“That looks like a massive stash of drugs.”

My housemate was looking at the neatly laid out plastic packages. They covered the entire carpet in the lounge room of our sharehouse. It was a big carpet.

“It’s food. 74 days of food” I said.

“That’s a lot of food.”

“I only hope it will be enough” I replied.

It was mid May in 2014 and preparations for my Australian Alps walk were in full swing.

“How long do you have to walk again?” she asked.

“800kms, with side trips” I replied.

“And you can’t buy food along the way?”

“No towns. Only mountains.”

My housemate looked at me confounded and paused before asking her next question.

“You’ve done something like this before, right?” she asked eventually.

“Kind of…” I didn’t want to tell her the truth.

Snowgum at sunset, The Bluff, Victorian Alps

Snowgum at sunset, The Bluff, Victorian Alps

I remember the day my maps were delivered in the mail. All 27 of them.

I laid them out neatly on the floor, and highlighted the Australian Alps Walking Track (AAWT), then pinned them on my wall. At least I managed to pin half of them, the other half wouldn’t fit. I stared at that highlighted line marking the track as it wound its way across my wall, shrunk down by 50 thousand times compared to real life. It still seemed too long.

“I’m going to have to walk a bloody long way.” I thought to myself then.

As I continued my research, each new revelation added to the number of my friends who were concerned about my mental well being.

“You’re going to do it alone?”

“Aren’t you going to get lonely?”

“What if you get lost?”

I even had a friend message me just before I left, wishing me luck and that she was hoping I’d still be able to hold a conversation when I returned.

That’s when it hit me.

My friends have no idea what it’s like being alone in the mountains for that long.

To be away from our comfortable lifestyle that we have grown accustomed to can be truly terrifying. To abandon all that is known for the unknown, takes a leap of faith.

Yet, it is only by taking the leap that any rewards in life may be gained.

The Main Range, viewed from near Mt Tate.

The Main Range, viewed from near Mt Tate.

To next chapter: The long and winding road