Day Forty Nine (12 February)

Now, look here, you.

Reading along like this, some kind of big-brained reader. Nobody reads these days, what are you doing ??

Look mate, you owe me one, OK, c’mon. I need you to recognise this next little bit as a HEROIC ACT. (an heroic act?)

Mundane, yes, but Day 49 was HEROIC.

Why ? I woke up in the Marlin Hotel, wondering what that BOOM-BOOM-BOOM noise was, and how urgently to make it stop. It was a rainy morning, and you could hear it pelting against the roof and the window-pane, but the booming was all in my head. I was hung over for the first time in .. YEARS.

But .. Captain Australia .. that’s not HEROIC ?

No, indeed.

But I fell out of bed, rolled around a bit, put on my clean(er) uniform, and toddled out of the Marlin Hotel to do some superhero laundry.

It was a saturday morning. I’m an old man, and my head felt like a bagfull of stinging arseholes.

I’d been on the road 48 days, and was offered a day of rest at the Marlin, but resolved to push forward and continue my Quest.

So yeah, in that wider context, laundry is pretty HEROIC.

And I was rewarded for my diligence, I met the utterly delightful Kathie and Sophie, and this wonderful fellow Alan from FOXY’S CAFE (who I think I subsequently kept calling Adam – sorry mate!)

Alan invited me in, cooked me up a big breakfast and told me how well the community had rallied together through the COVID nightmare.

While I was toddling around, getting my head straight, I had this delightful encounter with a family affected by paediatric cancer (see the video).

Thank you so much for your kindness to an old boofhead, Elise, Jamie and Tracey (Mum).

Elise was in the middle of a fight with cancer, but she was by far more strong and light-filled than I was.

I think she’d make a great next Captain Australia.

I’ll let the video speak for itself, but it’s worth a watch, I think those sisters, lives touched by cancer, were marvelous, and under mums’ guidance had done a much better job with the whole mess than I did.

While I waited for my laundry to dry, I sat there in the delightful FOXY’S, drinking marvelously strong coffee and eating a tremendous meal.

My hangover was still there, but fading to a background discomfort.

I’m really grateful to Ulladulla and their kindness and enthusiasm.

Speaking of which, I kept getting these cryptic little messages from Scotty, who I’d met the day prior. He works at the Marlin and is a lovely bloke – and he wanted to send me on a mission to COLES where he thought his friends would get a great kick out of seeing Captain Australia.

Always happy to comply, I did as he asked, but nobody seemed to notice me. I realise now, if I wasn’t wearing the mask, I was just some old boofhead – but if the mask was up, I was Captain Australia, and people were enjoying that.

I think done again, I’d spend more time purely as Captain Australia – there was no real difference between Simon and Cap, no ‘getting into character’ (we were one and the same) … but … if it was giving people a boost or a giggle, then walking around in full costume all the time really isn’t that hard.

Not sure if I was lazy or shy or not wanting to freak/scare people .. or a combination of those things.

I’d normally only have the full mask on in particularly sunny days (the uniform is marvelous for preventing sunburn, except for weird little red bits around my mouth and on my fingertips).

As you can see in this picture, before leaving The Marlin and Ulladulla, I had another little McGyver moment, where the strap on my first-aid kit broke.

Clever old fella, I was actually carrying a safety pin, which I used to secure it – then GOOD TO GO.

Time to hit the road.

First though, a round of thank yous, especially to these two members of staff (Vicki and Judy)

I don’t think it was until about 11:30 when I finally hit the road – and I had about 55km until Batemans Bay, so my plan was to knock as much of that over as possible, ideally get to the halfway point, and then roll into Batemans the following afternoon.

It was a really pleasant walk, that day, even after the weather hit, and I met some WONDERFUL people.

Let me tell you about this bloke I met on the road, Shaun, as I feel a kinship with him and hope we can be friends for life.

Indigenous background (Koori mob), and a life chased by hardship and sorrow. But we was lifting himself up.

I think we immediately saw that in each other, that turning away from darkness, both being disciples of Hope.

We met on the side of the road near Burrill Lake, and I could tell right away he was a special person..

We exchanged quick life stories, earnest respectful compliments for each other, and everything was strangely abbreviated, there was a kind of ‘shortcut’ to all of it, because I think we are meant to know each other and the pieces just naturally fell into place. We ‘got’ each other.

Funny story – he started a car detailing business up and down the south coast, and a less-than-ethical competitor had been messing with him, leaving drunken phone calls, that kinda thing.

When I was talking about Shaun over the next few days in live stream, he started to get nasty messages from his competitor which I find hilarious, surreal and a little bit sad “So you got fucken CAPTAIN AUSTRALIA on your side now you little fucken c*** ?!”

I just find the idea that a professional person rings another one ranting about CAPTAIN AUSTRALIA helping their business, haha.

(he couldnt seem to understand how Shaun’s diligence and work ethic was what was attracting customers)

It wasn’t my intention to get into a south-coast-car-detailing-mafia-style war, I’d just had the privilege of meeting a completely outstanding human.

And you know what ? Just over the bridge and I meet ANOTHER ONE.

This guy is Steve, he had head & neck cancer like me, but a tougher run, his jawbone had to be removed during treatment, and we share a lot of similar side effects other than that.

He’s just a beautiful person.

He really took a shine to me, and the walk, like many seeing it as a concrete fighting back against cancer, but also responding to the messages that we can lift ourselves up, and it’s never too late.

Like me, I think Steve has struggled since cancer, finding it difficult to move forward with hope.

He was there with me at the end, at Fed Square in Melbourne, and I love, absolutely love that he’s started a business and steering his life toward happiness

That inspiration that we can take from each other – it’s just gorgeous.

It’s how we make the world better. It’s not waving signs and shouting – it’s doing our best in the face of adversity, and reaching out to lift each other up, help each other to do the same.

Speaking of inspiration, this young man is Jhye (and that’s his mum, Heidi). Just another wave in this relentless assault of incredible people met on the road that day.

Like my son, Sullivan, Jhye is on the spectrum, and I sincerely feel that I have a special ability to connect with kids and adults on the spectrum – just a kind of flexibility in posture & simpleness in approach that allows me to bypass or push through awkward social moments as I try and find and share the best of myself & others.

This kid Jhye, he’d drawn me this super-duper rock & roll picture of a nascar, which sadly got saturated in the rain.

A picture might only last a day, but the kindness and support can echo on for years to come.

What a lovely young man. In the coming weeks I got regular messages of encouragement from Jhye and his Mum, and it never failed to lift me up, make me feel less alone on the dusty road.

Here’s an example of the kind of encouragement, a video he sent in that final push for Melbourne:

Better than Batman ! Spiderman ! And someone else !!!


Can you get much better than that ? No. You bloody well can’t.


I’m really grateful to Jhye for his support, not just for the boost it gave, for how it made me feel – but for the way it was teaching me about this connectedness of kindness. The way the good things we do can resonate – that ripple effect.

I lift people up, they lift me up, it’s this wonderful, powerful circle – that we create together.

And let me acknowledge this lovely bloke Todd, who joined me on his pushbike, traveling quite a ways on that long and rainy afternoon.

A local fisherman, he told me a lot about the area and it’s beaches, and we shared many jokes and musings, he really was a wonderful companion.

If fate allows me to take the BIG LAP, it’d be great to have someone like Todd with me up the west coast. Easy going personality, bike to carry extra water, skilled fisherman to supplement our rations.

Jeez, this isn’t a story but just a long series of shout-outs. I just met so many gorgeous souls that long and hungover day.

(Including Zach and his majestic beard and the big hearted Ashley again .. fellas from the Ulladulla pub — bumped into on the way home from cricket)

And, last but not least there’s my dear mate Einstein.

(This is where he started following along daily)

I’ve asked Einstein if he might make a little video telling you who he is, why he saw value in the walk, and the adventures we had together in the week or two that he followed along (more on that in the days to follow, but he loosely followed me until Eden).

Another kindred spirit, someone broken by experience, their light dimmed.

But what I love about Einstein (and people in general) is that when you brush away the dust, the shadow, you’ll often find a bright and sweet light underneath.

In the days that followed, Einstein would explore,range ahead, swim, walk, and he became a kind of Disciple of the BIG WALK.

Overcoming his own sorrow, suffering and grief, cancer and strife, I can’t tell you how much I loved .. adored .. the transformation in this clever, big hearted and gentle man.

Save but one life .. and you save the world, entire.