Day Twenty Seven (21 January)

Shivering. Really properly shivering. I tolerated it for as long as I could, but I seriously started to worry about hypothermia at one point.

In another example of my boofhead-edness, I really hadn’t planned for cold. It was high summer. I thought *maybe* by the time I got to Victoria, it would be a factor. I had the blanket given to me by Murray and Donna (from Murray’s mum, lost to cancer), but even with that, so cold.

Why ?

In the rain and dark the night before, I’d foolishly headed straight into the dunes and looked for viable trees.

Not safe, not smart, trip hazards, pests – so I’d tried to be as quick and methodical as I could – and I chose a bad spot.

High set with no natural windbreak.

As you’ll see from the videos, that icy ocean wind driving right up my butt-crack and spine was incredible. I needed to get up and get moving.

With trembling hands, I gathered my gear together as carefully as I could, and started walking down the beach.

Before too long I was singing 🙂

(ill advised to record / live stream it – but gotta keep it real, eh ?)

The payoff was watching the sunrise – not just the glorious light of dawn, but the whole thing, from inky blackness to those first glimmers, to radiant beams through the clouds.

It felt like a personal gift, just for me. I stopped to record it, for you and for my boys.

As I lay there, recording the sunrise, I was shivering still. I just tried compressing time, making the video play 2500 times faster, to see if the sunrise blooming at fast speed looked as beautiful as I imagine it could – but the camera wobble is disorienting because I wobble and shiver.

Once the sun was up fully, I continued on to Forster Tuncurry. I was camped out at the start of “Nine Mile Beach”. Not sure if it’s actually nine miles, but once things warmed up, it was a pleasant walk.

I ambled into town late-morning, and immediately met this lovely lovely young man whose name I just can’t remember. Another sad example of failing to collect the great people, share their stories, I guess.

Kind, intelligent, articulate, we had a great long chat.

He led me to the cafe where he worked and we shared a coffee and talked about his life. I think he was only 18 or 19 years old, and escaping a familial history with some darkness – a story not unlike my own.

He talked to me about homelessness, especially wandering indigenous (he shared the heritage), about charity and also rip-tearer-young-bloke stuff like learning to fly (I think he wanted to get his helicopter license).

I just wish I could remember his name, or that I interviewed people like this.

I continued into Forster-Tuncurry, crossing that long undulating bridge (twice). I actually bumped into the lovely Deb from Black Head again (there for a physio appointment or something, from memory). It was late morning and I was thinking about a spot of lunch, and finding a gift and a post office (it was my middle son, Sullivan’s birthday coming up in early February), then continue south for Newcastle.

I was having a wander, half-arsed looking for shops or markets and mulling over the plan for the rest of the day, when I heard from Lynette, the unofficial “Mum” of the BIG WALK.

She had shown relentless support, insisting I take meals, get rest, a very kind and nurturing person (so we had a joke where I would always just say “Yes Mum” when being bossed around, haha)

She had lined up a cabin at a local caravan park, and I was both grateful and delighted but also a little bit cross – because (I’m not 100% sure) I think she paid for it, and i didn’t want people doing that.

(Also, even though I was tired, I was pretty keen to push onward for Sydney)

But first and foremost: the delightful kindness, never discourage kindness.

This is a video where I’m wandering back and forth across the bridge, and manage to tick off a daily donor dare of doom by getting a truck driver to HONK-HONK at me.

I managed to bump into Deb from Black Head again (what a lovely person) and you get to meet her and say a bit of a hello in the video.

It was a lovely, sunshiney day 🙂

I wound up having to backtrack and cross the magic bridge again, as the caravan park was on the northern outskirts of town (Twin Dolphins)

But it sure was a relief to get into that cabin and lay aside my heavy pack for the day. (Thank you Lynette!)

Switching to the cleaner uniform and leaving the mask and utility belt and all that stuff behind, I spent an hour or two strolling around trying to find a gift for my son.

He’s a hard kid to shop for – and I was a bit stressed out, because delivery times with Australia Post were apparently quite compromised (the covid train was still chugging along at full speed). I needed to get something out TODAY, the idea of missing his birthday was already gutting me – not having a present for him would be terrible.

But search and search. No joy.

I ended up buying a cool 3D superhero themed card, and sending him a bundle of money.

I know that probably sounds wierd, but he’s on the spectrum and he REALLY likes the idea of money (don’t we all ?!), so I knew a bundle of cash would groove him.

Plus I had a bit over $200 (twenty dollar bills) where people had made cash donations & I’d processed them online using our family credit card (then I pocket the cash for food and whatnot).

So I wound up sending him 11 twenty dollar bills (one for each year of his life) and learned later that he loved it.

I like turning almost anything into learnables with my kids, especially Sully, who really benefits from seeing different angles on things.

An autistic person can have a very narrow focus, like anything there are strengths and weaknesses to it – but I feel that one of the biggest gifts I can give my son is a widened perspective.

So. Teachables. He apparently had some great long talks with Mum about how to spend the money, the benefit of saving, all that ‘kid business’

Me ? I hit up Woolies and wandered back to the caravan park to catch up on the news. The TV in the cabin wasn’t working properly, but I jumped on the phone and did a quick live stream, then spent the afternoon catching up on comments (which included a local radio station that wanted to do an interview the following morning).

After that, a long and deep sleep.