We were greeted by this beautiful sunrise above the magnificent Flinders Ranges on our drive up north through the Explorer’s Way (Stuart Hwy). Interesting stops on roadhouses until we reached the unique opal mining town of Coober Pedy. Our motel was underground an a dugout – a very unique and interesting experience. Very sustainable with very constant temperatures regardless of outside conditions which can be very harsh. We looked at a number of attractions and one stood out, the inspiration for Crocodile Dundee which was Crocodile Harry’s Underground Nest.
Another year and another exciting Kiss Goodbye to MS expedition – Surviving the Tiwi Islands! The challenge of this fundraiser is to live self-sufficiently off the land. In other words hunt and gather most of our food, survive the crocs,
snakes, wild boars, jellyfish & every other dangerous Australian animal. This might get interesting though as our only food source so far has been the local supermarket and we don’t seem to be very successful at fishing either. During our Murray River Expedition last year we only managed to catch one fish. The main lesson I hope to come home with though is an appreciation for nature and all she provides for us.
We couldn’t be more grateful to the Tiwi Islands Land Council and community for allowing us to be guests on their land. We have been corresponding with them for the past few months in preparing for our 2016 Kiss Goodbye to MS fundraiser and look forward to bringing all our experiences to our followers once again via the blog. The plan is that an elder will spend time with us the first week in learning how to hunt and gather and thereafter we will attempt to survive ourselves with little assistance.
It is expected that mainland Australians will be so inspired by our daily blog and amazing photos taken by my husband Kiam once again that people will feel motivated to make a donation in the hope of one day finding a cure for this insidious disease. But don’t worry if you miss the blogs as at the conclusion of our adventure will be producing a book and short film with proceeds going toward MS research. While I’m sure our blogs will most likely will be comical, reflective and display beautiful scenery I hope to also highlight the many challenges for someone living with MS symptoms as I cope with Island life and the many challenges it will pose such as the humidity and isolation with very little creature comforts. So stay tuned for the commencement of our journey as we head off on the 27th August with our car & boat on the 3,800kms long road trip up the centre of this great country of ours to Darwin and then across 90kms by barge to the beautiful Tiwi Islands.
Buddhist monk and poet Thich Nhat Hanh wrote ‘Alone we are vulnerable and afraid. If we try to go to the ocean as a single drop of water, we will evaporate before we arrive. But if we go as a river, if we go as a community, we are sure to arrive at the ocean’.
This statement encapsulates the birth of my dream to undertake a majestic Mighty Murray River expedition from source to sea. Fear is not an unknown feature of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) or any other illness where unpredictability and uncertainly abound. If a single star were seen in a dark night sky we would hold little hope of finding other life force and perhaps feel overwhelmingly alone in the universe; however if millions of stars light up the night sky we are transformed and experience awe to the magnitude of our existence, hope at the possibilities of what we might find and courage to explore.
It is this exact sentiment I hold as we seek sponsorship, plan and embark on our journey on the 1st November 2015. Whilst we are a family of three travelling the length of the Mighty Murray River it will take a community of people, businesses, media and a generosity of individuals to reach the sea in the hope of raising awareness and funds in finding a cure for this insidious disease MS. Each a star in the grand plan and lighting the night sky as hope and courage lead the way through the many rivers and landscapes of this beautiful part of Australia – our longest river.
The Murray River is a location that always stirs my soul as I feel fused to its land with a passion for all it offers. From the smells of river gums that fill the air, fire wood from the paddle steamers as they release their black burnt smoke to propel forward and the fresh air, whether crisp from an autumn’s morning or a warm day’s air which invites you into its river shores for a swim. Not to mention the sounds of the bush – kookaburras cheering on the day, fairy wrens, corellas, swallows and cicada as they form nature’s greatest orchestra. All of which offer considerable relief from the many demands of MS symptoms when visiting the river. My healing place!
Boating has allowed me the freedom with MS to delve deeper into the river and explore its earthly beauty and mysteries along with my husband and 12 year old daughter. In those rare moments of solitude when we have navigated past the many deadened tree branches where they stand eerily as the keepers of the river when travelling to remote locations; I have experienced a sense of unity with its currents and land as I seek to absorb its life force as one with mine. Nothing feels more spiritually uplifting than sitting at the bow of the boat, hand in the water as the river separates through your fingers, wind in your hair and black kites soring overhead, swallows darting along the river like little fairies of the bush and cockatoos larking in the tree top and water edges as you snake around the many bends desperately wanting everything the Murray River has to reveal to you.
For this reason it felt a natural progression and privilege to take on an expedition on this amazing river of ours to fundraise for such a worthy curse. Four Australians are diagnosed every day with MS with many being in the prime of their life and female. So please support and join me on this adventure in raising awareness and funding into MS research for better treatments and hopefully a cure. Will you be one of the stars to light the way and provide hope and courage to those living with MS!
Please donate so that my mum and others can be free from MS!