Amanda Cox

Cause: SANE Australia
Adventure: SANE Australia’s Great Wall Challenge
Social: @madcowsdiary

As our Adventurer of the Month, Amanda has scored herself a $100 Paddy Pallin voucher! To be our next month’s winner, make sure you’re uploading your journey to social and use the hashtag #IveBeenInspired.

The Long Walk #FamilyDay #MadCowSANETrain #ivebeeninspired @inspiredadventures

A photo posted by Mad Cow (Amanda Cox) (@madcowsdiary) on

What inspired you to take on your Inspired Adventure with SANE Australia?

It was a combination of things really. I LOVE adventure and was looking for something exciting to do this year, and I really enjoy long walks in exciting places. I have wanted to visit the Great Wall of China since I was about 10 years old, and for the last decade and a bit, I have been an avid advocate for mental health, and particularly that of mums. A friend had recently done a trek to Peru with Inspired Adventures, so I did a bit of research and found this one; it was like all my personal planets aligned. I absolutely had to sign up.

(The lure of a duck dinner at the end of our trek, which also happens to fall on my birthday, was just a bonus!)

How are you feeling about the challenge ahead? Have you ever been to China before?

I’m really excited. A little anxious I may not have the fitness levels required to trek without slowing everyone up, but I think my excitement and anticipation for the trip will make up for that. I hope so anyway! I’m fascinated by the history of the area and of the Wall itself, and I just think the whole experience will be incredible.

I have been to Shanghai before – I was chosen to be a Live Positively Ambassador for a large global corporation, and was invited to visit a few of their corporate spaces in Shanghai. It was mostly a business trip, so we really only got a few hours to explore the city. It was amazing – as were the dumplings, which I still get cravings for even six years on.

"It is a constant reminder that I am making a small difference to someone and that support services like SANE Australia are very much needed"

What have been some of the highlights of your fundraising experience so far?

I’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of some people. It’s really inspiring. I’ve also found people quietly opening up about their experiences of mental illness, and although that doesn’t really relate to fundraising, per se, it is a constant reminder that I am making a small difference to someone and that support services like SANE Australia are very much needed. It’s a little overwhelming and very humbling, but also extremely fulfilling.

Last one ... #FamilyDay #WerribeeGorge #MadCowSANETrain #ivebeeninspired ... 3 hours hiking, just less than 10km 🙂

A photo posted by Mad Cow (Amanda Cox) (@madcowsdiary) on

What have been your biggest challenges in taking on an Inspired Adventure? How did you overcome this?

I think my biggest challenge has been ensuring I can do enough training for the trek; I don’t want to struggle along but want to be fit enough to really absorb the whole experience. I work full time, and have a small writing business on top of that, I have three boys and a husband, too. So my days are busy.

I’ve overcome it by prioritising my need to train, and incorporating walking into my commute to and from work; each week I get off at a train station earlier and walk from there, and have pretty much set up a small wardrobe of work attire at the office to make life a little easier.

I also take the family along with me on Sunday adventures walking wherever we can (you can follow that progress on my Instagram, with the hashtag I’ve created especially for this #MadCowSANETrain). We get to spend time together, and I get to train – they pretend they hate it, but they don’t really.

Have you noticed any changes or transformation in your life since taking on your first adventure?

I have a lot more of a positive outlook on things, and have much less time for drama and negativity in my life. I also feel a lot more excited and inspired about lots of things – the proverbial “just do it”, which I have adopted because I’m just so busy and working towards a lot of things I’m enjoying doing, has taken a priority in my thoughts, which has been great.

Having the desire to do the trek as easily as I can has really meant I just do the training, even if I don’t feel like it, or it’s cold or raining, or I’m tired … and this attitude has spread to other areas of my life. I love it.

What are you most looking forward to about your upcoming adventure?

What I’m really looking forward to is feeling the whole experience. When I walk in places with incredible views, I just immerse myself in those moments, and that’s what I’m looking forward to. It’s almost overwhelming, and just an amazing sensation. That and being supported – and supporting – others as we go, people with similar desires to make a difference around a cause that is so important to me.

I also have to add – dumplings and duck! I’m so looking forward to those things!

"I feel a lot more excited and inspired about lots of things"

What advice would you offer to other people looking to complete a challenge like this?

I’d just encourage them to do the training, and keep the end goal in sight. Take it one step at a time (pardon the pun!), follow the recommendations for both the training and the fundraising, and just ask for help and support. Surround yourself with people who are willing to help you achieve your goals, and connect with like-minded people who are willing to accompany you as you do the physical training.

As for the fundraising – I’m of the belief that if you don’t ask, the answer is always no, so just ask and keep asking.

Be adventurous … it makes it all more fun.

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Become our Adventurer of the Month to win a $100 Paddy Pallin voucher

Take a picture whilst on your adventure or when you’re training and use the hashtag #IveBeenInspired and your adventure hashtag. The most exciting use of the hashtag, with an adventure, and fitness focus will be our Adventurer of the Month – it’s that easy!