'Don't Wait Until You Retire': This Wild Woman Has An Important Message For Mums
By Sophia Hatzis | Digital Content Producer at Wild Women On Top
Julie Towner has always loved walking in nature. She finds it clears her mind, grounds her, and is the movement she's always loved the most. But walking isn't something she's always made time for.
Her struggle is one many mothers can relate to. With four children to look after and a full-time job keeping her busy, Julie simply wasn't carving out time for herself and her health. It wasn't until her late fifties, when her kids had pretty much flown the nest, that things changed. Now, she does up to four Trek Training sessions a week with coaches Kelly and Wanda. She's travelling all over the world with Wild Women, heading to Switzerland this year with Wanda and to Mongolia next year with Jacq. She's doing things she never thought she'd be able to do, walking at night and booking trips overseas with no concrete plans.
A breast cancer survivor, a mother of four, a grandmother of three, a keen walker, and a mighty explorer, Julie shares with us her favourite hikes and why being a Wild Woman has transformed her life!
What do you love most about being a Wild Woman?
Walking has always been my thing, my time out to clear the brain. But it's definitely something I was struggling to fit it in with full-time work, grown up children, and now three grandchildren. Then I found night Trek Training. It was like finding five or six more hours in my week, every week. Wanda and Kelly take me to places I’d never go at night or on my own. It’s always an adventure and I'm always being pushed out of my comfort zone. I don’t even squeal at a spider anymore. The girls are all so encouraging, interesting, like minded, and the time just flies! I definitely feel like I've found my tribe.
What's the best hike you've ever done and what made it so epic?
I’ve done a few awesome Wild Woman treks. The Bungle Bungles and Lord Howe Island are definite standouts.
I’ve also been to South America twice and to Nepal twice with my husband. But I think the hike I’m most proud of was walking the whole 800km of the Camino in Spain in October 2017 all on my own. It was an epic 30-day adventure, filled with long days, blisters, backpacks, boots, barking dogs, bed bugs, but also amazing sunrises, freedom to just walk with no schedule, paella, vino blanco, and many, many “Buen Camino” welcomes. I’ve never gone on a holiday with just my plane ticket booked! It was so liberating. I did come back a little shattered, but I’d absolutely recommend it to anyone.
Which hiking destination is at the top of your bucket list and why?
I’m really excited now to be preparing for the Haute Route in Switzerland with Wanda and the girls in August. The challenge will be the 1000-plus metre height gains everyday. But you can just imagine the scenery. I can't wait!
What’s the most memorable thing that’s ever happened to you on a hike?
There are so many memories. But I think I’d have to say, when you head off on any trip, it’s the people you go with that help make your memories. Like-minded people coming together to have the adventure of a lifetime. Doing all of your planning, training, and packing together, to be ready for it. Sometimes you know these people before you leave home, but other times you come together on the trail. I’ve met people from all around the world through trekking. I've made some great friends and have had them come and visit me here in Sydney. I've also travelled the world to meet them in their hometowns as well. You become part of a community that truly "gets" you, understands you.
What's the best hiking advice you've ever been given?
Travel light! You don’t need as much as you might think. The Camino definitely taught me that lesson. When you have to carry everything you need for a month on your back, you very quickly reduce that list of must-haves. I started that trip with a bag of toiletries that very quickly got cut to one cake of soap for hair, body, and clothes! You can do it and trust me you won’t miss all the other stuff you carry around.
Also, be kind to your feet. You owe them alot.
If you're interested in joining Trek Training, we have a very special Mother's Day offer for you. Until the end of May, if you buy a Trek Training 10-pack, you'll get 15 sessions for the price of 10. That's five bonus microadventures absolutely free. Get your pass here.