On the couch with Nom Blashki
This week, we sat down with guide, Nom Blashki. From writing, running, presenting, and helping organise workshops and courses for young people at the Reach Foundation, to a career swap as a guide on remote wilderness trekking holidays in Australia and Tasmania, Nom has seen it all! Find out why she loves trekking so much, what her must-haves are, and her top piece of advice for people planning on embarking on a trek.
- How about a bit of background on yourself. Where do you live and work?
I’m a guide. My lifestyle is what I like to call ‘migratory’. Currently I’m based in Launceston for the summer season. In my previous work-incarnation, I was with The Reach Foundation in Melbourne.
- How did you first get into bushwalking / guiding? Any particular mentor or group?
I’ve always been drawn to nature, and have always walked. This probably comes from my father who will walk to the other side of the city simply to post a letter. I was lured into guiding by being a client on a Huma Charity Challenge trip on the Larapinta Trail. Friends who knew me previously have commented the job is me in a nutshell.
- What is your favourite trip (mainland Australia or Tasmania) and why?
It’s hard to pick a favourite. The more you do/see/experience, the more you appreciate what you’ve previously done because of the new light that’s shed on it.
The Larapinta Trail was my first solo through-hike, so it will always hold a special place for me.
Picanniny Gorge in the Purnululu National Park (ie: The Bungle Bungles) has a mysteriousness about it which draws you in around every corner. It’s a playground with secrets to be revealed.
The Overland Track in Tasmania is a walk I could do weekly and never grow tired of. There’s so much to share. It’s especially gorgeous in the wet.
- What are your three favourite bits of gear when trekking? Why?
Favourites? They’re all essentials. From my binoculars which bring me right up close to distant crags, or an elusive bird, to my Thermos which means an immediate hot cuppa at lunch, to my teddy bear, who ensures I sleep well.
- Has being a guide changed the way you see the world or changed you as a traveller?
I’ve always had an inherent curiosity and been an annoying question-asker intent on figuring out how things affect each other. I’ve also always had considerable difficulty paying attention to one thing for very long.
In guiding, there’s such a wonderfully vast range of topics to learn about. So many connections. So many realistions, the greatest of which come through observation. It’s highly satisfying and has reminded me that, like growing, learning is forever.
- What advice would you give to someone considering a multi day trek?
Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. Doing the work in advance, that is; physically preparing yourself above the recommended level, means you’re not too knackered physically to fully experience and enjoy your environment.
- What is on your Australian bucket list you are yet to tick off?
Most things! Walking the Simpson Desert after flood. The major thru-hikes (Bibbulman, Heysen, Alps). Desperately want to explore Karajini National Park. Then there are the oceans! One day I’ll stop saying that I want to learn to scuba dive, and just do it.
- How does Australia compare to other places around the world? What makes it unique?
I’m not really extensively world travelled. However Australia is probably no more diverse than any other land mass.
Once you make the decision to start exploring, the wonders of a place are revealed. Some places are slap-in-the-face-right-off-the-freeway remarkable. If pictures and blogs are anything to go by, Iceland comes to mind. Some other destinations take a little more effort – you have to dig a little further, and develop skills – but it’s all there.