The few days I spent in Wangaratta were extremely busy. Apart from the usual emails, calls and social media updates I was meeting lots of people and planning for the next leg of the journey. I was also absolutely exhausted, physically, mentally and emotionally. This was a good thing! The project was kicking off and I'd rather it had been busy than quiet! Thank goodness I had Peita at home and all the support around me. Without them, I would have been lost.
It's funny, simple things like having someone cook a meal for me were like life saving gifts from heaven! In Wangaratta I stayed with Adrian and Helen Twitt. Helen cooked such wholesome meals like a stir-fry chicken and a cabbage and potato bake that was so nice and cheesy. She even baked a gluten-free chocolate cake that we all enjoyed with berries and cream. If I was on my own, I think I wouldn't have had the headspace or the energy to get myself a meal. It was one less thing I had to think about, but it made me feel so good to be looked after in this way. It was an acknowledgement that I was doing something important and it was also such a basic, caring thing to do.
It was a very grey morning when I waved goodbye to my hosts, just north of Wang. I was lucky enough to have a companion on my way to Chiltern, which was scheduled in the itinerary as a 38km day.
About 20 minutes into our trek on a road next to the Hume, the rain came pouring down on Miles and I and despite our rain gear, we were soaked. Despite this we chatted on happily all morning and I was glad to have his company as it would have been a very miserable time in the rain!
Friends are the most wonderful things. My friends from uni, Paige, Hannah, Sarah and Kellie, came up to be support for the following few days. I was about 6km away from Chiltern and they arrived bearing hot chips and home made sausage rolls! We ate in the car on the side of a lonely road, while the rain washed down the windows, and chatted excitedly as friends do when they all get together! I told them how overwhelming this journey had been and shared all the little moments that I'll cherish forever. They listened to me as I told them how much I miss my partner Rob, even though I saw him a week ago (C'mon Jess!).
It makes me so sad to think of the people who are alone in detention. On Manus there are many young men who have left their families at home to try and find them a better life. I think of Anwar's family and how they were split up. Without our family we have our friends. I can only imagine how hard it must be for those who have lost their friends. To those people, our government might not believe in us, but I have seen our kindness first hand and we are fighting to share it with you!