Alison - Trailwalker Wonder Woman!
I’ve just worked out that I’ve managed to walk over 500 kilometres in Oxfam races over the years. I’ve walked with two of the same people in three races and three of the same people twice. I’ve gone through five pairs of walking shoes and I can’t imagine the number of litres of water I have drunk. Luckily, I have probably had less than 30 blisters and no major injuries!
During the events, I been chased by dogs, laughed until I cried, cried some more, laughed some more, sat by a hypnotic campfire, been stretched, poked and prodded and had my feet cleaned, shoes and socks changed by my husband though I have never howled at the moon - something I would like to do.
Yes, I am thoroughly addicted!
Walking makes me happy and that tying on my shoes and popping in my earphones I can go out anywhere and find some peace for myself, whether its crazy Mumbai or the beaches of Mauritius. I don’t intentionally think about meditation, but there is something about the rhythm of my steps that calms my mind like nothing else. I can try to think through things that are bothering me or I can think of nothing, the walking soothes my body and mind kilometre after kilometre.
When I come back from a walk I feel more energetic, ready to tackle life’s problems.
The Oxfam Trailwalker events give me a goal to look forward to each year and usually I am busy planning my teams for the Mumbai and Bangalore walks many months in advance. Though it seems to be getting harder and harder for me to find people to walk with… The event takes some effort to get organised for, but once done, it is an easy routine to plan and pack for Oxfam Trailwalker. I’ve figured out just what I need to get through the 50 or 100 km walks.
In fact the teammates I have had over the events have been hugely varied but some things always remain the same. I have walked to try to win, to go as fast as possible and walked to just finish or support someone who needed me.
I am a bit competitive I have to admit, but winning isn’t important to me anymore. You never know if you are going to be the teammate who struggles the most and needs the support of their teammates - so for me now - the most important thing is to support each other - cause it could be you next!
All of the best training could go down the drain if its just not your day. Or you might be stronger than you ever thought possible. You will never be able to get to the finish line if you don’t work together as a team. This is the greatest lesson of Oxfam Trailwalker for me and I will never forget any of the wonderful people I have walked with, supported, been supported by, or even let down.
They become like family to me, especially if your own family lives halfway around the world like many of my teammates.
I also love walking through the villages of India, seeing people’s curious faces as I walk past, waving to their children and greeting them with what I hope is a polite namaste. I love their hardworking but clearly relaxed lifestyle and often wonder what they think of these city-types that come traipsing past their homes once per year.
I love the checkpoints - the happy feeling you get as you know that you are getting close to one and the sound of the drumbeats greeting the teams that are there before you. The sweet coffee or tea they serve at the checkpoints is nectar from heaven when you are cold and tired.
The friendly faces of all the volunteers help to boost the positive thoughts I might be finding it hard to conjure on my own.
I also like to think about how much money and awareness I have helped to raise for Oxfam India. The good work they do supporting projects all over India gives voices to people whose voice is not loud enough to be heard in this huge country. The practical help they provide improves and saves lives. Oxfam Trailwalker India completes the circle of my happiness in walking, being part of a team, seeing the beautiful countryside and supporting a charity that does so much good.