New stages of life bring new challenges. Becoming a parent changes everything. When Sarah became a mother she felt her adventure world narrow, so she decided to reclaim it.


Sitting high up in a café with my friend Rethea, we watched our boys swim in the ocean below, and reminisced about our pre-kid adventures. We whispered of how we missed being wild, and while our thoughts hovered like a perfumed mist we sipped flat whites and stared out over the beach through giant windows.

The sounds of people enjoying their breakfast hummed around us and somehow we both began sharing our dream of hiking the Cape to Cape, a beautiful 123km hike along the coast of Western Australia’s South West, camping on the trail. Just us. Alone. Leaving our families behind.

Rethea toyed with her mug, ‘Yeah we should…’ she sighed. I leaned in closer and pushed ‘Let’s just do it!’.

When I left that day I bought a map, a guidebook, and a new journal fit for this adventure.

Read also: The long hike back – finding adventure again after kids

Finding My Why

As a trail runner, granting myself permission to be away from my family for full days at a time was something I already did. But I was feeling a pull towards something more and I needed to understand what that was. In the centre of a page in my new journal I wrote ‘My Why’ and circled it.

I wrote down deeply personal thoughts and emotions – all the reasons this hike mattered to me, until something began to resonate.



I am more than just someone’s mum and somebody’s partner. I’m a role model to my daughter, and I wanted to show her what it is to have courage and be strong. But burning deep within was a want of the space to be silent and still.

Understanding ‘My Why’ propelled me to move forward and make this adventure happen.

‘We are total novices, with this comes a lot of nerves. We have so much to learn, understand and experience.’

– 20th February 2021

Time to Plan

Our first planning meeting was over a bottle of chardonnay in the chaos of a family home. We talked about our concerns. We were both fit, but carrying a pack for multi-day hiking was something else. Would we manage?

We discussed safety on the trail. I didn’t feel as if our personal safety was an issue and that was how I reframed my thoughts anytime doubt crept in.



It’s a narrative familiar to women, but in reality, trails are quite safe. Hikers are good people connected through their love of nature. We look out for each other.

Read more: reconnecting with my adventurous past

Our biggest worry was leaving our families. We had to plan around school pick-ups and drop-offs, our husband’s work schedules and our own.

Talking through the hurdles we faced, we realised if we wanted this badly enough, we were the ones who needed to make it happen.

Talking through the hurdles we faced, we realised if we wanted this badly enough, we were the ones who needed to make it happen. The best way for our adventure to work for us was to break our hike into sections so we were only away for four days at a time.



It was important Rethea and I had shared expectations about what we wanted from this experience, so we set our intentions.

We wanted to savour the adventure – to walk slowly, to hear our footsteps crunch on the rocky trail, and to experience all of nature, at her best. We wanted to stand on clifftops, the sea breeze caressing our faces and watch whales frolic in the deep blue. This wasn’t a race to the finish.



We made a long list of what we needed to do. First things first we had to talk to our husbands and enlist their support. As someone who isn’t good at asking for help, I found this difficult, but I leaned into my vulnerability. I had to if I was to make this adventure happen. When I did, instead of falling, I took flight.

Time to Prepare

We got busy researching, devising training plans, scrolling Facebook groups, noting down advice on what kit to take, reading the latest trail news, and binging podcast episodes about hiking.



We tested dehydrated meals while talking in depth about shoes and packing lists.

We did an overnight test run on the Bibbulmun Track to check our kit and make sure we could put our tent up and pack it down again.



It poured with rain but we had great fun and met the most wonderful hikers who offered us advice and support. Having that taste of trail life was exhilarating, I couldn’t wait to get started. What’s more, our tent was fully waterproof. Phew!

‘I need to escape, just for a little while at times, so I can get that taste of freedom a part of me desires.’

– 29th September 2021

I love being outdoors exploring, camping and enjoying nature with my kids. Dirt under the fingernails, stained clothes, and sandy piles on my floor make me smile.

But giving myself permission to have my own adventures means I return home feeling as though my cup has been refilled. I’m re-energised and ready to dive headfirst back into family life.


How Two Mums Made Space For Adventure (& Walked The Cape to Cape Track), Sarah Schmitt, coastline, ocean, sand

Time to Walk

The day we left we were emotional, but the thrill of our adventure was strong. Embracing the moment, we drove down south ready for day one the following morning.



From the beginning, I questioned if I’d be able to let go of life back home and be present as I hiked. As a mum, my mind’s always buzzing with a thousand things to do and I hoped the limited phone signal on the trail would be my ally.



We relished walking in silence, often feeling disbelief – we were finally doing this! We were alone and it felt amazing. Then as we walked across clifftops a short gust of wind blew and my phone pinged with a missed call.

My mind immediately fell back into ‘mum mode’. I have obligations, what if something happened? I listened to the voicemail and then a text came through from the parent of my kid’s friend; ‘Can the kids come and play today?’.

I sighed and Rethea looked at me shaking her head. Isn’t this what we were meant to be escaping?

This was my fault – I needed to delegate more. I questioned the roles I’d created in our family, this dependence on me as Mum and CEO through my own need for control. When I returned home, I changed this.

Bringing myself back into the moment, I’d stop often and notice the beauty around me.



Closing my eyes, I’d feel the wind and hear the bird song. I became immersed as I observed the design and colour of the wildflowers around me.

There are bench seats located along the track, usually in a place with a beautiful view. It’s the trail’s way of reminding you to stop for a bit, appreciate the moment, and just breathe.

We would sit on these benches overlooking the ocean to eat lunch or stop for a cup of tea when we felt like it.

‘The views to the ocean are breathtaking and the wildflowers are absolutely stunning.’

– 15th October 2021

A Big Day of Walking, a Big Day of Learning

Our most challenging day was also one of great learning for us. A large hiking day put us under a lot of pressure to keep moving. We needed to make camp before sundown so we couldn’t stop long enough to watch the whales or stand with our feet in the water on the beach as dolphins played.

Feeling sore and miserable, we stumbled into camp, set up our tent, ate dinner in silence, and retreated into bed. We lay there, reflecting on our experience that day, being honest with one another.



We thought our plan would work, but this big day of walking didn’t fit with our intentions and now we were in discomfort. We decided to learn from this, readjust, and get back on track.

From that hard day, we also learned not to be afraid of pain. We’re stronger than we think. Even in those moments that were excruciating, we kept going.

It was out of that experience that we really began to connect with the beauty and wildness around us. At night we lay listening to sounds outside our tent, grateful that we could, and we awoke each sunrise in peace.

Home Again, Home Again

Returning home and seeing how our families thrived without us, we felt inspired to get back out there, and completed stage two six months later.

After terrible bushfires in the area, we bypassed the middle section of the track, waiting for the forest to heal. We plan on completing that section in the next few months.

I’ve since begun a Bibbulmun Track adventure with my tween daughter, and Rethea and I are planning our next adventures throughout the year, hopefully bringing other mum friends along with us.

Our Biggest Takeaways

‘What did you learn?’ I asked Rethea.

‘I learnt that I’m stronger than I think I am… I learned I’m still in here,’ Rethea said, gesturing to her heart. ‘I’m capable of things physically even though I’m ten years older and heavier and got unfit through the years after kids.’

We learned so much on this adventure of ours. But there are two important messages I can leave you with.



First, just set the date and begin. You can do hard things so lean into the discomfort, understand it, and keep moving forwards.

Second, understand your why and set your intentions. This gives you a foundation from which to build your adventure. These intentions are also your guideposts when things get challenging.

It’s up to you to make the time for adventure, however, to do this you need to rearrange priorities and find moments of escape in your day-to-day life. It may not be the adventure you’ve dreamt of, but for now, it may need to be enough, and it is yours.