People you meet on trekking trips are some of my favorite people. They will ultimately be as diverse as they come but share the same sense of adventure when it comes to travel. You must be a certain type of person to willingly put yourself through hours upon hours of tough trekking – sometimes for multiple days on end, right? I met Anthony in the heart of Patagonia and is one of those people. His passion for adventure travel combined with his extremely dry sense of humour made him the perfect trekking buddy. He even helped me hone in on my Aussie & Kiwi pronunciation and slang. I learned all the important things such as how to pronounce G’Day Mate, how are you going? and learned when to use key slang like fair dinkum and streuth.
In addition to my language lessons, we often spoke about feet. Yes, that’s right – good ol’ feet. Because there is nothing better to discuss over a beer after a long day of trekking, right? Anthony is a podiatrist and is extremely passionate about his career. He founded Footscape – a non-profit organisation that recognises that disadvantaged communities are predisposed to debilitating foot pathology. Anthony and his team at Footscape work to help sustain a quality of life for affected individuals. I loved hearing his stories and the fact that his motivations are selfless. Anthony’s passion and desire to help others has brought him to some pretty awesome places around the world and continue to fuel his wanderlust.
Meet Anthony Lewis.
• Name: Anthony Lewis
• Home Base: Melbourne, Australia
//WHY DO YOU TRAVEL?
In the spirit of Mallory I travel and see the world because it’s there. Travel is liberating, travel is educational, travel provides a platform to know oneself and find their place in the world. From a professional viewpoint, observing first-hand the startling implications of debilitating foot pathology upon the most vulnerable has strongly shaped and guided my career path.
//HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE YOUR TRAVEL STYLE?
There are a few travel modes I subscribe to:
- Podiatry Focused: Such trips have encompassed attending international conferences or linking up with organisations to promote foot health and well-being in developing countries.
- Hiking: I’m proud to have trekked such incredible landscapes as the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal, Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea and the Patagonia Region in South America.
- General Sightseeing: I’ve been fortunately to visit over fifty countries across the world through independent and group travel.
//WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR SOMEONE PREPARING FOR A TRIP TO PATAGONIA?
Look at your camera. A travel weakness of mine is that I’ve never prioritised taking copious photos and video during my trips. Consequently, I’ve only ever purchased basic camera equipment to get the job done. However, the stunning landscape of Patagonia demands quality equipment to document its beauty.
//WHAT’S THE BEST TRIP YOU’VE BEEN ON & WHY DOES IT STAND OUT FROM THE REST?
I’ve been fortunate to have undertaken a variety of travel adventures across the past decade or so. As each journey encompasses its own special moments and rewarding experiences, I tend to reflect more so upon early trips when travelling was still raw and I was naive. My first overseas venture was to Mumbai, India for which I spent several weeks with a leprosy based non-profit organisation. After finally meeting my intended driver at the airport – amongst the dozens of eagerly awaiting – the destination was to be the accommodation I would call home. The time was beyond midnight yet the streets were overflowing with cars, pedestrians, beggars and stray animals. This, however, did not stop my friendly driver speeding through the congestion, constantly lane changing (using his horn as the indicator) and basically endangering numerous lives – not to mention mine!
Over the coming days I explored the surrounds of Mumbai with the non-profit organisation. On a typical sweltering and unforgiving afternoon we pressed on to the Dharavi slum with the intention to continue the organisation’s screening program. Dharavi constitutes one of the biggest slums in the world with population estimates as high as one million people. It was worlds apart from the streets of Melbourne which is consistently listed amongst the most liveable cities.
Ambling along the narrow dirt laneways I passed endless destitute souls clothed by fragile rags and wearing brittle thongs. With senses ablaze I accompanied staff into the home confines of one known leprosy sufferer. The forlorn elderly figure greeted her visitors and shared an exchange in a dialect unbeknown to yours truly. She then gazed upon me with a friendly smile and uttered in English, ‘God has brought you here’. My goodness. What an amazing generous welcome and suggestion. It was only just me after all.
//WHERE IS THE MOST OFF THE BEATEN PATH PLACE YOU HAVE BEEN TO & WHAT MADE IT SPECIAL?
I do endeavour to explore the road less travelled, or upon wearing my Podiatrist hat proclaim to have taken the foot-path less travelled. Following the India expedition, I have undertaken volunteer based placements with Australian aid organisations in the Pacific Island countries of Samoa and Kiribati.Interacting with local hospital staff and patients in such developing countries has been an incredible career and life experience which has forever changed me. Patients have been some of the nicest and most grateful I’ve encountered. Indeed immersing myself in these communities and foreign cultures has been a great way to travel.
//WHAT ADVENTURE IS NEXT FOR YOU?
That is the question of the day! After establishing a Podiatry based non-profit organisation I am on the verge of committing my full-time employment to the cause. Therefore, I anticipate hiking adventures closer to home amongst Australian and regional landscape will be on the cards.
Footscape does great work through a series of initiatives including Sock It To ‘Em and Shoe It Forward – both of which see donated socks and shoes distributed to homeless and other disadvantaged people throughout Australia. If you would like to learn more about Footscape or check out the other initiatives currently taking place be sure to check visit Footscape.