Hi Traveling Comrades,
It's been quite awhile since I've been able to write to you. Spending time in this desolate, beautiful and wild landscape with a lack of internet and cell phone reception has been rewarding for me. It's allowing me to spend more time in the experience of my walk and what this journey really means to me. I've never been as challenged physically or mentally as I have in the past month. The heat has escalated to an average of 95-106 deg Fahrenheit which feels like a I'm navigating through a pressure cooker. Some say I should learn Celsius but I just don't find that 41 degrees expresses the same intensity as 103.
The beginning of my Gibb River walk was magical. Birds invited me for early morning tea and the mid-afternoon sun seemed to only shed deeper meaning and shadows between the gorge walls.
Then, Athena got her sixth flat.
I lost my spoon and (relearned the joys of finger eating).
Got sprayed with cow diarrhea by a passing cattle truck- followed by a maniacal laughter and the awareness of no shower in sight for days to come.
The flies were multiplying by the minute.
And then one afternoon, it just turned hot.
I think a curse word that starts with F would be the right adjective to describe it. Overnight the season changed.
I could no longer wear my typical (aka- my everyday) pants and t-shirt, the only bearable thing to wear is a cotton dress. It allows a little breeze and when no cars are on the road, I can lift it up to my chest, creating an air conditioner with the wind and the cascade of sweat dripping down my torso.
I did spend a small stint in the hospital from heat stroke (think stomach flu with the inability to sleep). But I have since learned some tricks and I'm armed with an umbrella and a car windshield sun visor which I found on the side of the road, confirming that I have turned into a bag lady! I'll share photos soon of my afternoon shade structure using rope and bungee cords. It makes me feel like I'm flexing my McGyver muscles.
While on the Gibb River, I was reading a book about the Kimberley people, particularly the tribes of the Worora people and wanted to walk some of the stretches they had lived and walked before. I decided to walk to Kalumburu which also happens to rhyme with Waneroo, the suburban area I left from in Perth.
Although I was heading to Darwin originally I felt called to end my walk in an aboriginal community and to stay in the Western Territory.
This was the beginning of understanding that my walk is carrying me somewhere.
A little note on why I'm walking (or learning to commit).
Walking the world means there are a lot of things that I will miss out on seeing like cultural landmarks and landscapes that my feet just can't take me to. But this journey is about how I walk, and where the walk takes me and the people I meet along the way. I am in it for the love of travel and adventure and for the challenges I face that will strengthen my character.
When I practice listening, I am exercising trust.
Trust that I am exactly where I need to be, no matter how difficult it may be right now.
A passer-by in a car once said "It's a lot easier to drive."
My response- after my initial irritation at a statement that felt condescending - is that I'm not walking because it's easy.
Easy would be at home in air conditioning eating vanilla ice cream and avoiding anything related to willingly ambling through a scorching desert.
I chose to walk because it felt right. It felt like my calling to step into the world, the web of the unknown and slowly watch the world around me shape itself into being.
This walk has become more personal and more emotionally connected to everything and everyone around me than I have ever felt before. I can no longer walk past a grasshopper without admiring it's genius construct or the cacophony of bird calls in my immediate surrounding.
To walk the earth, for me, is to practice being deeply connected to the subtlety of every moment and how it changes and forms itself.
I have also been impressed at how many people can come up with reasons and excuses for me to skip this stretch, jump over there, quit for a few months, or just Forrest-Gump-It.
This walk is like a marriage. When things get tough I'm not going to quit or choose something more comfortable and beautiful.
I may reach the end of my walk and still wonder what this walk is about.
I may never have a concrete answer and I still fumble with my response when I'm asked, but I know deep in my heart and bones that I was born to walk this earth. I am doing exactly what I want to be doing, exactly where I am meant to be.
Now, for a geographical update.
I understand that where I'm at and where I've walked so far might be a little confusing. I've walked north then south, and now filling in the gap. I will make a little map outlining my route for you.
I have just arrived in Port Hedland and have another five weeks till I complete my first continent. I am dreaming of bathtubs, champagne, a soft bed and a classic Thanksgiving meal.
Ok, I have to pause for a note on my absolute favorite pie in the world- pumpkin pie.
It is unheard of here in Aussie town. When I ask people if they've had it before (which I do ask many because I'm convinced someone will have tried it) I commonly hear, "Why in the world would you put a vegetable in a pie and then add sugar?"
Since I can't buy pumpkin pie mix anywhere I am determined to make a homemade pumpkin pie for myself when I've finished this walk. Mom- grab your fork, we're eating this pie in one-go (you know, like we usually do!)
I have thoroughly enjoyed being vulnerable and creative in sharing my journey with you through my short stories. With a desire to keep the integrity of my writing creative and original, I don't want to rush them out to you. These stories are very personal to me and I want to take the time to put my heart and full focus into them. I also find it difficult to write while in the bush. The heat zaps almost all creative energy as well as most of my mental wherewithal just to walk.
I will be spending the month of December in Australia before heading to Asia to update my website, add photos, write, and connect with you.
I hope to have easily available internet and will be able to get back to all of you who have personally emailed, donated or contributed your love and support to my journey. I couldn't have made it this far without your faith and help along the way.
I'll be sending you stories and more shortly!
Lots of love and appreciation,