October 27th, 2012… Email of the Week!

Emails are one of the those things that although at times collect in my inbox in such numbers that occasionally I wonder how i’m ever going to get through them, once I start to read each one, I remember how special the process can be. Of course there are those strange ones from Canadian Pharmacies and African men offering me billion dollar estates because my email name seems trustworthy, but these aren’t the ones I mean.

Email of the Week

From the boring admin stuff to a whole collection if emails that never make any sense but somehow steal many hours, the truth is that it’s the people who reach out and share their stories that leave me moved, and occasionally in tears. This is what progresses the direction and tact of this journey.

Having just replied to 119 emails over 2 days (my time management skills need to be slightly tweaked I think!) I thought I’d share the latest one that I replied to. It’s from a motivated school girl from Sarah

“Hi Seb,

I don’t really know what I’m emailing you for but…I feel like I need to say thank you for completing #100 on your list.
My name is Sarah and I’m 15 years old. I come from a property half an hour north-east of Goondiwindi on the Queensland – New-South Wales border. I go to boarding school in Toowoomba and I’m currently completing Year 10. I’ve just finished reading your book. Sure, Mum owns a book shop so I’ve read a fair amount of books in my time, but yours…it was one that I truly didn’t want to put down. But back to what I wanted to email you for…
Ever since I was little I knew about the Kokoda Track. I don’t have any family ties to it but it has always just stuck out to me. I had it set in my mind that I was going to complete it one day. When? I had no idea. It was more a pipe dream that kept on coming back to me. When I came to school here in Toowoomba I realised that the girl who walk Kokoda when she was only 8, now went to the same school as me. This brought everything back and made me look into it a lot more. Last year I decided, why sit around doing not too much at all when you could be out doing something for yourself and others?
I announced to my family that I was going to walk the Kokoda Track in the June/July holidays of 2013 and raise money for The Black Dog Institute and The Royal Flying Doctor Service. (I’m paying for the entire trek costs myself).
Well, that got varied responses from everyone! Mum pretended to be excited for me. Dad didn’t say anything. My two older brothers laughed at me and said, “Good luck with that one!”.  My older sister was fine about it but had no interest. This just made me even more determined than ever to show them that I wasn’t going to let them stop me from doing something that I’ve always wanted to do. After a year, my sister has now decided that she is going to come with me!
I chose those two charities because I believe that if you want to make a change to the world, you need to start locally and move out from there. Both of these charities mean so much to my home community and help us enormously that I felt I had to give back. I’ve started a bit of fundraising and have a few sponsors that have donated money or raffle items. I currently have raised $1554.95 which when I come home after the trek, will be split evenly between the two charities. It’s quite hard seen as I’m so young and have no previous knowledge on how to fundraise…so I’m finding it a little tricky. Especially as I’m trying to juggle school, a traineeship, family issue’s and OP subjects (next year).
Up until reading your book I found that it hadn’t really registered that I was going to walk the 96kms of the Kokoda Track. I had no motivation to begin training; I was solely focusing on my school and traineeship work. When I finished the book, I just sat there for a few minutes before saying to myself, “School isn’t everything.  Starting my traineeship in childcare was a bit of a mistake because I now know that is NOT where I want to be after school. Why am I not excited about Kokoda? This is something that I want to do for myself, which actually means something to me personally”. So now I am going to try and juggle everything at once! AND make sure that getting fit/training works into it all.
Wow, this is a really long email. I don’t know where all of this has come from. I can understand if you don’t want to read it all. You seem to have copped being my…listener? My Pop used to be the one who would have to listen to all of this but he passed away at the beginning of the year.
Anyway! I just wanted to let you know how much your book means to me and my own adventure. I think what you’ve done and what you’re doing is the most incredible thing I have ever heard. Sure, you’re absolutely crazy but I know that if I were you, I would be doing the exact same thing. You are so lucky and I’m incredibly jealous of you! Your story has been my inspiration and my turning point. To you I am ever thankful.
Thank you again and I can’t wait to follow your adventures from now on.
All my biggest thank you’s,

Sarah”

It can take just one decision for someone to change their entire life, and I have a feeling that Sarah has just made it!

Well done you legend!

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