So I woke up at sparrowfart (if you’re not from Australia, “sparrowfart” is a term for early in the morning, apparently because it’s so quiet you could hear a sparrow farting. We have other similar colourful phrases such as “I’m so hungry I could eat the arse off a chinaman through a cane-chair”. (I offer that for posterity and apologise for it’s inappropriateness in light of current standards. I have respect and brotherly affection for people from China, cane chairs, farting, sparrows .. but .. well, maybe not cannibalism.
I rode the train & bus out to a place called Coomera, and began a long and windy walk down the Gold Coast.
Siri and Google Maps led me astray at first, suggesting there was a shortcut if I wound around back behind Dreamworld (a local theme park with a storied history). I did that, and it was worth it, meeting a couple of lovely blokes who pulled up for a chat, and even made donations to the charity — BUT it unnecessarily added about 6-8km to my journey, because the map expected me to execute some kind of polevault over a high fence (with spikes on it) land on train tracks, and walk over a long train bridge (ignoring government warnings that if I attempted this, there’d be trouble)
So I got back on track and headed into the coast.
It was a long, hot morning, not a storm in sight – and I had hoped and expected to be lashed by thunderbolts and lightning (very very frighting!) all day, have a real weather-test.
I met so many lovely people. The GC is full of friendly, decent people who will pull over for a chat, ask all kinds of insightful questions, just plain great stuff. It has a rough reputation (a bit at least) these days, increasing street violence, and I certainly DID see a kid getting bashed at Southport last weekend (and intervened, yelling at the attackers who scattered and ran). But yesterday, I was amazed and inspired by the kindness.
A family with a gorgeous young dude named Levi (toddler) pulled over for a chat, and gave me an icy cold coke & water.
I met this wonderful woman who had suffered setback after setback fighting her way back from hospital acquired post surgical infection and sepsis. Almost a year of horrible suffering. But she was strong, vibrant, leaning into her health. Her hope was wobbly, but I like to think I was able to give some encouraging words that helped her to see that hope is the most fundamental and important tool in any fight. The belief that “I can win this”.
Some really great, colourful people. Kindness. Chats. The walk itself came in close to 40km, but I actually spent more than 10 hours ‘down the Coast’ with all the rambling and G’days.
At the end, the thunderstorm DID hit, and I was able to walk for a half hour or so through lashing rain.
The bag, the boots, everything, withstood it really well. The pants regrettably weren’t great, soaked through very quickly, and even though the socks were sealskin and water resistant, I could feel them becoming gluggy … but I reckon even in severe rain, I could walk for hour stints, dry off, rest a bit, repeat. Unless the weather is outright dangerous, I’m pretty confident now I can sustainably walk all day even in grim weather.
Today (Sunday) I’ve just been chilling at home, joking around with the kids on-and-off while I look at setting up a t-shirt store. (Yep, not my forte).
It’s been suggested I need to figure out cryptocurrency and receive donations in that format – but I just can’t wrap my head around that, or how I’d manage the process of collection, conversion and passing to The Kids’ Cancer Project (they don’t touch it). When I started out, I figured it could all be online and I wouldn’t have to worry about anything but the walking.
But at a minimum, cash donations have been a major consideration and something to factor in. At least it’s easy. I take a little video with the person’s details, take the cash, and when I get to a shady or quiet spot I just process them (making a donation myself, you might see “Roadside” next to somebody’s name on the charity page (https://captain-australias-big-walk.raisely.com/) but it’s actually a donation against my credit card and cash into my pocket.
So it’s all a bit more complex than I’d first planned, and I’m just an old boofhead.
I *THINK* I’m a smart person .. maybe some chemo-induced cognitive decline, but still smart – but playing around with one of these t-shirt websites (where a company, in this case Tee Junction in Melbourne does everything, but I have to create a vendor site and the designs), this was my best effort:
I’d absolutely welcome any feedback – I’m going to try and find a designer willing to work for free (COVID killed my travel insurance company, and all profit goes to The Kids’ Cancer Project).
So that’s a project to look at when I’m on a rest/family day.
Tomorrow I’ll dress up as Captain Australia again, and walk out to Jindalee where I’m planning to buy a solar blanket (small) to add to my kit to make sure I’m as independant as possible. There will be some points in the BIG WALK when I will be away from towns for up to 3 days, so I need to carry enough water, and the solar blanket will help me make sure I can stay in touch.