Defining Moments in Life

Life is filled with many moments and any one of them has the potential to change our lives in an instant.

Sometimes it is a good thing, that takes us on a path filled with happiness and a purpose that fills our life with joy. At other times, it can be the traumatic and devastating and you find yourself drowning in the inky blackness of heartbreak and pain.

A Dark Night of My Soul

Having the wellbeing of people at the core of my soul, I have worked in the caring industry for more than 25 years. My name is Steph, and as a nurse and paramedic, I have seen the best and worst of other people’s life moments.

After one particularly traumatic job on a sunny Sunday afternoon, my life was thrown into the chaos and darkness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD challenged everything I believed about myself, other people and life, and I became an untrusting, cynical, angry version of myself.

For the next four years, this took me along a road that slowly disintegrated many aspects of my life.

Relationships crumbled as I withdrew from people.

Poor decisions – made in an effort to find any spark of joy – wreaked havoc on my finances.

My health declined as symptom of a broken mind, and my whole life became as chaotic and cluttered as the thoughts that constantly ran a negative dialogue through my head.

Despite this, as the eternal optimist, I still held some deeply entrenched beliefs that became a beacon in this time of distress.

  • We are not defined by what happens to us, but by how we react to each event.
  • It is our actions that show our true selves, not our thoughts or feelings.
  • We can all achieve so much more than we think is possible for us.
  • From the worst moments come the best solutions.

1 Big Goal Was Born

One day, after an argument with a family member, a bolt of realisation hit me hard.

If I did not want to keep living this nightmare, I needed to make change. The next morning, as I drove home, I pondered the situation.

I needed to find a focus that would bring hope and purpose to the future, force me to take control of the parts of my life that were not working for me, challenge myself enough to create personal growth, and something that would reconnect me to my deeper self, other people and life.

I had once written a bucket list of all the things I thought I might like to try within my time on earth. That day I got the bucket list out of the bottom of the desk draw in my office and picked the one thing that was the obvious choice.

I rang a travel agent and booked a trip to walk solo on The Camino – an 800km trail across Spain. My 1 Big Goal was set in motion. 

9 reasons Why I Chose the Camino

The Camino is an ancient spiritual pilgrim trail that was featured in the movie The Way, which I had watched some 12 years earlier and added to my bucket list.

1. As a spiritual path, I knew it had the potential to reconnect me to the soul part of myself that seemed to be buried in the mire of PTSD.

2. Being an unfit, overweight, and over 50 year old, I knew if I was to achieve it, I would have to work to improve my fitness.

3. Booking an overseas trip that would take me away for at least 8 weeks or more meant I needed to take a stocktake of my finances to afford it.

4. The Camino was an opportunity to be out in nature and take me back to that fun and adventurous little girl side of me who had grown up in the bushland of the Blue Mountains.

5. With an 800km massive challenge ahead of me, it was an opportunity to do something worthwhile and raise money for a charity to bring a sense of purpose to the walk.

6. I wanted to show others that what happens to you is not as important as how you choose to react to it.

7. Inspiring others that no matter you body size or fitness level, we can all set a goal and become the best version of ourselves.

8. Sharing my story was an important aspect of the goal in an aim to prevent others from sinking into the dire situation I was in when I made this choice.

9. It was either find something that sparked a sense of positive potential for the future or fall further into a place from which there may have been no return.

The Outcome – Newfound Passion and Purpose

I was unprepared for how hard and yet how rewarding the journey to prepare for and walk The Camino was going to be.

There was a constant mix of expectation, fear, doubt, excitement, confidence, the fist pumping joy of achievement , and the exhilaration and relief of success when I took those final steps to my destination, into the square in front of the cathedral in Santiago de Compostella.

In the process of achieving 1 Big Goal I came back with a passion and drive to help others step out of their chaos, and the burnt out life they were living, and move towards a calm, focussed control of their future.

I decided to do a coaching course and start up my business, with the aim of creating a safe space where people can share their stories, rewrite the plotlines and turn the page to a new chapter in their lives.

~ From Adversity, Embrace Change, Create Extraordinary ~


Connect with Steph:

Facebook: 1 Big Goal



Steph Altus,

1 Big Goal

Steph believes we can all do, be and achieve more than we think is possible. 

Steph has always had helping and caring at the core of her values. Growing up in adverse home life conditions, but having the freedom of the mountains allowed her to build her own unique resilience mechanism. 

Having worked in the emergency services for over 25 years, witnessing the scenes that were hard to forget, she found herself in the clutches of PTSD. Deciding that this wasn’t going to be the thing that defined the rest of her future, Steph chose to face the demons head-on and create an exciting new journey. 

With the love and support of her girls, she was able to open up to vulnerability, share her story and thus, ‘1 Big Goal’ became her new adventure.