Terra Roam is on her final leg of her 16,000km walk around Australia and has been traversing the northern rivers via Wollumbin, Huonville, Mullumbimby, Byron Bay and Ballina over the last week as she does her final 800km to the finishing line in Newcastle, where she was born.
The walk began with a warm up lap around Tasmania in 2013 where Terra walked 1,250km in three months around the isle.
‘During that walk I experienced weather extremes from a blizzard to a Tasmanian heat wave of 28 degrees,’ said Terra with a gentle smile.
Striding over such as vast terrain was a daunting task, so Terra broke the walk down into safe seasonal sections and took each day step by step. She had planned to finish last year, but after breaking and dislocating her ankle walking down a slope in Binna Burra, less than 1,000 kilometres from the end, she was forced to postpone the final leg until now.
‘It took six months for the break to heal properly,’ said Terra enjoying a well earned break at a cafe in Mullumbimby.
Once Terra has completed the walk on May 2, she will become the first woman to have walked around Australia, including around Tasmania, alone and without a support vehicle.
‘When I was twelve, I read Robyn Davidson’s book Tracks and I knew I was going to do something like that in the future. Walking through nature in solitude and being intuitively connected to nature was something I understood from a young age.’
The Perth to Adelaide walk was 4,000km and from Perth to Darwin another 4,100km, with each section taking between seven and eight months to complete.
Terra has been raising awareness about Lifeline and suicide prevention and has raised more than $20,000 for Lifeline.
‘I use walking as a therapy to maintain my sense of well being,’ said Terra reflectively. ‘But these last two months, I am walking just for me, just to ground myself without worrying about anyone else.’
The six week walk across the Nullarbor Desert was a highlight but the key was doing the walk in mid-winter.
‘So many people just drive and stop to fill up and drive on but the Nullarbor was absolutely beautiful. As you walked you could hear the bird songs and smell the herbs. I was up before sunrise walking twelve hours a day and by the end of it I was doing 40 to 50km a day with my custom designed barrow that I carried my food, water and tent in.’
Terra has either camped, had free offers to stay with people or swings in her hammock between trees in a quiet safe spot.
When Terra was threatened over a Facebook post while walking between Pilbara and the Kimberleys, she said it was amazing how people kept an eye out for her.
‘There were cycling groups and bikies who were taking tours out to check on me as well as the truckies and locals stopping to give me water and fresh food.’
‘In fact, there are now 50 per cent of adventurers are women and most of those women are in their 30 to 50s. I really haven’t had any problems that a man wouldn’t have had in the same situation.
‘I just encourage people for their well being and happiness to travel a little bit further – don’t be afraid to be alone in nature, it has a lot to offer.
‘The Dreamtime is a real thing if you are willing to open your mind to it – if you’re willing to respect the spirit of the ancestors they will make themselves known to you.’