June Ward taught in the Physical Education / Sport Department at Tintern from for 27 years – from 1977 and retiring in 2004.
One can never predict the future nor what might befall you. Since retiring from the PE/SPORT Dept in 2004, I can only say, it’s been a period of befores and afters. Before 2013 and after 2013.
Pre 2013, I had 3 wonderful years assisting with the Swimming and Athletic Teams at Tintern, plus some CRT work at Tintern and several other schools. Midst this, my partner and I had several trips across the Nullarbor to WA (where I grew up), to visit my parents. Both in their late 80’s, they passed away in 2008 and 09. Somehow we draw upon our inner strength to come to terms with the fact of being adult orphans!
The ensuing years we had more adventures to Queensland, NSW and of course Victoria. We also cared for 3 elderly friends during our daily lives on the Mornington Peninsula.
In 2013, my beloved partner was diagnosed with cancer and died some 7 months later. So, my life changed once again.
Upon reflection, his strength in dealing with his illness enabled me to continue with life and thus it was, in late 2014, sitting on the cliff tops at the back of Blairgowrie, I decided I needed a focus. And….an idea was born….that was to cross the Nullarbor solo, on my bicycle.
Obviously I needed to get fit (and as some former students would remember the Wardie waddle), I needed knee replacements. That done, I focused on my fitness and to find myself a suitable bike for the journey, as well as a tent and other bits and pieces.
And so it was, in late April 2017, I flew to Perth with my bike and other goodies. Following a week’s stay with my sister, on the 28th April, I set sail for my return trip home.
I never doubted I would complete this journey and it really was the trip of a lifetime. On my own, I traversed the Nullarbor on my trusty steed. A journey I had travelled too many times to mention. Some days were tough, some days I felt like I was flying! Tis amazing the inner strength and resolve you can muster when necessary. And so, some 3,539 kilometres, 6 weeks later and an average of 96 k’s/day, I returned home.
Having completed this trip, more adventures came to mind; more things to tick from the bucket list.
2018 was my year to sky dive….a super exhilarating experience. Then in 2019, for 4 months on the road in my car, I travelled through Central Australia to Darwin and across to WA where I swam with the whale sharks at Exmouth, thence to Perth and the south of WA where I was born, and back home across the Nullarbor.
In the interim, between these adventures, I garden, and I have enjoyed the challenge of building all manner of things. In fact, this has become my solace when the going gets tough. And, as you know, the tough must get going!
2020 was to have been the Kokoda Track, however, Covid had other ideas and for each and every one of us, the strength required in dealing with this pandemic has been immeasurable!
I’m looking forward to further adventures in the outback of Australia….on the dirt tracks…..the Gibb River Road, the Tanami, Birdsville and Oodnadatta tracks spring to mind.
Have I become stronger than ever? Some days I believe so and then some days, not so.
But that is life & that is reality.
The future, however, is not ours to see!
Que sera, sera!