Over two full days and a night- spent in a bush under the glow of a petrol station, I walked 100km to work, living off the side of the road, having left home with nothing but the clothes on my back. I found 2 iphones, an ipad (Siri was yapping away), a few stolen wallets, love letters, an entire collection of Arnold Shwarzeneger films and a plastic drinking straw the shape of a penis. A bloody fascinating experience, here are the answers to your questions!
Daniel Webb: Considering you are a highly respected lecturer at a prestigious University, did they mind you turning up to work 3 days late??
I took up a weekend day and wobbled in during the tumbleweeds of a Monday afternoon. No one was about, and no nasty post-it notes were on my notice board. I cracked off a few emails before drinking a litre of milk and washing my face. Bless you for keeping me honest.
Izzy Taylor: How long until you had to put your shoes on? What condition are your feet and body in? Did that iPhone work?
Good q’s Izz. 8k (see other q down further). Feet a poor excuse for a biped. Too many shoes, not enough skin. Body fine. Remarkable how well the body takes to long walks. Famous, I suppose you could say ‘unfit’ poets of our past, and thinkers in general, are said to have walked far longer, for more days (over the course of their life in fact), without really any trouble. We really can be walking nomads…but yes, the running pins did just fine. And yes, iPhones worked after some heavy duty petting and illegal downloads from my brother in law. What a whizz kid.
Luke Whitmore: What did you learn about the stretch of land, you didn’t already know?
A country road has a lot more food rubbish, tossed by tossers in less of a hurry- or with no other car/person to spot them turfing stuff out the window. The highway was actually far cleaner than I’d expected, at least for many of the long stretches. Waste seemed to be ‘bounced’ from ute trays and accidental (some good stuff). But then there’s the mower that comes through, dicing at it goes, and the wind…The type and frequency of rubbish ‘type’ fascinated me and is a window into the human phyche. So, more of a comment about road behaviour? I paid attention to the edge of roads a lot, as in, the type of tarmac layed down and the thickness of softs spots. I bet a civil engineer could learn a lot by walking for a few days along different sections of road.
Jade Showers: Do you talk to yourself for company while journeying?
Indeed, all manner of two way conversations are had. All very sane. In fact, I think people are a little nuts if 1) you/me/depree don’t talk to ourselves and 2) concives ourselves that we don’t’ (which is actually talking to yourself). I suppose the question is “do you verbally talk to yourself while journeying”? Yep. When I’m on PT I simply put an ear bud in and pretent I’m talking on my phone.
Georgia McGrath: How long did you go barefoot? And where did you set up your tarp? What was it like to drive home/to work after the long walk?
Unlike the people before us who actually walked the earth- and like the hardy few that are left on the planet who walk shoeless (kids in NZ can still choose to go shoeless until highschool in many areas), I lasted 8k and had to walk on the white line for the a few of these. My nephews and niece, hippy kids with a hate for shoes, would have been tougher.
Rick Jones: On your 30 hour walk how many tinder matches did you notch up?
Good question RJ. The synergy between tinder and matches is not lost on me. I longed for a fire on my night out, to be shared with a leggy netballer. The difficulty was telling the would-be netballer where I was on the highway. Finding me amongst the brambles beside Officer creek would have been challenging.
Daniel Webb: With such a rich and highly tuned pallette, which was the best thing you ate along the way? The mouldy peach or the McDonald’s sauce sachets? Or maybe something else?
The hot orange, hands down. 1k from work and a curb side orange, in perfect working order, was consumed whole. Valencia, Californian.
Ben Campbell: Would you rather fight 1 horse sized duck or 100 duck sized horses?
Potentially the most insightful question Ben. I’ll go with all those small horses. I’ve seen the attitude that miniatures have and can only think this small-man syndrome would be even more fun. Their small kicks would make me look like I’ve been paintballing. Christ, imagine if they had paint ball guns as well! Their paint balls would be the size of a freckle. I’d look a bloody mess!
Luke Whitmore: Are you a jolly swagman? Did you camp by a billabong?…
You bet. A ripping journey. Although not a long-lived swaggie. Barely 30 odd hours on the go. I could certainly make a trip of it and keep going. Pick up odds and sods of work, make the swag better, eat lean, go to truly new places and blow with the breeze. Nup, I didn’t camp by a billabong. But rather by the glow of the officer BP service station against a paddock fence post. Wrapped in carpet underlay, a towel, a dirty hoodie, garden gloves and a tarp.
Jade Showers: Did anyone offer to carpool with you? and did you encounter any traffic jams?
Nadda. I did help a fella load firewood into his ute from a precarious part of the highway and I get the feeling he would of driven me to Sydney if I’d asked. And no, I didn’t encounter any traffic jams. I was hoping to see one, and walk right-on-by thinking how foolish people in their tin cans are. But it was only a pulsing section of braking, no carparks.
Georgia McGrath: And toileting?!?
I wee wherever I go. Simply stand close to a tree, lamppost, bush and pretend your looking dead ahead, not down. I’ve taken a wee behind a lectern before, the class were non the wiser (joke, but you’d be surprised). And when you don’t eat, and burn 10,000 calories (45,000 Kilojoules), you don’t really need to poop.