the moment that you feel that…

“The moment that you feel, just possibly, you are walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind, and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself…That is the moment, you might be starting to get it right.”

~ Neil Gaiman, University of the Arts speech

→ travelling with young kids

I recently read an article by Mariam Navaid Ottimofiore (via Kitty) about the benefits of traveling with young kids:

“If I had a penny for the number of times, well-meaning friends and family have looked at me and asked “why do you travel so much with young kids? It’s not like they’ll remember any of it!”

The words between the lines are of course this idea that travel is wasted on their young minds. That all they will have, are photographs to look back upon when they are older. That they won’t remember hiking up temples in Cambodia, or riding on mules to explore the lost city of Petra. They won’t remember feeding giant tortoises in the Seychelles, or visiting the memorial church in Berlin. That the true benefits of travel can only be enjoyed as a young adult. That the money spent on traveling the world with them is somehow wasted.

To this I usually respond tongue-in-cheek “well, then why take them to a playground or push them on a swing? Why read them a book or cuddle with them at bedtime? They won’t remember any of that either.”

Travel is the same. Except wait, it’s even better. It’s about the experience. Of making memories together. And this is the part they will remember.”

Overseas travel with young kids is insanely hard but we’ve found it very worthwhile. We’ve taken our young children to Malaysia (Junior Pixels), Los Angeles/San Francisco (Junior Pixels), Sri Lanka/Singapore (Junior Pixels and Little Bear), Auckland (all three) and San Diego/Palm Springs/Los Angeles (all three), and we still have fond memories.

And it’s not only about the kids: it’s about us having fun too. Why wait until the kids are old(er) to have fun ourselves?

We’re taking our three boys to Malaysia (via Singapore) at Easter this year to experience another culture, and we’re all looking forward to it already.

good/bad meal/hotel?

“If you were in a city and had to choose between a good meal and a bad hotel, or a bad meal and a good hotel – which would you prefer?”

Just when I thought the questions couldn’t get any harder 🤔


(Photo by Kitty)

I like to approach problems by breaking them down into smaller pieces. So let’s start by examining and defining each element of the question. 

My definition of a good meal is a healthy, fresh and tasty meal served by friendly staff in a calm yet aesthetically pleasing environment. This doesn’t mean a fancy meal or a fancy restaurant: those places annoy me. 

A bad hotel would be a dirty, loud and/or kitsch hotel with bad customer service. The worst case bad hotel is ridden with bed bugs. 

My definition of a bad meal is an unhealthy, untasty and stale meal served by rude staff. The worst case bad meal is one that is one that makes me sick. 

A good hotel would be a clean, quiet and and aesthetically pleasing space with helpful customer service.

So would I prefer a bad meal and a good hotel, or a good meal and a bad hotel? 

I’d say a good hotel and a bad meal. A meal lasts a lot shorter than a hotel stay, and if I didn’t enjoy a meal I could always visit a supermarket on the way back to the hotel for a fresh fruit snack. Worst case scenario I would be sick from my meal in my nice hotel room. Or I could order room service 😊

I’ve had bed bugs once in my life, from a dodgy backpackers in Dublin, and I would never wish those upon anybody. 

Next Q for K:

lake tahoe (jan 2017)

I spent the last three nights in Lake Tahoe for a quick work trip. Lake Tahoe is a large lake that is split between California to the West and Nevada to the East. The Northern Nevada side just East of the border has a number of old-school casinos since gambling is legal in Nevada.

Two days before I arrived the area had one of the biggest snow storms in recent history which meant it was a winter wonderland every where we went. The drive up and back from Reno (the nearest airport in Nevada) was very scenic to say the least 😍 (see time-lapse video below)

 

goals vs systems

This time of year when I hear a lot of people setting goals I am reminded of the awesome thoughts of Scott Adam’s on goals versus systems:

“…I talk about using systems instead of goals. For example, losing ten pounds is a goal (that most people can’t maintain), whereas learning to eat right is a system that substitutes knowledge for willpower.

Here’s another example. Going to the gym 3-4 times a week is a goal. And it can be a hard one to accomplish for people who don’t enjoy exercise. Exercising 3-4 times a week can feel like punishment – especially if you overdo it because you’re impatient to get results.  When you associate discomfort with exercise you inadvertently train yourself to stop doing it. Eventually you will find yourself “too busy” to keep up your 3-4 days of exercise. The real reason will be because it just hurts and you don’t want to do it anymore. And if you do manage to stay with your goal, you use up your limited supply of willpower.

Compare the goal of exercising 3-4 times a week with a system of being active every day at a level that feels good, while continuously learning about the best methods of exercise. Before long your body will be trained, like Pavlov’s dogs, to crave the psychological lift you get from being active every day. It will soon become easier to exercise than to skip it – no willpower required. And your natural inclination for challenge and variety will gently nudge you toward higher levels of daily activity while at the same time you are learning in your spare time how to exercise in the most effective way. That’s a system.”

I must admit I now crave ‘the psychological lift’ I get from being active every day. And my natural inclination for challenge and variety has been gently nudging me towards higher levels of daily activity and more challenging hikes.

Scott Adams is spot on.

→ why time management is ruining our lives

Personal productivity presents itself as an antidote to busyness when it might better be understood as yet another form of busyness. And as such, it serves the same psychological role that busyness has always served: to keep us sufficiently distracted that we don’t have to ask ourselves potentially terrifying questions about how we are spending our days.

~ Oliver Burkman

From a great article about why time management is ruining our lives

2016 in review

It’s a great time to plan ahead for the new year, but it’s also good to look back on the year to see how you did.

My 2016 in review

Countries visited: 2 (Canada & US)
International Trips: 4 (San Diego x 2, Whistler/Vancouver, Philadelphia/NYC)
Books Read: 48
Sum of pocket change coins saved in glass jar: $104
Long distance walks (>25km): 3
Mountains Climbed: 5
Firsts: 5 (first 35km walk, first beach labyrinth built, first Ojo de Dios made, first bungee jump, first time eating cactus)
Kid’s Quotes Collected: 20

Consise history entry for 2016:

Kept the same job for the entire year, travelled overseas three times for work and one trip with my family to Southern California. Reconciled with my brother and parents. Made my first Ojo de Dios. Celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary and 20 year relationship anniversary with Kitty. Entered the next age demographic (35-44). Did my first long distance walk (35km) and made my first beach labyrinth. Kept being healthy.

flinder’s peak take two

I took my mate Mike up to Flinder’s Peak this morning to kick-start 2017. Even though we began the ascent before 7am it was still really hot by the time we reached the top and we were lucky to make a quick descent before it got crazy hot. We both carried about 2.5 litres of water which was just enough for the temperature which reached about 36 degrees Celsius.

It was great to have some company (I usually hike alone) and I hope I have piqued his interest in climbing some more mountains (perhaps when it cools down a bit).

buy nothing new in january

I’m still recovering from the consumeristic binge that is known as Christmas, so I proposed to Kitty that we make a family pledge to ‘buy nothing new’ in 2017. 

Kitty, being the wise lady she is, suggested we trial it for January which is a great idea as it’ll maximise our chance of success and see whether this is something we can sustain longer term. 

So for January 2017 we’re planning not to buy any new items like toys, clothes, books, games etc. 

The last time I didn’t buy anything for a month was October in 2010 and it worked out well. 

If there’s something we need we will buy secondhand either through thrift/op shops (preferable) or eBay/Gumtree. 

We’ll still be buying essential groceries from the store, and there’s a couple of items that we don’t think we can do second hand like some school uniforms (that we can’t find in the second hand store at school), and underwear. 

Luckily Lifeline Bookfest happens in January which will cover all our book needs (with our regular library borrowing). 

We also have kerbside collection in January which means we’ll (hopefully) be able to get rid of a few household things so here’s hoping for a net ‘stuff’ loss over the month of January.

twenty years

Twenty years ago this evening my fifteen year old self went on my very first date with a lovely girl from my high school. Little did I know that night would change my life forever. Thanks for asking me out that night Kitty and thanks for a fantastic twenty years together. Here’s to the next twenty!

our kids’ quotes 2016

It’s that time of year which means I can finally publish the list of quotes we’ve collected from our boys throughout the year.

This year Junior Pixels was 6 turning 7, Little Bear was 4 turning 5, and Little Whale turned 3 during the year. My favourite quote this year is a tie between love in your heart and the itchy footprints one.

Little Bear: “can I do the mix machine for the cake?”
Mama: “sure”
Little Whale: “oh wait Orsie I need to put my ear mouse on cos it’s noisy”

Junior Pixels looking at fireworks
“explosions for celebrations? I’ll never understand”

Junior Pixels getting dressed himself
“now I know how hard it is to be you Papa”

Little Bear: “Mama makes the freshest pancakes”
Papa: “did you know some mamas don’t make pancakes at all?”
Little Bear: “yes, they get them out of tins”

Junior Pixels at the art museum looking at old paintings
Junior Pixels: “Mama Mama I studied this at Kindy! It was very famous! This is actually it!”

Papa to Little Whale: are you Winston Scott?
Little Whale: “no, I’m just Winton today”

Little Whale: “I not cold Mama. (Standing in dressing gown and slippers). I not cold. Look my teeth not even wobbling (chattering).”

Mama (to Junior Pixels): “if you walk across the log you can put your arms out like an aero plane to balance ”
Little Whale: “Mama aero planes no have arms!”

Little Whale singing to teddy’s toes before falling asleep:
“This little piggy stayed home…
This little piggy went to the shoppings and got the things…
This little piggy went to school to pick up boys…”

Stereo stops working in car.
Little Bear: “why has the music stopped Mama? (Thinking) I know maybe it’s the blue teeth not working.”

Junior Pixels: “Mama why is it in your heart that you feel love?”

A short story by Little Whale Scott
 “There was a long neck dinosaur who couldn’t reach the trees so it ate up the whole school. And when it did poo it had changed it into playgroup.
Then it changed back to school.
Then he drove in his monster truck to a different playgroup.”

(Talking about growing up and families)
Little Bear: “Winnie do you want to come and live with me when we’re older? ”
Little Whale: “yeah. I cuddle Orsie babies and my babies”
Little Bear: “you don’t lay babies. we’ll have to have a girl there to lay the babies and go to hospital to have them. ”
Little Whale: “the babies not be snotty.”
Mama: “I’m sure they won’t get sick if you take care of them and keep them warm”
Little Bear: “I saw in the babies movie you just wrap them tight and tie the blanket up with ribbon”
Mama: “ah I think that was just the family who lived in Mongolia and needed to get their baby home and warm on the back of a motorbike…”

Little Whale: “read this to me! (pointing to article not suitable for kids in the big issue magazine)”
Papa: “no, it’s for grown-ups only ”
Little Whale: “I grown up, I wear undies now”

Little Whale: “(driving along in back seat of car) Mama I’m a cloud”
Mama: “really?! Wow! What do clouds do?”
Little Whale: “they do this (puffs cheeks out and blows) like that”

Little Bear: “mama no I don’t want sun scream on! It hurts my eyes!”

Little Whale: “I’ve got itchy footprints”

Junior Pixels: “Orsie: the red poppies are for remembering people and purple is for animals in the war”
Little Bear: “Winnie: the purple flower is for remembering all the turtles that dies in the war”

Little Bear: “Mama: why did I have so many cries today?”

Little Whale looking at his shadow and waving his hands to make it move.
Little Whale: “Mama why does my shadow have no teeth? ”

See also: our kids’ quotes from 2015 and 2014

what’s your best time of day? and why? 

What’s your best time of day? And why? 

This is probably the easiest question to answer so far. As much as I love being a father of three young, overly energetic, and enthusiastic boys, as Michael McIntye says: “you never love your children more than when they’re unconscious but still breathing”, so that moment when they’re all asleep at night, usually about 8pm (after a 7:30pm bedtime) is by far the best time of day; pure bliss. 

I love using that child free time at night to read, watch films or clips not suitable for the boys, spend quality time with Kitty, and to reflect on how amazing it is to be a father of three amazing boys 😍

Next question for K:

“What are the best features of middle age?”

søren kierkegaard quote

“Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Everyday, I walk myself into a state of well-being & walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. But by sitting still, & the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill. Thus if one just keeps on walking, everything will be all right.”

~  Søren Kierkegaard

if you only had $10 in your pocket, how would you spend it? 

“If you only had $10 in your pocket, how would you spend it?”

This is an interesting question. I’m not a big advocate of spending money for spending money’s sake, so unless I wanted to buy something I wouldn’t necessarily spend the money in my pocket: I’d leave it there. 

But if I look at the things I’ve really enjoyed buying over the last few weeks that add up to $10 then it’s easy to answer this question:

  1. I found a pair of County Road shorts in excellent condition, but missing a button, at my favourite op shop (Yesterday’s Thrift @ West End) for $1 (and Kitty repaired them for free)
  2. I bought a huge bucket of over 100 passionfruit from a roadside stall on the way to climb Mount Warning for $5
  3. We discovered a roadside stall selling Little Gem bananas on the way to Byron Bay via Madura Tea Estate for $2 a bag – I’d never had Little Gems before and they were delicious
  4. We watched a 99c iTunes rental of The Night Before, a Seth Rogen Christmas Comedy last night after the kids were asleep – great movie 🎥 

Even after all these purchases I’d still have $1 left in my pocket and I’d do with that what I’ve been doing this year and add it to an old glass jam jar I have on my shelf. So far this year I’ve collected $104 in coins from pocket change alone in that jar. 

It’s pretty amazing what you can do with $10 if you put your mind to it. 

New question for K:

“What’s the first thing you’d do if you won the lottery?”

→ a toast: to sobriety

I enjoyed this article by Bernard Salt on modern Australian teetotalism:

“The benefits of not drinking alcohol over a sustained period are many. I am sure I have saved thousands of dollars by only drinking water (or soda water if it is a special occasion) and that my health is better. I also think it’s a good idea for people who attend a lot of events for work purposes to remain clear-headed
But there is a problem. I don’t like the term teetotaller. It is a hangover (no pun intended) of the tut-tutting temperance movement of the 19th century. And I don’t see myself as a tut-tutter. I see myself as a modern, liberal-thinking progressive sort of person who prefers to drink water. What the teetotaller tribe needs is a market makeover based around a groovy new phrase that emphasises the wellness benefits of drinking water.

I am not a teetotaller, then. I’m a non-toxin drinker. I am a waterist. In fact, I am a bit of a water courter: I seek it out.”

I’d happily call myself a waterist; water is life.