1000 Cups of Concrete



Genre: Non-Fiction
Words: 150 000
Stage: Currently under funding

I walked 1000 kilometres in 30 days solo and continuously from Cairns to the most northern tip of Australia and raised $12 000 for charity, Jog for Jugs Australia. Almost every moment of this experience from the second it began to my last step has been recorded on dictaphone and with photography. The country, people, wildlife and isolation were enormously sobering as was the task itself. I also met pioneers across the region I travelled through and interviewed them about living off the land, some for more than 100 years.

An intricate one-metre high spider web illuminated by a 6am sun bursting through rain droplets caught in the web is quite simply euphoric. Hearing dingoes howl at 4am alone on a dirt track heightens one’s senses, builds adrenalin as well as a flight or fight paranoia. Putting an ear to a bitumen road without a car in sight for 10 or so kilometres in front or behind and listening to the thump of isolation is not only peaceful but can be also be enormously soul destroying.

These experiences are actual accounts, they were my reality and are unplanned, unscripted, unrehearsed but most importantly they are untapped; no one else had these except me. They weren’t paid for or booked or in a brochure. They were celebrations of Australia; palpable occurrences that have the ability to alter, influence and impact lives on many different levels. All it took was two feet and a direction.

Excerpt: The roads were tough this morning. Rough, rugged, unkind, relentlessly corrugated and up and down hills. It was punishing my feet but my ten toes dug in and handled every bit of mayhem the gravel threw at them. The wind hung on too today for most of the day. And yes it was a head wind. A strong, gusty, don’t-walk-out-of-the-salon-looking-like-that kind of wind. It was teasing me. It would drop off slightly and then gushes would flood up and the down the hills. Cape York was serving it on a plate today and I accepted each dish gracefully. But it would not wear me down. Not now, not having come this far; 980km. Bring it on Cape York. Sock it to me. I’ve taken everything you lashed out and embraced it, savoured it and sucked it up. We ventured through Injanoo, Umagico, Bamaga and then saw something we haven’t seen in weeks; the sea (or as Dave said, a supermarket). Annie and Dave searched high and low for some gas for our cooker that has had its last breathe, but alas no gas in the top end until Monday lunchtime. The crew from hell shifted into gear yet again and set up a campfire. So, for the eve of the 1000km trek, we sit here with flames firing and a cuppa on the go. My bandaged toes and feet have made a commitment to me and tomorrow they will take me to a place I have dreamed about for more than six months. My mind will accompany them. It is focused and will not come adrift. My body is functioning like an athlete’s. It’s show time. Raise the curtain Cape York.