March 16 this year I’ll turn 56. So what have I done in those 56 years that I’m proud of, grateful for, achieved? 56 isn’t enough, I need to be 100 at least to write everything and so many of them are what I call ‘box tickers’ – saw the Pyramids, New Year’s Eve in Dublin, paraglided in Hawaii. But there are others that are the small things that make your heart skip a beat and make you feel fortunate and gracious.
You also need to understand that my work has given my opportunities to do some things that others take for granted. I’ve been a climbing and abseiling instructor, skiing instructor, white water rafting guide, bushwalking leader and so on. So for some people going rafting would be on their list. For me – that’s work (although still exciting).
Of course, as soon as I write this, I’ll think of other things I’ve done/seen/found that would supersede this but hey, gotta start somewhere.
So here are my 56 in no particular order:
- Birthed three amazing children who have grown into amazing adults. Born 1998, 2000, 2002
- Swam with giant manta rays. 2011
- Sailed to Komodo Island to see the dragons. 2011
- Working at an orphanage in Cambodia. 2009
- Walked on the Great Wall of China in when there were no westerners around. 1985
- Lived in Hong Kong for a while with the most delightful Indian family. 1997
- Walked on fire. 1995
- Spent hours watching orangutans in a rehab. centre being…..themselves. 2009
- Expedition Leader in South Australia on an ANZSES trip monitoring southern right whale behaviour (Head of Bight) and exploring an old whaling station (Fowlers Bay). 1994
- Expedition Manager for Earthwatch called Australian Reef Culture – monitoring and researching soft and hard coral spawning off Magnetic Island. 1994
- Took 28 years but finally lead climbed Little Thor (Grade 20) at Mt Arapiles that’s been my nemesis for many years. Then led Pilot Error (Grade 21). Thor was clean, took a lead fall on Pilot Error. Not fancy but I did it. 2016
- Slept in the outdoors for over 2,200 nights of my life.
- Travelled to over 50 countries and still counting.
- Fell truly in love with an Icelandic man with an open heart and for the first time in my life felt appreciated, respected, honoured and loved. Unfortunately he passed away and my heart still aches. 2016
- Rafted the Zambeze. 1994
- Survived two narcissists in my life.
- Took control of my financial future. Now!
- Wrote two books that are published and one won an International Award 2010 & 2012
- Finished by Graduate Diploma in Outdoor Education. 1992
- At 16 walked in the Grampians on a school camp and five of us got lost. My dad always said, if you find a river, fence or track follow it. So I did and we all made our way back to camp – before everyone else!
- Dux of my year in 1978.
- Sent over 100 letters typed on a ‘typewriter’ to protect our old growth forests – 1977 – 1980.
- Volunteered – alot, actually around six weeks a year. Ongoing.
- Quit smoking. 1985
- Saved a man’s life in a car accident. 2016
- Rode a camel in Jaisalmer into the desert night. 1986
- Hot air ballooning over The Serengeti. 1995
- My parents are still alive (84 and 85) and my two older brothers and we all get along beautifully. Ongoing
- Renovated four houses.
- Climbed Mount Kinabalu in Borneo with my kids. 2010
- Worked with young male offenders in the outdoors, toughened me up and gave me perspective of how other peoples lives can be. 1991 – 1993
- Spent an afternoon listening to the Dalai Lama speak at an event. Magic! 2001
- Taught myself Auslan (Australian Sign Language). Ongoing
- Was a vegetarian for five years including during my first pregnancy and partly into my second. 1995 – 2000
- Learnt to fly fish and caught an 8lb rainbow trout (which I released back into the lake). 1985
- Became a certified scuba diver but then burst my ear drum. Doh! 1990
- Swam with dolphins and seals when 7 months pregnant with my first child. Brilliant. 1997
- Learnt how to not care what other people think of me. Ongoing
- Learnt what true friendships and not settle for less – discarded those that are just passing through my life. Ongoing
- State records in Shot Put, 50m butterfly in the 70’s.
- Made gift hampers for a community I was living in for those who were having a tough time. 2005 – 2009
- Protested environmental issues since 1979 – Gordon below Franklin River, Lake Peddar, Cattlemen in the High Country, Women’s Right to Choose Abortion, Asylum Seeker support, Soup Kitchen support at Christmas + more. Ongoing
- Made myself a living out of teaching creative activities such as sculpting, mosaics, repurposing etc. 2003 – Ongoing
- Spent two nights at the Mount Kenya Safari Club with a girlfriend and two of the most lovely senior gentlemen I’ve ever met. 1995
- Spent a night on The Ark in Kenya (with same people above) 1995
- Managed to do 7 static chin ups in my early 30’s plus 3 one handed chin ups. Now I could do….3 on a good day. Doh. 1996
- I can’t run but I’ve walked 35kms in one day just for fun. 1995
- Took the plunge and had a knee replacement at 47 despite the hesitancy of the surgeon. Was XC skiing three months later! 2008
- Made friends from all around the world that I’m still connected with and enlighten me on their own travels, lives, cultures, journeys, adventures and families. Dalia, Wayan, Semesa, Siggy, Pha. Ongoing
- Chosen true friends to be in my life and let the others go. 2016 and 2017.
- Built a Facebook network of 6,500 members who are passionate about repurposing and upcycling. Ongoing
- Created a Facebook page for locals in my community to Buy, Swap, Sell with over 4,500 members. Ongoing
- Watched my daughter graduate secondary school with her amazing friends and receive a Lifeworks Achievement Award. 2016
- Dinner with a Fijian family (he was my taxi driver), sharing stories of life in Fiji and Australia, playing with their children and drinking kava (which is like drinking mud).
- Taught myself to weld, do basic plumbing, can swing a hammer and fix, mend, repair and restore most basic household problems – except anything electrical.
- Raised over $10,000 for charity. Ongoing
Now it’s your turn. What are your Top 3 lifetime achievements? Leave a comment below.
This is the cutest little Op Shop in East Geelong and if you’re heading to Ocean Grove, you’ll miss it on the way down but you’ll see it on the way back.
Located in a side street, the store is nicely arranged with stock that is clean and useable. The staff are just delightful and very helpful. (more…)
I’ve been camping here for over 30 years and not much has changed. Parks Vic (or whatever their name is these days) do a great job of servicing the park by doing tree checks, grading the roads, vegetation management, tree hazard checks, managing the toilets and facilities. The rest is up to you. If you want to camp somewhere that has everything done for you, this is not the place. Rangers have more important things to do than change the toilet paper rolls so be prepared for a beautiful simple camping experience. (more…)
Another nice Op Shop with everything laid out well in colours without being overstocked and tight to move around the store.
This one in Camberwell has a lovely warm vibe about it. The staff are delightful and very helpful and are continually changing the displays to keep people interested who visit often.
Is it sacrilege to use an old Kombi is the front desk in a shop? At first it made me cringe but then I realised after talking with the owner Chris that this probably would’ve rusted in a paddock so they did their best to restore is knowing it would never be roadworthy.
Located on Canterbury Road opposite the amazing Maling Road, this is a new hot spot for vintage, retro and funky items. It is a must visit.
Hidden away near the corner of Boronia Road and Dorset Road, this little Op Shop is jam-packed with goodies and treats and like a good Op Shop – you’ll have to troll through and find it.
Profits go to COM which is a non-profit organisation that is ‘seeing lives transformed’ in the nation of India.
The best way to enter is from the rear entrance in the Mall although you can enter via the Dorset Road entrance.
Now I try not to review these larger chain Op Shops because they are often trashy and over priced but a dear Op Shopping friend said this was a must visit and I wasn’t disappointed.
This store has been styled by the Salvos team and they’ve done a superb job of making it easy to walk through, know where things are and have an easy Op Shopping experience.