Benny Scott, 28, walks the globe to shine light on addiction, recovery and need for pet-friendly rehab
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Benny Scott knew he needed to go to rehab for his cocaine and cannabis addiction, but he couldn't do it without his beloved dog.
"My family used to hassle me to go to rehab … and I used him [Frankie] as an excuse," Benny said.
Rather than leave his best mate behind, Benny is embarking on an ambitious journey across the world using nature and wide-open space to heal.
The 28-year-old is walking from Sydney to Darwin, before tackling an overseas leg of the journey.
While it isn't quite the rehab his family asked for, he said the journey has turned into an adventure of self-discovery.
Benny has spent more than 100 days on the road and has another three or so months ahead of him before he reaches Darwin, his first milestone.
"It's tough, but I wanted to experience the extremities of Australia," he said.
"I've set an impossible task and I'm out to prove it is possible."
From Darwin, Benny and Frankie will trek to Bangkok and Beijing before ending his walk in Alaska.
Backed by the charity he has created, Walk2Recovery, Benny's aim is to raise awareness about addiction and recovery, but he has another goal in mind as well.
"The plan is to open a recovery centre," he said.
"It's going to be an unconventional recovery centre that's pet friendly.
"I'm trying to paint a path for an unconventional method to recovery … a pet-friendly recovery centre."
Benny said the connection between pets and their owners should never be underestimated.
"He's [Frankie is] my best mate," he said.
Before leaving on the first part of his worldwide expedition, Benny and his family made an exciting discovery.
"My dad has been looking for his biological family, as he's adopted," he said.
"About a week before I was leaving … it comes to be known that my biological auntie has walked across the Sahara Desert, over 12,000 kilometres.
"I already felt like this was my calling, but once we found this out it was like a slam dunk.
"It's in my blood. I've just got to keep putting one foot in front of the other."
Benny's family met him in Longreach, the halfway mark of the more than 3,000-kilometre journey.
For his parents, Tamara and Hugh, Benny's addiction, and his refusal to go to rehab, took the family to breaking point.
"It left us all at our wit's end, wondering what do we do," Hugh Scott said.
"Ben being Ben, he came up with his own plan."
His determination to change his life for the better has healed a lot of wounds, according to his mother Tamara.
"I firmly believe that he's conquered something in himself and he's well on the way to recovery," she said.
His sister Alaska wasn't convinced of Benny's plan to trek across the country, then the globe.
"I rolled my eyes and told him he was an idiot," she said.
"I was definitely the most sceptical of the family … but I swallow my words wholeheartedly.
"We're unbelievably proud."
While he's already walked more than 1,700km to get to Longreach in central-western Queensland, he's got more than 2,000km to go to reach Darwin.
"Originally I thought it was all going to be about sunrises and sunsets," Benny said.
"But it's more about the people that I've met along the way. It's been a super-humbling experience.
"There are so many great people out there … it looks like we're walking on our own, but everybody else is getting us there."
Along the way, people have cooked him meals, paid for his accommodation, or given him a bed in their home, and taken a keen interest in what he's doing.
Benny said the kindness of strangers kept him going on days he felt he couldn't go any further.
"I've got a purpose," he said.
"I get a lot of energy back [from people I meet] and it gives me the energy to keep going."
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