Sydney: My Beautiful City

At 5pm tonight in North Sydney, a storm was brewing. Thunder was roaring, lightening was flashing across the sky – people were madly running for shelter, umbrellas blowing inside out in the chaos.

I wasn’t sure this was a good night to be going for a walk.

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Rainy Adventures

I’ve been out with my backpack, trekking around in the rain.

And I mean serious, Sydney rain. I got really wet. It was awesome. The sweat was mixing with the rain and running down my face into my mouth. My hair was well wet. And the exercises on the cut grass, in between hills, got me nice and filthy.

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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!

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.