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Tony Mangan
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MyWorldWalk
MyWorldWalk
myworldwalk2016.blogspot.com
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MyWorldWalk
MyWorldWalk
myworldwalk2016.blogspot.com
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MyWorldWalk
MyWorldWalk
myworldwalk2016.blogspot.com
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It took me five days to walk the 152 glorious from Gloucester to Walcha. That first drizzle-splattered day out of the dairy and beef country town I made slow progress and did well to muster 21 kilometres over many leg-sapping hills. One man called Dave stopped and sponsored my next meal. Log trucks flashed past me. They carried soft wood bound for China. I'm told that soft wood is from trees which were planted in the last forty years and used mainly for the construction of furniture. These same finished products may one day return to Australia.
Just as I planned to finish out my day the heavens opened and I got wetter than a goldfish in a pond in the few minutes it took me to pitch my tent.
Too tired and lazy to cook my dinner from my tent flap I settled for a meal of beef noodles made from the hot water in my thermos and sardines. That night it rained heavily and in the morning I collected another litre of rain water from the saucepan I left outside my tent and from the indentation I made in the tarp which I had covered Karma, my cart. Every needless litre that I don't have to carry means a kilo less to push. I was told that there was little water on this stretch, except for a couple of creeks. That was not the case, as drivers tend to think of towns and cities. The pedestrian wanders from tap to tap to remote farmhouses which most motorists are blind to.
On I walked and pushed my way five kilometres up a mostly 12% grade mountain. I walked through pristine nature reserves on a lightly-travelled roads and sang back at the birds. Curious cows sometimes stared back at me in their fields. Often they followed me galloping along on their side of a fence and only stopped when they reached their boundary.
Next day, my friend Tina King aka Tee Kay Gee drove the 350 kilometres from Sydney to surprise me. She has volunteered to do a PR job for me and wanted to discuss our strategy. It seemed that a lot of interest in my world walk was awakened after I left the New South Wales capital. So, I decided that before I walk New Zealand that I will fly from Brisbane to Sydney and spend some days there (Nov 22-Dec 2) and give a series of motivation and entertainment talks to a few cultural, sports and Irish clubs in addition to some schools. Busy times ahead!
After New Zealand I will return (Feb 14) to my route in Brisbane and continue walking towards Mount Isa and Darwin.
Tina has gone to huge lengths tapping out dozens of long emails on my behalf. Thanks also to Amanda Carrolll for her great assistance to Tina in this regard. While she was on the road that 31 kilometre day I put her to work to crew for me and she kindly took the bulk of my heavy gear onto Nowendoc. Then she returned with snacks. Alas, when she eventually drove off for Sydney she mistakenly took my cooker for a long ride. 😣 How will I manage without my coffee and cooked meals until I can get another one?
Meanwhile, local farmer Dave Daly stopped to give me some refreshments and told me that dinner was on him that night and that I was to ask for Max at the Nowendoc General Store when I arrived. Quick as a flash I asked him to take Karma on ahead! When I arrived a welcome party was in full swing and as we would say in Ireland, the craic (fun) was ninety!
I was headed for Walcha two days away and one of the men in the store was called Clint, he just happened to be the mayor of Walcha and owned the towns only butchers. Soon I was told that I had a place to stay in an adjoining house and that his boys would cook me as many steaks as I could manage πŸ˜… Invitations like this should never ever be left in the vague folder. Experience told me to always firm what may seem to be a casual but valuable invitation. Before long I had Clints phone number written down and told him to put a T-bone on slow cook! My friend Jacqui Windred in Gloucester had mentioned that she was working on an invite from her in-laws who also live in Walcha. No worries, just as I did in Gloucester I would stay with each and take a rest day. To me travel is about 'people connections' and learning as much as possible from them.
As I have been walking 30 kilometre days lately the 72 to Walcha was an awkward distance. To walk it in three would be a bit pointless, especially that I had no cooker to cook the food I carried in Karma. Instead, I planned for two and didn't get the early start out of Nowendoc. That day I wanted forty-plus kilometres and hopefully with an early start the following day That way I would arrive in Walcha at a sociable hour. In the end I made that happen by walking long into the evening and by 9:30pm I had amassed a marathon, 42 kilometres. Tired and hungry I dined on cold noodles and a can of corn. I camped behind a bush where lighting a fire wasn't an option.
After an early awakening I was packed up and walking by 9 am. Not bad as it was still early for me but it could have been better. It was another warm but glorious day and when I got to Cobrabald I had walked my 18,000th kilometre of this global oddessy.
That put me in great spirits for the day. I walked past beautiful landscapes and even spotted a mob of about ten kangaroos hop through a herd of cows. They paused and stared at the cows. I laughed when I remembered how about fifty cows followed me a couple of days before. Not here, the cows just ignored them. On I walked and Tina texted me to say that she had managed to get me a replacement stove in Walcha. I was to pick it up from Brian in Richardson's hardware store. That night I was staying in Brian's and Shelley's house and they were Jacqui's (from Gloucester) in-laws! Don't you just love these small towns where everyone knows everyone?
A couple of hours before I arrived I met Andrew Robertson who is a motorbiker from Brisbane. His bike is a Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic with a displacement of 1449cc.
He is originally from Glasgow, Scotland but has long since lost his accent as he has spent most of his life outside the UK. He grew up in Malta and then worked for twenty years for the electrical company in Papua New Guinea, of all places. After Australia I had been thinking of walking it, but according to Andrew crime is through the roof there, so now I will give it a miss and the Philippines​ for the same reason. Likewise, I had been thinking about Amazonas in Brazil until I heard of a British woman who was murdered by a 17-year-old thug, just for her small possessions and her kayak. That 45 year-old woman had given up her stressful job as a headmistress in an English school in favour of living her dream. I asked my friend Benjamin Kniebe from Berlin to check it out as he does some research for me. He came up with an area riddled with crime and drug cartels that operated nearby. From now on I am only going to travel in civilised countries.
Anyway, back to nicer things. After picking up my cooking stove Brian and Shelley's we had a delicious curry followed by rhubarb, blackberries and ice cream. They spoke about how the lack of rain can have a detrimental effect on their local economy. A lot of people are saying that there is less this year than other years. I remember when I was walking through a Sydney suburb and my friend Tom pointed to a patch of grass and said that this is the first time he has ever seen it bare.
As Brian says: "When there is a drought and farmers are struggling to meet their bank repayments they generally cut back on all the normal hardware stuff, after all, a 200 dollar wheelbarrow can wait. So when an order like a 1,000 litre of Ultra Max weedkiller comes in its a big deal for us as that's a 6,000 dollar sale.
And as Shelley who owns a local ladies fashion shop called New Birds says: "And clothes are other items that are often put on hold. So something like a drought often has a knock on effect on the entire community."
She also has a huge passion for art. Especially the works of Vincent Van Gogh and also Monet.
"Van Gogh was little understood and most people though he was mad. He eventually drank himself to oblivion, aged only 37."
"Myself, I am inspired by nude art."

Next morning, I moved over to Clint's butchers and as promised his men cooked me as many stakes as I could muster. I spent a pleasant day chatting to Thomas and John. Thomas is an avid rugby league player and dreams of spending a couple of years playing rugby in the small English and Irish towns. Maybe one day I will live that dream he says while preparing me another barbie
Albert Einstein once wrote in his so-called 'theory of happiness' that achieving a long-sought after goal does not guarantee life-long happiness. I guess it can also leave a difficult to fill void.
Having dreamt of running around the world for almost every waking hour for over twenty years - and another four years running it on the road; that was ticked off my bucket list. Well, in my own case despite the devastating loss of my mother and brother within the last three years I have come to terms with these three huge voids in my life as best as I can.
Einstein also coined the phrase: Where there is a will there is a way. So, I reinvented myself as a world walker. Never, ever, ever let anyone tell you that you can't do anything. Sometimes we may have to modify our dreams. At this stage in my life its looking highly unlikely that I will ever achieve my other dream to walk on the moon. But walking the earth is not a bad Plan B πŸ˜…

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A typical my world walk day
A typical my world walk day
myworldwalk2016.blogspot.com
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The road is my temple. Australia blog # 9
The road is my temple. Australia blog # 9
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Australia blog # 8 Thoughts from the road
Australia blog # 8 Thoughts from the road
myworldwalk2016.blogspot.com.au
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