My Bibbulmun Track Journey

My Solo Journey – Post #1 – The Decision

by | Feb 2, 2018 | The Bibbulmun Track | 54 comments

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.

Me at work. I am an Enviro working FIFO (fly in fly out) on a Gold Mine in Western Australia

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.

The northern terminus of the track in Kulumunda, Perth

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.

The Bibbulmun Track in Western Australia

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.

One of the typical huts along the track. I will be taking my own tent also

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).

This was the last long walk I did near Exmouth. Only 8km! I love exploring and being out in nature

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!!!).

If you want to follow me on this journey subscribe to my Newsletter (which is my mailing list) or follow my Facebook page. I love reading your comments and hearing your stories if you are willing to share them.

Lauren 🙂

54 Comments

  1. Jason

    Wow just wow. Lots of research and preparation between now and then will ensure it will be the one you never forget. And the achievement will show anything you want to do you can.

    Just remember to park a car at the other end?

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      haha yes I am not sure how I am going to get to Perth! I know a lot of people catch the bus from Albany back to Perth which might be an option 🙂

      Reply
    • Wendy Nelson

      See you out there!

      Reply
  2. Diane

    Goon on you – goals are needed but of course they can change – take care

    Reply
  3. Luke

    Awesome! This is going to be an adventure! In a way you have already started it! I have done many trips in Scotland (some on my own and some with others) walking long distances and it builds something I feel a lot of people lack (especially myself when I was on my first walking trip), resilience! This can be placed in many different contexts and is adaptable to all situations! Good on you Lauren! I look forward to following your amazing journey!

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Thanks Luke! You sound like a person who could give me lots of good advice with your experience walking

      Reply
  4. Craig potter

    You go champ
    Wish I could do the same trek
    Freedom versus commitment
    Love u choose freedom ❤️?

    Reply
  5. Matthew Nicholson

    Great reading Lauren. I am excited to follow your ‘journey’ !

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Thanks Matthew!! 🙂

      Reply
  6. Steve

    Interesting read Lauren … I really don’t know what to say mate .. I did follow your journey with your ex , then you popped up solo ,and seemed on the outside to be happy … You are certainly on a trek to find yourself , and no doubt insecurity and fear will raise their ugly heads.. Stick to your guns, you have a fierce determination and a will to succeed….I admire you for your honesty , so refreshing , many of us have had failed relationships, myself included ( thought I’d be in a better place myself ) , but people change, life happens and we are forced to confront ourselves …. sorry you had a shitty time work wise, people are narrow minded and don’t realise the hurt words can cause … Everone wants to be wanted , it’s human nature to do so, but it’s better to be alone than be unhappy in a relationship you thought you wanted …. Good luck mate, I look forward to reading your posts … Stev3
    As always Respect

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Thanks Steve, you have been a loyal follower of mine for a long time and I appreciate you taking the time to write comments and tell me what you think. I am happy most of the time, there have just been some very dark moments lately. Already I am feeling so much better, having this challenge has given me so much energy and motivation, it is awesome 🙂

      Reply
  7. Erin

    Beautifully written and can relate on many levels. You’re making a very courageous decision & I look forward to reading more.

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Thank you so much Erin 🙂

      Reply
  8. Narelle Jarvis

    Magnificent you Lauren! I suggest, if you haven’t already, that you read Wild by Cheryl Strayed (or watch the movie with Reece Witherspoon, not as good as the book, but ok) who did a similar trek on her own, as a novice.
    Searching for yourself or some meaning to your life, whatever that may be, is pretty daunting, but it is true that being happy in yourself is most important. You don’t have to be an extension or part of someone else. You are complete. Be content. Travel safe.

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Hi Narelle, funny you say that because I read Wild years ago and that book was my original motivation and inspiration to walk the Bibbulmun Track, I bought maps, hiking shoes and did a bit of planning, but never got around to doing it! So that is why I am committing now, no getting out of it this time!

      Reply
  9. Cheryl

    Lauren, trust me when I say you can be married have a beautiful daughter and be equally as lonely and unhappy as you describe. I never had the travel opportunities that you have nor the mental strength to do it back then. After a second (even larger mistake) and a wasted 17 years life is finally on track. So fear not the universe will get it together for you – when it’s your time.

    You are one mighty tough lady and I’m sure you’ll smash this walk.

    And on a final note – people not liking you is more jealousy. I have always used the philosophy that if they are talking about me they are leaving some other poor bastard who probably couldn’t handle it alone.

    You go girl I’m looking forward to reading more

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Hi Cheryl, thanks for your comment, it sounds like you have been through a lot in life and are proof it is never too late to follow your dreams and be happy 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement it has been so humbling to read everyone’s comments

      Reply
  10. Jane

    All the best Lauren with your journey both the physical and mental. After reading you blog I can’t help thinking that you need to be surrounded by friends and family right about now. Everyone needs to know they are loved and that someone cares for them. I have followed your travels for a long time and have enjoyed and marvelled at what you have achieved but I also know that it’s hard to come away from a life of freedom and hit the reality of day-t-day living. Saying all that I know you will achieve great things.

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Thanks Jane, my family have been really great, especially when I was going through the stuff at work. I talked about it with them and they were so loving and helpful, I am so glad I didn’t keep it all in, that would have made me so much worse. It can be a bit hard being on site when I am feeling down but I haven’t had that yet in my new job (been here for 3 weeks so far) and feeling optimistic for the future 🙂

      Reply
  11. Terry Seymour

    Hi Lauren I put a comment on your fb page, I have done the walk in 3 sections over a five year period, the only advice is don’t walk at night, don’t veer off the track and don’t over do it, regards

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Thanks for the tips Terry! and being such a loyal follower of mine 😀

      Reply
  12. Rick

    Looking forward to following your adventures. It’s great that you have talked about your emotions just another journey to learn and concour, good luck, hope all goes well, cheers

    Reply
  13. Sian

    Wishing you the best of luck Lauren! Sure you’ll be fine and love it. Don’t let your mind talk you out of it
    Positive thinking!

    Reply
  14. Susan

    Well done you to have made this commitment. I hope the thinking and planning over the next few months will help you to feel less alone. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to hearing more.

    Reply
  15. Raewyn

    Wow Lauren you go girl. We all have challenges in life & that’s what makes us a better person. I’m in the process of reading “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed who walked the Pacific Crest Trail., to find herself. I’m sure you would enjoy reading it yourself, & maybe gets some idea’s from her experience. I look forward to following your adventures. ? Raewyn

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      I absolutely love that book, it is so so inspiring. Made me realise anyone can do it. I will DEFINITELY be wearing in my hiking boots, reading about her blisters does not sound fun!! I am going to keep a journal and write about the lead up and walk itself, who knows – maybe one day I can write a little book about it! (we’ll see haha)

      Reply
  16. Laura

    Lauren…you are one amazing woman!one day you will find a like minded man to share you experiences! But as you say the next journey is yours…and it will make you a better person! You are an inspiration…plan well, be realistic and live the moment ! Can’t wait to follow your journey and encourage you ? Go girl ??‍♀️??

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Thanks so much Laura, i am getting pretty excited already and it is so long away. I got this 🙂 and for the first time in a very long time I feel like I really want to be on my own for the process

      Reply
  17. Kristine Brady

    Go you good thing!!! My nephew took his own personal challenge to do the PCT (Pacific Coast Trail) last year. It runs from Mexico border thru America can States to Alaskan border. 1900 miles. He did it, loved it. Walked, camped. Grew a beard, made lots of friends. Looking forward to your journey 🙂

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Yes I know all about this trail! It is the trail Cheryl Strayed writes about in her (amazing) book ‘Wild’. It sounds incredible, and a lot tougher than the Bibbulmun. At least in WA we don’t have snow or bears!!!

      Reply
  18. Glenda

    Good on you Lauren, all the best in your great adventure. Thank you for sharing your story and I look forward to reading about your journey along the way

    Reply
  19. Chelle Fisher

    Yay how exciting. Great read, look forward to following your adventures. I am also solo walking the Bibb this year as a sectional though.

    If you are wanting to add to your skills before setting off I run a womens outdoor program that prepares women for the great outdoors with workshops such as bush survival, navigation, self defence and essential oils for the outdoors.

    https://www.facebook.com/She.Seeks.Adventure

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Hi Chelle! Awesome thanks so much for that, I have already found you on Facebook and am following your page 🙂

      Reply
  20. Hedley

    Lauren, just do it, I am half way thru my 6th E2E and love it more every time I step out on the track. There absolutely nothing to be apprehensive about, most of the females I meet are solo walkers and have found there is nothing to worry about. The best thing you can do is go through your gear and leave behind everything that not essential. You will be surprised how little you really need. You‘ll be amazed how clean you can get with only a litre of water. Yes not washing your hair more frequently might seem a problem but your hair will produce more natural oils than your could imagine and start to feel really OK. Walking anywhere from August through to November you will not be alone for much as that is the most popular time. Yes it will change you as a person, I have not met many that have not been positively impacted by the adventure.

    Have fun, relax and go with an open mind, you will love it.

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      That is so amazing you are on your 6th go! Wow. Thanks for your comment, I have already done a lot of reading and I know I will be OK, just lots to plan (which I enjoy doing anyway)

      Reply
  21. Melinda Kiss

    Hey Lauren so impressed with your plans. I know you can do it. I’ve always dreamt of doing such a thing but not hard enough to commit. You are not alone feeling ‘lost’ in this world. But are you really? I’ve always felt lost, out of place, not on the same ‘journey’ as the ‘rest of the world’ or ‘people my age’. Ever since I can remember!! But are we really lost? Maybe we are just present. I think now, as I turn 40 the guilt and worry about it is fading. I’m much more comfortable in my own skin. Its like I’m happy to be ‘older’ and people are finally not asking me why I haven’t done this that or the other. (yep mostly related to kids, relationships and career!). I think its wonderful you are open and honest about how you feel, most people just hold it in and pretend they are like the person next to them. We are all unique and have a unique journey.

    Chelle’s suggestion sounds amazing(women’s course). There are many groups, often free (such as Meetup.com) where you can practice overnight hikes in a safe group and there are also Bibbulmun Track info nights and ‘how to pack’ sessions you can attend. I’ve never been but I know friends who do this as well as ‘bikepacking’. Most likely you will find kindred spirits along the way …good luck I can’t wait to see your plans unfold.

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Haha Mel I love your insight 🙂 maybe I am just too present and aware of every little thing I am feeling lol. I do feel so much more comfortable in my own skin as I am getting older, I think I just became quite insecure from all the stuff that has been happening in the last 6 months, but feeling so much better already. Yes I know all about the Bibbulmun Track workshops, I have already sussed them all out for the next few months and unfortunately I am on site for every single one of them! So I will have to do my own research. As always thanks so much for your comment, looking forward to seeing you in person one day and having a good chat over a coffee or beer (just like the good old Mt Keith days). You know where I am working now is only about 40k north of Mt Keith, it has been bringing back lots of memories! ox

      Reply
  22. Chris Riley

    Trust me when I say you won’t be alone when walking the Bibbulman. In fact, I think I can safely say that at times you may even feel like you’re on the Mitchell Freeway. Everyone has their homes on their backs, which is very levelling. You will meet people of all ages, from all walks of life, backpackers with barely 2 cents to their name, and millionaires with money to burn. With nothing but the necessities for their walk on their backs they all become equal. No-one will carry pretentious extras – it weighs to much.There’ll be enough people to keep you feeling safe in case of an accident, or safe from other nasties. You’ll meet some wonderful people, and will have a great time. I’ll look forward to reading about it.

    Reply
  23. Kristy Staples

    Thank you for such an honest account. I too am hitting the Bibbulmun this year (June) with my 14 yr old son, as our first long walk.
    Live life authentically and enjoy the adventures it throws at you.
    Look forward to reading the next instalment xx

    Reply
  24. Gail

    You go, girl. Don’t be like me who is looking back from 65 years and say “I should have”. Hindsight is always 20/20 but looking forward is usually blurry. Prepare well, stay safe, don’t be afraid to reach out. Don’t try to live your life to others plans or expectations, to thyself be true. Gail

    Reply
  25. kerrie calvert

    Good on you.
    GET GOOD BOOTS haha
    you’ve got this x

    Reply
  26. Dad

    Wow Lau

    Having done part of the Camino de Santiago de Compostella, you will love it.
    Some fantastic comments from your followers.

    I will give you a call.

    Reply
  27. Sophie

    Wow. Thanks for sharing Lauren.
    My life’s headed down a similar track (same issues) and feeling lost. You’ve inspired me to challenge myself too, just have to figure out what it will be for me!
    I’ll be reading on.

    X Sophie

    Reply
  28. Maria

    Wow! so sorry to hear about how isolated you have been (work and friends) sounds like you just need to find someone with the same level of maturity who will settle with you and look forward to your awesome plan. All the best with the trek…

    Reply
  29. Kaz N

    Wow Lauren you have had some major challenges but these dont define you as a person. I have followed you for a long time now n im so happy that you have found your inspirational journey..good on you! Plan well..stay safe & enjoy ?? Kaz

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Thanks Kaz! Really looking forward to the whole process, I will struggle a bit when I don’t have a steady income after May but I am sure I will be right 🙂

      Reply
  30. deb

    HI Lauren,
    I have followed you and Hutchy also for many yrs and now both of you separately. I think you are a stronger woman than you realise. You traveled around this great land of ours both together and then a huge amount on your own. I am so proud of you as you embark on the next journey. Lots of Love Deb #downupandaroundozgapyr (which has sadly now ended)

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Aww thanks so much Deb 🙂 I still chat with Hutchy every now and again and he is doing so well I am so happy for him, we had a great adventure together. Now out own adventures. Thanks so much for your comment and thank you for reading ox

      Reply
  31. pacing

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    didn’t know who to ask.

    Reply
  32. Rosie

    Hey gorgeous lady!
    It has been a long time . . . .
    I have just been going through and cleaning up my emails and found 3 of yours sitting there waiting to be read. For whatever reason, I have not given myself the time to read them.

    Tonight, I am sitting at my computer, as I said cleaning up (sifting, filing and deleting emails) and I came across yours. Sitting here with a glass of red, Elvis singing in the background and reading your messages, I have felt really overwhelmed. Not sure why, but I feel such a connection to you.

    Lauren, you are such an amazing, gutsy, young lady with so much empathy. You have an amazing following out there with many, many people feeling as I do; proud to be your friend!!

    What you are planning to undertake in October is by no means an easy feat; however, you will meet the challenge head on and you will come out the other side totally fulfilled and ‘together’. You will look in the mirror and you will really like what you see; as you should. I hope that this walk of ‘self’ discovery will help put ‘life’ back into perspective for you.

    There is a book that I have read, written by Australian author Graeme Simsion (The Rosie Project) and his wife Anne Buist entitled ‘Two Steps Forward’ – it is fiction but based on their own experience of walking 2 thousand kilometres from Cluny to Santiago in north western Spain, in the footsteps of pilgrims who have walked the ‘Camino’ for centuries before them. For them it was a journey of self-discovery and spirituality. Very much like what your undertaking will be.

    Lauren, you have the World at your feet – you can achieve anything you want and you will achieve, believe me!!! Trust in yourself and the rest will happen xxx

    Don’t let people (like those who you previously worked with) affect you or the way you live – they are nothing but small minded, jealous people who have not experienced life. Do not waste your energy on them – they are not worth it !!!

    Much love to you Lauren
    Your friend
    Rosie xox

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Oh wow reading this comment from you has absolutely made my day 🙂 thank you so much for taking the time to write it. I am pretty excited about my future walking adventures and I will definitely look up that book and download it on my kindle thanks so much for the tip. I love a good book 🙂 I have read quite a few now on people doing big walks and really enjoying them. My life is so different and constantly changing, I feel like I am definitely at a turning point in my life, I am sad sometimes but also happy most of the time. Especially when I think about the future. Right now my current dilemma is what will I do as a job when I get back from America, I really want to do something I enjoy and not work in an office (haha easier said than done!). Thanks again so much for this I have a big smile on my face oxox

      Reply

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