We met Filo and Ayano on the side of the road, 500 km north of Alice Springs — in the middle of nowhere. They are walking across Australia, carrying backpacks and pulling a little cart with extra water and supplies.

Filo and Ayano, walking across Australia, Barkly Highway, Northern Territory,August 2013
Filo and Ayano insist that they don't need anything, but they gratefully accept some fresh fruit and cold water from our fridge.

Filo and Ayano, walking across Australia, Barkly Highway, Northern Territory, August 2013
Apart from occasional lifts, they've walked most of the way from Cairns. Their small amount of possessions and basic travelling style reminds me that we are wealthy in so many ways, and most of the world's population walks great distances instead of riding.

Filo, walking barefoot across Australia, Northern Territory, August 2013
Filo says that he started walking while wearing thongs on his feet, but when the shoes broke he took that as a sign that he should go barefoot. Although it took a period of adjustment while his soles became appropriately calloused to handle the roughness and heat of the bitumen, he's now completely comfortable without shoes.

Ayano and Filo with Shadow the rat, August 2013
The girls introduce our rats to our new friends. Filo used to have his own rats and was happy to greet Shadow who loves to sit on a shoulder!

One of the best things about living outside a routine is that we’re exposed to a range of experiences — and people — that we otherwise would not meet. Walking across the continent seems extreme, but here’s a young couple with the attitude and energy to do it! These personal encounters inspire us and introduce our girls to possibilities for their own futures.