For over a year, 47-year-old Scott Loxley has been walking across Australia dressed as a Stormtrooper. He started the quest on Nov 2 last year, with a goal of covering 15,000 kilometers on foot, non-stop, with no support crew. His unique journey has taken him from Melbourne to Tasmania, through the debilitating Nullarbor Plain, and up the west coast to Bourne, leading up to Darwin. He’s walked a whopping 9,000 kilometers so far, and with 6,000 more to go, he has no intentions of stopping.
Scott’s mission might seem strange, but he’s actually doing this for a very specific reason – he is a member of the 501st Legion, a volunteering group dedicated to supporting children’s charities by dressing up in Star Wars costumes. The father-of-three is trying to raise AUD 100,000 for the new Monash Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, before it opens in 2016.
“As a father, if one of my children were hospitalised, I would want them to be cared for by the best staff that have access to the best equipment,” Scott wrote on his Facebook page. “No matter how tough things get on the road, I know that there are kids battling just to get through the day and doing it with a smile on their face.”
And things do get incredibly tough while walking across a desert in unbearable heat. “You are fighting mostly a mental battle. Some days you wake up and don’t want to get up, and you think why am I doing this?” he explained. “Before I started I went and visited the kids quite a lot of times, I dwell on that a lot and think of those kids on my bad days. Their bad days are worse than this.”
“I’m so sick of my company,” he admitted. “I now understand why people do this with a support crew. Just for the interaction.”
Carrying food on such an arduous journey is quite difficult, so Scott has to make do with whatever is available on the go. He has had to eat a few bizarre meals on his journey, including snakes, kangaroos, lizards, and even bats. “I put the lizards on the coals, put them in a ziplock bag for protein and snack on them on the road,” he revealed.
Scott said that one of the reasons he felt he could take on the challenge was his experience as a former soldier. He has watched fires rage across South Australia’s Flinders Ranges and has been rained on so many times that he’s lost count. And although his outfit has started to fall apart and he has gone through several pairs of shoes, he isn’t too bothered. He just plans to fix them up and keep going.
And as if all this isn’t enough, Scott celebrated the completion of his half-way point at Darwin with another daredevil stunt. He came face-to-face with Chopper the crocodile at Darwin’s Crocosaurus Cove (through a plastic enclosure, of course). “It was a whole lot of fun, I really enjoyed that,” he joked.
Interestingly, Scott isn’t the first person to go on a very long hike in a Stormtrooper costume. In 2012, we wrote about Jacob Trench, then 21, who walked 5,000 kilometers in the same get-up. He walked all the way from Perth to Sydney and raised $100,000 for the Starlight Children’s Foundation in Australia.
Photos: Scott Loxley/Facebook