Meet a Master Walker
First Australian to Complete all 29 IML Walks
Finished The First Canberra Two-Day Walk
Master Walker, Global Walker, European Walker & Pan Pacific Walker awards
Elisabeth is the first (and only) Australian to have completed all (29) of the current IML walking events worldwide. Elisabeth also took part in the very first Canberra Two-Day Walk in 1992. This was the start of her walking journey and she has not looked back since.
As part of Elisabeth’s IML journey, she has earned the Master Walker, Global Walker, European Walker and Pan Pacific Walker awards. She was presented with her Pan Pacific Walker Award at the 2021 Aussie Peace Walk closing ceremony. In addition, she has also completed the Europa and Pacific Cups, which are both IVV awards, and also completed the Lakes of Canberra and Centenary Trail, which are two local walking challenges.
After Elisabeth completed the first Canberra Two-Day Walk, she continued walking with her son Peter, who was just 4 years of age. They kept walking together for 10 years until Peter became the youngest walker to be awarded a gold medal.
At that time, Harry and Kathleen Berg mentioned the IML and IVV walks, which Elisabeth knew nothing about. With their encouragement, she then completed her first IML walks in Switzerland, Denmark, Finland and Norway in 2014.
“I keep walking to maintain a good level of physical and mental fitness.“
“I became well and truly hooked on walking, so in the same year I walked across England following the 400km IVV Coast to Coast route from Robin Hood Bay to St Bees.”
More recently, Elisabeth also completed the Camino Francés, walking 800km across Spain.
Elisabeth considers the benefits of being part of the IML program are well enshrined in the organisation’s motto:
‘Nos Iungat Ambulare’ – ‘May walking bring us together.’
The IML has provided Elisabeth with the opportunity to:
- visit member countries and enjoy the company of fellow walkers
- provide insights into different cultures
- forge new, and renew existing, friendships
“I keep walking to maintain a good level of physical and mental fitness. I set myself the goal of completing all the IML walks. Along the way I have been able to keep in touch with the people I have met since those first walks in 2014.”
Elisabeth normally walks independently, although sometimes she walks with her sister who lives in The Netherlands or with those she has met on previous walks.
In some countries, it has been easier for her to join a walking tour group, which she has done for more recent walks in Indonesia, Taiwan, China, Korea and Lithuania. Some countries are suited to individual travel, whereas others are more suited to making group travel arrangements where possible.
“I have been fortunate enough to be a regular member of a Dutch-based walking travel group for the last few years with the advantage of a common language and a common cause.”
To date, Elisabeth has completed 46 IML events. She reached the Gold with Laurels medal after 30 walks. The next medal will be achieved when she completes her 75th IML walk for the Blue and Gold medal.
“My initial focus was always to complete all the IML events at least once, which I did in February 2020 by participating in the new San Antonio IML event in Texas.”
Elisabeth’s next walking goals are to achieve the IML Blue and Gold medal and complete the IML/IVV Cup and IVV World Cup books and the Walk Australia challenge. More information about these walking challenges and awards is available on the AussieWalk website or at the IVV and IML information stands at the Aussie Peace Walk.
Like most walkers, Elisabeth had some difficulty picking a favourite walk.
“They are all so different and the weather and company also have a big impact. That said, Castlebar in Ireland (the Ramble) and Seefeld in Austria were memorable. And Jogjakarta, in Indonesia, was challenging because of the humidity. The Canberra Two-Day Walk has always been one of my most popular walks, given its proximity, participants, cost, scenic routes, weather, and excellent organisation. I have completed nine Canberra walks to date and will continue to take part as long as I am able.”
Editorial note: When Elisabeth walked with her son in the early years, she did not complete the qualifying distance for the IML, so she did not include those walks in her tally.
Elisabeth’s tips for those starting their IML journey:
- The IML provides a unique opportunity for people who enjoy an active holiday to join like-minded people in destinations around the world.
- We recommend group travel for those not used to travelling alone, particularly to totally unfamiliar countries and cultures.
- Researching each destination is advised to make the most of your time in each location.
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