I’d spent the night at the Ridgewell property, sleeping in a kids’ bedroom. (I think the kids had been relocated to a kind of family sleepover tent in the main living room).
It was tremendous hospitality and fellowship, I had a great time with these lovely people. Warm conversation, joking around, after being on the road for so long, long days of walking, these little islands of light and hospitality were absolutely delightful.
But as they say, ‘all good things must come to an end’. All cleaned up, fed and groomed, I slung the old pack over the shoulder and hit the road again.
Thankfully, with companions 🙂
It was a lovely morning walk, through very pretty country-side, sharing friendly and funny chat with wonderful companions.
I learned that Sarah (mum) was a spiritualist. (This will come up again later, in a ?haunted? pub in Trafalgar).
She told me about how the walk was inspiring her, reminding her that love was really the only thing that mattered, and that we should diligently try to find ways through darkness and trauma.
I feel like there’s a story there, but didn’t want to pry, I just think she’s a wonderful and outstanding person, and I’m honoured to consider her a friend going forward.
After a pleasant half hour or so, we made it into the middle of Nowa Nowa.
Holy Moly, I look weird in this photo to the right.
Well, let’s face it, I look weird in pretty much all of the photos, but there’s something about the pose, the tummy, the outfit, the hair .. it just makes me giggle.
The sweet young ladies, all normal looking, smiling, thumbs up – it only adds to my weirdness, making me stand out more, haha.
But the people in town embraced me and my cause, it was lovely, which leads me to Inca, this outstanding, phenomenal young lady who I met at the local cafe.
I’ll let the interview (right & below) talk for itself, but this wonderful young lady gave the savings from her moneybox to The Kids’ Cancer Project, and had collected a list of questions from her class-mates.
It was so much fun to make this young person giggle, and I was delighted to know that somehow I’d inspired these kids, even if just a little. Kindness and inspiration work that way, share it and it loops back to you.
That tree root gave me the creeps, by the way, apparently collected from the site of a massacre of indigenous people (I don’t know the story, just what I was told later).
We hung out for about an hour, then the old boofhead had to make a move, so with hugs, handshakes and goodbyes, I hit the road.
The kids were able to follow me for a little bit, which was a special joy, and even though it rained heavily throughout the day, I did have a bunch of fun & joyful encounters on the road.
That day, I only had to walk about 25km (only he says, when that’s about six hours uphill and burdened).
It was early afternoon when I arrived at Lakes Entrance, and got a couple of lovely invitations, the first was from Ewan at Big Bear Donuts, and the second was a warm bed on offer from Wendy at the Bamboo Motor Inn.
Delighted with both, I legged it into town, with a few g’days and hellos on the way in. I met this large gaggle of kids on the outskirts, but didn’t get a photo, didn’t feel right, but we did have a nice chat.
Lakes Entrance is a lovely holiday-type town, but the tourist trade had pretty-much died during the covid crisis, and was just now beginning to rally.
Even so, Ewan and the team at Big Bear Donuts showed incredibly support as I ambled into town – as you’ll see in the video, they made a “Captain Australia Donut” ! (and sold it the following day with proceeds – about $500 – to the charity)
What marvelous support. What wonderful kindness. I was absolutely stoked.
Wendy at the Motor Inn was an absolute crackerjack too. We had breakfast together (A couple of Cap Donuts) on Day 71, so I’ll tell you more about her then.
Once I was settled in at the motel, I started to get a bunch of messages from local people wanting to meet.
Some were hurt people, struggling, in need of support, and I didn’t really collect pictures or video because the chats felt deeply personal.
I was touched and humbled though, by their trust, and that they saw kindness and humility and no judgement in me.
So I had some pretty heavy conversations that afternoon, all about grief, and hope. Finding the courage that you need to push through patches of tremendous darkness.
It ended on a high note though, got a message from a local parent that a couple of families with a bunch of kids were really eager to meet me.
So I threw the uniform back on (well, kinda .. most of it) and headed out to the pier, and had some lovely chats with random people in the warm night, while waiting for these families.
(And when I found them, some good fun, giggles and photos).
After that, I retired back to the motel and feel into a long and deep sleep. Completely dreamless and completely unbroken.
(It was so wonderful to get a good 9 hours or more of continuous sleep – during my fight with cancer, I’d lost that, and could never sleep more than a couple of hours at a time).