45 NATIONAL PARKS IN 52 WEEKS

The Story

Lately I’ve been going through a bit of an adventure documentary phase and watching these incredibly dedicated, resilient and seemingly everyday people achieve extraordinary things has got me itching for my own adventure.  With a new decade just days away I’ve been throwing some ideas around as to what I can do to make 2020 truly extraordinary.

I recently sent out some Christmas cards to friends, purely because I wanted to share with them my favourite photo of 2019.  It was a group of my closest friends and family, some of who had never met one another before, on the Sugarloaf Peak in the Cathedral Ranges.  I revolved my 30th celebration plans around doing this hike which is one of my favourites and I wanted to 100% exploit the situation and drag them along for the gruelling hike.  The photo shows a bunch of sweaty, smiling faces, all glowing with the sense of achievement of the simple act of walking up a mountain. People were hungry, tired and longing for a cold beer, but the act of getting away from it all and chatting to new friends along the way made the celebrations afterwards all the more sweeter.  Plus, everyone was in bed by midnight which was also okay by me!

Searching for this photo led me down a rabbit-hole of memories and I couldn’t help but amass a range of photos from throughout the year, all documenting the times we escaped the city and went out into nature.  I was sad to find that I could not find any photos of myself with other close friends – we had caught up plenty during the year for dinners and events, but I didn’t have one photo from these occasions to mark time.  I’d spent plenty of time throughout the year hiking solo and I regretted not inviting friends along more often.

2019 has been a year of change for me – I’ve taken up journaling and dabbled in meditation.  I’ve become a vegetarian and have opened my mind up to a range of lifestyle changes that aim to tread more lightly on the world and the feelings of others.  The aim of a lot of these changes are to become more self aware. Realizing the value I have for these friendships feels like an achievement for me, as I’m not sure if it’s something that I would have taken the time to reflect on in past years.

In mid December I was struck by a viral bug that was making the rounds and had two days off work, desperately trying to mend myself before the Christmas break.  During a restless night I found myself awake for hours and in my malaise thought of the idea of visiting every National Park in Victoria during a calendar year. I’d recently been creating a database of the National Parks for Get Gone and researching them had made me intrigued to visit the lesser known Parks.  I wanted to not only undertake this as a personal mission, but open it up to my friends and family so I can share my love of the outdoors, wilderness experience and quality resources.  

I often share my outdoor experiences through Instagram, as I am often flying solo and enjoy taking the time to share what I get up to.  Occasionally friends will DM me about my adventures and I love having these albeit brief interactions with people I rarely see in person.  They often express an interest in joining me, but like most well intentioned plans to catch up with friends these days, it never eventuates.  I am planning on utilizing the power of social media to connect us digitally, to bring us together to share an analogue experience together.  

I have many other interests I hope this mission will incorporate, from learning more about the indegenous history of these ancient lands and expand my knowledge of the native flora and fauna that surrounds us.  As I set out on this adventure, I have a rough idea of how I want to document it and what I want to learn and share. However I know that despite my best efforts, the path will fork, switchback, ascend and descend.  The next twelve months are about the journey, not the destination, so I am excited to see where it will lead me.

We acknowledge the traditional owners of country on which we visit during this journey.   We recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture and pay our respects to their elders past, present and future.

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