Determination and unwavering belief in the dignity of refugees walking to flee war gets me through six tough days of walking. Days not made difficult by the nature of the walking but by double and triple shifts at work. Fill in shifts for colleagues who are unwell or otherwise absent. Shifts that will make it possible for me to take holidays later in the year but that wear me down now during this month of walking.
Day 10 starts at 8pm. Paul walks the first 6km with me and then I am alone with my thoughts. I get through it and am happy to be in double digits.
Day 11 brings a stunning sunrise over local swamps. It’s a blessing for which I am grateful. Something I wouldn’t see if not for this challenge.
Day 12 is lit by the full moon. Small waves break on the beach as I walk my laps of the Deception Bay waterfront. Paul and our workmates are playing tennis. I stop by and discocer one lap of the courts is 100m and one lap of the nearby football fields is 400m. Two of our workmates walk two 400m laps with me before I head back out to the waterfront.
On day 13 I have a few hours between shifts so squeeze in a seaside march in blustery conditions. I’d love to have been able to savour the experience but all I have tine for is a quick shower and on to the day’s third shift.
Hitting the two week mark on day 14 also sees me hit the wall. I’ve worked over 50 hours this week and my body protests. A sore throat and onset of a head cold causes me to leave work early. I sleep the afternoon away and contemplate defeat. But I’d regret that later so force myself on. A night walk through the suburbs provides a change from my usual waterfront loops.
On day 15 I stay in my pyjamas until midday. I’ve reported unfit for work because I don’t want to give my clients my cold. My boss is all good and knows I will still make my walk. Besides, I’m a casual so simply don’t get sick pay. I walk the familiar paths of Scarborough where we used to live. It’s pretty and thr lack of time pressure makes it all the more wonderful.
Distances: 12.0km each day
Cumulative distance: 194.6km
To support me in this challenge, I invite you to make a donation to the Australian Red Cross at http://challenge.redcross.org.au/andrewgills