Day Seventy One (6 March)

Day 71. Getting there. But still a lot of story left.

I woke well rested thanks to my mate Wendy and her hospitality at the Bamboo Motor Inn. And although it was raining pretty heavily, I was bouyant, almost giggly.

Why ?

I had a donut named after me, and was on my way to go and try one (thanks to Big Bear Donuts, Lakes Entrance)

On the way to the Donut shop, I passed a store with this bag in the window.

Haha, look at that poser !

Did he have his own donut ?!

No he bloody-well didnt !

(Or maybe he does)

Fine, mad respect Batman, you’d win in a punchup with Captain Australia, no doubt. Many would in fact, because punchups are not what I’m about.

So … almost skipping with glee (despite the rain), I got to Big Bear Donuts, and took the video below, showing off the … TA-DA! … Captain Australia DONUT !

Haha, so awesome and strange, so wonderful of them to do it. They raised about five hundred bucks for The Kids’ Cancer Project !

Thank you Ewan, that was tremendous, mate

They gave me an extra donut for Wendy, and our bold hero Captain Australia skipped his way back through the driving rain to the motel to pack and say goodbye (over a donut).

Wendy was really great, an inspiring person with her own story (but I won’t share it here, it’s hers – not mine). After a donut each, I got my gear together and hit the road.

I was getting pretty enthusiastic greetings as I walked around, I wish I’d dreamed up “Captain Australia’s BIG TALK” and used it to good effect.

Today, a monster in thailand killed dozens of children (and staff) at a daycare centre – in the face of that darkness and hopelessness, we have to rally, have to fight.

I can’t address wide-scale social issues, mental health, supports, add in the different countries and cultural question – I can’t address any of that.

But killing people is wrong. Killing children is diabolical. Pure darkness.

And we can fight darkness, by lighting our little candles every day. Sharing. Being honest. Talking about how we build hope, how we overcome our own challenges and sorrow.

Sharing those tools with other people.

Maybe the “BIG TALK” can do that, even if just a little.

Day 72 was a long, winding, rainy day through pretty country towns and bushland areas.

More than 40km all told.

That’s sinking in for me, now. At 5km per hour, that’s 8 hours of consistent walking. Through rain. Burdened. After 71 days of prior walking.

Good job, old fella.

(Sorry, I know I shouldn’t publicly pat myself on the back, I’ll leave shameless self promotion to people like Donald Trump).

As you’ll see in the video below, there was a funny moment when I came upon a family of duckies.

Mum, Dad, a half dozen teeny little kids.

And they were trying to cross the freeway.

Not knowing if I was filming the beginning of a horror movie, I turned on the camera, jumped in and did my best to help ferry them safely across the road.

The dad duck had a close call, but I was able to chase the rest of them across in a traffic lull.

Another victorious and heroic deed from our bold hero 😀

The rest of the afternoon was just rain, rain and more rain.

I did get to bump into Nigel from Merimbula again (lovely bloke), and met a bunch of lovely people eager to talk, even in the driving rain.

I regret cutting some of those encounters short because of the weather, I should have just embraced the joys of it instead of sticking with this ‘keep moving old fella’ thing in the back of my mind.

Really the rain was just an excuse, I suppose.

I sit here, regretting that rush-keep-moving mentality, yet at the same time .. it was a Quest.

Right or wrong, good, bad or indifferent, it was my Quest.

And I don’t think I finished it. I think I mind-tricked myself into lurching over the finish line, ticking as many boxes as possible, but missed the signs staring me in the face: This is Positive. You have a chance to help people.

After a long day’s walk, I found a little bus shelter about 8km out of Bairnsdale, and sat down for a dry rest. The rain was relentless.

I met a bunch of lovely people on the road, some who even drove down to be at Federation Square when I crossed the finish line (what a joy), I think I was inspiring people – but in the rain and the toil of it, I don’t think I was properly mindful of it.

I think I could have done better.

I was able to follow the East Gippsland Rail Trail into town, and while on the road I got a new DAILY DONOR DARE OF DOOoOOOM (to do athletic/funny poses at an all ability playground – had to leave it for the morning, given the weather).

I also learned that a local (Sarah) had been in touch with the Tanjil Motor Inn about some hospitality (which was just lovely), and the joy of a hot shower (and later a spa bath!) after a long, cold rainy walk – it was incredible.

Suffering doesn’t last forever – and it can amplify joy.

By the time I got to Bairnsdale,I was cold and wet and ready for a rest. I stopped to pick up a bit of Chinese food, but then headed straight for the motel.

It felt to me like larger towns weren’t as aware and welcoming as the smaller country towns, but in actual fact I think it was all in my head.

On arriving at Bairnsdale for example, it felt like there were no waves, beeps and hellos – but in fact I was head-down-bum-up-rush-to-rest, so probably wasn’t properly doing my part.

When I made it to the Tanjil Motor Inn, it was an absolute joy. I was greeted by Sarah and the lovely couple who own and operate it, and they took me to a warm, safe room with all the amenities an old boofhead could need (including a big spa bath … ohh boy did I dissolve into that thing, every muscle tingling with pleasure).

Another update for the people who were watching, and then a long, deep and dreamless sleep.