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ArmaSkin has been supporting the epic challenge being undertaken by Lucy Barnard, an Australian woman, who has embarked on a 3 year attempt to "Walk the Americas." Here is the second part of the interview with Lucy.

  1. On a daily basis, what gets you out of your sleeping bag and ready to continue your journey?

You know those annoying morning people who wake up and go go go? That’s me… I plan out my daily distance to the next town and then try to find camp early so I can enjoy the afternoon.

  1. Now that you've been immersed in the challenge for 5 months and understand the reality of the challenge you have set yourself, how are you feeling?

Hungry.  LOL       I’m really not that complicated. The only thing that has changed is my effort to control time.        The culture here doesn’t fit in with my fast paced planning so I’ve adapted and enjoy places I am in when I am in them.      I don’t plan my trail for longer than 500km because chances are, it’ll change. Actually, it will change. That’s just how it is. It’s easier to work without plans and then you haven’t wasted time when your plans don’t play out.

  1. Solo hiking, without even considering the sort of conditions you've been enduring, brings a heightened level of danger. What have been your scariest moment so far (promise we won't tell your Mum) . And we'd like to know what it is that goes through your mind at those times and how you calculate your response.       

Solo hiking comes with advantages and disadvantages – you don’t have anyone to question your bearings and decision making so you have to be meticulous about checking everything. On the positive side, people are far more likely to offer you help when you need it and you’re not misguided by “experts”.     Solo aside, the only time I’ve hiked through difficult terrain was in an unstable quarry with other hikers. When the land began to slide the most important thing to do was not panic (just like any uncertain situation), check in with how everyone is coping and be ready to help each other. Then allow as much time as you need to work methodically.       The principle is always the same:  Stop. Assess. Move away from danger if you can. Decide to stay or go. Make a plan. Reassess.       Primarily I prepare as much as possible to avoid these situations occurring in the first place.

  1. With the intention to become a PRO Adventurer, the thought is that it becomes an income earner. We know that you saved like mad for the trip.  How are you finding the challenge of funding your hike at this point in time?   What has surprised you about actual costs?

I doubt any adventurer will tell you it’s a money maker but to sustain yourself while you do what you love (no matter what that might be), you have to take responsibility for your own success including staying up to date with industry trends, being resilient and entrepreneurial.        The biggest impact financially has been becoming the adventure grant recipient of The North Face presented by Australian Geographic Outdoor magazine,  sponsorship from Fyshwick Self Storage and  Australian Geographic and contributions from blog readers!      Logistically, I wouldn’t be here without my safety and security team at Phase Zero Australia or my project management team at Elemental Projects who help me get the most out of the expedition opportunity wise.

Some of the cost related Surprises:

  • The new government in Argentina has had an effect on its economy which means I replace equipment in Chile where it’s more affordable without the heavy import tax.
  • If I’m unlucky, I have to pay import tax on equipment sent from Australia, and
  • The rate I walk out the life of my shoes which so far has been about 800 kms per pair.
  1. The journey albeit in its infancy has challenged you for 5 months now. What have you learnt about yourself?  What has surprised your most about yourself? Do you think you have already been changed by the experience?            

I have a strong sense of who I am and don’t think I will change profoundly from this expedition other than the way you do as time passes.      Physically, I was surprised by how much my appetite picked up in the first 6 weeks but after learning from a nutritionist and fellow adventurers that it’s typical, I began to handle it a lot better. 

  1. What role does the countryside itself play in your daily motivation?  

It impacts on my enjoyment more so than my motivation. If I’m facing difficult terrain I start early to give myself the best chance possible to reach my goal.

  1. Apart from the people you've been meeting thinking that you are crazy to be hiking in the Argentinian Winter how do you think the fact you are a woman has played into their reaction to you?

Well I certainly don’t think they’d think I’m any less crazy if I were a man.

  1. You've recently been experiencing a Game of Thrones environment. Which character in Game of thrones do you liken yourself to or aspire to become?  Or do you consider yourself more like being in the Bachelorette.

 Hahaha! Since most of the Game of Thrones characters die young I wouldn’t aspire to be any of them. Knowing me I’d be hanging out in the kitchen.       

As for the Bachelorette, all I know about that show is they get helicopter rides to remote and expensive places so if anyone wants to throw one of those my way, go right ahead!!

  1. How can anyone or any organisation get behind this amazing challenge.

My sponsorship wish list comprises

  • Shoes from Solomon or La Sportiva would be pretty rad
  • Any company that’s keen to pitch in to replacing gear, and
  • An airline so Mum can come and visit! 
  • Cash contributions via web site

FINAL NOTE:

Not only has Lucy reached El Chalten, her current progression point is over 400 km north.

Is it more difficult than I thought? Yes. Am I surprised by what challenges me? Yes. Am I confident I'll finish? No. Will it worry me if I don't? No.

 Because, as of today I'm more than 1400 kms ahead of where I would have been if I hadn't started. I wouldn't have experienced the kindness of strangers, the support from a growing community, or the potential for a simple idea to inspire other people to begin their own... If I hadn't started.

There will always be someone who wants to critique you... So if you're setting some big goals make sure you're well supported - and take on the quote from my Mum instead: Have the courage to be who you want to be!

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