When Angela Maxwell wanted a break from her busy life, she determined to take a stroll. She would not return for six and half years.
Seven years in the past, Maxwell was a profitable life coach in her 30s along with her personal enterprise consultancy in Oregon within the US, however she felt an awesome sense of dissatisfaction.
“There was nonetheless this sense of climbing via this rat race…to earn more money within the six figures,” she advised ABC RN’s Life Matters.
She determined to change her life and that an journey was the way in which to do it.
“I had this concept that I may go strolling all over the world on a funds [and that] possibly I may give again in a roundabout way,” she says.
So, Maxwell grew to become a globe-trotting adventurer, trekking all over the world in service to this quest.
Throughout her travels, she raised cash for Her Future Coalition, an organisation devoted to serving to survivors of gender violence in India and Nepal. She did talking engagements, used social media and hooked up an indication to her cart along with her web site, the place folks may donate.
She additionally needed to check herself.
“One of many issues that I used to be drawn to with this stroll was to essentially discover out what I used to be able to,” Maxwell says.
There have been many alternatives for that alongside the way in which.
“I did not at all times have assist, and I needed to actually go inside myself to search out these sources. And oftentimes that got here to having a mindset that will assist me stick with it and get via the tough occasions,” she says.
It took Maxwell 9 months to organize for her stroll. She had no prior mountaineering expertise, so she learn the memoirs of feminine adventurers, researched tenting gear and went on lengthy hikes. To fund the journey, she bought most of her belongings.
There was a sure urgency to her want to get away. “After I knew I needed to set out on a protracted pilgrimage, as loopy because it appeared…it was a now or by no means determination,” recollects Maxwell, who was impressed by Jane Goodall, Amelia Earhart and Sacagawea.
She set off on 2 Might 2014, leaving her hometown on foot. Important gadgets had been packed in a rickshaw pram, which she would pull alongside on her journey.
Over the subsequent six and half years, her 20,000-kilometre journey would take her to 4 continents, 14 international locations and a handful of islands.
She says there have been numerous highlights, together with serving to a farmer renovate his dwelling and being handed previous household recipes in Italy, studying beekeeping within the Republic of Georgia, and camel herding in Mongolia.
She lived on simply $5 a day, which meant she camped more often than not and carried her personal meals and water. She ate rudimentary meals like oatmeal within the morning and fast noodles at evening. Now and again, she’d decide up a mushy drink and a chocolate bar if she discovered them whereas passing via a small village.
Sometimes, she’d obtain an uncommon deal with. “In Mongolia, a household slaughtered and cooked a sheep and supplied me the delicacy, which was the sheep cheek, paired with a slice of pure fats,” she recollects.
“I may by no means refuse being supplied one thing. Not as soon as [did] I ever.”
Other than her household strolling the primary 11 kilometres along with her, Maxwell walked alone, which she says as a self-confessed introvert was typically the most effective half.
“One of many issues I liked concerning the stroll was the solitude. That is one of many causes that I liked Western Australia a lot, is that I may go days and if I actually needed, weeks with out seeing one other particular person,” she says.
Hardships and tragedy
Maxwell knew there would even be challenges. She got here down with dengue fever in Vietnam, which took a month of restoration. She received solar blisters and warmth stroke within the Australian outback, and her toes took a beating.
However the worst second got here a few 12 months into her journey, when she was in Mongolia. She was sexually assaulted one night whereas she slept.
“A nomad got here into my tent in the midst of the evening…it was terrifying,” she says.
She knew it was a make-or-break second, wherein she may both return dwelling or hold strolling.
“The one factor that helped me to maintain going, was that I thought of all the ladies who had shared their tales earlier than,” she says.
It was a tough determination for Maxwell, however she cast on, ever alert every time she slept. For the rest of her journey there have been no points – and no regrets.
On 16 December 2020, Maxwell returned dwelling. She’s nonetheless adjusting, as a result of whereas her hometown hasn’t modified a lot, she undoubtedly has.
“It is a bit surreal being again within the place I left nearly seven years in the past,” she admits, “[but] it additionally jogs my memory that dwelling is not a spot as a lot as it’s the place you are feeling comforted and secure.”
Maxwell says her journey was profoundly life-changing. She feels the girl who left in 2014 has come again along with her previous identification stripped away. She is now prepared to start out a brand new chapter.
“I really feel like I am simply beginning a brand new journey and I believe that is one thing that we are able to all maintain on to,” she says.
“We by no means actually know what’s mendacity across the nook. And so finally, life actually is an journey if we let or not it’s.”