OK, so I walked from Brisbane down to the Gold Coast on friday morning. It wasn’t exactly continuous constant walking, but I wanted to do a test run of how I’d go if pressed forward and tried to walk without stopping. During the day I only had a few short breaks, but I had a bit of a nap in the evening, huddled in a little hidden nook behind some bushes.
Overall, the walk was instructive and very worthwhile. When I take CAPTAIN AUSTRALIA’S BIG WALK (26.12.21), I don’t intend to walk aggressively, it’s more about the adventure of it. But it’s good to know that if I wanted to belt out 100km, it’s achievable. (At the cost of fatigue and blisters!)
I won’t show you the photos of my feet, but they’re a bit shredded, even though the boots are GREAT, I should stop regularly and let my feet breathe (“set them piggies free”).
Here are the main things I learned:
- I am in danger. People know where I am, and as serene as it might be in the dark dark night on a rural road, there are dogs in the world who will seek me out and follow me (by dogs I mean the human kind). This happened, and I’m not sure if they would have attacked, but when I calmly and firmly showed them I was ready to resist, I was able to shoo them away (“are we going to have a problem fellas?” “ok then, how about you go your way and I’ll go mine ?”). I’m not afraid and I don’t like allowing fear to influence decisions, but I do need to be mindful in my planning, especially when I’ll be sleeping or vulnerable.
- Have rest periods between spurts of walking. Ideally boots off. Let my feet breathe to avoid blisters. I get it that this is probably common-sense, but I know now that much more than 30km (6 hours) at a time is problematic. I’m thinking my daily walking in TBW should look something like this morning 15km (break for breakfast) 10km (break for hottest part of day) 10km (dinner) 15km (option to push forward extra in evening, or sleep)
- People are great. I’ve got to slow down and stop being shy or furtive. There are some people who want to talk to me, and in some cases those conversations may be important. I spoke to two lovely women in/around Greenslopes, and they started CRYING as I told my story. There was a real emotional connection, I was able to give them something, and they gave something to me. That’s a big part of the walk and if I get too caught up on the superhero stuff, the physical stuff, I’ll miss out on that social component.
- Stop and smell the roses: likewise I go in search of spiritual nourishment, and if I don’t stop when I see a beautiful place and ENJOY it and SHARE it, I’m doing the wrong thing.
- With solar battery (bought one at a camping/fishing shop along the way), I can potentially stay online continuously during the day. I’ll need to look at a wearable camera (go-pro?) and the possibility of setting up a channel where it’s just Captain Australia walking .. main thing being to share our magnificent country as I see it (and also, it’s like a dash-cam, if I did get caught in an antisocial situation, at least it’s recorded — those ‘dogs’ I mentioned before, I can’t show you anything to substantiate the encounter, I was too busy reaching for my heavy maglite torch and the metal spike that holds my charity banner into the ground, because I was 50/50 worried about a 3v1 physical fight happening. (They had been following me in secluded rural total darkness for half an hour)
- Get better with storytelling. By that I don’t mean fiction! but rather I am creating a (hopefully interesting) story as I go, and I need to get better at all the aspects of recording and sharing it. Wobbly videos, ill conceived rambling speeches — I don’t want to undermine the importance and seriousness of the charity by not putting the proper effort into showing good video. I want to be completely authentic, but not lazy and shoddy.
- Kids are fascinated by me. I need to lean into that, I *loved* hanging out with this young family, the dad (Dan) contacted me about meeting up, and I had the privilege of meeting his young boys. Through the day, I saw kids on the way to school, and made a point to stop and fist-bump, or grin and wave. I just need to be mindful that I don’t expose any personal information about these kids, or even video the encounters ? I’m not sure – there’s something so sweet and fun about hanging out with kids and asking their questions, but I’m not sure if that’s something to share with the wider public or hold it back. But yeah, had a blast hanging out with this family, it was really nice.
- it may be hot during the day, but be prepared for cold at night. I was shivering sleeping rough last night 11 degrees, as my core (gut) and arms were covered in really just a t-shirt layer. I should also look at a hammock or some kind of easily deployed sleeping solution.
- I can walk continuously for almost 24 hours, but by the end I’m wrecked. Even building stamina to the point where I can sustain it without wrecking myself, I don’t WANT to. That’s not what my BIG WALK is about. It’s good to know I can though. I think by the time I start my BIG WALK (26.12.21) I’ll have lost the last of this cancer/thyroid weight. (December I weighed almost 140kg – today it’s around 93, but peak weight for me is probably about 80)
Anyway that’s where I landed, and yesterday afternoon and today have been about restoring my sleep cycle, resting my weary bones, and letting the blisters on my feet heal up.
I’ll try and break the video into smaller more digestible pieces – this compilation comes in at almost 2 hours ! But here’s the video stuff for anybody who wants a look. I’ll also figure out what training/test/promotion/doom-dare I plan to do next. Leading up to the BIG WALK, I want to keep pretty active, get stronger, and also build awareness and support for the charity.
It’s The Kids’ Cancer Project, and if you can find it in your heart, please DONATE today, all funds go directly to research into bettering treatments for paediatric cancer.