My Bibbulmun Track Journey
My Solo Journey – Post #1 – The Decision
Months until I start walking: 9
Amount saved: $0
My name is Lauren. I am 32 years old and generally pretty happy with myself and my life. I would say overall that around 80% of the time I am in a good mood and feel pretty content, actually make that 70%. I have been very lucky to grow up with a good family and am very grateful for every opportunity I have had in my life.
But I feel like there is something missing. As much as I can’t see myself settling down in one place for a long period of time (I just love adventure and experiencing new things so much), I feel like I want to find a partner, have kids, at least one dog, and settle down. Preferably on a property somewhere in the country. I am at the age where it is expected to be married with a kid or two by now and as much as I give off the persona that I don’t care about this, I do.
All the self-help books and blogs I have read about being single say that you can only be truly happy with someone else if you are comfortable and happy on your own. I know this is true, I don’t need to read about it to know this. But it is so much easier to read about it than to actually be OK with being on my own. Just writing this is hard, I am admitting to something I am a little bit ashamed of.
I feel like there are a lot of things inside me that I would like to heal. I have tried for years to work on myself, but I think one of the best things I can do to learn about myself, life, and appreciate things more is to do things that I am scared of. One thing that has been on the back of my mind for years and I keep putting it off is to walk a section of the Bibbulmun Track. I have never done an overnight hike (you know the type where you carry all your belongings, including a tent!) and thought it would be a great challenge to set myself, I just never got around to doing it! Well, last night at about 8.30pm I made the decision to walk the track, and not just a section but the entire length! I have picked a date in October 2018 which is 9 months from now.
Let me tell you a little bit about the Bibbulmun track before I talk about the struggles I have gone through in the last 6 months. Trust me, since I made the decision last night I have been doing a sh*tload of googling! The Bibbulmun Track has been described as one of the ‘world’s greatest long-distance walks’. It is approximately 1000 km in length, starting in the hills of Perth and finishing in the south west coastal town of Albany in Western Australia. The track is only open to walkers and there are many sections totally inaccessible by road. There are 49 campsites (or shelters as they are usually referred to on the Bibbulmun Track website) along the track, approximately a days walk between them, with an average length of 18 km between the shelters. There are also 9 towns along the way for stocking up on food, having a proper shower, doing washing and sleeping in a bed if you need a break from your hiking mattress (can I call it a mattress, more like a piece of material?!). The track passes through some of the most beautiful parts of the amazing state of Western Australia, the Jarrah Forests of the Darling Range, the massive Karri and Tingle Forests as you head south and then along the beautiful and rugged south coast towards Albany. It takes walkers on average 6-8 weeks to walk the whole track, depending on rest days and how far you choose to walk each day.
It sounds beautiful but I know it will not be easy. I am committing to do the entire length and I am going to do it on my own. I need to do this on my own. I am scared to do it on my own and that’s why I am going to do it. I am worried about not being clean, not being able to wash my hair every 2 days, being cold, being on my own at night, not sleeping well, being alone with my thoughts, walking 1000 kms with a heavy pack!!! (f*&k what am I committing to here?!). I am worried I will chicken out or make excuses to put this off, so that is why I am writing this. It is on the internet now, no getting out of it! Well not without feeling really embarrassed anyway!
The past 6 months of my life have been the hardest for me. In comparison to what other people go through I really can’t complain, I have a great life, but I have been struggling mentally and I want to write about it to help with the healing process. It all started when Hutchy and I broke up last year. He was my fiancé and we had just spent an amazing year travelling around Australia together. I just knew it wasn’t right and that we were better off as friends than as a couple, so we made the decision to break up. I knew it was the right decision and I wasn’t heart broken, but I missed my best friend and I was really sad and lost. A councilor told me that it was not him that I was mourning, it was the life I had planned that is now gone (we literally had a 10-year plan – marry, kids, travel around Australia indefinitely with our family in a bus or caravan). I was on my own again and back to the drawing board.
Things started looking up for me when I landed my old job back on Barrow Island on a 2 week on 2 week off roster, the best roster for travelling and pretty good money for working 6 months of the year! The first few months were good but then a few things happened in my office and I started to notice that I was being left out of conversations, isolated by the team and even verbally abused. There were a number of people in my office that really didn’t like me and it was very obvious. One of my other coworkers told me one day that when I left the office they would all talk about me, which got other people in my (small) office involved. It was heartbreaking for me because I wish they would tell me to my face instead of talking about me when I was not there. I felt totally and utterly alone, which is not a good thing when you are working away from your family and friends, 12 hours a day for 14 days straight. One of the worst things for me was my boss knew what as going on and I am pretty sure did nothing about it. This lasted months until I got made redundant which was a major blessing in disguise, I was really depressed at work. I learnt a lot about myself from this situation, I was also in the wrong with some of my tendencies and I am working on these things.
Some advice from me: if you have a problem with someone you work with, talk to them about it!! It is highly likely they don’t even realise they are doing it. It is unacceptable for grown men and women to bitch about someone when they haven’t even told the person their issues.
Something else which is hard to admit is my failed love life. I have had a string of short relationships in the last 6 months (if you can call them ‘relationships’, nothing was ever official) but because of my insecurities I became needy and a little crazy in most cases, the absolute worst thing a woman can do if she doesn’t want the guy to run a mile in the opposite direction! It wasn’t that I saw a long-term future with these guys, I just wanted to be wanted.
Another thing that has been getting me down is that most of my small group of close friends don’t live in Perth, they live hours and hours drive away. Not having many friends in Perth that like to do similar things to me (like drink beer, go camping and go to gigs) has made me feel pretty lonely. I know I can always make new friends, but it is quite hard to find people you really click with.
As I said before, I know these are only minor issues in the grand scheme of things and I really need to put things into perspective. I want to walk the Bibbulmun Track to challenge myself and learn about me, I need to be able to be OK on my own. The other reasons I want to do this is because I just love nature so much, I am my happiest out in the bush and exploring new areas.
I have been feeling really lost the last few months but after making this decision I have been feeling quite happy and excited, I feel like I have motivation back and I really want to write about it. I love writing and if there are people out there who like to read what I post and if you can relate to me in any way, that is what really makes me truly happy. I try to be as honest as possible so that other people going through similar situations or having similar thoughts can know they are not alone.
I finish up my 3 month contract at my FIFO job on a Gold Mine in the West Australian desert in April before heading to America for a 5 week trip in May (planned around the wedding of 2 legends in New York). After that I will be back in Australia without a job or a plan. The only thing I know for sure is I am doing this walk in October. I trust that the universe will look after me and things will fall into place, I need to let worrying about the future go (easier said than done! I usually get so much anxiety when I don’t have a plan).
I am setting some challenges and rules for myself over the next few months to help me save money and simplify my life. They include a shopping ban (except for things on the ‘approved list’) and decluttering my house. I will be writing about it in my next post. Oh and I will also start doing some serious research and preparing for my solo 1000 km journey! (sh*t!!!).
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