Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Hiking to Castle Rock on Percy Island

This post follows on from my previous post "Spontaneous Sailing Trip from Airlie to Brisbane"

We went on a hike to Castle Rock, one of the highest points on Percy Island, Queensland. Thankfully a dreadlocked bloke named Lindsey drove us as far up the mountain as the track would allow. There was nine of us, curled up holding our knees, sitting in the tray of his clapped out ute. The ninth adventurer was a great dane that couldn't contain his excitement or slobber. Although my knee was covered in drool by the time we arrived, I was thankful for the lift or else we would've been walking all day.

We hiked up a steady incline with native trees in all directions for about 40 minutes before reaching Castle Rock. To stand on the top, you had to climb up between two rock faces with a rope for support. I contemplated whether to do it because I thought I'd struggle getting down. I watched everyone else shoot to the top, which motivated to leave my fears behind with our belongings. When I stood on the rock and looked out at the ocean view, I kept wanting to study the colours of the rocks instead.The descent wasn't as difficult as I imagined. When I got down I wished I hadn't worried about it and just enjoyed the moment.

On the way back we detoured to check out a cave in the side of a mountain. As the others climbed up inside to reach the roof, I stood on the edge watching little stones tumble past my feet.

Before we headed back to the boat, we stopped in at some of the local's houses, if you can call them that. They were more like shelters -or shacks at best-built to protect against harsh weather. One man's was filled with Nic Naks, empty bottles and hunting gear. The other's seemed tidy, but we were more interested in his outdoor space. He had a pet kangaroo and some goats that hung out by his front door. In addition, an abundance of butterflies flitted around which seemed out of place. We patted the head of the kangaroo and took photos like tourists at Melbourne Zoo. Then we piled back into the ute and headed for shore, in hope of arriving before sundown. 

Monday, 16 October 2017


Let me pretend I'm better than you,
Even if just for a minute.
I've had a shit day, got nothing to say.
Just take my shit for a minute.

Let me pretend my dreams will come true,
Even if just for the morning.
I watched you sleep, didn't catch a peep,
And now another day's dawning.

Let me pretend things will get better,
During moments that I need you.
Then get out of my way, I'm sick of your face.
Surely you're sick of me too?

Let me think there's something to discover,
Even if it's simply not true.
Im bored and tired, our love has expired.
Distract me with something shiny or new.

I don't want to be here. Don't want to die either.
Just waiting for days to get better.
There's no use crying, we're all dying,
For days filled with nothing together.

Update since published: I'm getting lots of msgs saying this post is out of character, which I realise is true, but I'm just expressing how I felt for one day. I think life is a roller coaster of emotions and it should be okay to share negative views as well as positive. I find it a bit concerning some people have made me feel like I shouldn't have shared it- like I must only spread positive vibes. I urge everyone to thing about song lyrics and how emotional some of them are. Poems are also intended to represent strong feelings. I am fine, thanks for all those asking. I hope some people can enjoy (feel) the poem for what it is. 🙂

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Spontaneous sailing trip from Airlie Beach to Brisbane

Last Tuesday we stopped off at Percy Island for a full day of adventure, only 24 hours after departing Airlie Beach, Queensland.

The island has a long history of welcoming yachties ashore. They even introduced goats to the island to feed those who became shipwrecked or were low on food. Today, it's believed 500-800 goats roam the island; the population is controlled by one of the 6 permanent residents, as he eats goat stew roughly three times a week. He says he doesn't shoot the black or white ones, as they are thought to be the first species introduced to the island.

The couple who currently hold the 20-year land lease are in their 60s. They have it until 2018. A childless nature loving couple in their 30s reside in a treehouse built just off the main bay. Along side their house is an A frame construction full of visitors' memorabilia. Splayed around the space, including the ceiling, there's everything from a signed wooden leg to a 3k camera which had gone over board.

The saddest piece I learned about was a dishevelled looking desk chair, labelled "Fred's Chair." I was told when Fred visited the island for the first time, he took a photo of the A frame to apply as the desktop background of his work computer. Whenever colleagues asked him to explain the photo, he told them it was the best place on earth and he couldn't wait to get back there. Unfortunately Fred passed away before making it back, perhaps from spending too much time at the desk. His colleagues transported his chair to the A frame in his honour, which is now sat on by visitors who cook and eat dinner from the nearly BBQ.We ate burgers and drank rum late into the night before hoping into the tender to get back to Eve, our 65 ft yacht. We woke earlier the next morning to create our own memorabilia, the empty bottle of rum with a pirate-style note rolled up inside.

In between waiting for it to be finished, the skippers used the tender to create a wake to surf behind. The boys made it look too easy to stand up, but the girls could only kneel.

During the heat of the day we went exploring inland, which I'll tell you about in my next post!

Thursday, 7 September 2017

I have a confession to make. I’m a closet failure.

Around October last year I applied to participate in a leadership program offered by my university. It involved an all-expenses paid trip to London to meet university alumni who are now leaders in their field.

I made it through the first round of judging, based on my submission of a quirky 30-second clip. The second stage involved a face-to-face meeting with three university representatives. I had them laughing and nodding in unison each time I spoke. I walked out of the interview and called Mum exclaiming, “nailed it!”

The video I submitted

Weeks later, I got a call from a lady advising I was unsuccessful. I was attending a high-energy workshop at the time. I worried about re-entering the room in case someone noticed my shift in mood. Before I even got off the phone, I was wishing I’d let it go to voicemail. Like a moment out of Sliding Doors, I made a split decision to ask her why I wasn’t selected before she could say goodbye. My voice sounded so weak. I hoped to regain it while she answered, but knew I’d probably end up feeling more hurt. The lady was direct with her response, explaining the panel was concerned by my lack of clarity regarding what I wanted to get out of the experience. I thought my answers demonstrated open-mindedness, but instead they were perceived as uncertainty. I wished I could have my time again. That day I came up with 100 alternative answers I could have given.

I had a Gwyneth Paltrow moment, but without the whispy do.

Last month I submitted an application to participate in a 6-week youth leadership program hosted on a Japanese ship, with 150 others attending from across the globe. I spent hours writing my application. I think I read it around 10 times before emailing it off. A few weeks later, I was told I had made it to the phone interview round. Up until then, I’d hardly thought about my failed attempt the previous year. The lady’s feedback replayed in my mind and riled my nerves. Hours before the interview, I hand-wrote my goals and 5-year plan, then propped the paper against my computer screen. There was no way I was going to have them doubt me this time.
Not the actual ship, but you get the picture ;)

Once more, the interview was comprised of three panel members. It lasted no more than 10-minutes. Two of the members were Japanese, so I wasn’t sure how my larrikin remarks would be received. I could hear them smiling through the phone as they politely said “yes” after I finished each sentence. I hung up the phone and thought to myself, “did I nail it?” I felt good about how things went, but didn’t trust my judgement. I didn’t call anyone to report how it went.

Today (one day later) I received a phone call from a lady advising I was one of 11 selected to board the ship in January 2018. I giggled into the phone like a school girl, which may have had the lady question whether they made the right choice. She said they were impressed with how I conducted myself during the interview, and believed I’d positively represent Australia.  

So, there you have it. Now you know I am a closet failure. I often wonder how only sharing our wins in life impacts on young people. It’s pretty messed up to portray life as a succession of achievements. Hell, I’ve spent countless hours writing emails gone unanswered. I’ve shared my ideas and given handouts in good faith they might be appreciated, but haven’t gotten so much as a thank you. People wonder how I get the opportunities I do, often remarking how “lucky” I am; that’s because they don’t hear about the things that didn’t work out, or the times I was “down on my luck.”

Next time you’re presented with a Sliding Doors moment like mine, ask for feedback, because you won’t know what it’s worth until you’re back fighting on your feet.