When I look at my feet – Oxfam Australia

Team registrations are currently open for Oxfam Trailwalker Perth 2015 50km distance option and Oxfam Trailwalker Melbourne 2016 100km event. As a participant in the 2015 Melbourne Oxfam Trailwalker, here’s my story about why it was such a great event to take part in.


It’s winter, and a cold one too, here in Melbourne. That means my feet are warmly encased in shoes and socks for most of the day, not visible to anyone. Which is a good thing. Frankly, my feet have looked better.

Since completing the Melbourne Oxfam Trailwalker event in April, I’ve lost three nails on my right foot, which are slowly growing back. I have two more nails on the other foot which are black, and on the verge of dropping off too. So gross.

However, the blisters (on my feet and elsewhere) have healed, my feet are no longer swollen, the bruises and aches and pains are long forgotten. And I have recovered from the exhaustion that I felt for quite a few weeks afterwards. My toes are the only remaining sign of an event which pushed me physically, mentally and emotionally.



So do I regret doing it? Absolutely not!

Completing the Oxfam Trailwalker was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had.  I learned, and gained so much: not only from the event itself, but from the months of training prior, the fundraising process and the teamwork that is involved.

From the perspective after a few months, I discovered so many things about myself.

  • I discovered that, even though I don’t class myself as very fit, I can do a lot more than I think I can, when I put the effort and time in.
  • I found that I could push myself past the point of giving up, discovering a reserve of energy I didn’t know I had.
  • I learned to accept help when it was offered, which goes against my nature. But rather than being resentful, I discovered the gratitude of being offered and accepting help. I also discovered that I too was able to help others – and that felt good.
  • I gained a deeper appreciation of the wonders of team work – within my team, from our fantastic support crew, from the community of fellow trailwalkers we met through training and on the day, from the Oxfam staff and volunteers, through the many friends and family members who sponsored us and from the communities through which we were walking. So many people out in force, encouraging us along! It is amazing, and embracing, to discover what an extensive and welcoming community you are part of when you are involved in a Trailwalker event.
  • I had numerous opportunities to spend time in beautiful, natural surroundings, during the training and on the day (which happened to be one of those beautiful sunny autumn days when Melbourne really shines).  How often do we get the chance to spend so much time, at a pace at which we can really enjoy our surroundings? We all treasured these opportunities.
  • I was able to demonstrated to my kids the importance of setting goals and persisting, even when you feel like you have nothing more to give. And they, in turn, found their own ways of encouraging and supporting me (along with my husband, who just rose to the occasion so magnificently, as part of the support crew).
  • With my team mates, the fact that our families (including parents) and friends were actively involved in the fundraising, the training, and the supporting roles provided a focus to really knit us closer together.

And if you need even more benefits (!) – I wrote a little more about this, after the event, here.

IMG_0147Image 2  One step after the other
Most importantly, though, I have gained an appreciation of the work that Oxfam Australia does. One of the most important aspects of participating is the need to raise funds for Oxfam. And through the process of fundraising, I found out about the breadth of work that Oxfam is involved in.



Here’s a snapshot of some key areas that Oxfam is involved in.

  1. Oxfam is involved in providing finance and assistance to a range of different projects across the world and within Australia, to which you can donate. Its focus is on long term, sustainable assistance – ‘a hand up, not a hand out’.
  2. It is directly involved in assisting those in emergency situations across the world – providing assistance they need to survive – clean water, sanitation facilities, food, health and nutrition advice and shelter. Plus working within areas at risk to put processes in place to limit and prepare for potential future disasters.
  3. It also takes an active advocacy role, encouraging governments and businesses to be more generous in support of those in need, and to improve their practices to reduce the impact they cause on those who are already suffering from poverty and ill-health.
  4. And it advocates for ethical trading – and provides options for us to support this, through the purchasing of fair trade products, the Oxfam shops, and work for workers’ rights and corporate responsibility.

This is just some of the work Oxfam Australia does – more information is available on the Oxfam  Australia website . All extremely important work, which has such an important impact on so many people throughout the world. 

If you have an opportunity to help in anyway – particularly if you can do so by being part of an amazing experience such as the Oxfam Trailwalker – well, why wouldn’t you? I certainly recommend it.


Registrations have recently opened for the 2016 Oxfam Trailwalker events – to participate, to volunteer to assist on the day, or to help in a myriad of other ways. Check out the details here


5 thoughts on “When I look at my feet – Oxfam Australia

  1. Reblogged this on Home Base and commented:

    Oxfam Trailwalker 2016 – It’s time to take a hike, Melbourne!

    This time last year, I was getting ready for the longest walk I have ever done. As part of a team of four, we walked 100km through the Dandenong Ranges in a bit under 21 hours. Why? To raise funds for Oxfam Australia, but also to experience one of the most challenging, and rewarding activities I’ve been involved in.

    This year, I will be experiencing it in a different way. The Melbourne Trailwalker event is run this year from Friday 8 April until Sunday 10 April. On Saturday morning, I’ll be one of the trail marshalls, helping to guide and encourage those walkers getting near to the end of the walk. It will be amazing to see what they are doing, and I am looking forward to encouraging them along (especially since, as my shift starts on the second morning, they will have been going longer than I did, and that takes such endurance). I look forward to sharing my experiences with you after the event! (and I’ll do a reminder, as well, next week).

    But in the meantime, I’d love to encourage you to support Oxfam Australia with its fundraising (more information here).

    Plus, I’d love your advice. Oxfam Australia provides broad guidance for the marshalls, and so I have some clear parameters, but I would love to know:
    – If you have been involved in an event like this, what have the volunteers done or said that you’ve found the most helpful or encouraging? (Even if you haven’t, some tips would be great – encouragement is so helpful when you are in the middle of this!).

    Cheers, Helen


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s