london: november 2018

I spent a few days in London for work this week. It’s my last work trip of the year ☺️

Whilst most of my days were busy with work, I was super jet lagged which meant I woke up at 4am every day and whilst it was dark, it seemed safe enough to explore around the area of my hotel (Shoreditch) before breakfast. There was plenty of street art and old buildings. The streets were so dirty – garbage and suspicious fluids everywhere you step 😳

All in all a nice few days – but I won’t be rushing back.

 

new yorker desk calendar

I have a New Yorker desk calendar this year and it’s the best $10 I’ve ever spent – I get a new cartoon every day, plus a way to visualise how long I’ve got left in the year – the calendar disappears by the year’s end.

This is my favourite cartoon so far:

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new wallet

I’ve got a new type of wallet for the first time in my life. I’ve decided to ditch the bulky one with a zipper and coin purse I’ve had forever and change it to a simple card sleeve. I’ve moved every card I can into either Apple Pay or Stocard and I’ve just kept the essentials (driver’s license, Medicare card, health card and public transit card) that won’t work digitally. I have one physical credit card – although it’s backup for Apple Pay and I’m not sure I really need it. The centre holds couple of bank notes. I’m liking it already 😎

sculptures by the sea?

I visited the Sculpture by the Sea Festival last week in Sydney. It’s Australia’s largest outdoor sculpture festival with exhibits along the rather magnificent coastal walk from Bronte to Bondi Beach.

It was opening day and the festival is renown for being insanely busy – over 500,000 people visit it over a week or so. Lucky for me it was bucketing down which not only meant I had it almost to myself – it was just super lovely to be walking along and enjoying the rain falling over the sea.

The coastal track is glorious in itself which made me wonder whether the sculptures are even necessary – do we need to augment nature by adding human made objects to it? I’ve never seen sculptures hiking but I’ve still enjoyed various landscapes across Australia.

But then again the sculptures were fantastic and they did have an amazing backdrop which you couldn’t replicate in any gallery.

I had no expectations when I took the bus out there in the rain to check it out – and I was blown away by it – not by the photos I took, but walking in the beautiful rain and being mindful of the experience – without having to worry about crowds. That experience was priceless.

there’s a lot of joy to be found in normal, ordinary life

“Through this crazy experience, I discovered what is most important to me, and it’s not money or pretending to be something or someone I am not. Real, ordinary life with my family and friends was truly invaluable.

Sure, sometimes life can seem a bit mundane and boring after what I experienced, but that’s OK. Not everything in life needs to be totally exhilarating, and there’s a lot of joy to be found in normal, ordinary life.”

Dan Saunders who was jailed after spending $1.6 million from a secret ATM loophole #

JOMO

This week’s challenge to myself: turn any negative fear of missing out (FOMO) thoughts into positive ‘joy’ of missing out (JOMO) thoughts.

donnellys castle, pozieres

During our long weekend drive last weekend we had a picnic stop at Donnellys Castle
in Pozieres. This recreational area is North-West of Applethorpe and a short detour from the main highway.

The granite boulders in the park are particularly stunning – you can climb above them and in the caves under them.

Our kids had so much fun running around – even if they were a bit scared of yowies!

bright yellow september brisbane trees

Each September in Brisbane you’ll start to see bright yellow flowering trees – these are known as ‘trees of gold’ or tabebuia aurea.

As these trees are deciduous and lose their leaves over winter, they gain the blossoms before their new spring leaves so this makes them visually stunning, this year because we had a very dry winter they are even more stunning with abundant blossom.

As soon as these stop blooming along come my favourite flowering trees: purple jacarandas.

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sacrificing or suffering for work?

“The most likely to fall into such pattern are those of us who aspire to bring our whole self to work. That attitude is admirable and often necessary. We want to be all in. But then we find ourselves being always on.”

“In most businesses, we seldom value pace. If you run fast today, you’re asked to run faster tomorrow, and so on. We know that resting, at least once in a while, will make us healthier and more productive…but we choose to keep going, regardless.”

Are You Sacrificing for Your Work, or Just Suffering for It?

a big fall

Almost two years ago I was walking through a local forest with our three boys when Finley suddenly started screaming and crying out. I realised he had fallen face-first over the side of a large boulder and was at the bottom injured. I raced down and found he had fallen on his elbow which was dislocated. Three surgeries and almost two years later the only thing that remains is a feint scar and his arm is well and truly back to normal.

On Sunday we visited the same forest and Finley wanted to climb up on the same boulder again. Despite the five metre ledge – he had no fear or anxiety present. I was told the reason he fell off the boulder was he dropped a crystal he was carrying that day and he fell down towards it trying to get it. Standing on top of the boulder Finley spotted the missing crystal half way down that he lost almost two years ago. This time he let me fetch it and he was reunited with the crystal after all this time.

I am constantly amazed how resilient children can be.

amsterdam, august 2018

Spending last week working and hanging out in Amsterdam was fun; here’s some observations from an Amsterdam/Netherlands newbie:

  1. I knew there would be bikes but I just didn’t realize just how many there would be. It’s a shame motorbikes and small cars (Canta’s) also share the dedicated bikeways.
  2. The tourist party scene full of “coffee shops”, mini casinos and sex in the city is alive and well, it’s just not my scene at all – rather disgusting.
  3. Riding a bike 10 mins from our hotel just south of the city centre means you can discover a windmill, the Amstel river, beautiful green countryside and a small goat farm. Riding outside the city center is much easier as there is less “traffic” and it’s still flat like the rest of Amsterdam.
  4. I noticed there’s rubbish and litter everywhere – some people just throw and leave rubbish and expect some other people to clean it up. The party scene makes this even worse.
  5. Someone tried to swipe my wallet in broad daylight – besides this I felt safe most of the time.
  6. Most of the prices were similar to Australia but in Euro instead of AUD which mean it was about 40% more expensive than home.

traps

“There is no trap so deadly as the trap you set for yourself.”

Philip Marlowe

realising when a diversion is out of control

“A large part of efficient time management revolves around avoiding distractions. An ironic aspect of life is how easily we can be harmed by the things we desire. Fish are seduced by a fisherman’s lure, a mouse by cheese. But at least these objects of desire look like sustenance. This is rarely the case for us. The temptations that can disrupt our lives are often pure indulgences. None of us needs to gamble, or drink alcohol, read e-mail, or compulsively check social-networking feeds to survive. Realising when a diversion has gotten out of control is one of the great challenges of life.”

From the book The Organized Mind by Daniel J. Levitin

busy brains

“Our brains are busier than ever before. We’re assaulted with facts, pseudo facts, jibber-jabber, and rumour, all posing as information. Trying to figure out what you need to know and what you can ignore is exhausting. At the same time, we are all doing more. Thirty years ago, travel agents made our airline and rail reservations, salespeople helped us find what we were looking for in shops, and professional typists or secretaries helped busy people with their correspondence. Now we do most of those things ourselves. We are doing the jobs of 10 different people while still trying to keep up with our lives, our children and parents, our friends, our careers, our hobbies, and our favourite TV shows.”

Why the modern world is bad for your brain

My father was suprised when I told him I am responsible to planning, booking and arranging all my own work travel: domestically and internationally. “Isn’t there a team of  people who do that for you?” he asked. No there isn’t.

One of the best things about my weekend time is nature is forgetting about all that noise and just focusing on the present with my only concern being that I don’t fall straight off a cliff 🙀