Category Archives: Travel
It’s usually played at remembrance ceremonies and funerals for soldiers. In some ways, this last post isn’t very different from that of a B bugle call playing in the distance as the sun rises to remember brave soldiers and battles fought.
Only this time around, it is my battle and not those I’d reflected on in remembrance.
In the past ten months, I found out I had cancer cells, had to sit around for six months waiting to hear if they got them all (which they did… I put it down to telling them to f#@* off), sustained an arm injury which tore me away from work and study for six months, was physically assaulted, someone deleted all my websites, I had to move house unexpectedly, couch and floor surfed for nearly four weeks and to put the cherry on top, was in my new house for two weeks and got broken into. And this list certainly doesn’t count all the other lemons, some of them just too damn bitter to recollect in an open forum.
Do you know what it’s like to feel like you’re losing your sanity? And you don’t even know why? To sit on a tram, only to turn around half way on the journey because you just couldn’t be around people? Finding every excuse in the world why you couldn’t, wouldn’t, just damn well didn’t want to see anyone. How going through a box of tissues in a day was normal and you became used to darkness descending at 7am, forcing a day under the covers in the hope you would wake up and it would all just be a bad dream.
I knocked back the anti-depressant prescriptions : I had a tried and tested tool of focussing on the small things that bring us to life. Besides, I didn’t need to add to the GDP to make Australia an even greater country. I withdrew from most of the world, including friends, was careful where I went, who I was with and what I was doing. I continued to sketch, write and outwardly seemed to be alive. Internally I was desperately trying to fight off the insanity of how I was feeling and it was only because I never forgot who was hidden inside that the embers kept alight.
Last year I celebrated my birthday by climbing Mt Agung in Bali, celebrating with friends on the coast and on returning home, had one fun karaoke night with some beautiful people, recognising the awesome of every page within my chapter 39.95. This year’s birthday, I struggled getting out of bed, I didn’t want to see anyone, managed to stretch myself for lunch and at the very last minute braved it in a room full of strangers at a story-telling night. The theme was turning points, and half way through the night, I decided to share a few of mine. You can’t have had a full life like mine and not had some turning points that have whipped your life 360°.
At the height of my stress levels and depression, the assault happened. Talk about hitting you when you’re down. Thank goodness #b03, a daily blog commitment, came along. Every day I sat, sometimes, all day, to pump out a post on something great that happened in the day or a reflection I had on the past. I credit this month, along with #MindfulinMay, for dragging me off the floor and keeping me focussed, on my writing, and my sanity. That, and a very humbling post from a wonderful friend who had taught me about purpose and owning your story and the comments from people when I made it to the final three of a blogging competition. They were all part of my turning point to understand the power of self-responsibility to take control. That and the realisation I was on a collision path.
This soldier was ready to stand up and start fighting. And again, whip my life 360°.
I started this blog when I accepted a challenge. I do have stories to share that could change the world, but this blog was always primarily to help me change my own world. Considering all the lemons that life had thrown at me, at first I wasn’t entirely sure I needed anymore challenges. So the preface was I would keep writing until I, or anyone else, didn’t need it anymore.
That time has come.
Over the past two years, I’ve never written for anyone else nor felt the need to promote my thoughts to the wider universe. It was my therapy. My passion. And my need to focus on the fact that life is unrelenting in its gifts of experience, people, opportunity and self.
I realised wealth and GDP prosperity are definitely not predictors of life satisfaction. We’re spending more money on ‘stuff’, making children’s hospital wards like first class resorts, building multi-million dollar social housing complexes and still don’t have enough, designing more prisons and detention centres, spending big on credit cards, destroying native forests with big trucks and large tools, spending more money on bicycles, house and car locks as theft increases, employing more police, consuming more food, alcohol and cigarettes, spending more money on pokies than on rates in many local council areas, donating more money to charities and yet have more social problems than ever before, destroying our natural wonders with mines and urban sprawl with excess for sale, earning more, still fighting the war in Afghanistan and our spending on anti-depressants is hitting all time highs. Yay : at 1371 billion dollars, we’ve got one of the highest GDPs on the planet. We should be so proud of ourselves spending all that cash so wisely… and happy.
As I reflect on my 158 bloody rippers over the past two years, I realise how so much of what makes life worthwhile is not measured : the innocence and joy of a young child, the strength of our relationships, the beauty of our art, digging out our courage, a breathe of fresh air in the midst of nature’s best, the setting of a sun. If our existence and success were measured by life’s joys, we’d all be abundant. And not just our country.
Despite the lemons, me and life have managed to still walk hand in hand:
- Finding old memories
- Bucket lists
- Completing my first biathlon
- Fridge notes can change the world
- The power of courage
- My first tattoo
- Noticing everything around you
- Letters to Santa
- New found love for sketching
- Top ten travel experiences
- Ten things I value
- The nurture of nature
- New year wrap-ups
- A better planet
- All the bloody rippers
With the setting down of the sun, I will remember them. I may need to come back to this safe space at some stage. But unlike global wars over the centuries that we just don’t seem to be able to learn from, it’s time to hold that mirror up and use every one of my darn lemons to push me into neutral territory.
As much as I appreciate social media for its ability to connect me to so many amazing people I have had the pleasure to cross paths, the doors it has opened, the information it has made available, the world it allows you to explore, and the access it provides to new opportunities, events and people, our friendship is going to take a small hiatus. At its core, it is an incredible resource, but right now, I need to commit to my own projects and not learn about others. I need to open my own doors and not simply peep into others. I’ve explored the world and it’s now time to start exploring my visions. I want photos with my friends because we’re out doing things together. I want to be able to come back from my hiatus taking action on my loves and not simply liking everyone else’s.
It’s time to say goodbye to the external forces and hello to the internal power.
A few years ago, I had a dream about a domain name : www.give.com.au. As a direct result of my experiences overseas, I spent a lot of money and time to build a pretty big fair trade website, working with projects I had visited and researched. I wanted to change the world, or at least make a small imprint on some communities that had made a huge impact on me. Fail. External and internal forces were at play and it’s only recently I came to the understanding I was never going to be able to sell hand bags : I hate shopping.
By understanding the power of my story, it is now I truly understand that before you can give to others, you must begin with yourself. You must be able to stand up in your own power and at the end of your life, whenever that may be, be proud of what you did, what you didn’t do, who you loved, what you let go of, what you accepted, where you went, who you journeyed with and the person you were. All the ideas I have had over the last few years will now be married to create a new www.give.com.au : one that encourages you to give to self, and others. My journey has allowed me to meet the people I needed to meet to make this happen, and for once in my life, I’m putting my hand out to accept some help.
I want to give my writing purpose in a new way, leaving the scope of my life and the joy it brings to focus on some inspiring people that know what it’s like to find purpose. Before I never cared about who read what I wrote. Now I do. I want to start work on my biography. And I want to create some really fun projects allowing others the space to give to themselves… every little part of them and not just a glory box of stuff. www.thedinnertable.com.au is a big part of that : bringing people together to share, connect and create. I still want to change the world in a small way and everything I do will have that as its underlying glue.
The biggest opportunity we have on the planet right now is not to solve any of the world’s greatest problems. It is to inspire a society of change-makers. That change-maker starts with me.
Right now, I’m so glad I’ve had 43 jobs, travelled to 43 countries, have some amazing people in my life, have lost count of the amazing experiences I have had, stood up and fought the battles and now lay down my weapon of choice for the past two years to get on with it.
Three days ago, my friend Richard who had already done so much for me by allowing me to explore purpose in a three day retreat, again put out his helping hand and invited me to a Real Leadership workshop. One of the activities was to pull out from a large selection three pictures that represented three timeframes, one story. With a grin, Rich heckled me for doubling the selection, knowing only too well that in this case, I needed to own my story.
In short, the past is represented by the darkness of which I believe is an important part of my story as well as the strength to stand up from the battle and move forward. The loose threads of my life have been ripped apart to now allow me the ability to bring them all together as a conduit towards the future. I can’t do it alone, I need variety, and I welcome everyone else’s playlists to inform and inspire the future journey. No matter how far apart, how little time we spent together or how close we are, I thank those deeply who have travelled with me on the journey so far and welcome those who are yet to come. And as for the future? One of my favourite films is “Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter… and Spring”. Through stunning cinematography, it is a journey through life’s lessons and at the moment I feel embedded in the contrast of those seasons. I want to continue that journey, knowing I have some handy tools to keep the weeds at bay and there’s going to be one garden I am now ready to focus on… and I want it to flourish.
As for right now, it’s off into the spring sunshine to sit and design “A Beautiful Day” and a gratitude project as required of my Masters in Wellness and then plan to make them happen. Who ever thought when you decided to study at university for the first time in your life, you would be allowed to write about what you’ve written about for two years… just when you’re playing the last post.
Life… it can be so
you bloody ripper!
To Richard, Angie, Glenda, Gregory, Michelle, Steph, Damien, Dani, Yvette, Nynke, Inge, Aaron, Carol, Adam, Diana, Jarrod, Kal, Mike, Annie, Linnet, Calm in the City, Mindful in May, #b03, SLAMALAMADINGDONG! Poetry Slam, Arts in Action, Stillwaters, Enchanted Evenings and The Holos Group. Thank you for being my brakes.
Got my teeny bag packed and I’m ready to go.
What? You’ve got a sleeping bag, clown pants, Elmo t-shirt and your butterfly hat is making a comeback? And they’re all in that bag?
It’s time for random and ridiculous to make a comeback!
I’m off to NSW on a road trip with four strangers, volunteering with Dr Froth at the Incredi-Bubble Festival in Corowa.
My job description:
- responsibubble for the happiness of little ones
- Incredibubble activity
- Bubble fountain
- Serving everyone’s joy
- Collecting and sharing stories of your insights and delights
- Resting and replenishing your joy and vibrancy
- Having a ball
I love job descriptions that make people and life come alive.
I love road trips for their randomness.
And I’ve got a feeling this one is going to be full of surprises and a whole heap of fun. Bring on the happiness of little ones… and big ones!
Oops… better squeeze in the toothbrush.
You bloody ripper!
Travelling broadens the mind. Travelling takes one to new places. Travelling allows new experiences. But for some, a journey abroad is part of an inner journey – a journey that takes one deeper than that into an exotic jungle or into the narrow alleyways of a new city. It is a journey taken within. It is a journey of inner growth, personal motivation and inspiration.
A few years ago, I had the incredible privilege of taking people on challenge trips around the globe, away from their comforts, their securities and their every day lives.
Vicki’s story is one that I lived, heard and researched, both during the trip and after, particularly as I taped her feet each night and encouraged her to push through whatever it was that was holding her back.
Not only did Vicki embark on a journey to a foreign land, but she took a journey within and come back inspired, determined and with a new found belief in what she could achieve.
I thought it was about time to share her story, particularly as I plan on writing more bios of some inspirational change-makers.
Through this journey, it is hoped that you too will find your inner strengths, follow your dreams, harness your potential, find your passion and live every day vividly.
Be inspired by this journey within to live a life less ordinary, for the extraordinary is within us all.
There once was a woman named Vicki who for the first 15 years of her adult life spent it home alone. Work, then home, then bed, too scared to even go out to the pub for a drink with her work mates. Vicki used her family and her dog as an excuse to go home. Until no one asked anymore.
In January 2005, Vicki decided to undertake a challenge – to fundraise $5000 for Guide Dogs and complete a challenge trip in China. In May 2006, Vicki travelled 80km on the Great Wall of China and climbed one of China’s five holy Tao Mountains, Hua Shan. The following are five chapters of Vicki’s journey within.
My life has always been unremarkable. In fact, it was boring. If I were to describe myself before the trip, it would definitely have to be lifeless. I have lived in Perth all my life, and worked in the same job for eight years. A self confessed couch potato weighing in at 140kg, I didn’t know what the word exercise meant. I was afraid to go out and mix with others. Why would I when I didn’t like myself?
On reflection, I am not sure why I didn’t like myself. I have always been extremely shy. I grew up in a very isolated environment, looking after my pop and grandma. They were my world. I guess I never developed on the social level like most people. So I simply shut myself off from everyone, becoming more isolated and insecure the older I got.
I decided to go on the Challenge after seeing it advertised through Guide Dogs. It seemed like a great way to see a part of the world I had always wanted to go, the pictures made it look easy and it seemed like a worthwhile reason to support a very worthy cause. However, not only did I find the fundraising was a lot of hard work, but the hardest part was yet to come.
I’d gone and booked myself on a Challenge, and I couldn’t hide anymore. I had to get out and meet people. I had to be the one doing the inviting. I organised wine tours, dinners and auctions. I had to force myself to go and talk to people, to open myself up, to not be afraid of being seen and to come out of hiding. My challenge had started before I’d even set foot out of the country. It became even more painful when I got to China and realised I no longer had a valid reason to hide away. I had to conquer my insecurities. I had to become someone I had never been in my life.
Physically, the trip was extremely difficult for me. At 140kg, walking such long distances during the day with little training hurt with each step. Every night I would tape my swollen feet and knees and cover the new blisters and sores appearing all over my feet with padding and bandages. This wasn’t a holiday. This was torture.
Aside from the trip being physically difficult, the greatest pain came from me acknowledging what my life had been like prior to the trip and the fact that for its entirety, I had hidden myself away. Most people I knew thought I had a great life and just didn’t have any time for them. Little did they know I kept myself prisoner behind the barriers of my own fear and insecurities.
I still get so nervous that I am sick before I go out. I still drive around and around before I can make myself get out and go in. But there is a difference. I don’t turn around anymore and go home. I go in. I am enjoying myself more. I don’t let myself stop and think too much or I will talk myself out of doing and going places. I don’t want to go back to the way I was. It would be too easy. It would have been easy to stop walking. The pain would have eased. But I would not have felt the sense of achievement, and the sense of self worth that I now feel.
Now, when I reflect on the trip and think about the Wall, the physical pain seems but a distant memory. I find myself remembering the beauty of the wall instead. I guess it has taught me that we have to go through pain in our lives to appreciate the beauty around us.
The pain from the mountain is a little different. There have been many things in my life that I didn’t think I could do. At 39, climbing the mountain is one of the first major things I have accomplished in my life, so the pain should stay with me forever. And I don’t really want it to go. It’s a constant reminder that no matter how bad a situation I am in, there are many others worse off than myself, and to get on with my own life. I guess it has taught me that when we go through pain in our lives and come out the other side with a smile, that we will be much better people for it, as I am now.
The pain was worth it. And I no longer fear it.
One of my greatest weaknesses in life has always been that I feel I have to do anything to get a friend. I think it manifested itself in the way I have always been passionate about helping other people. It was the only way I received any recognition or appreciation in my otherwise unenthusiastic life. Considering the protective barrier I placed around myself, I don’t think I even had a real idea what a true friend was. Since the trip to China, I believe I am starting to realise. I believe that I have had many friends with me all my life, but I just didn’t know how to see or appreciate them.
On the trip, I constantly didn’t want to let anyone down because I saw myself as an embarrassment to others on the trip. I was very self-conscious about always being last and always being in so much pain. My insecurities were discernible every day in the nos, the I cant dos, the anguish and the tears.
However, there were a few special people who supported me on the entire walk. Although continually embarrassed, I was extremely grateful to have their company. Even when I cried and said I couldn’t do it, they believed in me. Even when I begged to stop, they didn’t doubt me. They kept me laughing and singing. They kept pushing me. They made me push myself. I was happy that for the first time in my life, other people thought I could do it, and I am forever grateful they wouldn’t let me stop.
I am now feeling a little more comfortable in asking other people for help. I realise that it isn’t embarrassing. I realise that to have people around me and having friends support me through the hard times is not something I should fear or be ashamed of. No longer do I just try and make friends with people so it gives me a feeling of self worth. No longer do I think I need to put on a face so that people like me. No longer am I afraid of what people think of me. I make friends with people so I can be there for them, knowing that they will be there for me when I need them. I have learnt not to take friends for granted. And I have also learnt that it’s okay to ask for help, be helped and not to be embarrassed.
Even though I may never again see some of the people I shared this journey with, it has highlighted to me that people do come into our lives for a reason. There were people on the trip who will always be a big part of my life, for without them being there during the hard times, I know I would never have made it. Not just in China. But in my future.
Thank you my angels.
Quite often we rush through life and miss out on special things, or even just the simple things. I realised this especially while walking on the Wall one day when the tour leader reminded us that the walk was not a race. That we would never be there again and that we should enjoy and savour every moment. I took the time to sit down and enjoy the view, soaking up the remarkable history in front of me.
Back in Perth, I find I want to enjoy my life more and I want to try new things. For the first time in my life I am inviting myself to places and events. I am reflecting more on what I want to achieve in my life and am setting goals to ensure these happen. All things I had never even tried in the past.
One of the greatest lessons I learnt from the trip is that I can get through the hard way and feel a total sense of achievement once I have completed it. No longer am I doing what is expected of me. Not in my work, nor in my personal life. I now have more control over my emotions.
I’m learning about myself. I’m trying to make decisions and stick with them so I don’t slip back into bad habits. I don’t want to go back to the way I was.
I am talking about the experience to anyone who wants to listen. Even to the ones who don’t. I have taken up a newspaper drop with my sister and walking every day. In two months, I have already lost 10 kg since arriving back home.
Now I am planning my next challenge to Ladakh in northern India in May 2007. One of the goals for next year’s trip is to help someone like myself to make it to the finish.
There is so much to be achieved by having a dream, and then living it.
Before leaving home, I didn’t believe I would complete the challenge. In fact, I never believed I could do many things in my life. No one else believed I could either. My upbringing did not encourage self confidence, and I guess the gene pool just doesn’t take into account our looks.
Looking at the photos of the mountain scared me shitless. I had a terrible fear of heights, unable to even climb a step ladder. Getting me to go up the Wall on day one was a challenge in itself as it was an extreme effort to even leave my room. I woke up every morning feeling physically ill and worried.
I remember a point on the mountain when I begged to stop. I didn’t want to let anyone down. But I was pushed until it was too far to go back. I dug deep as I figured that I hadn’t died yet so it wasn’t going to kill me, and I pushed myself to keep on going.
I’m not afraid of trying anymore, and am more open to giving things a go. I even mowed the lawn on the weekend, something I had never done before. It wasn’t so scary after all. I used to worry so much in the past about doing everything that I didn’t even give things a go because I was scared of failing or of being embarrassed.
But courage can take us to places that we never thought we might reach. I know. I’ve sat atop a mountain.
On the trip to China, I met someone who not only knew I could climb the mountain, but knew I had to climb that mountain. Somehow they knew that I needed to do this more than anything I’ve ever done in my life, for if I didn’t, I would never achieve anything.
They were right. For not only have I found the courage to give things a go, but I have an inner belief that I can do what looks impossible.
I still get scared, but I have learnt to not think things over as much as I did in the past. I make decisions a little easier. I don’t spend too much time anymore thinking about what others are thinking.
I like myself now. Most of my work colleagues think I’ve gotten tougher since China. I say no more often. That’s a start. I am more out there and going out more. I’m starting to put myself first.
I am starting to believe in who I am and what I can achieve in my life.
THE NEW PATH
So what has changed? After China, you can see I look at things very differently.
The biggest thing I gained from the journey is my new perspective on life. Through my own experience and journey I believe that we too often look at all the obstacles in our path to achieving our dreams. We make excuses. We believe it’s too hard. We blame our past. We don’t live enough in the now. We don’t appreciate the small things around us. We don’t ask for help when we should. We aren’t honest with our feelings.
But by having dreams and giving things a go, pushing through the pain when it happens, having the invaluable support of friends, finding our inner courage and believing we can do it, the summit of a mountain is achievable, even for a 140kg couch potato. Instead of looking at the bottom and considering all the obstacles in my way and saying I can’t do it, I remember what it was like to be at the top and looking back at what I had done. I know I can do it. Mowing the lawn was just the start.
I’m a work in progress. It’s why I’ve joined up to climb the Himalayas in 2007. I know that I climbed 5 500 steps in China and walked 80km of the Great Wall of China. I know I can walk plenty more on my journey within. It will be one step at a time.
My life is no longer lifeless. My life is now beginning.
you bloody ripper!
All of us are created equal, and it is only through birth or circumstance that some of us are not provided with equal opportunity.
When I travel, I don’t see the noodle shop owner as a noodle shop owner. I don’t see my waiter as a waiter. And I certainly didn’t see ‘Mr T’ as simply a tuk tuk driver during my two week stay in Phnom Penh. Rather than just expecting a service from them, I see all of these people as having thoughts, passions, life experiences and desires that I want to hear and allow them the opportunity to share.
On this particular day, after spending hours on the back of a moto, I invited Mr T out for dinner. Cut to scene – corner noodle shop, large vats of steaming stock filled with unknown offcuts, noodles and whatever may have flown in during the day for a tasty kamikaze swoop. I’d shared with Mr T over ten days about why I was back in Phnom Penh, why I wasn’t visiting “important” people and why I wanted to go out of the city on the back of a bike and get covered in dust, sleep on wooden slats in rural villages, delve into the slums and hang out on the streets at night.
We then talked about Cambodia, and all the changes that were taking place. And I’m not talking positive change. Thousands of people being displaced. Orphanages trading in prostitution. Tent cities. Crime. Food shortages. How could all this be happening in a country that receives some of the highest levels of aid than any other country on earth?
There was a sense of complacency about Mr T when he shared his thoughts about his personal future, and that of his country. There was expectancy that the powers that be should be making a difference. There was a degree of anger. Certainly frustration. Definitely uncertainty. After a couple of hours conversing over dinner and some chilled Angkor Beer, he put out his hand, palm up, and asked: “When will someone give me the power to do something?”. I grabbed his hand, turned it palm down, and simply said “You already have the power”.
Now I wasn’t talking power to change Cambodia, let alone the world. Rather, to change his own world, and perhaps take him from a level of complacency to a state of action for himself. It was all about the doing, and not the asking.
It was quite a humbling conversation: two people from two different worlds, two different experiences, two different opportunities, and yet one common thread – what can we do to make a difference in our own life? Whether or not we then correlate that to making a bigger difference is entirely up to the individual.
It is about recognising that before we can give to others, we must first give to ourselves.
It merely takes a twist of the wrist.
you bloody ripper!
Today, I had to ensure I got my application in for #blogforgood so I had plenty of time to tell you all about it.
As I had some prearranged things to do that have kept me busy since I found out about the competition, tonight I had to get it finished. Six hours scouring photographs, playing with animations, finding the right stories. And I’m finally done – upload complete – here’s the final slideshow (albeit less my animations that aren’t supported…. technology).
you bloody ripper!
I’ve just arrived home after watching three hours of home videos I’d never seen. While emptying out a box earlier in the day, I came across the footage from my first travelling stint through south-east Asia and Africa. They were from 1998 and I’d never seen them.
Memories of my African safari have begun to resurface after my decision to enter the #blogforgood competition. The winner has the opportunity to head to Tanzania and blog for CBMAustralia about the work they do improving the lives of people living with a disability.
As I have travelled extensively, the opportunity to travel back to Tanzania is not about ticking off another country on the list – I’ve had the pants scared off me by a tiger enroute to the loos one night in the Serengeti.
It’s about the ability to reconnect to a place that I longed to travel from a very early age, have always felt a calling to, and to see first hand the work of an organisation that is making change.
Travelling in extremely remote areas 14 years ago was not easy. Tonight reminded me of the depth of poverty, disease and malnutrition I came across. As parts of the film screened, I closed my eyes, and took myself back. I could describe the scenes before they happened. I could smell the fire, feel the water cascade over my body as I bathed under a waterfall, taste the beer, recall the hands of the young child as we walked to their home, feel the fear when the snake charmer danced, be overwhelmed by the weariness of three days stuck by the side of the road due to an accident and deny all knowledge of that Queensland accent. Did I really ever sound like that? Proof.
You see, ever since I watched Sigourney Weaver surrounded by gorillas in the mist, it was my ambition to be in that position.
With any goal, it means you have to work. No one was going to hand me an airline ticket to travel across the globe, trek up a mountain and spend all day clambering through dense jungle with the hope of spotting an elusive gorilla.
So I worked, hard. I saved, hard. I travelled for almost two years, hard. I worked a bit more, hard. And then I climbed that mountain, hard.
Tonight I was reminded that realisation of goals needs a very strong mix of desire, commitment and effort.
I recalled every ounce of pleasure that dripped through my veins as I sat within 3m of a mountain gorilla and observed the family interaction for more than an hour. In my wildest dreams, I never thought I would be so close, almost at one point feeling like I could reach out and join the throng of flea picking, cuddles and childish play.
The opportunity I had no longer exists. And yet, tonight in Angie’s room, it was as real as it was that day 16 years ago. The smile on my face expressed it all. Because it came deep from within.
Tonight, I was back in that mist.
I close my eyes. On opening, I can assure you that despite time, the joy of achieving a long-term goal never leaves you. The richness of the experience will be there forever.
Tonight, I am hungry to feel that way again. I’ve been reminded of what I need to do.
Keep writing. Hard. There’s magic to be found in getting up close and personal to your dreams.
you bloody ripper!
Today, I found out about a competition. I’ve never been a good competitor: I shy away from ego and self-promotion. Perhaps I need to start using the word ‘I’ more.
But this is different. This is what I have already decided to commit myself to. This is what I believe I have to do. And it means I have to ask for help.
#blogforgood is being run by the #bloodyripper teams at @Telstra_news and @CBMAustralia who are on the lookout for someone to travel to Tanzania for a week and write about the experience. You can see the amazing work that CBM do across the globe here.
For me, it would not be about the travel – goodness knows at 42 countries, I’ve done a lot of it. This is about following my purpose and writing about difference. I’ve got my hands dirty for change in the past, and it’s time to now make them black. The real grit of what happens when an organisation makes a difference. The courage. The reality. The stories… not about the hands reaching out… but the ones about what hands can create when wrists are turned.
I can write. I can sketch. I can photograph. I can interview. I am willing to go wherever is needed, not bathe, sleep on the floor and commit myself to seven days documenting everything I sense.
So for all of you that have travelled with me, experienced life with me, worked with me, been inspired by me, I’ve helped or simply like what I have to say… please add a comment here why you think I should #blogforgood.
If you tweet…I’m @youbloodyripper (follow me now… projects in the wings) and use the hashtag #blogforgood.
I’m on a mission.
To live a life of Purpose.
And I’m asking for help.
you bloody ripper!
For 5.5 years of my life, I lived out of a backpack. Life was never more simple than having only what I needed, nothing more. Well, I suppose the odd chocolate may not count, but I’ll put that down to essential treats. And then there was the badminton racket strapped to the backpack, essential when an all day traffic jam required some entertainment.
I often moved frequently, occasionally I’d stop a little longer. Life was uncomplicated. Underwear was cheap.
Last year, I moved three times within the same city, and not all intentionally.
I wrapped. Packed. Loaded. Unloaded. Unpacked. And then….did it all over again. And again.
When I found myself surrounded by boxes for the third time, I realised that my unrequired possessions were my unrequired burdens. It was time for me to dig into the depths of fearlessness and get back to the simplicity of decluttered essentials, with a few treats and entertainment included in there for good measure… and sanity.
And so the piles began: donations that did not include used underwear or ½ empty bottles of shampoo, the junk pile, the recycle pile, the things I really needed, the things I might use once in a while and the things I needed to fix before I could use them.
I looked at every object and appreciated it for what purpose it may have served, who gave it to me, who I thought would make better use of it, and placed it in the pile it needed to be. The ‘just in case I get invited on a date’ wasn’t this time round good enough to keep the ball gown my Vietnamese friend made me as a farewell gift. But I may want to wear the Laos ethnic jacket I was given in exchange for some silk worms. It was a tussle, but with the help of fearlessness, the declutter found my home, head, and myself, just a little lighter.
I no longer live out of a backpack, and still probably have a little more than I need with two rooms filled with my worldly possessions. This includes a lot of towells (masseuse), lots of books (student), office essentials (business), mementos (traveller), lots of paperwork (taxman), a keyboard, digital radio and quite a few CDs (entertainment), kitchen utensils (essential if you love spending time in the kitchen) and quite a few products left over from my old fair trade site (anyone want a silk handbag).
The freedom of a life based on essentials of the material, heart and purposeful kind has an addiction that I will again one day crave for, but at this point, I don’t feel it necessary to completely reduce my life to a backpack’s essentials.
Everything I need in my life right now, is within reach.
you bloody ripper!
There is no doubt Melbourne is a city worth wandering. After living here for five years, I think I’ve caught a cab twice, worn out four pairs of walking shoes and I still don’t think twice about taking a long or random detour to get home.
So after a late meal with a friend, there was nothing unusual when I opted to bypass two train stations, countless tram stops, taxi queues and the offer of a lift, to take a long walk to the city.
You’re crazy. It’s raining. You could be at home in bed before you hop on the tram. It’s not safe. It’s freezing. Just let me take you.
I know this dissent was expressed out of love and concern, and most would have shunned the idea of pivoting a potential 40 minute journey on its head by opting for two hours in the dead of night. I guess alone, potentially wet, freezing one’s arse off and walking when there was perfectly good public transport and taxis nearby doesn’t exactly rate in the top ten things to do at 2am in the morning.
Having walked around many of the world’s largest cities, I wasn’t going to let a little water stop me. I had an umbrella. I had two feet. And with no work the next day, I had plenty of time to kill.
Besides, why sit on public transport filled with late night drunken revellers when I could be alone with the dulcet tones of my best Fred Astaire impersonation to support me in my meanderings through the puddles and drops.
There was too much to miss.
With a view.
And the chance to feel alive.
You bloody ripper
Almost drowning myself with copious amounts of water to help with rehydration, enroute to my seaside rehabilitation deck chair I was desperately in need of a pee stop.
Dilemma! Warung (local cafe) squat loo or should I stretch the 500 metres extra to the five star luxury of seat sanitiser, fresh flowers… and a toilet seat?
Usually one to shy away from the excess of luxury, I considered the potential trauma to my already aching body, and opted to sit. Squats weren’t going to help me today.
Aaaahhhhh…. when you’re happy and you know it, shake your hands…. with your personal attendant as she hands you a fresh clean towell.
you bloody ripper!