A JOURNEY of solitude and self-discovery has taken Terra Roams to some of the most beautiful pockets of Australia while walking her into the record books.
As she finished her 17,000 kilometre adventure at Nobbys Beach on Thursday, the Novocastrian became the first woman to walk solo and unsupported around Australia.
“I’ve covered every state in Australia – over mountains, through deserts, cyclones, fires – you name it I’ve probably walked through it, and I’ve seen the most beautiful things out there – like the Aurora Australis, and the glowing ocean,” she said.
“For my personal health – my physical and mental health – I could not count the benefits this walk around Australia has had.”
Ms Roams completed her goal in 123 “walking weeks” over four years, occasionally pausing to recover from injuries and wait for wet seasons or heatwaves to pass.
It had been a “full sensory immersion” into nature.
The walk was initially inspired by a book Ms Roams read as a 12 year old – Tracks, by Robyn Davidson, about a 2700 kilometre trek across the Australian desert.
“The way she wrote about solitude, and her connection to nature – I wanted to experience that in life, as an adult,” she said.
Then in 2010, Ms Roams was hospitalised.
“I was suicidal with depression and post traumatic stress disorder, and my psychologist pointed out how much I had been using walking, and solitude and nature, as therapy before that,” she said. “I decided I would walk around Australia, and share my story of recovery, and give other people hope.
“From the moment I started walking I noticed changes. Each week, each month. My well-being, my happiness was growing.
“You’re in the moment when you’re in nature, and the distractions in that moment – the call of a bird, the scent of a tree – holds you in that moment – and you’re not worried about anything else.”
She hoped to inspire other females to “dream big.”
Ms Roams, who is sponsored by the Australian Geographic Society, will spend winter writing a book before beginning her next adventure – riding a bicycle around Australia.