Walking 100km next week… would love your support!

Like many of us, I have been watching the unfolding Syrian Refuges Crisis and thinking: “What can I do to help?”

I’ve decided to walk 100km the Walk in Her Shoes challenge from 8 to 14 March 2016.  I hope to raise AUD$5000.

It’s my 43rd birthday on 15th March 2016. According to Douglas Adams, 42 should be The Answer. It doesn’t seem to have materialised yet. We’ll see what 43 brings.

So from Tuesday, I’ll be aiming to walk a minimum of 15km every day for a week. I’ll be doing this as well as working, so will be a bit tough, but I’m sure will also be rewarding. London is an amazing city to walk around, so although my legs may feel it a bit, it’ll be with it on many levels. And of course, it’s not like I’m walking to collect water for my own survival, which so many people have to do on a daily basis.  I’ll be walking to support Syrian refugees and women and girls who have to walk an average of 6km every day to collect water and food and firewood in developing countries.

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All I ask is for you to donate the cost of a birthday card. And maybe we can all do something real to help.

Almost 11 million people are in need inside Syria and a further three million have been forced to seek refuge in neighbouring countries.

Women and children make up three-quarters of the refugee population.

Care Australia do great work supporting the Syrian refugees, you can read about all their great work here.

You can donate on my fundraising page here.

 

Walking home through Trafalgar Square

I needed some salty hot chips after work tonight. After indulging I needed to walk home. It was far from a trial.

This evening in London had a blue, cloudless sky. It’s warm. London was sparkling as I wandered through Trafalgar Square.

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St Martin in the Fields

Everyone was smiling.

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Except for this guy.

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The trees are starting to sprout green. I am fascinated by how, every day, the streetscape changes as the trees bloom. It was a gorgeous walk down to the Thames. Big Ben sparkled in the sun this evening.

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The Thames was sparkling too.

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Arty Shot

It felt like a summer party.

Now sipping my sparkling water, and eating my fruit and yoghurt. The salty hot chips were definitely worth it.

 

 

 

 

 

A Walk Along the Thames

So much to do in London – it’s exciting! So much to do – it can be overwhelming. Where to start?

After spending a rainy morning poring over Time Out (I don’t know why Time Out can’t just give you a list of what’s on by date. Really – how hard can it be?) – I was more confused than ever. When the sun came out after lunch (notice I’m getting British already – talking about the weather), I decided to do what is always important to do in a crisis: go and find a book shop and a good coffee.

I wandered down to London Bridge (about 10 mins from home), where I had a vague idea that a book shop might be lurking. Hoorah! Found one, and as fate would have it, right near the door was a copy of Lonely Planet London. Ah – Lonely Planet my old friend, where have I been without you?

Round the corner I wandered into this;

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found a nice cafe, and settled down with my Lonely Planet. Just opening it made me excited. After perusing it for a while, I decide that I have a new mission: to see if I can tick off everything listed in the Lonely Planet to do in London. Quite an ask – oh but it will be fun!

With a nice full belly, and the sun now shining in full, a walk along the Thames was in order. This is the view that greeted me as I walked outside:

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The modern London. You can guess which one is nick named the Walkie-Talkie, and which one the Gherkin.

From here I crossed the road at London Bridge, went beside Borough Market (to be explored another day), to Southwark Cathedral.

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Southwark Cathedral is the oldest cathedral church building in London (wow!). I’m guessing that would be because it is on the south side of the river, and escaped The Great Fire (but don’t quote me on this). Archaeological evidence shows there was Roman pagan worship here well before that. Some believe there was a church here as early as AD 606.

I loved that the courtyard was filled with young people eating food they had bought at the market next door, relaxing with a cigarette (or if they were cool hipsters, an e-cigarette).

I ducked in to check it out. Wow – awesome stuff. I didn’t have any cash on me for the photo permit, so no photos to show you here. I saw Chaucer’s window, dedicated to pilgrims aka Canterbury Tales. William Shakespeare’s brother is buried there as well. There is a lot of wood inside – and it made me wonder if this is what the old St Paul’s might have been like. Oldest wooden effigy of a knight – unknown identity. Was quite moving and beautiful. Truly beautiful place. Will definitely be heading back to explore some more, and maybe check out a choral performance or two.

I followed my feet, and within a few hundred metres found The Golden Hinde. Evidently Sir Francis Drake completed the second-ever circumnavigation of the world between 1577-80 in this galleon ship.

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You can do tours – another thing to add to the list. I couldn’t concentrate on the ship because I was distracted by some cool loud music nearby. I had to go and check it out.

Was great music actually. Playing right beside the ruins of Winchester Palace, one of the largest and most important buildings of medieval London.

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Wandered some more…

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And finally came out by Southwark Bridge. IMG_0769

I say finally, but this whole walk (slow wander really) took me about an hour. Every inch of this city has a story to tell. I’m not sure if I crossed anything off my list, or just added to it.

What’s next?

 

Sydney: My Beautiful City

At 5pm tonight in North Sydney, a storm was brewing. Thunder was roaring, lightening was flashing across the sky – people were madly running for shelter, umbrellas blowing inside out in the chaos.

I wasn’t sure this was a good night to be going for a walk.

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I think I’m addicted to Deep Heat

As I am writing this, I am enjoying a warm comforting glow, spreading across my hips. It is truly sensational.

I have been searching for years for a non-food* reward. You know how it is – you go out, do all that good exercise stuff – and then you are starving! And you think – I deserve a little reward… and the best reward is, well food. Or more precisely chocolate.

I’ve found something better. Yes – even better than chocolate.

Deep HeatIt is so good. So good that I think I am addicted to the cosy warmness. The comforting, relaxing, gooey heat, spreading across my tired (and so deserving) muscles, oozing, creeping gently…

Ok. You get the picture. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. You’ll sleep like a baby.

And the best thing is – its not food (actually, it would be a really bad idea to eat it – don’t do that). So technically its guilt free.

At least until someone tells me why its bad for me in some way. Please don’t do that.

Let me wallow in the Deep Heat after glow just a little while longer.

*Blueberries don’t count. Promise.

Adventure Ready

I’m ready for adventure – literally. I’ve just removed six leeches from my legs after completing a 15 kilometre (undulating…) walk with a 16kg pack – and I feel good.

Even though I have been training to ready myself for walking the Jatbula Trail, which means training up to carry a full pack weight, I wasn’t actually sure I would be feeling good right now. Today was the assessment walk for our little group, and I was nervous when I set out this morning. I had walked with 16kg during training – but not for six hours.

In true adventure style – it rained for a good chunk of our walk. My feet were soaked. Leeches were everywhere. But it was great. Maybe even awesome.

The bush smells beautiful in the rain. The birds were singing. The water balanced on the leaves, sparkling in the light.

My legs are tired, but good tired. My shoulders aren’t sore and I have no major blisters. And the leeches – well they were truly gross. But I walked my 15 kilometres with my full pack – and now I truly feel ready for adventure.

Can’t wait for Jatbula… and the rest…

My Shoulders Feel all Bouncy

I’d forgotten how great it feels. Its been a while.

You see, I am training to carry a full pack, as I am going to walk the Jatbula Trail at the end of June. Its a six day walk, and I need to train up to an 18kg pack – well at least 16kgs at a stretch. I am up to 14 – not too bad all things considered, but still a way to go with only 6 weeks before the trip. So I was pretty excited tonight, when after taking off my pack, instead of collapsing into a small heap – my shoulders felt all bouncy.

For anyone out there who has hiked with a full pack, you will know what I am talking about. This is when you know you’ve turned a corner, your body is getting stronger and you are getting used to carrying the weight. Once you get to this point, you are so used to walking with your pack that when you take it off, you feel as light as a feather. Your shoulders feel like they could almost float away – kind of bouncy. Despite having walked with a pack for an hour or two, you may even be tempted to go for a jog. Maybe.

It got me thinking. Sometimes the best things in life sneak up on us. We are toiling away, maybe feeling like we are just going through the motions, trying to stay focused on an end goal. In the day to day of it all, the end goal can start to look fuzzy, and teasingly out of reach.

Somehow without our noticing, all those little steps have been counting. Just when we least expect it, when we are distracted and slugging away at our day, we notice that something has shifted. We realise that we are actually getting there, making progress.

A similar thing happened with me and food lately. As I have been slowly ramping up my exercise, I have also been trying to eat healthily in preparation for my trip. I noticed that my clothes were feeling a bit loose the other day, so I decided to weigh myself. I was very excited to find that I was at the low side of my healthy weight (well actually 1 kilo under – but don’t tell my mum). So this means that not only do my shoulders feel bouncy, I can sit on my couch and eat a full tub of yogurt after dinner – guilt free.

To the victor goes the spoils.

As we all head into another week, its hard not to feel a bit ‘here we go again’. Its nice to be reminded that all the little steps do add up. When you least expect it, they will creep up on you and put a smile on your face.

You just have to keep walking.