest. We went for a walk through and every moment I was in awe of each and how perfectly they merged.

Understanding the conservation value of their land Heather and Bob work hard to encourage recovery of native plants and maintain a constant battle to remove introduced species. Their hard work rewards them daily as they wake each morning to bird song, the flow of tidal water through the ponds, clicking and slashing from healthy mangrove habitat and bushland more beautiful than many of us will ever lay eyes on.

The cultural value of this land and region to the First Nations of Gumbaynggir and Dunghutti is important to Heather and Bob. Over the years they have made themselves familiar with the stories and songlines of Yarrahappini and the coast, actively supporting conservation projects and strengthening culture within the community.

No matter how may times I am a guest, being invited into someone’s home, being nourished by their cooking and conversation, given their trust, their stories, their company, is something I will never never take for granted.

And the call out for someone to take me to South West Rocks across the estuary was answered by Alan. We saw dolphins on the way!

Thank you!

To Byron and Beyond

WARNING! This update contains nudity 🙂

I enjoyed Brunswick Heads after finding a safe place to sleep.

The night before I saw on Instagram that my mate from the Blue Mountains, Michael, was in Brunswick staying with family so we arranged to have morning coffee. Michael was in town for the Byron Bay World Naked Bike Ride to raise awareness about bike safety by using naturism, ie, “Do you see me now?”.

If I didn’t hang around too long I had a chance of walking to Byron Bay with enough time to check into the YHA and watch the bike ride. It was a wet walk down the beach with some of the heaviest rain I had experienced all week. Maurice and Em came down to the beach to say goodbye, part of me wanted to stay. Maurice sent me the feature photo he took as I left.

I knew the weather was going to clear up because I had friends from Seattle, Susanna and Patrick, joining me in Byron Bay for a couple of days.

For the last 2kms of beach the sky cleared and it didn’t rain again for nearly 2 weeks!

Byron is always wonderful! I don’t care what anyone says about Byron Bay. I don’t look for the changes or bad stuff therefore i don’t see it. The staff at the YHAs looked after me. A couple of weeks earlier I had made a booking and then I made a last minute booking. I didn’t know there are 2 YHAs in Byron, I had booked a dorm bed in both, but they sorted it out so I could stay in one instead of moving. In fact, an interview with Thredbo YHA manager, Bianca Bott, came out in their internal news while I was staying with the Byron Bay crew. It may have had some influence getting a 5 share dorm entirely to myself. Thank you Bianca and YHA!

Susanna and I met in the summer of 1988 in the Snowy Mountains. She came down to stay with my family when she was over from the United States. We hit it off immediately and filled our days with lots of adventure on the Kosciuszko Mainrange and the tracks around our place at Sawpit Creek. I lost a lot of photos of us when my hard drive broke but I don’t need them for the memories.

We wrote and exchanged photos, lost touch and found each other again on social media. 30 years later we meet in Byron Bay, Susanna and her husband Patrick! We had 1 1/2 days together so we walked up to the lighthouse, down around the beautiful beaches, out to Killen Falls in the hinterland and watched the sun set over Lake Ainsworth at Lennox Head. We filled the day to the brim and pretty much collapsed into our seats at the Mexican restaurant. I tried a Mojito for the first time, it went straight to my head!

It was very interesting watching friends from another country discovering new and wonderful things about mine. Like spotting a wallaby on Cape Byron for Susanna would be about the equivalent of the excitement I’ll have when I see my first raccoon. Wallabies are animals I see almost everyday but when I see a raccoon it will be something exotic I have never laid eyes on before. I loved watching Susanna reacting to our gorgeous wildlife and bushland, she allowed me to see it with new eyes. Thank you Susanna.

Saying goodbye to friends is hard, but I had to put on the pack and continue south. I’m tearing up writing this and remembering your smiles, hugs and your big beautiful hearts.

That afternoon I walked down the beach to Broken Head picking up 2 bags of rubbish. A few people saw me picking up rubbish and gave me some more to carry which they “helped” me pick up (or in one case a guy kicked over a bottle I had missed). Good, but not good enough, giving more rubbish to a walker already loaded up with a big pack and full bags isn’t cool. Maybe I should start carrying extra reused shopping bags to give to people who try adding to my collection. There is a great initiative in Sydney by 66 Second Challenge where people can take a bucket down to the beach, collect rubbish and return it in exchange for a free coffee. Love it!

I had a rest on the deck of Broken Head Community Hall and refilled my bottles from their kitchen. When I saw the cost of camping in Suffolk Park and Broken Head I decided to illegally free camp on Broken Head, i simply couldn’t afford to stay in the tourist parks.

The walk across Broken Head is beautiful, even more so as the sunset. I saw about 40 wallabies and many birds including a lyre bird in the soft cool dusk light filtered through the rainforest. The damp evening air intensified the sweet smell of fertile red volcanic soil and dark decomposing plant litter. In the Byron Shire all you need is Nature to get high. You’re welcome 😉

Camping that night was interesting. I found two good trees on a dune but very exposed to the exceptionally loud roar of the stormy surf, thick ocean spray and heavy dew. On the way I had passed other campers so I walked back and asked if they minded me camping close by in the trees. The disadvantage of hammocking in the dark is not being able to inspect the trees before setting up. The first one I tied up to was a burnt out dead one that nearly fell over when I sat in the hammock. Eventually I found a clear line between 2 of the stronger looking trees, tied up, set the fly and sat down. The trees flexed and slowly lowered the hammock until my bum touched the ground. It was okay, when I lay down, stretching my weight along the length of the hammock it rose to about 10cm off the ground. More than enough clearance 🙂

In the early dawn light I had a look around and saw that I was camped in a new forest. The trees were young beech, regrowth from a fire. The tide was slack so the surf was not so loud but it still drowned out the morning bird chorus. When I can’t hear the birds it feels like something is wrong. It was also cold and the sun was weak.

On the way down 7 Mile Beach I found a big ice cream tub and filled it with rubbish then a bucket and filled it too. A large fish trap was washed up so I filled it also. It ended up weighing more than my backpack, walking down the beach was hard work wearing 14kg and dragging more. It was good to see a couple of people begin to pick up rubbish after walking past me. This isn’t a walk about litter but if my actions can influence others to do something small which can collectively make a big difference then I’m happy!

The Dog Who took Home the Stray Human

Just before sunset in Brunswick Heads I met Maurice and Em.

Em started bringing her frizbee to me to play.

Maurice and I started talking about the local area, I mentioned my dilemma. Maurice wore an old Australian Geographic jacket, seeing the logo of my sponsors suddenly put me at ease.

It transpired that Em’s owners (Maurice was dog walking while they were away on holidays) have an old Queenslander, a traditional timber house built in flood prone places on stilts. He rang them to check if it was okay if I hang my hammock under the house between the posts.

Em was pretty stoked with this arrangement.

We continued to play at home, then I read her some of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass before she retired to her bed on the balcony upstairs. An electrical storm brought her back down stairs so I lay my sleeping mat on the ground for her within arms length of my hammock so I could reassure her through the lightning and thunder.

I think we enjoyed each other’s company equally and I will always be grateful I met Maurice and Em in the rain in Brunswick.

Paula Constant

Happy International Women’s Day!

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than share two more of my favourite Adventure Women with you. Today and tomorrow, all across Earth, we recognise and embrace what it means to be women. Our strengths and achievements, love and inspiration, courage and vulnerabilities.

This first IWD2018 post is about an incredible Australian whose book i found in an Narooma book shop in 2009.

Me “I’m looking for a book by an inspiration woman, perhaps also a travel story.”

Owner “Ah! This one, Sahara, just came in and i have been told it is a very good read.”

Sold!

She wasn’t wrong.

Paula’s story of walking from Moroc to Niger was one of the most raw, gnarly and honest adventure tales i have ever read.

It is the second book in Paula’s 12,000km trek on foot from London, through 8 countries and across the Sahara. The first book is Slow Journey South.

In both books Paula opens up her heart and soul, taking us on a physical journey of epic proportions plus the inevitable spiritual, emotional and psychological journey accompanying such a feat of endurance and trust.

I laughed, sobbed, cringed, held my breath in suspense and cried with joy through both books.

Slow Journey South – Walking to Africa A Year in Footsteps

Sahara – A Journey of Love, Loss and Survival

One day in 2011, while i was between adventures, i watched an ABC program, Australian Story, about Paula’s life, family, trek and writing. My parents also watched it and rang me in a bit of shock. Apparently it was like watching me.

I felt like i found a long lost friend or soul mate. Paula is my tribe! That night i sent her an email, one adventurer to another. We have been in touch since.

Meeting Paula for the first time in 2014 beginning my walk from Perth to Adelaide was an highlight of my walk around Australia.

In Australia women’s adventure achievements are rarely recognised so it can feel a bit lonely. Meeting an adventure sister, another woman whose motto is “Everywhere is in walking distance, if you have the time” (Steven Wright) was a defining moment for me. We didn’t have nearly enough time together!

Since Paula’s trek across Europe and the Sahara she has been busy writing, helping other writers, creating opportunities for spiritual growth and public speaking.

Before i set off on my 4,100km walk from Perth to Darwin in 2015 Paula gifted me with a beautiful bottle of her personalised blend of essential oil and an indepth guidance session which has been helping me since.

Paula Constant’s friendship, support and inspiration has been an important part of my own journey.

You can listen to her words of experience and insight through the following links.

TEDx The Power of Enough

“When i think back to the Sahara i don’t think of what went wrong.
I think of the tremendous peace i found at sunset.

I think of the magnificence of the dawn every morning i got up and had the privilege of walking another day in that magnificent place.

And i think of endless nights spent around a campfire laughing with Mohammad, some of them wise and some of them not so wise.

I think of endless nights spent lying beneath a swag under an infinite carpet of stars and watching the heavens move above, teaching me what it means to be insignificant”

“But what i think of most is that moment of profound clarity, the moment of awareness, a gift i never would have had had my needs not refused to be silenced and led me on a walk through every one of my own imperfections, too a pot of gold i never knew existed.

And if you take one thing from that pot of gold it is that your imperfections are the most perfect thing about you. They are the greatest treasure for they urge you to seek, seek what your soul needs the most, to find your own missing pieces.”

“If we recognise and accept our own imperfections and those of others and those we see in the world around us then we can create a new definition of success. One based on the understanding that genuine happiness, true power and true fulfillment lie in an awareness that we are all human, we are all perfect and we are all already enough.”

ABC Conversations Paula Constant Pt1

ABC Conversations Paula Constant Pt2

Walk With Me

It’s that time again. The walk resumes this weekend in Springbrook QLD with a 900km section along the coast.

This is the shortest section of the entire walk around Australia so hopefully there will be less time and distance for things to go wrong. Said in jest, so many plans have changed, injuries and surprises have caused delays and detours along the way.

Mark it in your diary!!!

At 1800hrs Wednesday 2nd May i will become the first woman to walk around Australia solo without a support vehicle.

The official end of my very long walk is Nobbys Beach in Newcastle and you are all invited!

Nobbys and Newcastle are both significant places for me. I was born in Newcastle in lived there for 16 years before moving to Kosciuszko National Park. Many of my school friends and relatives are still there or have returned. Nobbys Beach was the end of my second solo unsupported conservation awareness walk, 1,400kms from Melbourne via the mountains in 2009.

Nobbys will close the circuit of the mainland plus 1,250kms around Tasmania. The total distance walked does not include the section in the Top End i skipped after someone tried killing me.

There are some kilometres in the next 900 i am familiar with, about 500 of them. Apart from the walk around Australia i clocked up close to 3,000kms solo on the east coast for fun, training and other fundraising.

I don’t technically need to walk all 900kms solo so i’m putting up these maps and a rough itinerary of the parts where friends, family and followers can walk with me.

Maps

Map key

Blue – walk with me

Yellow – solo

Itinerary

March

3 Springbrook

10 Mullumbimby

17 Teven

23 Yamba

30 Coffs Harbour

April

7 Stuarts Point

16 Bonny Hills

24 Forster

May

2 Newcastle

Need to know

I have a few ground rules for anyone joining me. These will make it more enjoyable and clearly set down what we can expect from each other and the experience.

You are responsible for all your needs and safety including transport to and from, walking and camping kit, footwear, rain gear, repairs, food, cooker, fuel, water, purifier, 1st aid kit, PLB, power source for gadgets, safety gear, map and compass, etc. I will walk 15-25kms a day with 1-2 rest days a week. Walking with people is a new thing for me so we don’t need to stick together all day. If we walk at different speeds, need some solitude to fully appreciate the natural surroundings or just some time out from each other we can plan places to be together during the day. We might walk and talk together from the moment we wake to falling asleep. We might not even need to talk to enjoy each others company. We won’t know until out there but respect for each other’s space and peace will help us get along. I will be stopping to meditate as well as walking meditation through the day. My solo walking routine won’t change 🙂

Contact me

For more information please email terraroams@gmail.com or message me through Facebook or Instagram so we can engage and discuss details more thoroughly.

2018 Focus on Intrepid Inspiring Women

This year I will write a series about inspiring women in the outdoor adventure scene, how some of them have shaped the direction of my own adventures and the enduring legacy of their experience, knowledge, strength and courage.

 

Over the next few months I will introduce you to the intrepid women who have specifically had an influence on my own life from high school to the support and friendship I received from the adventure sisterhood while I walked solo unaccompanied around Australia.

 

Later in the year I will introduce you to women currently undertaking incredible expeditions and valuable initiatives empowering women to explore, discover and deepen our relationship with Earth and our own spirit.

 

There will be other posts about many different topics and my own little adventures throughout the year. There will be the continuation of the final 900kms of my 16,000km+ solo walk around Australia when the ankle is strong enough to return to trekking unsupported in the mountains.

 

A book is on the way which will be a wild, informative and fun collection of short stories about my own adventures around the Earth in some of her most wonderful places including the walk around Australia.

 

An new epic adventure begins this year. I will be preparing and training to ride around Australia for the big bike book tour of 2019. I have started paying off a Surly Disc Trucker which will be fitted out for a year of unsupported touring. A few small tours to get back into the swing of it testing out any new gear. Refresher bike maintenance course so I reduce the chance of being stranded in the outback. Refresher wilderness 1st aid and bush tucker courses will help too. You can be sure I will tell you all about them as they happen. Sponsors are welcome and will greatly benefit from their support.

 

One more project I want to start this year is all about sharing adventures through participation, joining people on their expeditions, people joining me on mine, planning adventures with friends and family because adventure is as excellent with good company as it is alone.

 

Before I head back to QLD in March to resume the walk around Australia I’ll make some rough maps of the remaining 900kms to Newcastle where I finish. I have previously trekked more than 1,000kms of the NSW coastline, along the sections I have already walked I invite people to come walk with me.

 

If anyone is interested in meeting up in Canberra in a couple of weeks let me know 🙂

Orroral Hut17
Orroral Homestead near Canberra in Namadgi National Park