ONE step at a time is what keeps Ivor Houston motivated as he treks across Australia.
The 22 year-old Warrimoo native embarked from Perth in May, 2021 on a 4000km journey to raise awareness for refugees and asylum seekers.
He has crossed treacherous terrain in his six month journey, from the Nullabor and along the Great Australian Bright, to walking dangerous roads with high traffic volumes.
Most recently he walked through Lithgow on the homestretch to his final destination Bondi Beach, which he hoped to arrive on November, 28.
"When I get to Bondi I have to swim in the South Pacific, as soon as my skin comes into contact with the water I can say I'm done," Mr Houston said.
The journey has consisted of highlights and tough times for Mr Houston who has a passion to make a difference for refugees, after hosting a family from Malaysia for the last two years. He is also studying humanitarian aid at university.
"My parents opened our household to help them out and just seeing how they lived and the kind of struggles they've gone through touched me," he said.
"I'm quite passionate about humanitarian displacement and I always had a dream of walking across Australia, I don't know why and I ask myself why about 10 times a day when I'm walking.
"But I wanted to do something to raise awareness about something I'm passionate about and doing this trip, I just thought it worked perfectly," he said.
He said it has been mentally and physically challenging but it was a privilege to be able to walk thousands of kilometres across a free country.
"This trip is way bigger than me now. I've just had to keep walking, keep telling myself to take the extra step," he said.
"There are millions of refugees around the world that have to flee their country. I've got a fancy cart, equipment and a personal locator beacon. I have all this but people that are fleeing their home or country don't have that stuff and it's crazy," he said.
"I have such a privilege to be able to walk 4000km and to not have any borders where if I walk in, I get shot or walking away from gunfire or natural disasters. I'm just a guy walking."
Mr Houston was averaging 45 kilometres a day of walking and said he didn't train for the journey.
"My first day I did 22 kilometres and then slowly built myself up. It took me probably three months to get 45 kilometres consistently," he said.
He said looking down at his footprint tattoo on his hand, inspired him to keep walking.
"When I hold my cart I'm always looking at it and it always tells me to take another step and tells me I can't give up. I can only get the second footprint when I finish this walk," he said.
He described being on foot across Australia as a pilgrimage.
"It really has changed me, it's made me realise anything's possible," he said.
"I always thought it was a pipe dream, I was just a kid that grew up in the Mountains and honestly the hardest part was the lead up to taking the first step.
"I kept asking myself if I could do it and what if I couldn't," he said.
Mr Houston said it wasn't until he was halfway across Australia that he realised he could complete his trek.
"Deep down I knew I had it in me and I realised I can do it and I can get to Bondi, it is possible," he said.
"I wanted to raise funds for Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group because they helped the family that lives with us so I wanted to give back and say thank you and Act for Peace do incredible work for domestic and international refugee displacement aid," he said.
At time of publishing Mr Houston had raised $13,555 for Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group and $6,310 for Act for Peace.
To donate and follow Mr Houston's progress visit https://onfootacrossaustralia.com/
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