Stride the Divide

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25 November 2016

By Chris Bailey

Last April I set forth on what undoubtedly ended up being the most testing experience of my life to date. Starting in a small desert town, I aimed to walkImage 1 - Chris Bailey trekked the Pacific Crest Trail for charity. Image 2 - At a fun run in Melbourne with Xavier College students 4,300 kilometres from Mexico to Canada over North America’s Pacific Crest. A challenge that evolved into both inwardly a pilgrimage to beauty and outwardly an opportunity to promote the worth of charitable giving.

Having undergone a Catholic education was integral to my formation. Experiencing eight years of a Jesuit education at Xavier College instilled within me the hunger to be a man of service – a teaching at the nucleus of all Ignatian Spirituality.

Establishing a vision of raising a ‘big fat hairy audacious goal’ of $100,000 for women living in poverty to start their own business was the mission of my journey. After establishing a clear and measurable vision, it was as if everything came together in the attainment of that goal.

The passage required undergoing 1,200 kilometres of desert in Southern California, thousands of feet in elevation over mountain passes in the High Sierras, to crossing volcanic peaks in the Pacific North West before finally attaining the end of Canada and finishing my journey in British Columbia. In this time I was totally self-sufficient, living out of what I could carry and sleeping in my tent for its entirety. I recall it taking tremendous nerve for me to take those principle steps – I was incredibly fearful that I didn’t have the aptitude to fulfil my ambitions. Mustering just enough self-belief to simply get myself to the start line soon became a motif for others to simply muster the intent to start to become more informed about effective solutions to poverty.

It all came to a climactic end upon my return home with the ‘stride-the-divide’ fun run/walk along the Yarra River where friends, family, members of the public, and kids from Melbourne schools attended as a show of solidarity in support of the work of charity Opportunity International. It was here where we broke through our fundraising target – a testament to all those involved.