Hello again, after quite a long absence …
Today I started a new blog. You can find it at refusetherefuse.com
Right near out front door to the apartment block is an overgrown, but lovely, garden bed. And right on the path are some tulips. One white one looked very special yesterday – added colours!
Have you ever made plans to go for a long walk, somewhere spectacular, which involves getting in the car, and at the last minute think why waste time in the car when you can just start walking from your front door instead?
Leo and I had grand plans recently to go walking close to Spiez, on the Lake of Thun, doing a four-hour circular wanderweg. Spiez is probably only 45 minutes away in the car, but the whole thought of wasting 45 minutes of glorious sunshine sitting in a car put us off enough to search for a plan B. And luckily, where we live, there is always a plan B.
A good friend Marney, who I worked with in Darwin when we were young and silly, now lives in Sweden, so after a recent work trip to Zürich she stayed on to visit us for a weekend 22-24 April. Nothing has changed – we’re just older and still silly.
Okay, anyone who knows me will seriously think this was rigged, but I put my hand on my heart and swear I did not cheat.
An ‘in my top-five favourite albums of all time’ album was chosen on the blind scroll in my phone, and boy was I happy to “have to” listen to Black Holes and Revelations by Muse for this incarnation of Bathtub Beats, following the previous offerings being just so-la-la.
It’s been so long since I’ve written on a daily basis, but it would be nice to go out with a bang for the final few months of fitfor15in15. Not sure what I’ll do with the site next year. Maybe register a new domain name and bring all the content across? And make it something not date specific (beginner’s mistake and lesson learned!).
Have you ever tried The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron? I followed the book many years ago and enjoyed the process, but nothing amazing came of it apart from some naval gazing. Oh ok, maybe one or two rip-snorter lines were written, but all those pages were binned before moving to Switzerland.
Cameron’s idea is to write every day. Every morning. Whatever you feel like. I have fond memories of the large yellow writer’s notepad I used, and storing them all in folders arranged by months. It’s also designed to spark creativity in other areas of your life too. I seem to remember being well dressed during this time! 😉
It would be nice to get back into a daily writing rhythm, along with a return to a daily meditation and exercise rhythm (that shouldn’t be too hard, it’s only 15 minutes, right?!). The start of the year was great for this, but once the habit was broken …. well …
A while ago, I mentioned breaking the day down into 15 minute blocks, and this could be one way to get the flow happening again. If it’s only for 15 minutes it’s not daunting. If I could get up an hour earlier I’d be well on the way to achieving four things before the day had even started! Must work on that. Note to self … start tomorrow morning.
Where I write is a lovely area and sitting at my desk in winter is especially enjoyable – I can put my feet on the radiator under the desk. Luxury! And there’s a window which faces the forest. Must do something with the corkboard hanging above the desk, though. The weight of all the additions caused a collapse, and it now looks less than inspiring.
I might just do that now … but before I go, here are some snaps of where I work …
So, the wheels are in motion to write every day again. I might have done about 15 minutes worth of writing tonight, but gosh it’s disjointed. The only way is up!
Wishing you a wonderful day.
This is the fourth guest post in a new fitfor15in15 series designed to show the pleasant impact that feeling fit, in all its forms, can have on your life. Kate Lehmann has never shied away from a challenge and she’s grabbed her newest passion with both hands, literally. Take it away Kate!
Embracing Phase Three by Kate Lehmann (radiographer in Brisbane, Australia, and lover of outdoor adventure)
In 2003, I went from being a regular traveller who followed the usual path – finish uni, work for a bit, save enough cash to travel the world, ticking off “must see” places like the Eifel Tower, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Uncle Ho, Lenin and Mao, and an overland truck adventure in Africa – before embarking on what I can only describe as Phase Two of my life.
Good friends invited me to join them hiking the Overland Track in Tasmania for eight days. Unperturbed by this obvious challenge, I immediately said yes. One of these friends came up with the idea of testing out this “carrying a pack” thing. So we set out one rainy Saturday to walk and camp in the Royal National Park south of Sydney. We didn’t die, but we overcame a lot of challenges – spiders, soggy sandwiches, forgotten dinners, blisters and a lack of water to name a few. We learnt a little bit more about overnight hiking and, more importantly, how a heavy pack can be carried.
The Overland Track is one of the great walks in Australia, and the world, and I couldn’t wait to get there. I spent more time preparing the food for this trip too and thankfully didn’t go hungry again. We set off the week after a record snow dump, so day one was a detour and involved climbing over Hanson’s Peak using chains and carrying a pack that can only be described as looking like a Christmas tree, I had so many things hanging off it. Borrowed gear, a “traveller” pack (the zippered kind), a big puffy fleece and eight days of food just would not fit in.
That first day wasn’t even the hard one. Stumbling over and through thigh-deep snow for eight hours on day two made me realise that I was the only one who could get me to the hut. There were no cars, no respite-giving kiosks or helicopters – only my determination would get me there. So, suck up the pain and the exhaustion and keep moving, or lie down and die.
Later, much later, I realised how lucky I was to have that experience. Hiking is not a race. It’s set a pace, have the equipment for an emergency, and focus on getting from A to B. Take your time, smell the roses, enjoy the scenery and if in Tassie, keep your eyes out for tiger snakes, leeches and attack wombats. Despite these challenges, a passion for this overnight hiking gig was born.
I got back to Brisbane and booked and walked the Kokoda Track six months later in 2004. By then I was well and truly hooked. After that, I enjoyed multiple trips to Tassie, checking out such wonderful wilderness areas as Frenchmans Cap, Walls of Jerusalem, Western Arthurs, Mt Anne and Maria Island. How good was this walking gig? A lot of preparation in the weeks before goes into your happiness on the trail, but once all the organising is done, just eat what you brought (pack as much chocolate as possible) and relax and unwind from the pressures and stresses of life.
I consider myself lucky to have such great friends who suggested that first hike and we’ve shared the love of adventure and the great outdoors on many others. People say we’re lucky to have seen so many great places. Not lucky, just making our own luck and grasping a hold of opportunities when they arise. Opportunity sometimes only knocks once, so don’t miss out. Great experiences don’t come without a willingness to get out there and just do it. Have enough determination and it can be done. You meet all sorts of people out there under the stars – old, young, the fit and the slow plodder. You have the time to chat and play cards and write in a diary. Reading it back is like doing the trip all over again … without the dirt slowly accumulating under your fingernails.
After learning the ropes from good friends and mentors, I convinced my sister that she, too, could carry one of these heavy pack things and we’ve had many an excellent holiday together. I’m not allowed to take her to Tasmania to hike – too many leeches – so we’ve stuck to the more coastal areas of mainland Australia.
Our first hike was the Great Ocean Walk. We “double-hutted” the first day to break her into this hiking business quickly. She also learnt heaps, like eating tuna on pita bread for lunch will repeat on you all afternoon (tuna never came on another hike). I also learnt that you should buy a good map and not rely on the free promo one that came in the National Geographic magazine that was, for the most part, WRONG! Thinking you’re nearly there and four hours later still walking is not good for the spirit.
Trips to New Zealand (no leeches there) to walk the Routeburn, Milford, Kepler and Humpridge Tracks followed, then a week in the Snowy Mountains in April (it’s a hiking playground up there) and Wilsons Prom – where we nearly packed it in a day early after seeing a massive big brown snake … and a leech!!! Not sure which was worse. After convincing my sister to stay, she then ate all the M&Ms out of my trail mix … slowly … and in front of me.
Our favorite track is Bibbulmun Track in Western Australia. It’s 1000km and we’ve done half of it, going over twice for two hikes of over 10 days. Occasionally you walk through a town, so you really get the time to relax and unwind from work. Combine the stunning scenery with meeting such interesting people along the way and you have a most excellent holiday. Also, for anyone who has a sister you will know they can be very honest – you laugh, you cry and you tell each other off, get on with it and then laugh again.
I no longer have a pack that looks like a Christmas tree. I’ve slowly upgraded my gear and fortunately it no longer weighs a tonne. If you’re not hiking, then looking for and buying hiking gear is almost as much fun. I thought for the rest of my days, as long as I was fit enough, hiking holidays were for me.
That was until 2012 when those same old friends suggested we try something different … “Do you want to cycle from Lhasa to Kathmandu this year?” Of course I said yes. The fact I owned a knockabout bike that only went on the odd bike track didn’t worry me at all. And here began Phase Three …
The tour we booked had a questionnaire where you outlined how much exercise/training you did each week. Um, tap dancing one night a week and doing the odd hike up Mt Coot-tha, in Brisbane, on the weekend didn’t seem to cut it with their “suggested training schedule”.
I also needed a proper bike and had no idea what they were talking about in the shops. “29er, 26er, hard tail, dually.” What were all these words?? I just wanted a bike that would allow me to ride up mountain passes over 5000 metres and tackle some dreadful road conditions in Nepal. I ended up with a 29er Hard Tail and immediately fell in love with it … until I couldn’t clip out and nearly went splat on the bitumen on my first ride. I clearly had a lot to learn.
The trip was great, but since I’ve been back it’s been even greater. Meeting a handsome fella on the tracks of Brisbane’s Gap Creek has also been great. Now my weekends are full of rides and single-track adventures. I’ve also done a lot of fun cross-country racing on the mountain bike. The competitions have different grades, so even if you are new like me you still have fun and occasionally get up on the podium.
Combine all that hiking gear I have in the cupboard with the bike and you have “hikling” adventures. Pop a pannier on the back of your bike and you can go further and still camp under the stars. I still go hiking – it’s a different pace altogether – but, for me, being on the bike is loads more fun. There are so many more places you can visit with a bike. Now, if only work didn’t get in the way so much! How do you win lotto?
Update: Kate enjoyed her first blogging experience so much she now has her own site, showcasing her hiking and cycling adventures around the world. Read more at www.theoutdoordiaries.com. Great work, Kate!
Well, today’s grand plans went out the (train) window! Yesterday, I wrote about doing that morning yoga routine again, but forgot a very important point … I was catching an early train to Lausanne to see Cooper dance in the Prix de Lausanne!
So there was no time for exercise this morning. Leo dropped me at the train station around 7.30am for my first excursion to Lausanne, in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, on the Lake of Geneva. The train trip from Bern takes one hour and six minutes. It’s hard to believe I haven’t been here before!
The irony of Nicole (who’s been there for a week) being my tour guide wasn’t lost on either of us.
The city itself is lovely, but it was so cold we didn’t spend a huge amount of time being sightseers. We went to Musee cantonal des Beaux-Arts as well, and I really enjoyed many paintings from Felix Vallotton. Our favourite was this mooing cow by Eugene Burnand. The (painted) light on the animal was so clear and amazing.
We then made a mad dash to the auditorium and watched the selections for tomorrow’s finals – only 20 dancers will make it through. Some amazing young talent in that line up, and hopefully Cooper will be chosen. If not, he danced beautifully and will hopefully be snapped up by a dance school or academy.
So my 15 minutes of exercise was done too late tonight, in the office, doing squats and lunges and general movements, using my beloved chickpea tins. My aunt Julie said they should contain hummus by now!
Wishing you a wonderful day.
Yesterday’s strange, pressured feeling all makes sense. The snow express has delivered again – from green to white, overnight! And at 9.41am, it’s still snowing quite heavily.
Wishing you a wonderful day.