Mim from Healesville

Mim Kocher takes on Healesville. Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Jed Lanyon

Healesville resident Mim Kocher is thriving under the Covid-19 restrictions, having set herself the challenge of walking around town each day in lockdown.

Since 1 April, Ms Kocher has taken to Healesville’s streets each day and has explored every street, road and trail of the town she loves.

And unlike the infamous ‘Karen from Brighton’, who was sick of walking the streets of Brighton, ‘Mim from Healesville’ is quite the opposite, having enjoyed traversing her township for over six months now.

“It’s kind of become my quest,” she said. “My husband thinks I’m taking it to extreme but I think if I missed a day, then I’d start to just miss the next one and then the next one again.”

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, Ms Kocher, like many, was unable to fulfil her regular gym visit or swim at the local pool. Instead opting to take a walk.

“It just seemed like a good thing to do at the time.”

Now Ms Kocher has a giant map of the Healesville area and has highlighted each path she takes on her daily walks, as she completes her mission of covering every possible location within her allocated five kilometre area.

Rain, hail or shine, Ms Kocher takes to the streets at 10am listening to a podcast while trying to find somewhere she hasn’t explored, or she’ll just enjoy one of her favourite spots.

“Everyday, even if it’s just a couple of kilometres. If it’s freezing cold I’ll put on the wind jacket and a scarf.

“I usually leave by about 10am and if I haven’t left by then, I usually start to get a bit toey.”

She said she averages about four or five kilometres a day, with her best being ten kilometre walk.

Having become quite accustomed to the area, Ms Kocher and a friend wondered if the town’s name was inspired by the landscape.

“It’s a very hilly place, here in ‘Hillsville’. There are just some wicked hills around and they’re a challenge.

“When I walk into town, there’s two big hills. When I first started I would stop so many times to get my breath. Now I don’t stop at all, I walk up and off I go.

“It’s been very beneficial for my lungs. I’m just wondering how many other people are doing this because it’s such a great thing to do.”

Despite living in the town for about 27 years, Ms Kocher said she’s gained a better understanding of Healesville throughout her daily walks.

“What I’ve learnt is there’s so much history here and there are some really beautiful old streets. There’s so many streets I’d never been down before that have these beautiful houses with big gardens and stunning views.

“I take my phone with me and photograph views, unusual letter boxes, plants, trees, buildings and houses. I have come to know our beautiful town in these past six months far better than in the 27 years I have lived here.”

Ms Kocher manages to rattle off many names of Healesville’s courts, drives and laneways with ease.

“My friends reckon I’m a bit of a detective.”

But six months on and nearly two hundred consecutive days of walking, Ms Kocher said she’s not sick of the sights and plans to retrace her steps soon.

“It’s just one of the best things I’ve ever done, especially healthwise. I just love any sort of challenge or quest.

When asked what she would do in a perfect world, if the restrictions were suddenly dropped and Melbourne were free from the virus. Ms Kocher said she would still carry on her daily walking habit.

“I definitely would like to keep up the walking. They reckon if you do something for a certain amount of time it becomes a habit.

“I guess I’d have to start on Yarra Glen when we’re allowed to. I’m dying to get on the train and head into the city to see the family again. It’d be nice to explore some of the laneways in the city.”

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