Black Dog Ride 2011 – Day 4

This was our shortest day distance-wise (230km to Port Augusta), and we seemed to be quite tardy in the morning. Dazza had wandered through the town already having arrived quite early the day before. James, Sharon, Kim & I went for a walk and took a few pics of the place whilst mega-huge coffees were ordered. Sharon visited a local shop and bought a coffee plunger to be able to have ‘real’ coffee on the ride!

The ride itself was wonderful! As we had a small group (aka ‘The Brady Bunch’), we were free to take whichever route we wished to Port Augusta. Our journey took us through Mt Bryan, Hallett, Jamestown, Stone Hut and onto Melrose for our lunch stop.  We stopped at the North Star Hotel, and had the most wonderful pizza – they were so good we wanted to take them away for dinner! We met with three Black Dog Riders from Adelaide who had stopped in for a drink and had a quick chat with.

A quick blast through the countryside to Wilmington for a fill and a chat with the owners of the local service station before making our way through the twisties close to Port Augusta. These twisties were so much fun for others that they dumped their gear at Port Augusta and rode back to do them again!

James decided to revisit the scene of the infamous gaffe from the 2010 Black Dog Ride by posing for pictures (see the slideshow below, or visit my Black Dog Ride Day 4 Picture album.

At Port Augusta we pitched the tents (away from the noisy buggers) and wandered out to Westies Football Club for the presentation and dinner. As one of the longest legs of the ride was upcoming, we did get to bed early in readiness for an 8am departure.

Black Dog Ride 2011 – Day 3

Balranald, NSW to Burra, SA

A big day’s ride today from the sleepy mining town of Balranald, in the Riverina District of NSW. Dinner the night before was at the local Golf Club put on by the Balranald Lions, but no locals were in attendance. As mentioned in my Day 3 check-in video, Michael Field spoke about his family’s battle with his brother who does not acknowledge/recognise his depressive symptoms. It’s stories like this that help us understand a little more about the people we know/ride with and how they’re linked to Depression and the Black Dog Ride.

Today’s ride took us through Euston, where one of the service station operators donated $100 to Michael Field for the Black Dog Ride – many of the riders have similar stories (including the $10 from 2 of the locals in Burra to help the cause). We arrived in Mildura for the next round of chaos – Being at the back with the L & P-plater, we did not know where the meet point was until a friendly local advised us where to go and we soon found the rest of the mob down by the river. I scooted off to find a few stragglers, and when I got back there I barely had a chance to say ‘Thanks’ to the Mildura Lions and grab a pic:

The mob started to move off and left Peter behind with a bike that would not start. James’ to the rescue! James, Sharon, Kim & I stayed to help him out, eventually failing to push-start the bike down the hill. Emptying half of the car to let more people in (it’s quite packed to the rafters), they eventually found a battery at the local bike shop. A short while later, we had the bike going again, packed the car and set off at 12:30pm – the rest of the pack had a lunch date in Renmark, 150km away!

The 5 of us had a great day’s ride from then on, winding our way through Renmark & Waikerie to Morgan. A quick pit-stop, some piccies and a lemon calippo later, we set off for the final stretch into Burra – into the sunset! I say that in all the riding I have done, this was the most spectacular, serene and spiritual ride I have been on. The setting sun, the blazing rainbow colours of the sunset and twilight made it a truly magical experience. Keeping an eye out for natives (I saw 1 kangaroo, 2 possums and a mouse), we cruised along at 80km/h, well below the speed limit but allowing us to see more and be ‘more’ prepared (well, as prepared as you can be for native wildlife crossing your path).

* We were attired for the lovely spring weather and sunshine we experienced.
* But it got cold.
* And we froze our little tushies off!

We rolled into Burra at 7pm, found a local pub and tucked into dinner. We sat up chatting until way too late, but with a late start on Wednesday, it didn’t turn out too badly. I really really enjoyed the ride today and we bonded very well as a little group. More stories to come tomorrow!

Black Dog Ride 2011 – Day 2

Young, NSW to Balranald, NSW

I pitched a tent.
In sub-zero temperatures.
Without enough to keep me warm
= I had frozen sleep most of the night – A light covering of frost the next day told me just how cold it was without checking the temperature gauge on the bike!

We waved goodbye to Nathan & Roger who returned home to Sydney. The rest of us faced gloriously blue skies on our way through  and the riders were on the way to Balranald. Once again we had great support from the local Lions Clubs in putting on the Tea/Lunch stops, but there seemed to be little support from the local community to hear the presentations about the great work done by the Black Dog Institute. Steve also commented:

We all need to do more to spread the message that it’s OK to speak about depression!

Pics:

Black Dog Ride 2011 – Day 1

Approx 60 riders from around NSW descended on Hills Motorcycles early on Sunday morning for the official NSW launch of the Black Dog Ride. After a wild’n’woolly weather week prior, many wondered if the ride would go ahead. It went ahead under gloomy skies, but they did not last too long!

After an introduction from Angry Anderson, a quick thank-you from the Mayor’s representative, and a pre-ride briefing from our ride leader Phil, we were off. A number of people ended up at Lithgow when the majority went through to Hartley. We all managed to regroup at Bathurst for lunch (put on by the Lions Club). A couple of laps of Mt Panorama (ooh yeah!) and we headed off to catch the last few drinks at the afternoon tea stop at Cowra. We had a great chat with them before scooting off to Young.

The Young Lions club put on a great roast dinner whilst we listened to Nathan share a presentation from the Black Dog Institute, as well as sharing his personal story. Many friends were made and stories shared amongst the riders. I want to send out a big note to Nathan, Roger, Rod, Sharon, Kim, James and Dazza for the great chats and buddy-rides we had during the day.

Here are some of the Day 1 photos:

The next phase of my life

Many times I have spoken to people I’ve asked them what they’re doing about changing their situation to overcome boredom, laziness, stifling work environments, toxic friendships, and many other ‘ills’ people often complain about. One of the pieces of advice I often share with them is that they are the common denominator in everything they do, say and think each and every day, and they have the power to change things – should they want to.

Today, I start my new job. But before I get into it a little more, here’s a quick summary of where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing the past 3 months.

I was made redundant from my former employer after a 17 year stretch, where I began as a humble  Technical Support Engineer eventually to become a Learning & Development Business Partner. The ‘writing was on the wall’ that eventually my job role would disappear, so the redundancy came as no shock to me and I embraced it fully. In the past 3 months I have caught up with many friends, family and acquaintances, I’ve relaxed, participated in my youngest son’s Year 1 class, done the school drop-off & pickup, as well as stay in shape by running or cycling. I’ve been loving each and every day and doing things I’ve wanted to do as well as doing nothing. It’s been wonderful!

But back to today: I start out in the Hospitality/Food & Beverage industry. As a waiter. 🙂

Yes, that’s right – If I’m to become a wonderful asset to my new company (which is my #1 goal) I need to learn this industry from the ground up, and that starts today. I do not know how long the journey will take or where it will lead, but I cannot wait!

I’m not sure what to expect, but believe it’ll be a day of learning, brain-sapping, nerve-frying excitement, apprehension, concentration & exhaustion wrapped into one period of 10 hours starting this afternoon.

If you need to find inspiration to change your life in any way, feel free to use me as your inspiration or to ask me any questions in the comments below.

 

LinkedIn Premium – sneaky behaviour?

During my recent job search, I signed up for a ‘free’ 1 month trial to LinkedIn’s premium ‘job seeker’ package, designed to provide me with more tools to be noticed by recruiters/companies looking for new staff. The message came to me through my primary email address. In fact, up until this point everything has been coming to my primary email address:

  • Requests to connect on LinkedIn
  • Updates to any of my contacts (who has changed jobs, updated experience, etc.)
  • Updates/comments/posts in any of the Groups I am part of or conversations I am involved in
  • Special Offers (such as the 1-month free Premium membership)

I decided to cancel the premium membership after 3 weeks, due to a combination of finding a job as well as not needing the service (and not needing to pay the ongoing monthly fee for Premium features). I’d set a calendar reminder to look into this for Tuesday this week (2nd Aug). I went onto the site and cancelled my Premium membership, which was straightforward.

At around the same time, I received an email in my secondary email account (see below) extolling the virtues of the Premium Service, and that if I do nothing, they will begin to charge me the monthly fee. It’s not even a message confirming that I want ‘out’ of the Premium service – it’s an FYI (Information) email only! Did this email arrive because I cancelled, or is it just coincidence that the email arrives on the day I cancelled, (albeit it to an email address they’ve not used before)? Alarm bells went off in my head at this.

I have contacted LinkedIn to ask them how this happened or why this message went to my secondary account – I am wondering why they sent any communications to my secondary account when everything else has been going to my primary account? I understand why they ask you to provide a secondary email address (for security/access reasons), however I have removed my secondary email address until such time that LinkedIn can explain what happened and whether it could happen again.

Tuesday’s with Morrie

I’ve just finished reading “Tuesday’s with Morrie”, after a recommendation from some of my wonderful twitter buddies.

It’s a great resource to help you understand more about death, and why it’s not a bad thing.

It’s one of the simplest, most honest books I’ve read in a while, and came away believing that what I’m doing here with My Proactive Life is the right thing to do. I recommend you read it.

A chat with David

I came across this interesting psychology article recently, and though it was interesting – A conversation with David. Here’s one powerful paragraph from the eyes of David:

A conversation with David quoteI recommend you read the whole article (~5 mins) and think about what you are doing to truly live out the life you want to. A life of integrity, honesty and free of pretense. This article ties in quite well with the message being communicated through initiatives like Soften The Fck Up: Speak to someone!

All I need from you is quiet understanding

Soften the Fck Up

Last week, a new initiative launched called “Soften the Fck Up“.

My buddy Gavin has written a great post about this new initiative to get men to accept that it’s OK to soften up and admit when things aren’t going well.

I met with one of the founders Ehon Chan last week and had a fabulous chat with him about the issues we (men) face and how ‘Soften’ is attempting to change things. It’s related to the decision behind why Raz, Robbie & I started Riding4aCause. I hope theres an opportunity to combine the 2 in the future!