Bailey Seamer is taking an entire year to hike the whole East Coast of Australia in order to raise awareness and money for mental health research. Eva tagged along for a day of walking to find out the story behind the Wandering Minds Walk.

The Wandering Minds Mission

I was told about the Wandering Minds Walk by my Mum who’d heard about it on the local radio. She excitedly told me that a young woman called Bailey was walking the entire East Coast of Australia to raise money for the Black Dog Institute, and she was about to wander through our little corner of the NSW South Coast!

My Mum loves nothing more than to lend a hand to adventurous souls, so naturally, she’d already reached out to Bailey on Instagram and offered her company on her walk, a place to stay, and as many cups of tea as she’d like.

They had a blast together and so being my mother’s daughter, I reached out and offered Bailey the same thing for when she reached my stretch of coast a little further north. She happily accepted and soon enough we were plodding our way along Wairo Beach, chatting about her journey, hiking, mental health, and everything in between.


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Bailey’s Own Battle With Mental Health

The reason behind Bailey’s walk for mental health is deeply personal. She was diagnosed with a major depressive disorder when she was 14 and then later diagnosed with bipolar at 19. She explained to me that it’s a really common misdiagnosis.

‘Nobody goes to the doctors when they feel great, so that’s why a lot of people with bipolar slip through the cracks. They go in [to the doctor] feeling depressed, come out of therapy six months later feeling better, and then it usually takes a really long time for psychiatrists and doctors to figure it out,’ she told me.


This Woman is Walking The Length of Australia’s East Coast – So We Joined Her For a Day,Eva Davis-Boermans, beach walking, clear sky


Being a young person with severe mental health made things like completing the HSC and attending university really difficult for Bailey. She describes her bipolar diagnosis as ‘really overwhelming’ because it made her feel like she couldn’t complete anything.

During one of her stays in hospital, after a particularly bad day, Bailey decided to pack a day bag and set herself on a mission to walk to her parent’s house which was 30km away. It was the first time she’d walked a distance like that.

‘It was probably one of the first times that I really felt like I accomplished something in a really long time and had a bit of self-pride’

For Bailey, it was a turning point, and from then on, hiking became a cathartic outlet.

Learning From Mistakes & Fruit Salad Support

In November 2020, Bailey took her love of hiking up a level and turned her dream of multi-day hiking into a reality. With the motto, ‘If I don’t do it now, I never will’, a few day’s notice, and almost no multi-day hiking experience, Bailey took the plunge. She bought all her hiking gear in one go and a one-way ticket to Coolangatta with the aim of walking 400km along the coast to Coffs Harbour.

Bailey reckons everything went wrong in the first week. She spent the first day walking along a five-lane highway, her feet fell apart because she had badly fitted boots and her pack was so heavy that she sent half her stuff home to Newcastle after the first week.

But despite everything, when she eventually made it to Coffs three and a half weeks later, she’d already decided that her next mission was to tackle the whole East Coast.

‘That trip was the best thing I could have done, even though it went so badly,’ she told me. ‘I made all my mistakes then so I didn’t have to make them now on this trip.’

Bailey is now well and truly in the swing of things, making her way along the East Coast of Aus, walking 8 – 10 hrs and completing between 15 – 45 kilometres per day, depending on the terrain.

‘I tend to just walk in the daylight hours so that I can then get to a destination, and figure out where I’m staying for the night within an hour of daylight to go,’ Bailey told me.

Although Bailey’s journey is a ‘one woman trek’ she’s very open to any assistance that people offer and explains that her support crew is a ‘fruit salad situation’.


Bailey with her Mum


Her family and friends often visit and walk along with her, plenty of friendly locals help her with accommodation and food as she passes through, and in some sections she has a support vehicle when it’s too dangerous or scantily resourced. One such place will be the Cape York Peninsula, where she plans to veer from the beach and walk along the Telegraph Track.

‘There’s something kind of poetic about being eaten by a shark, but fucked up about being taken by a croc,’ she laughs.

The Good, The Bad and the Hypothermic

But The Cape is a long way off yet. Right now, Bailey says that her mindset is just to think two days ahead at a time, to help stop her from getting too overwhelmed.

This technique has worked pretty well so far and her overall mental state is good, but she finds it’s highly dependent on what her circumstances are on the day.



‘On a bad day walking, if there’s been a bad bit of track or things go wrong, I feel like shit, but that makes sense. I’m finding once I’m in a situation that I feel comfortable and safe, those things and worries sort of tend to go away, which is nice to know that they’re just reflective of circumstance and not permanent,’ she said.

So far, Bailey has only had one really scary experience. After a particularly rough day of exhausting, overgrown track in the Nadgee Wilderness, she slipped and fell while filling up her water bladder, hitting her head and drenching all her gear in the process.

She managed to get out of her wet clothes and set up her tent, but despite her best efforts to warm up, her hands and feet were turning purple, she was nauseous and worried about concussion and hypothermia.

In the end, the rain, lack of fire and a looming night of Victorian mid-winter temperatures prompted her to use her Garmin to send for emergency help. 

It took rangers and police 4.5 hours to get 10km down a dirt road to get her, chainsawing through fallen trees along the way. They managed to get her out to safety for a few days of warmth and recovery before driving her back in to pick up where she left off.


A black eye to prove it!

Feeling Beachy

Needless to say, she’s happy to be leaving winter and the cold weather behind her as she tracks north.

‘I’m really excited to get up into the warm months, not necessarily a location, but I’m really excited to be able to wear shorts and a t-shirt and hang out and go for swims,’ she said.

‘I spend so much of my time near the ocean and I don’t want to touch the water because it’s so cold.’

And while endlessly strolling the beach might seem like a dream to some, Bailey says there’s definitely pros and cons to sticking on the coast.


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‘The best part about a beach is the fact that you cannot be lost. You’re on the East Coast, it’s right there. You can’t fuck it up. The downside is that every beach has a headland and whether it’s crossable or not, you don’t know until you’re at the other end of it,’ she told me.

‘When you walk on beaches all day, it doesn’t matter about what time you start or what time you finish, you’ll hit a low and a high tide. So that kind of takes out that element of any control, trying to plan around that.’

‘I call my family and friends around really annoying stretches of soft sand so that they can distract me.’

A Tricky Goal to Measure

Despite the ups and downs of day-to-day life, Bailey’s goal of raising money and awareness for mental health is a constant motivator.

‘I have an ambition of raising $100,000. It may not happen, but when you’re already doing what I’m doing, there’s no point being conservative now!’

She chose to fundraise for the Black Dog Institute because of the work they do in medicinal and intervention surgery, which Bailey has benefitted from in her own mental health treatment journey.

‘They’re really digging into the science behind the brain and how it works. It’s so hard with mental health because it’s not like if somebody breaks an arm, we’ll just go in and put a cast on it. They can’t see the brain so it’s hard to measure what works and what doesn’t,’ she said.

Her other goal, raising awareness, is a much harder one to measure but equally important.

Although she could probably do her walk in less than a year, Bailey wants to take the time to engage with the communities she passes through in a meaningful way and use her journey to help people understand that you can have bipolar and still live life and achieve really great things.

‘There are a lot of people of all ages that suffer from mental illnesses that really do struggle with direction and purpose. When I was younger, I really needed that and I couldn’t find it in many places,’ she told me.

‘And I thought, it’d be really cool if I could be that person for someone else who is struggling and at the same time just try to open up conversations and comfortability around it.’

Bailey hopes that being loud and proud, and talking openly about her condition, while she tackles such a mammoth task, will help people in a meaningful way.

Get Stuck In!

As you might have gathered, Bailey is the kind of person who’s open, willing to meet new people, and include anyone and everyone in her journey. After our walk along the beach, she stayed in our spare room and we chatted until all hours over some home-cooked pasta with the heater on full.

Whether it’s walking with her for an hour or taking on a whole section of the coast and camping, Bailey wants people to come along for the ride and to know that there’s nothing stopping them from pursuing their own adventures, whatever they may be.


This Woman is Walking The Length of Australia’s East Coast – So We Joined Her For a Day,Eva Davis-Boermans


‘Aside from the mental health stuff, it’d be really cool for more people to recognize that you don’t actually need anything special to go out and do cool things or to follow any of your passions or anything like that. Like I’m by no means athletic. I’m just stubborn,’ she told me.

‘A lot of people have told me to my face, “That’s impossible. You can’t do that.”  And to be actually out there doing it, I really hope that some people find a little bit of solace and a little bit of motivation to go out and do their own thing.’

If you can’t meet up with Bailey in the flesh, you can still follow her journey and support the cause through her website and Instagram!