One step at a time

Last month, a group of us took on a life changing challenge.
Months of training culminated in a 24 hour plus hike through the Dandenong Ranges and across the Warburton Valley. We were eight walkers and five support crew. We are, for the most part, colleagues.

Sign up first, figure it out later

The event itself was an intriguing one. The Oxfam Trailwalker? 100km? Without sleep?
We spend many of our waking hours at work so I’m always keen to know the people around me. While some relationships form instantly – like those based on supporting the same football club or debriefing the weekend’s Netflix binge – others simply take longer. For the latter, an immense physical challenge involving countless hours training together on weekends felt appropriate.

Reflections from the trail

Getting past the small talk

Whilst incredibly topical, weather related banter can only stretch so far. Over the course of a week in the office we pick up bits and pieces about each other, but it can be hard to go past our day to day musings. Meeting up on weekends required dedication and commitment but it also gave us time and space to talk without distractions. It gave us the opportunity to get to know each other’s pasts, plans and aspirations for the future personally as well as professionally.


Preparation for the event required a lot of coordination. Planning the training, getting the right gear, fundraising, recruiting our support team… I had worked with mostly everyone at some point but this was a chance to collaborate on something different. Together we raised nearly $8,000 for Oxfam Australia, a stellar team effort!

Broadening your horizons

Its’ been more than five years since I moved to Melbourne, yet until this point I had not made the most of the amazing trails and parks at my doorstep. This started to change with our weekly hikes and in the process I have felt a greater sense of place to what I’d now consider my home. The scenery was majestic and as a whole, the experience was a reminder of what you can achieve if you set your mind to something. Or if you say yes first and ask questions later.

The bonds between colleagues

For me, a great place to work is one where I am part of a culture that promotes the exchange of ideas, and sharing of passions.  The more trust we have with our colleagues, and the more we understand their motivations, the deeper our ability to grow, and continue doing what we do best, research that makes a difference while enjoying it in the process.
There isn’t a one size fits all approach, and not everyone will want to be involved in the same thing or in the same way. However, organisations that continually create opportunities for employees to connect, such as the Oxfam Trailwalker, will continue to be rewarded with highly motivated employees.

A really big THANK YOU to everyone who played a part in making the event a success. We could not have done it without you.

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