Wandering Minds Walk

24-year-old Caves Beach local Bailey Seamer has been walking more than 5,000 kms to ignite conversations about mental health and to prove to herself that a bipolar diagnosis does not define her.

At the age of 13, a time when most of us are forming hopes and dreams for the future, Bailey’s came tumbling down. She was misdiagnosed with depression and spent a lot of her teenage years heavily medicated.

Then, at 19, while studying nursing overseas, she had her first manic episode and suddenly her life felt very much out of control.

“None of my family or friends had any idea what bipolar really was. What did it mean? Could I still achieve all the things that I originally set out to do?” Bailey tells me over a scratchy WhatsApp call from the Daintree.

“So many things in my life were uncertain. So I said to myself, I’m going to do this massive thing to show myself that I can achieve whatever I put my mind to, and perhaps create a positive effect with other people that may be suffering from mental illness too.”

In May 2022, with determination and a little stubbornness driving her on, Bailey set out on her “Wandering Minds Walk” from Wilsons Promontory, the southernmost point of Australia, to Cape York Peninsula, the northernmost tip.

A massive thing indeed

She has walked endless sandy beaches, including the Stockton Sand Dunes which she says were stunning, but a killer for the calves, through small towns and big towns, in the wet, the dry and the humid.
Through Victoria and NSW Bailey walked mostly on her own, sleeping in a tent with all she needed in her back pack, except when she needed a food drop or water supplies.

Once she made it to Queensland, her partner Sean, who drives the support vehicle, joined her and when we chatted they were spending the night at a beautiful AirBnB, gifted by a local.
“It’s been absolutely wonderful to be in a good bed and dry because it rains so much here! We’re mostly sleeping in the back of a support vehicle or wherever anyone will take us. It’s kind of like being a couple of strays,” Bailey laughed.

She has raised $88,000 for mental health research through the Black Dog Institute, and organisations and individuals have kindly donated clothing, shoes and equipment to support Bailey’s cause.

Read more about Bailey in our Spring Edition of Hunter & Coastal Lifestyle Magazine or subscribe here.

Story by Megan Hazlett, photography courtesy of Bailey Seamer