Thursday, August 24, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
A 23-year-old Newcastle woman, who is walking from Australia’s most southern point to its most northern tip, is passing through the Whitsundays this week as part of her mammoth 5,000-kilometre trek.
Bailey Seamer departed from South Point in Wilsons Promontory National Park in May last year and is aiming to reach her destination at the top of Cape York Peninsula in July.
The total trip will take around 15 months with Bailey walking roughly 30 kilometres a day, which takes between six and seven hours.
She is in no rush to get to her destination and says that her priority is connecting with communities and advocating for mental health along the way.
Bailey was 14 when she was diagnosed with depression and 19 when she was told she had Bi-Polar.
For a long time, she didn’t know how it would be possible to lead a normal life, hold down a job or maintain relationships.
She spent a lot of time in the mental health ward of a hospital and for days she could not get out of bed.
Then, she “woke up one day and thought – that’s it!” – she left the hospital and walked the full 30 kilometres back to her family home.
This was the first of many steps for Bailey who uses walking as a form of medicine for the mind.
“I was looking for a healthy outlet and I thought – I am really good at walking!” she explains.
Eventually, a love of walking prompted her to embark on this challenging trek that has tested her mettle, endurance and grit.
Bailey has been using her savings from working as a Covid tester at the mines for a year to self-fund her trip and is also sponsored by her dad’s small business.
Over the past nine months, she has also raised $45,000 for the Black Dog Institute which helps make positive change in mental health research, education and innovation.
When she first started, Bailey walked solo, spending seven months sleeping on sofas, camping in backyards and in the occasional free hotel room.
When heat and access to water became bigger issues her partner, Sean, joined her and has been driving a support vehicle ever since.
“When I first started, I found it really hard to accept help from others,” she said.
“But it’s been amazing seeing the generosity of people along the way.”
During her journey Bailey has stopped to engage with communities, connecting with schools, community groups and individuals to help to inspire better mental health.
“When I was sick in hospital, I made a promise to myself that I would become the person I needed,” she said.
By talking with people who are living through their own challenges with mental health, she hopes to show them how it is possible to live a fulfilling life with Bi-Polar.
While in the Whitsundays, Bailey is open to talking with any individuals in the community.
She is here until Saturday and contactable on her Facebook page ‘Wandering Minds’ if you want to catch up with her.
To donate, go to wandering-minds.org.
If this article has brought up anything for you or triggered any challenging emotions, then remember you are not alone.
Lifeline Australia – 13 11 14
Whitsunday Suicide Prevention Network 4945 2858
Bailey Seamer, who is walking 5,000 kilometres for mental health, standing with her partner Sean Fox in Airlie Beach. Photo supplied