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Day 13: Slowing Down

It feels SO great to be on the road again! The feelings of liberation I've experienced walking across country like this are unlike anything I've experienced before. Still recovering from injury, I feel even more lucky to be able to take a slower pace as I warm up to longer distances. I knew walking would give me a chance to really observe and absorb my surroundings to an much greater degree than if I were driving, or even cycling through. But I can even notice how much more I able to absorb and appreciate when my target for the day is 20 km and not 35.

I think I've taken more photos than I've walked kilometres today. There's a little bit of poetry seemingly everywhere I look, from the single gnarly-branched Eucalypt silhouetted against a forest straight-trunked plantation timber, to the rusting farm machinery in field long-since abandoned, native saplings coming through as nature reclaims its space. I wish I could walk just 20 km every day.

Other than that, it has been quite an uneventful day. I can still feel the muscles in my left shin when going down hills. It's a good thing that I'm working up to bigger distances as I don't yet think it's fully healed. For that reason I've been walking on the grassy shoulder of the road when I can - the bitumen is just too damn hard.

I met Joe briefly today. As I was approaching the intersection of Mt Clay Rd and The Great Ocean Rd he was doing some sort of manual labour (interesting that I can't recall what) on the side of the road. "Where ya headed?" Came the introduction.


"You're f*cking crazy", he remarked, cheerily. "Go left".

We had a little yarn and I wandered off, amused by our short conversation. It's interactions like this that actually go a long way towards feeling supported along the journey. Thanks Joe.

At one point I came across a fence that was littered with used shoes. I thought it was pretty neat, and quite relevant! So I took a photo.

Then I was lucky enough to be stopped by Marcus, who had pulled over to have a chat. I realised quickly that I was talking to quite a special person, who had lived many experiences and had much wisdom to share. A local to the Portland area, he has worked in a variety of areas, from being a tradie to running a surf school for at-risk youth and now supporting people who have left incarceration. He is such an experience-rich guy, and he just oozes integrity and enthusiasm. I feel very fortunate that our paths crossed. I hope we meet again.


Now I'm tucked up behind a local CFA, counting my lucky stars that I continue to have these incredible experiences, all in the name of conservation.

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