A 2,400km solo kayaking trip, three to four months long and spanning the entire length of the Murray River without any support crew sure does sound lonely.
Imagine it. Just yourself, the water, and a picturesque backdrop.
That’s the journey Canberra man Marc Nieuwenhuys will be undertaking later this month, in an effort to help people talk about their depression. He’s called his expedition Talking about a Lonely Journey.
“It still seems odd to me that depression is such a lonely journey, and I’m going to put myself in the loneliest position you can be in,” he said.
“I really feel drawn to that loneliness to really put it in its place.”
He said the main motivator for him is to get people to start talking about their struggles.
“Depression is very lonely; you feel like you’re alone and it makes you feel that way, so you don’t reach out to people.
“What I’ve learned over the last six months of this journey is I’m not alone and I’ve never been alone.”
The idea came when Nieuwenhuys was out kayaking the Murray River with a group of his mates.
They passed a sign nailed to a tree with the number 2198 on it, not knowing what that meant until one of his friends said it showed how many kilometres away from the mouth of the Murray they were.
“I just went ‘Oh, I’m gonna do that’, something on that day just happened on the water and I made the decision I needed to so something in my life to make changes,” he said.
Since making that decision, telling his close friends and family, and then going public with it, Nieuwenhuys has been inundated with supportive messages from over 100 people.
“It has had a huge impact, and it’s reached a lot of people to the point where I’m spending a couple of hours every morning responding to messages.
“I think I’ve done and achieved a lot in my life, but I’ve never experienced anything like having an impact on people like I am at the moment, and that’s profoundly moving,” he said.
Visit facebook.com/talkingaboutalonelyjourney for more.