The Happy Walk Week 11 Stanley

Saturday, Dec 01, 2012 at 21:14


While continuing to rest and recover, this week has given me plenty of time to think about what is important.

Last week in Strahan I had a little scare as I spent 3 of the 4 days of the fever oxygen deprived, ashen corpse like face with blue lips, waking every 30 minutes or so choking and passing out when I tried standing. Crawled to the bathroom several times because I didn't have enough oxygen to stand and walk. On reflection I should have called for help.

This week I tried walking but the flu had left me with a very annoying gaggy cough so I managed only about 10km each day and 22km on Thursday. It was disappointing but I just had to remember it was out of my control and had to roll with it.

Thankfully my mind stayed strong and I thought about the things in life I most value.

Have you ever sat down and thought about these things? It is a very good exercise to help focus on people, places and activities that bring love, happiness and peace into your life.

I made a list of mine so I'll share my top 10 with you. You might have some of the same things on your's.

Family - Mum, Dad, Ooma, Linda, Candy, Jesse, Belle, Jazzy, Steve, Sil, Brodie, Jayde, Abby, all my uncles, aunties and cousins, Sil's family and Merle who is like family and has been my Ooma's good friend for longer than I have been alive and taken care of her as she closes in on 100yrs.

Friends - Old childhood friends I am still in touch with, the memories of others I no longer know. Close friends I have made through my adult years of travel, volunteering and work and new friends who have found me through our passion to make this world a better place. Many of my friends are true inspirations whose lives I am in awe of, some do but most don't know just how amazing they are.

Love - Not romance but the love we all experience for the people we care about, the things we enjoy and feeling compassion and protection for humans, other animals and our precious Earth. I have only recently started to understand what love is and I know it will be a lifelong lesson that will enrich every moment of my life.

Happiness - In many different forms from side splitting laughter to that feeling of quiet inner peace you get when everything is as it should be. It is not necessary to be happy all the time, not many of us can keep a genuine smile on our face all day. Life has it's ups and downs but I'm learning to find happiness in even the smallest of things like the scent of a flower, walking in the rain or a memory.

Freedom - To be who I am and do what I want. Here in Australia we have it sweet. We do not need to fear being punished or killed for voicing an opinion or standing up for what we believe in. As a woman I can wear anything, go anywhere, talk to whomever I please, I can have a relationship with another woman if I want. Most importantly for me I can travel all over my country and the world.

Health - I was raised well, fed well, had lots of sunshine and exercise and encouraged to be creative and competitive. I was a very strong child and am still a very strong adult. My body works exactly how it was designed to. Mentally I must stay vigilant of my thoughts, habits and diet and seek help when I need it. My brain has been broken but recovery is helping me live stronger.

Walking - Takes me to amazing places. Since the day I was too heavy to be carried on Dad's back I have enjoyed walking, especially on family holidays in national parks in the bush, mountains and on beaches. Until I was 18 I lived in places where bushwalks started from the doorstep. I'm using walking to recover from depression and PTSD and carry my story of survival around Australia.

Photography - Is just a fun little thing I enjoy. I love capturing beautiful and interest things and sharing them with friends and family all over the world. I love the satisfying feeling of getting a clear macro on my mobile phone camera, saving a lasting image of the vibrant colours of a landscape, moody weather, far away places and friend's faces. Perhaps one day I will do more with it.

Volunteering - Is a great balance of both altruism and self satisfaction. I freely give my time, sometimes experience and knowledge, to a group I feel is doing a great service for animals, the environment or people in need and it saves a lot of money allowing funds to go exactly where they are needed most. Inadvertently I feel good about it, I am part of something special.

Money - Provides comfort in the form of material possessions, shelter and security. I battle with this as a value because I am not a possession orientated person. I live out of a backpack, soon to be a small trekking cart, and have spent most of my adult life as an itinerant. The flip side to having money is being able to help others who need it more than I do.

Getting back to the second one, friends, I am currently in Stanley staying with friends from 21 years ago, Maxine and Graham Wells of the historic Hanlon House Bed and Breakfast. In that time i have had only 2 other opportunities to catch up with them but it feels great being in their caring company. They took me out to dinner at Xanders the first night. It was a real treat! Xanders is awesome and the meals are typical of what you get when the chefs are also artists, not only perfectly prepared, every mouthful an explosion of flavour but bright and beautiful to look at.

Hanlon House is the most comfortable and welcoming bed and breakfast I have ever experienced. Graham and Maxine have put 15 years of hard work into renovating, restoring and constantly improving the historic building that was the residence of Father Hanlon about 100 years ago. Maxine is an awesome breafast cook and they even have some very yummy vegetarian options. In their front yard they get the Bennetts Wallabies and in the back yard they have heaps of little penguins. My room looks out over the beach and some of the rooms look straight up to The Nut.

The Nut is what Stanley is most famous for. It is an impressive land formation created by a volcanic plug. It is a big lump of rock about 143m high stuck on the end of an isthmus. I planned to ride the chairlift up today but it was too windy so I walked, it is a steep walk but less than 500m and once on top there is a 2km circuit track with fabulous views from the lookouts and a stroll through native bushland and ancient Norfolk pines. About 15,000 shearwaters nest on it and the Bennetts wallabies, which look like potaroos, thrive in the bush.

Stanley is very proud of their heritage buildings and many of the old styles have been restored beautifully. It is also the kind of place to visit galleries, top quality art, craft, jewelry, woodworking and local fine food shops, Highfields historic farmstead and The Swinging Anchor Cafe in town serves the best coffee. The 2 beaches as well as The Nut are good walks and the old rail line has been turned into a walking track out along the golf course so there is plenty to do and see.

Earlier this week Tanya from the local paper, Circular Head Chronical, caught up with me in Smithton and the story was published in this week's paper. It was great sitting in the sun with Tanya chatting about depression and being able to help people by recognising the signs and knowing the best ways to lend a hand. One of the interesting things she questioned me about was the slight hypocrisy of walking alone when spending time with family and friends is an import part of maintaining mental health. She made me think about how many of you are with me everyday through emails, supportive messages and on facebook. I'm never truly alone.

I have only one week of walking to go in Tasmania. One more blog before I email out the next big newsletter. If you would like to receive the newsletter, Happ-e-News, and you don't already, please email me at and I'll add you to my contact list.

Take care of yourselves and each other.


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