MIKE PAULY made a triumphant return to Fremantle’s Kings Square on Wednesday after walking around Australia in a pair of sandals.
“They had a whole group of people with a cartoon that was drawn for me at the men’s shed conference. They’d enlarged that and everyone was holding one with ‘welcome home’ stuck on the bottom. It was extraordinary,” Mr Pauly said of his welcome.
A choir sang for the crowd which included his men’s shed pals, the Citizen’s Climate Lobby, Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt, MLA Simone McGurk, and MP Josh Wilson.
Men’s health and climate change were two big issues for Mr Pauly, whose buggy was decked with messages raising awareness about Fremanshed, For Our Grandchildren, and the climate lobby.
He pushed his three-wheeled “chariot” north out of Fremantle, and stuck to the coast almost all the way around the country.
Mr Pauly’s 2.5 year journey was delayed due to health problems and a death in the family, but says he didn’t struggle with loneliness.
“I love people, and I love being on my own too… it’s a balance.”
Mr Pauly is in his mid-seventies and has a host of health problems, but says walking helps with most of them.
He needs knee replacement surgery and says he’ll see how that goes before doing any more serious walking.
Since returning home, Mr Pauly has been catching up with household chores, but mostly just enjoys the opportunity to stay out of the rain and put his feet up.
by TRILOKESH CHANMUGAM