Whether it be crossing the road or dating, “everything in life involves a calculated risk” – and that’s how Jodie Morton is approaching a 5000-kilometre, year-long ride on horse-back to Queensland.
Jodie will follow the Great Dividng Range on one of the longest non-motorised trails in the world.
In the rare occasion she does find other humans along the Bicentennial National Trail, they will be just the people to hear her story.
“I’ve been reaching out to schools and towns, as I want to get people talking about mental health,” she said.
“I’d never even heard of the trail, but as soon as I did, it just seemed absolutely perfect for what I wanted to do, as it does go through so many rural towns.
“I want people to feel like they can get help without being judged.”
This time last year, Jodie was working full-time as an account manager and squeezing in saddle-time at every opportunity.
Her whole world was turned upside down when a person she called her grandma took her own life.
It was the second time in a year Jodie had lost someone close to her in this way.
“If I can get just one person to seek help instead of taking that some route, it would be worth every dollar and every minute I’ve put into this,” she said.
“I first thought about this trip in October and then it became reality when I resigned from my job at the end of April.”
Jodie hopes to also raise money for Beyond Blue and already has thousands of people following the journey on her website and Instagram, titled ‘Green, Gold and Blues’ (Green and Gold for Australia, and the Blues representing depression).
With the help of Garry Mackay, who works with brumbies near Jindera, Jodie is preparing for the start of the ride on November 3.
“I’m just getting the horses fit and making sure they’re ready for it,” she said.
“If everything goes well, it will take about a year.
“Because the drought has been really tough, there’s a section in the middle that’s closed, but I’m being optimistic that we will get late spring rains and we’ll go all the way from Healesville to Cooktown.”
Jodie, who moved from Melbourne to be on the Border full-time earlier this year, isn’t sure what she’ll do upon her return but “has 12 months to work that out”.
While there are dangerous aspects to the trip, she’s more eager to get going than nervous.
“In the bush you don’t have too much to be scared of – it will be picturesque, Man From Snowy River-type stuff,” Jodie said.
“I’ve been told everyone you meet just wants to help, and that is the Australian way.”
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