I think I’m addicted to Deep Heat

As I am writing this, I am enjoying a warm comforting glow, spreading across my hips. It is truly sensational.

I have been searching for years for a non-food* reward. You know how it is – you go out, do all that good exercise stuff – and then you are starving! And you think – I deserve a little reward… and the best reward is, well food. Or more precisely chocolate.

I’ve found something better. Yes – even better than chocolate.

Deep HeatIt is so good. So good that I think I am addicted to the cosy warmness. The comforting, relaxing, gooey heat, spreading across my tired (and so deserving) muscles, oozing, creeping gently…

Ok. You get the picture. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. You’ll sleep like a baby.

And the best thing is – its not food (actually, it would be a really bad idea to eat it – don’t do that). So technically its guilt free.

At least until someone tells me why its bad for me in some way. Please don’t do that.

Let me wallow in the Deep Heat after glow just a little while longer.

*Blueberries don’t count. Promise.

It all started with new Hiking Boots

About three weeks ago, there was a sale on at an outdoor store in the city. I thought I would go and check it out, on the off chance that I could get some new hiking boots at a good price. My hopes weren’t high because, as we all know, the good stuff is never usually on sale – and certainly not in your size.

But – miracles do happen. I found some – truly awesome – hiking boots, in my size – at 50% off! I was so excited I was like a kid with new soccer boots. I wanted to wear them all the time. I stopped short of wearing them to bed.

Hiking Boots

And since then, I’ve been walking. Walking home from work. Walking with my pack. Walking. Walking. Walking. And enjoying every minute of it.

Not only have I been walking, I’m back up to full pack weight – 20 kgs. So I’m truly adventure ready.

Bring it on!

So beautiful, it made me cry

It is so easy to forget how much beauty there is in the world.

Sabadell, placa de Sant Roc : 6pm, 19th May 2012


The first time I saw this, it brought me to tears. I wondered – why? What is it about this, that is so incredibly moving, so powerful, that it cuts through – to touch you? Is it the music? Yes, the music is beautiful. But it is not just that. Is it the surprise? Yes, the spontaneity and surprise makes it feel somehow surreal, dreamlike. But it is more than this.

These musicians did not just create beautiful music. They tapped passers by on the shoulder and said ‘stop a moment – I have something to give you.’ And then they each gave a most beautiful part of themselves.

As you see one more person drawn in, one more person notice, one more person moved – you can see the amazement and wonder on their faces, that this beautiful gift – is being given to them. Then you feel the joy building. Among the musicians, among the people watching – within yourself.

The musician’s simple gift is multiplied – exploding in pure joy.

The power of kindness.

Be Amazed.

Just when you think the world has become plastic, packaged, when everything around you seems fake and tacky, something comes along that is so new, so fresh and so full of honest, raw beauty – you can’t help but fall, amazed, in awe.

Watch this.

Life is beautiful. Don’t forget it.

Katie Piper: Truly Inspirational

Inspirational is the only word to describe Katie Piper. I picked up her book, Things Get Better, at the airport on a whim, something I will be eternally grateful for. Her story is that amazing.

In 2008, Katie Piper was the victim of a vicious rape and acid attack, which resulted in Katie losing half her face and caused severe damage to her internal organs (from breathing in the acid). The thought of this is so shocking, so horrifying, many of us will look away from even the text on the page. But I urge you to read on.

We are left thinking: How could anyone want to live after that? How could you possibly go on?

The honest truth is, many people would not. Many of us despair at much less. It is Katie’s story of how she fought through her despair, her physical pain, her humiliation, that is truly awe inspiring.

Unlike so many so called ‘inspirational’ stories I have read, as impressive and inspiring as they are, Katie is completely honest and open about how truly despairing she was after the attack. Katie talks about how the first step in living, is wanting to live.

I think for anyone who has ever struggled with life, this is important to hear. The physical and emotional pain Katie went through was more than any of us would want to imagine. She was at absolute rock bottom in every possible physical and emotional way. And it was for a long time. There was a lot to endure, a lot of pain, a lot of fear, a lot of humiliation… for a long time. There was no easy way, no short cuts, and lots of set backs.

Katie’s story shows us that it is possible to get through even this, possible to survive. Step by step, small piece by small piece, the human spirit can overcome and achieve amazing things.

By no means is Katie’s life now easy, or even pain free. Katie admits to still struggling with many things in her life, both emotionally and physically. But Katie also tells us that she has true joy and happiness in her life, and that her life has meaning and purpose. What is truly inspiring is not that Katie has survived, but that she has gone on to truly flourish.

If ever you are thinking you cannot go on, if it is all too much to bear, read Katie’s book.

You can go on, you can endure. But more importantly, you can flourish.

Katie Piper, The Katie Piper Foundation http://www.katiepiperfoundation.org.uk

To find our more about Katie Piper, her story and her amazing work with her charity, check out the The Katie Piper Foundation‘s website. You can also follow Katie on Twitter @KPFoundation.

Adventure Ready

I’m ready for adventure – literally. I’ve just removed six leeches from my legs after completing a 15 kilometre (undulating…) walk with a 16kg pack – and I feel good.

Even though I have been training to ready myself for walking the Jatbula Trail, which means training up to carry a full pack weight, I wasn’t actually sure I would be feeling good right now. Today was the assessment walk for our little group, and I was nervous when I set out this morning. I had walked with 16kg during training – but not for six hours.

In true adventure style – it rained for a good chunk of our walk. My feet were soaked. Leeches were everywhere. But it was great. Maybe even awesome.

The bush smells beautiful in the rain. The birds were singing. The water balanced on the leaves, sparkling in the light.

My legs are tired, but good tired. My shoulders aren’t sore and I have no major blisters. And the leeches – well they were truly gross. But I walked my 15 kilometres with my full pack – and now I truly feel ready for adventure.

Can’t wait for Jatbula… and the rest…

My Shoulders Feel all Bouncy

I’d forgotten how great it feels. Its been a while.

You see, I am training to carry a full pack, as I am going to walk the Jatbula Trail at the end of June. Its a six day walk, and I need to train up to an 18kg pack – well at least 16kgs at a stretch. I am up to 14 – not too bad all things considered, but still a way to go with only 6 weeks before the trip. So I was pretty excited tonight, when after taking off my pack, instead of collapsing into a small heap – my shoulders felt all bouncy.

For anyone out there who has hiked with a full pack, you will know what I am talking about. This is when you know you’ve turned a corner, your body is getting stronger and you are getting used to carrying the weight. Once you get to this point, you are so used to walking with your pack that when you take it off, you feel as light as a feather. Your shoulders feel like they could almost float away – kind of bouncy. Despite having walked with a pack for an hour or two, you may even be tempted to go for a jog. Maybe.

It got me thinking. Sometimes the best things in life sneak up on us. We are toiling away, maybe feeling like we are just going through the motions, trying to stay focused on an end goal. In the day to day of it all, the end goal can start to look fuzzy, and teasingly out of reach.

Somehow without our noticing, all those little steps have been counting. Just when we least expect it, when we are distracted and slugging away at our day, we notice that something has shifted. We realise that we are actually getting there, making progress.

A similar thing happened with me and food lately. As I have been slowly ramping up my exercise, I have also been trying to eat healthily in preparation for my trip. I noticed that my clothes were feeling a bit loose the other day, so I decided to weigh myself. I was very excited to find that I was at the low side of my healthy weight (well actually 1 kilo under – but don’t tell my mum). So this means that not only do my shoulders feel bouncy, I can sit on my couch and eat a full tub of yogurt after dinner – guilt free.

To the victor goes the spoils.

As we all head into another week, its hard not to feel a bit ‘here we go again’. Its nice to be reminded that all the little steps do add up. When you least expect it, they will creep up on you and put a smile on your face.

You just have to keep walking.

The World is more fun from a Tuk-tuk

I’ve been home from Cambodia a week, and in my head I’m still riding around in a tuk-tuk.

Tuk-tuk is actually the Thai word for a car without walls (or so I’ve been told), but it seems to have been adopted in Cambodia. In Cambodia they are really a carriage of sorts, designed for passengers and attached to the back of a motor bike. Tuk-tuks are mainly used for taxis, and their users can unhitch the carriage when they just want to use their motor bike.

Each owner decorates their tuk-tuk differently – which is partly to help you identify your tuk-tuk driver in a crowd (they often wait for passengers for the return trip after dropping them off), but is also simply an expression of the owners’ taste. The tuk-tuk’s in Cambodia were impressively clean and well cared for, and the variety in decoration and colour was impressive.

The thing about Tuk-tuks is, they are great fun to travel around in. You really feel like you are riding, fresh air blowing against your skin, wizzing around amongst the traffic. Years ago I had a Suzuki Vitara softop with no roof, and minimal walls. Ah – those were the days. I miss it still.

You see, when you travel around without walls (or a roof, or neither), you actually feel like you are there. You are in the place you are travelling through, not locked up in a little bubble looking out at it. You can reach out and touch the world as you pass (especially in Cambodia, the world passes particularly closely), hear all the sounds and smell the life around you.

Not only that, it is a communal experience. Everyone is out travelling along together. Seeing someone you know pass in a tuk-tuk feels very different to seeing them pass in a sealed air conditioned car.

Part of me wishes that tuk-tuks would take off in Australia, so I could go wizzing about in them here. But I fear the Health and Safety nuts will never let that happen.

It seems I will just have to keep planning overseas adventures, and enjoy tuk-tuks in their natural habitat – swarming smiling Asian cities.