The 90km commute

Films Inspiration Posts

As an Australophile, I enjoyed watching Beau Miles video, 'The Commute: Walking 90km to work', in which he ditched his car and walked to Monash University in Melbourne to deliver a lecture about adventuring. Fresh from the adventure, so to speak. Or not so fresh given the nature of the commute.

It was recommended to me so I'll recommend it on to Walkspacers.

Beau Miles (bit of nominative determinism there) is a modern-day explorer who is trying to resurrect that feeling of adventure without having to fly half way around the world to do it. "I walked 90km to work a bunch of years ago to see if a stripped-back adventure could give me the kind of buzz that far away, exotic, heavily planned expeditions have given me over the years. It did."

For the walk he appears something of a jolly swagman, setting off with no food, water or shelter, and living off the stuff that people throw away or inadvertently lose to the roadside. Part of the fascination is seeing what he will find and what he will stoop to eat… it is sometimes horrifying to watch him eat old food or half-empty plastic bottles of pop. He must have a stomach of iron or a carefully honed sense of smell for decay.

But he is not a hobo, not poor and not an itinerant in need of work – and therein lies a different distaste for some. It's not that he sets out to be a swagman – and yet it clearly forms part of the rules of the walk in order to generate adventure.

It created a lot of discussion and debate in our household around the privileged nature of the walk and the filming vs the insights gained, issues highlighted and human challenge overcome.

Personally I was interested to see what thoughts that walking for two days with no funds, fuel or food would bring. About walking and humanity and philosophy and plastic littering and the basics of survival. There are things you get to thinking about when you push yourself this way that wouldn't occur to you otherwise.

A few quotes that struck me:

"If there is one thing that is rhythmical it is walking. You know. It is so repetitious … You really just become a metronome."

The paradox of being anti-littering but living off the litter that he hates: "First sit down. Quite serendipitous when someone throws away a couch. Bastards."

Why do this at all? "It's about putting value on such a thing, much like baking your own bread or taking karate lessons. I think that experiences like this are the essence of being human, which to me is our ability to question everything we do."

But also there is the personal development: "Everything changes you. You cannot take away what just took place. That is now with me, it is part of me, it part of the fabric of Beau, it it my world view, it's how I teach, it's how I see the world, it's how I see that road from that point on, and yes a lot of it will filter away as I get further from the walk, but it's still there."

Check out Beau Miles' YouTube channel: He does a lot of crazy stuff from sleeping 30ft up a 100-year-old gum tree to seeing if he can build a cabin for his wife during the pandemic without her knowing.