Passionate about empowering people through outdoor experiences in a supportive, caring and inclusive manner, Getaway Trekking’s Senior Trek Leader, Sue Fitcher is responsible for strategic direction, including new product and market development, sales and finance.
Watching clients go through a discovery, learning about their surroundings, history, nature – and themselves. I particularly love working with students trekking through our School Treks program, as they start to recognise their place in the world, and question the sense of entitlement that comes with living in a developed nation.
There are so, so many, but there are a couple that really stand out.
I remember doing a pre-trek briefing for a group of extended family and friends, about to trek Kokoda to honour their brother, who had returned from a tour of duty with severe PTSD. The group had raised over $120,000 for Mates for Mates. Not everyone knew each other, so at the briefing, we asked people to introduce themselves and why they were there. There was so much emotion, so much honesty, so many tears. I knew right there that I was in for something really incredible – and it was.
I also had the good fortune of leading a group of people trekking with Reconciliation SA. They were a combination of students, youth mentors and teachers, an even mix of indigenous and non-indigenous Australian participants. I learned so much about indigenous culture and the similarities between the PNG culture which enabled me to develop an optimism about our future leaders. There were people in the group who could sing – really sing. At one point along the track, we often have the church choir sing to us. On this occasion, we were able to really sing to them, and with them. They were blown away! Upon our return, I learned of the changes some of the kids had made to their lives as a result of their experience – one young indigenous woman transferred her studies to online and returned home to country to work with her people. I feel so privileged to have been in their lives for a short time.
It’s terribly unfair to ask me to pick one… but on my first Kokoda, in 2007, I trekked with a gentleman known as Monty. He was 79 years young and had lost his right arm in an accident at 20. Stubborn, determined, politically incorrect, funny, feisty, white haired Monty made me think about the soldiers. Often, they were so fatigued, so overwhelmed and dispirited, the only things they could draw on were mateship and their sense of humour. We recently got a new puppy and with his cheekiness and shock of white hair, we just had to call him Monty!
I do a lot of exercise – running, cycling, bushwalking and Pilates. I like to cook (usually with a glass of wine!) and enjoy playing with Monty and my six grandchildren. If I’m looking to relax, then jigsaws are my go-to activity to unwind.
A keen AFL follower and Richmond supporter, I was leading a group of Adelaide trekkers along the Kokoda Trail on Grand Final Weekend in 2017. We got into camp in time for the start of the game, despite no radio coverage at all, so I called home on the satellite phone for scores and as the game progressed, the calls became more frequent! History will confirm I was one happy camper at the end of the day. I didn’t even care about the sat phone bill!