2011 BDR – The Prelude

I am once again doing my bit to raise the awareness of mental health issues by embarking on a 7,000km motorcycle ride to the red centre of Australia. I participated in this ride last year with my Riding4aCause buddies and loved it because I met new people, got to ride my bike and found out first hand more about the illness known by many as ‘The Black Dog’.

I am a strong believer that we need to talk more about the things that truly matter in our lives. Men, in particular, seem to miss opportunities to share their thoughts and feelings on topics that are important – families, relationships, money, and how they’re coping with the many changes going on in society today.

In every conversation I have, I urge people to share their stories, to discuss what’s important in their lives with the ones that matter to them most and to let go of any fears they may have of opening up about their thoughts, feelings and emotions. There’s enough to worry about in this world and keeping things inside is not the way to live and stay healthy. It’s the self-same philosophy behind MyProactiveLife that’s truly changed my life over the past few years. I hope that in everything I do I continue to have a positive effect on people, no matter where they’re at in the journey of life.


What I expect from this year’s ride:

To do this, however I need your help!

  1. I want to raise OVER $2000 (and SMASH the amount that we (as Riding4aCause) raised in 2010) Donate here!
  2. I want this message to go out to as many people as I can, so I’d like you to pass along my blog info to your friends, family and loved ones.
  3. Subscribe to my blog post feed over on the right —->
  4. Become a fan on Facebook with the Like button on the right or through this link: http://www.facebook.com/MyProactiveLife

I will again be blogging parts of the journey, along with videos and pictures just like we did for the Black Dog Ride in 2010.

No smiling allowed!

No smiling! (from Validation)

I recently applied to have my drivers licence renewed at the RTA (Roads & Traffic Authority), and as part of the process, another photograph needed to be taken. I’ve gladly submitted a smiley, happy face in the past and thought this would be no exception, until I heard the words: “No Smiling, please”

I wasn’t sure I heard the lady properly, so continued to smile, until I heard her say: “No smiling, please. As part of our new facial recognition system you cannot smile”

What?!? I cannot smile? I’ve made it a feature of almost any picture taken of me that I absolutely DO smile! I was immediately transported to the the scene in “Validation” (see below) where Hugh Newman was asked not to smile and shown the poster that stated: “Absolutely NO smiling, smirking, humor or general gaiety permitted. I honestly felt like I’d been transported right into the movie in the place of Hugh Newman! 🙂

My new pic

I stuck with my charming smile with the lady at the RTA, but she was having none of it! Once my photo had been taken, I spoke with her and she said that the facial recognition software worked best with a neutral face, not a smiling face. I am not sure I had my ‘best’ neutral face on for the picture but am happy with the result, in light of things – see for yourself with the picture at left. *cheeky grin*

I checked out the information on the RTA website, and sure enough, here’s what is says:

I LOVE the short film Validation and urge you to spend the 14 mins to watch it through. I found it extremely inspiring and try my best to make other people feel better each and every day.

I’m going for a walk…

On Friday 10th June 2011, I am going for a walk; but not just any walk.


I decided that when I had the time I would go for a walk to see how far I can go within a certain time. Rather than plan, plot, scheme, re-plan, deliberate, discuss and re-re-plan, I’ve decided to just go for a 10 hr walk this Friday and see how far I can go (roughly the amount of daylight available in Sydney at the moment). It’s been dubbed the Freaky Friday Footslog.

This walk is going to be the first fundraising activity I undertake to support my participation in the Black Dog Ride 2011. All donations will go to the Black Dog Institute to fund their ongoing research into mood disorders such as depression and bipolar.

There won’t be much in the way of structure to this walk but I do have some guidelines:

  • I aim to meander through suburbs and stop for rest breaks as & when needed
  • I will carry food & water with me, but may stop for a hot chocolate somewhere along the way
  • I should be able to keep a sustained walking pace of 5km/h, for a distance of 40-50km (factoring in breaks, traffic lights, major road crossings, etc.)
  • And in the theme of throwing planning out the window, at the moment I have no idea how I will get home.

Let me know if you’d like to join me or recommend any suburbs to try and wander through (and don’t forget to donate if you can! :-))

ADDENDUM: 5:30pm Friday 10th June:
I’m back from the walk! Here are the stats on what I achieved today. Unfortunately you can’t see the entire route as the app crashed after approx 28km, but The big numbers first:

  1. 28km in 4:37:55 avg pace 9:56 min/km (the big part)
  2. 1.3km in 12:47 avg pace 9:49 min/km (this was ‘rushing’ to get some lunch 😉 )
  3. 9.98km in 1:39:03 avg pace 9:55min/km (the return journey to 3pm)

Total: 39.28km in 6:29:45 avg pace 9:54min/km.

  • My legs are sore, and so are my feet, but I feel good for doing it.
  • I did not reach the 40km mark but believe I can do better next time with a different pair of shoes and better weather at the end.
“Oh, my ways are strange ways and new ways and old ways, And deep ways and steep ways and high ways and low, I’m at home and at ease on a track that I know not, And restless and lost on a road that I know” – Henry Lawson

Going back to school

As a result of having some time on my hands, for the foreseeable future I have a new meeting to attend on Monday mornings – helping out for an hour in Mr6’s Year 1 class. I help the students with an activity known as ‘Recount’ – where the kids write an account of what they did on the weekend.

Last week was my first foray into the class and I enjoyed my trip, but suspect the students enjoyed it even more! They were genuinely excited to have someone else in the class to help them with their work. One of the girls did seem to act up a little more than usual and had to be given 2 warnings!

The biggest thing I noticed was the spread of capabilities inside one classroom – there are kids who have trouble with their spelling and sentence structure and others who are quite good at putting their weekend into words. I wonder whether this is an isolated case or whether this can be found in every class in every school in every state across our country. I hope that my presence in the class is both welcoming and helpful to the students, many of whom I already know by name!

I feel honoured to be able to provide a small contribution to the development of our future generation, and recommend it to any parent out there. 🙂