Although I didn’t know at the time, the most difficult part of my trip would come after the completion of my Australian Alps Walk: figuring out how I would incorporate all the lessons I have learnt during my walk into my day to day life.

If there was one thing that was clear upon my return, it was that I wished to communicate my experience of my adventure to as wide an audience as possible. I felt that my walk vastly changed my life for the better, and so I wished to inspire others to undertake a similar journey for their own growth. I realised that I could not simply hold onto my privileged experience to myself, that the greatest good would come out of doing my best to communicate the story of my journey.

Upon completion of my walk, my Mum joined me on a week long road trip to pick up the plastic buckets that held my food for the walk. We drove nearly 2000kms, slept out in mountain huts, and talked at length about my experience. It was the beginning of a debrief that continues to this day. It was during our road trip that I conceived the idea of creating a website to share my experience with a greater audience. And so the toil began.

Mum and I, in a high country hut.

Mum and I, in a high country hut.

I had kept a journal during my walk; I had hundreds of pages of raw content that would give me the foundation for the content of Mountains of Australia. I spent days reading through the journal, and typing up key passages and sentences that I thought would be useful as content. Once I had thus summarised my journal entries into a digital document, I commenced writing the story. Again, I worked for days, and then took a break when I thought I was getting burnt out. When I went back to what I’d written I nearly gave up. The writing was rubbish. I scrapped nearly 5000 words, then started again. Bit by bit, painfully slowly, the story began to take shape.

On top of the written story, I had 2500 images that I took during my walk. These too, needed to be culled down, sorted and edited. I only wanted the cream of the crop displayed on the website. Through a process of trial and error I learnt some basic skills on a photo editing software to enhance the quality of my images.

In hindsight, it is exactly the arduous nature of this project that has made the undertaking worthwhile. The entire process, from start to finish, was of value and resulted in personal growth because I was attempting something I haven’t accomplished before. By biting off more than I could chew at first, I challenged myself and forced myself to rise to the challenge. Only through challenging ourselves may we grow more mature, more able and more complete.

Since the completion of my walk, many of my friends have asked me what I had learnt during the trip. It is always incredibly difficult to answer this question in a couple of sentences, as the right context needs to be created for my lessons to make sense for someone who hasn’t gone through the same experiences. This is a key reason why I spent hundreds of hours creating Mountains of Australia. For those that are interested, my lessons are recorded within my story, and my images. I sincerely hope that the journey has proved enjoyable for you.

On a closing note, I will include some of my favourite quotes from my journal that I kept with me on my trip. They are succinct summaries of the epiphanies that struck me at various points along the journey. In a way, they are the crux of all the understanding I gained during my walk. I hope they will be of value to you.

Safe travels, wherever your path may take you.

Andy Szollosi

A group hiking towards the crosscut saw

A group hiking towards the crosscut saw

From my AAWT journal:

My walk not only allowed an intimate glimpse into the heart of the Australian High Country, but into my own heart as well.

I have gained many habits which I used to wish I had and have lost many which I used to think I will always be stuck with. I realised that obstacles of time and space can be overcome; all it takes is a strong mind and a willing body.

My sense of purpose for this life has been strengthened tenfold.

I see life for what it is; a chance, a fleeting glimpse in the eternal.

I feel I have grown up. For the first time I feel responsibility sitting on my shoulders, replacing the fickle and selfish nature of youth.

Invest in all that is noble, brave, artistic, original, loving, funny, simple and practical, and disregard all that is petty, materialistic, and driven by ego.

Practise and respect the art of meditation, for it is essential. It is a metaphor, and a manifestation of everything we’re aiming for.

I can’t help but notice our resemblance to every living thing. One is all and all is one.

Harmony surrounds us; what we need is harmony of our own mind.

In our mind we need not partake in the ferocious cycles of nature. Through heightened awareness we are able to sit our consciousness above the everyday world, at the elevated position of the neutral observer. It’s a state that allows to remain in the eye of the storm, where chaos may range around, but where we are, it’s always perfectly calm.

A key factor to a healthier existence lies in our synergy with the people that surround us. If we are able to combine our energies towards a mutual goal with our fellow humans, personal growth will ensue in all the participants, leading to satisfaction in one’s life, as well as developing a sense of community.

The earth will keep turning and the sun will keep shining, even when night obscures our view.

Away from technology and jacked up pleasures, the illusions of our thoughts are left behind and we begin to marvel at the simple beauty in life. We are struck blind by the rising sun, we are soothed by the breeze on a warm day and we marvel at the landscape that fills us with a deep sense of peace. In nature we find our redemption. The longer our stint in the wilderness, the more our awareness grows and we are able to adopt our true form, as a consciousness that is free and awake to make its own original decisions. Finally free of thought, we are free to start living.

Snowgum at sunset, The Bluff, Victorian Alps

Snowgum at sunset, The Bluff, Victorian Alps