The simplicity of walking (& the wisdom of dogs)

Being somewhat complex creatures, we sometimes forget about the power of simplicity.
Take for instance, walking.

Getting out and about for a stroll must be one of the simplest ways to get moving … but we’re almost pre-programmed to dismiss anything that’s easy, or feel almost apologetic about enjoying something so straightforward.

Just because something is easy, doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile.walking, dog walking, the benefits of walking, the joy of simplicity,

Whenever I advocate the benefit of walking to clients, the response normally goes one of two ways. Either they’re already fans of being active on foot (YAY!) in which case we wax lyrical about how wonderful it is to meander about in such fashion, OR …they’re quick to suggest it’s an activity not worthy of their time. Life is as busy as we make it, and it’s ok not to do everything at breakneck speed.

Sure, strength training is VITAL, but walking is fantastic not just because of the physical benefits it brings, but because it FEELS good. For me there’s something almost meditative about heading outside to fresh air, clear skies and the gentle rhythm created by the tread of my own two feet. Happily, there are no rules for what makes a great walk – the perfect recipe is ever flexible and always open to personal interpretation.

In amongst planning for my next big (possibly very big) hike, I headed out for a walk with my dog. He walks with no aim, with no care for the confines of a set path, and according to no schedule. Sometimes he likes to wander for twenty minutes, on other days maybe just five. He seems to enjoy the walk for whatever the moment holds – even if that’s just a chance to stretch the legs, clear the mind, or gaze dramatically off into the distance at nothing in particular.

Whatever your mood, however busy life may seem, a walk ALWAYS works wonders. All that’s really needed is a pair of shoes on your feet, and just a little bit of time up your sleeve.

Raindrops on gardenias: the merits of neglect

I love plants, and yet I’m quite bad at caring for them. That’s partly why native plants work so well for me (my native garden bed is about the only part of my yard which flourishes).

Truth be told, my approach to gardening is quite brutal. A fact which is really quite strange, given that I’ll bend over backwards to help pretty much any other living thing. lol.

neglect, taking things easy, over thinking, analysis, letting things be,

After a period of settling new plants in with lots of TLC relevant to their needs – I initially take great care of whatever watering, fertilising and mulching requirements they may have. But there comes a certain point in time where I let those plants fend largely for themselves. It’s time to harden up guys! As you’d expect, this approach produces mixed results for particularly fussy and demanding plants.

But to be honest I don’t really like anything (people, animals and plants included) which require too much effort … life’s too short to get caught up in unnecessary fluff and drama. In the case of plants, I figure that so long as they’ve got the right amount of sun and water, they can get busy photosynthesising and (hopefully) get growing. Rainy days in my garden are therefore VERY good days, as it means my garden ACTUALLY gets some water. Haha.

One plant which I can take absolutely no credit for is this beautiful Gardenia which is currently looking all gorgeous with rain-soaked blooms. It was already established before I arrived, and it’s done nothing but thrive with minimal interference from me. Clearly by having me NOT focus too intently on its upkeep, that Gardenia is doing a pretty great job at achieving plant excellence.

I’m not suggesting that neglect is a philosophy to apply wholeheartedly to ALL aspects of your life, but in certain areas and at certain times, there’s merit to be found. Take for instance when you’re trying to overcome a challenging situation or struggling to make a decision. Sometimes if you focus too intently, think too long and too hard, worry over-much, or over-analyse – you can do more harm than good (& suffer under the weight of a whole pile of stress for your trouble). But allow me to propose an alternative approach … Have you ever thought about just letting things be?

Because doesn’t life ALWAYS find a way? (thanks Dr Malcolm*). Regardless of how much we worry, stress or get stuck by indecision … life doesn’t wait, it continues on. That problem you’re facing will either continue to be a problem or resolve itself in some way, that plant will either grow or not, that decision will either get made or it won’t (which in any case, is a decision in itself) …

Life is already full enough without us creating more work where there doesn’t need to be. Maybe it’s time to consider whether there are any areas where you could sprinkle in a little neglect?** Go deep, think laterally and get abstract with your thinking … I bet there’s at least one area of your life which would benefit from receiving a little less of your attention. And you know what? I bet everything still works out ok.

*Obscure Jurassic Park reference

**Please keep feeding, clothing and watering your dependents. lol. You KNOW I’m not suggesting you mess with that!

Vegan & Vegetarian Travel Guide – Tasmania

Being one half of a travelling vegetarian / vegan couple, when it comes to food, you’ve gotta plan ahead. That’s not really about planning out exactly where or what you’re going to eat, but just sussing out what the local plant-based food landscape is like. But so often, my pre-trip research is a disappointing exercise. Regardless of the destination, my search results invariably suggest the same thing – that if you’re fuelling yourself with a plant-based diet, you’re pretty much f**ed. lol.

And just in case you’re thinking this is only a problem encountered when travelling overseas, I can report that it’s most definitely not. I ran into the same issues when researching food options for our trip to Tasmania. But of course, once I actually arrive at my destination, I often find the exact opposite is true. Maybe it’s time to abandon my pre-trip food planning? Hmm…

It’s my pleasure to share some tasty plant-based food options in Tasmania. Because if there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s how to uncover AWESOME veggie food (by the by, I’m also somewhat of a savant when it comes to finding the most expensive item of clothing in a store full of sales stock). #lifeskills

Place: Ginger Brown, South Hobart

Time: Breakfast

Food: ‘The Brown’ bruschetta; thyme-roasted honey browns, pickled enoki & oyster mushrooms, mushie puree, lemon, fennel, chimichurri (vegan option)

ginger brown, south hobart, vegan tasmania, mushroom breakfast

With only a couple of days spent in South Hobart, we were spoilt for choice with breakfast options … but I think we made the right decision by going with Ginger Brown. We visited on a Wednesday morning and even though I’d been forewarned about how popular a café it is, it was still surprising to see just how busy it was on an ordinary weekday morning. I would highly recommend booking ahead if you intend to visit on a weekend, because I doubt you’d be as lucky to just walk in and happen upon a free table.

The service here is amazingly friendly and there’s a really nice chilled out vibe … it’s a busy place without giving in to the energy of hustle and bustle. I had lots of great options to choose on the menu, but decided to go savoury and get seriously mushroomy with the Brown Bruschetta dish (vegan option) – this was AMAZING! It’s easy to sometimes get a little mushroom-ed out as a vego, but this dish was light, satisfying and tasty af.

Place: Magic Curries, Battery Point

Time: Dinner

Food: Mushroom Pakora, Aloo Gobhi, Roti

vegetarian hobart, magic curries, south hobart, vegan travel, vegetarian travel, roti, aloo gobhi

It was a cold and rainy Hobart afternoon, and after getting pretty soaked in an earlier downpour (I’m such a Tasmanian noob and made the mistake of venturing out without an umbrella or raincoat), I was most definitely in the mood for something warm and comforting. Such an occasion surely calls for an Indian feast?

Not feeling like dealing with the unfamiliar, and somewhat complex web of narrow streets around Battery Point by car, we decided to brave the weather and walk to dinner. The long twilight gifted by daylight savings time, makes later evening dinner adventures a pleasure to explore on foot.

It was a delight to find ourselves at Magic Curries on that cool Hobart evening. We were lucky enough to be seated next to the open fireplace, which meant I could peel back some layers and enjoy the warmth that only an open fire can provide.

Starting with the mushroom pakoras, we were instantly smitten … these were absolutely incredible, and in lieu of a better way to describe them, they reminded me of a certain fried chicken establishment … but more in a ‘tasty, finger-licking good’ sense … not so much in a ‘death to all chickens’ kind of way.

Actually, I got the start of this story a little wrong, I already knew the food here was going to be amazing when I saw they had Aloo Gobhi on the menu. What’s Aloo Gobhi, you may ask? Well it’s only the best Indian dish EVER. It’s one that I make a killer version of myself, so I hold others up to a pretty high standard. Without a doubt I can categorically state that this was the BEST Aloo Gobhi I’ve ever enjoyed … even better than my own (not that there’s really much competition on that front). lol. Paired with the best Roti I’ve ever eaten … after this meal I felt well and truly warmed up from the inside out. Hurrah!

Place: Kathmandu Cuisine, Battery Point

Time: Dinner

Food: Aloo Saag (pan fried potatoes and spinach cooked with cumin seed and dry chillies); Chana Aloo (potatoes and chickpeas cooked in thick curry sauce); Roti

kathmandu cuisine, roti, aloo saag, south hobart, travelling vegan, travelling vegetarian
With no real idea of what to have for dinner, we remembered how nice it had been to just wander our way to Battery Point, and so we thought we’d just try our luck there again. Taking a different route to dinner we dallied longer than required as we ogled at all the beautiful homes, oh-so-green parks and historical shop fronts along the way. Seriously Hobart, enough already … you’re ridiculously stunning.

The view into Kathmandu Cuisine looked cosy and inviting, like a little refuge away from the cool of night. There were a few options, and while a lot of the veggie dishes were largely reminiscent of the Indian food we enjoyed the night before, there were no complaints from me. Sharing a mix of mains, while the Chana Aloo was good … it was the Aloog Saag which was a clear favourite for both of us. I ALWAYS crave fresh greens when I travel, and this dish certainly helped assuage that yearning a little. Yum, yum, yum! A little reminder that simple ingredients and some wonderful spices are really all you need to create a meal that’s both satisfying and full of flavour.

Place: Straight up Coffee and Food, Central Hobart

Time: Breakfast

Food: Mork chocolate belgium waffles with cinnamon grilled banana, house ice cream and coconut crumble

vegan waffles, central hobart, straight up coffee and food, tasmania vegan,
I’m kind of glad that a lot of our local South Hobart options decided not to open on the show holiday, because it meant that I had an excuse to travel a little further afield to another café on my list. And that’s the story of how we ended up at Straight Up Coffee and Food. Being a 100% vegetarian and gluten free café, I knew it’d be tough going making a decision on what to eat … but I somehow just knew I needed to go sweet. Waffles it is! My decision garnered further support from the major pancake craving I’d been harbouring for a while … and so in lieu of pancakes, I accepted waffles as a pretty close cousin.

I love a lot of the ingredients in this dish individually, and so with them all coming together in one meal, I wasn’t at all surprised to discover the waffles were INCREDIBLE. Sweet without being too sweet, and a really lovely blend of different flavours without being overpowering and making the whole dish (& thereby me in consuming it) feel heavy. Waffles aside, because they’re pretty damn great, let’s just draw attention to how delicious grilled banana is … and when you combine that with cinnamon and coconutty goodness, well safe to say, I’m done. #dropsmic

Place: Veg Bar, North Hobart

Time: Lunch & Dinner

Food: Nachos (yellow & blue corn tortilla chips, corn salsa, chilli beans, avocado crème, chipotle aioli, cheese sauce, coriander); Cauliflower buffalo wings (served with buffalo and caesar sauce); Cheezeburger (matcha bun, mushroom and chickpea pattie, american cheese, pickles, onion, ketchup, mustard) with a side of french fries

veg bar, hobart vegan, cheezeburger, vegetarian food hobart,
When I discovered this place (1) existed, and (2) was still in business (because how disappointing is it to discover amazing places just a little too late?), I kinda had this sneaking suspicion that it might just be the pièce de résistance of my veggie dining experience in Tasmania. I visited twice, and would have happily come back again and again, but my travel plans dictated otherwise. The look and feel of Veg Bar is super cool without being pretentious, and it’s always a treat to have an ENTIRE menu of deliciousness to choose from.

Our first visit was for dinner, after completing the Three Capes Track, and what my body wanted was SALT and what my mouth wanted was crunch. Hello, nachos! Ever a good choice, but especially so when sodium and a crunchy texture is particularly desired, the Veg Bar version of nachos delivered on both quality and quantity. This dish was huge! And yet we still managed to eat a side of the incredibly delicious cauliflower buffalo wings (I would happily consume a double serve of these as a meal in their own right). Accompanied by a cold pressed green juice, this diner was very, very happy and very, very full by the time we left … it was definitely a good decision to walk back to the city centre.

veg bar, hobart vegan, vegan nachos, tasmania food, tasmania travel

Our second visit was for a late lunch, so the place was relatively quiet … and once again we opted to sit at one of the booths rather than one of the park benches. Today was all about the burger for me, but it was a hard choice deciding on which one to go with. In the end, I went with the Cheezeburger and a side of fries – a simple choice in lots of ways, but sometimes simple is oh so right. Back in my meat-eating burger days, I was never a fan of pickles … but now, I’m a big fan of how their flavour works in with a ‘meaty’ pattie. And can I just say a big HELL YEAH to ketchup and proper mustard?!?! Because so many places get that wrong … this was without a doubt the best vegan burger I’ve EVER had (& I’ve eaten more than a few).

Place: Rhyme Street Café, Central Hobart

Time: Lunch

Meal: Vegan Quesadillas (roast veg and Mexican bean mix topped with guacamole)

rhyme street cafe, Vegan Quesadillas, vegan hobart,
After an early flight from Brisbane, we found ourselves hungry and a little worse for wear on the streets of Hobart, desperately seeking some decent veggie fare. As a lover of animals, the Cat and Fiddle Arcade drew my eye, and from there we discovered the Rhyme Street Café. The menu here is HUGE, and I was pleased to spy many veggie options. The only downside to much choice is that my decision-making abilities are drastically compromised when I’m tired, but I figured you can’t really go wrong with Mexican when you’re famished.

A generously portioned meal, and the kind which is tasty, wholesome and comforting … perhaps the best way to put it is that it felt homemade in all the right kinds of ways. As this was the first place we ate at in Hobart, I figured that if I found food no one else, I’d always have Rhyme Street Café to fall back on … a not too shabby worst-case scenario option that’s for sure! But in the end, I didn’t need to invoke my backup plan.

Place: Letterbox Café, Penguin

Time: Lunch

Food: Vegan Bruschetta

vegan penguin, tasmania food, vegan bruschetta

After spending a few days in the relative isolation of Strahan, we headed north towards Burnie thinking that we’d spend some time wandering about, and of of course, lingering for lunch. I’m sure Burnie is a lovely place, it certainly looked that way … buuuuuut it was just a little too on the busy side for us. lol. And so we decided to journey on to Penguin, a sweet seaside town with a village atmosphere.

Yes, what a delight. After taking our photos with the huge penguin statue (…when in Rome), we ventured down the main street in search of a good place to eat, and found ourselves outside the Letterbox Café. While it may not look like more than a hole in the wall coffee shop from the front, stepping inside we were pleasantly surprised at both the size of the café and the variety of the menu (with lots of vegetarian and vegan options). Success!

The vegan bruschetta I enjoyed was generously portioned, full of flavour and best of all was super fresh. There’s nothing quite like the combination of fresh tomato and basil to get the tastebuds firing. The coffee was great here as well, and I highly recommend trying some dessert – the raw, vegan snickers slice was THE BEST version I’ve tasted to date – not too sweet, the right kind of caramel goodness, and just a lovely balance of nutty flavours.

Place: Bruny Island Premium Wines, Lunawanna

Time: Lunch

Food: Vegie Chickpea Burger (made with Indian spices and served in a crusty roll with lettuce, tomato, sweet chilli sauce)

chickpea burger, bruny island premium wines, bruny island food, vegetarian, vegan
With many hours spent happily exploring the Bruny Island lighthouse and surrounds, lunch was very much front of mind. Given that we passed Bruny Island Premium Wines on our way out earlier that morning, it seemed like a logical place to assess our lunchtime options.

Given we were in a winery, I knew that vegan options might be a little more limited (however I’m sure you could ask about modifying other meals). However vegetarians were definitely well-catered for (if that’s where your interests lie the cheese platter looked pretty amazing). I went with the Vegie Chickpea Burger (minus the cheese) – the spices were lovely (not too hot!) and it was a very satisfying meal to enjoy on a cool afternoon. Be warned though, this burger is BIG – I had to cut it into portions to eat it (which I’m never a big fan of doing with a burger, but I’m prepared to do what needs to be done for good food). I paired my lunch with a J Dillon & Sons Bruny Island Cider, which was also delicious and further encouraged me to sit and linger awhile.

Place: Hotel Bruny, Alonnah

Time: Lunch

Food: Vegan pizza (napoli sauce, beetroot, red peppers, swiss brown mushrooms, spinach & sweet potato)

vegan pizza, bruny island vegan, vegan tasmania, tasmania travel,
With no real plans for our day, we didn’t rush into anything. As ever though, coffee called, and so as we did on every day we spent on Bruny Island, we started with a coffee at the Bruny Island Café (just in case you were wondering, the coffee here was consistently amazing!). After enjoying our coffee with a view, we got talking to the staff who recommended that we head over to Cloudy Bay and discover how much it varied from the calm beach front of Adventure Bay.

I’m so glad we took that advice, because Cloudy Bay is beautiful – it’s all drama filled, with crashing waves, an expanse of sand, and on the day we visited at least – the skies were dark and heavy. So moody, much wow. We did a lot of walking and took a lot of photos, so by the time we made it back to the car we were FAMISHED.

Everyone kept recommending Hotel Bruny to us for their incredible food, but it’s often a much different experience for the veggie-inclined. However, we decided to give it a go. It was nice to see that the menu includes quite a few delicious sounding vegetarian dishes, but I wasn’t really in the mood for anything particularly heavy. So I asked whether there were any additional vegan options (which the menu kindly pointed out as being available). The excellent suggestion made was to veganise the vegetarian pizza … and as soon as that offering was put forward, I knew that was EXACTLY what I felt like eating. lol.

This was the perfect meal – light, full of flavour and loaded up with the right mix of vegies … I love it when vegan options are no trouble at all. It just goes to show that it ALWAYS pays to ask.

It’s been hard reminiscing about all these delicious meals enjoyed whilst journeying around Tasmania, but at least I know exactly where I’ll be eating when I make my next trip down south. x

The importance of protecting your happiness

Early last week while scrolling through my instagram feed, I happened upon a beautiful photo of one wilderness area or another … to be honest, I can’t even remember which account it was on or the exact details of the photo. I’m pretty sure the view included mountains, trees and a blue horizon … which clearly narrows things down. 😉 The image was lovely, but it was actually a comment on that photo which caught my eye and caused my thumb to stop its busy work – ‘Protecting your happiness is a full time job’.

happiness, simple pleasures, take care of yourself, self care

Holy shit. How perfect is this? Being that since I’ve returned home from Tasmania, I’ve felt messy, lacking in focus, and reluctant to take action on a few decisions requiring attention, I soooo needed to read this. In doing so, my first thought was, ‘YES!’ … A response which wasn’t purely intellectual, instead it felt like a whole-of-self truth which emanated from body, mind, heart and soul. It’d be nice to think that just like magic I suddenly felt clear and blessed with laser sharp focus … THE END. But of course, that’s rarely the case when it comes to taking the next step forward. But for whatever reason, I one hundred percent knew that this statement would eventually provide me with clarity.

Those words seemingly set the tone for my week. Such is the power of words when given an appropriate amount of attention. Changes most often happen quite slowly, that’s the way of evolution … however when it comes to how you live your life and how you fill your days, it’s definitely possible to make a sudden shift which can lead to very big consequences. How awesome is that?

And so whether by design or by coincidence (or perhaps a little of both), my week played out beautifully. I did my work, without getting phased by an always incomplete to do list. I allowed a little more space into my day. And perhaps best of all, I caught up with some precious friends who reminded me that the people you surround yourself with are EVERYTHING.

Protecting your happiness is most definitely a full-time job … and it’s up to each of us to be vigilant in our defence. Because whatever your interpretation of happiness – contentment, satisfaction or peace – it can feel like external forces continually conspire to chip away and erode those feelings. Of course, there’s no great conspiracy theory at play here. Sure, we may not be able to control what gets thrown in our direction, but we’re always in control of how we respond to these perceived threats.

And my preference? Be selfishly protective of your happiness – and by that I mean do what needs to be done* – whether that’s to say ‘no’ more often, to take action on a difficult decision, or to have a powerful conversation – life’s way too fleeting and way to precious to let other forces mess with the flow of our days. Shift your perspective and you may just shift your life.

*Doing what needs to be done is not an invitation to be an asshole. I advocate living gently, practicing kindness, and choosing to be a decent human being.

PS. These lovely flowers were home grown and gifted to me by a client. They remind me that our happiness can be enhanced in the simplest and most beautiful of ways. x

Frugality plus minimalism equals more life

It’s day 12 of the minimalism game, and so that means I’ve already removed 78 things from my possession and out of my life. YAY! 😀 To be honest, the day-by-day culling of items hasn’t felt like all that much of an imposition (yet!) … and I’m feeling very satisfied with my progress to date. 

I haven’t felt the need to focus my efforts in any one particular area, as I’ve got a wide variety of potential consumerist weight to shed. So far, I’ve offloaded a mix of books, clothes, socks, and utensils. I’m noticing the slow expansion of space into areas which were previously over-populated. Open pockets are being revealed in my bookcase. Clothes drawers are closing with ease. It’s becoming less difficult to find things amongst the clutter, mainly because there’s decidedly less stuff to get lost amongst.

Coincidentally, at the same time as playing this minimalism game, I’m reading ‘The Art of Frugal Hedonism – a guide to spending less while enjoying everything more’. I’m only a couple of chapters in, but I can already tell this book and I will get along just fine. It dovetails beautifully with my ongoing efforts to appreciate more and own less. And that means I’m not just looking to reduce what I already own, it’s also being mindful of what I do invite in, as I definitely don’t want to bring anything else into the house that doesn’t deserve to take up precious space. Letting go may be hard, but holding on can be harder.

A side benefit of staying in some lovely, relatively compact Airbnbs in Tasmania, is that I realised how little is actually needed to have a functional household. Feeling further inspired by that experience, I’m looking forward to expanding my streamlining activities into the previously untouched regions of kitchen, bathroom and laundry. Who knew that getting rid of stuff in a structured way would be so fun?!?

Go for a hike and change your life

I’ve just returned from almost 3 weeks spent exploring Tasmania – some by plane, a little by boat, a lot by foot, and a whole heap more by road. By ‘just’ I mean that I arrived home a few days ago. But I hope you’ll forgive my reluctance to rush back to reality.

Something I’m always reminded of when I travel, is the adjustment (both required and pleasing) to being nimble and flexible on all fronts – whether that’s your plans, luggage or decisions. The challenges raised by time spent living from a suitcase, completing a multi-day hike, and travelling from destination to destination, are eased by stepping with a light and agile foot. That’s not to suggest that the pace of travel must be quick. I wholeheartedly advocate the exact opposite.

Slowing down reveals many unexpected treasures.

This same desire to remain ‘fluid’ when travelling is also reflected by the mind. This is particularly true of adventures taken on foot. As the path is followed – with just one step in front of another, then another, and so on … one’s attitude becomes similarly simplified. It can take a little while, but as you make your way forward and the kilometres add up behind you, it starts to happen. You feel more mentally open, far less cluttered. Thoughts drift without focus, and yet the mind feels clearer for it. Seeking dust on your feet, helps settle the dust in your mind.

It may in part be due to a keen awareness of your own smallness which grows in direct proportion to your appreciation of the greatness of the natural world. Things that seemed like big problems or worries in your other life – that one you live away from the track – suddenly seem of little consequence. Your life sharpens its focus on the real essentials – food, water, shelter, warm clothes, and a comfortable pair of boots.

‘Distance changes utterly when you take the world on foot. A mile becomes a long way, two miles literally considerable, ten miles whopping, fifty miles at the very limits of conception. The world, you realise, is enormous in a way that only you and a small community of fellow hikers know. Planetary scale is your little secret.’ – Bill Bryson

Whenever I’m away I think a lot about how I live at home. Mostly about the contrast between life at home and life away. At home, life expands to fill available space – meaning that your world can sometimes feel clunky, cumbersome and heavy. On foot, life necessarily contracts to fit on your back – every gram, every degree of compression, and every pocket of available space counts. You’re more grateful for the things you decided NOT to pack than the things you did.

So in being back home I’m feeling super motivated to shed unnecessary stuff. I’m all about embracing that luxurious feeling of spaciousness both at home and away. I’ve been on a journey towards a more minimalistic aesthetic for a while, but now it’s time to up my game and capitalise on that travel-inspired desire for less. If life on the road has taught me anything, it’s that you can be as light and your life can be as changeable as you want it to be.

PS. I’m joining the minimalist game this month (today’s the first day). Check out this post if you want a bit of structure to making more space in your life for the really important things.

On Managing Expectations (it’s hard)

Even though it was just last week, it feels like an age since I returned home from a long weekend in NSW. I had a lovely time meandering my way from Sydney to Wollongong (& back) via mountains, forests and beaches – I think it’s the first time in YEARS that I’ve travelled out of my home state! ❤️

The reason for my visit to Wollongong was for the CrossFit Pacific Regionals, and while it was AMAZING to see some of my favourite athletes in action at pretty close quarters, the trip didn’t exactly go according to my original plan. I remember saying to myself, ‘well that’s okay, that’s just how life goes sometimes…’, and I know that’s true…

managing expectations, expectations, high stanards, accepting outcomes,

But the thing is that lately I feel like I’m saying things like, ‘that’s okay’, or ‘it doesn’t matter’, or ‘it’s not important’, WAY too often. While it could be that I’ve got the worst luck and things go wrong for me a disproportionally high number of times, that feels way too fatalistic an attitude (& that’s just not my scene). So I’ve come to realise that while it’s ok to hold myself to high standards, it’s unfair to project those same standards onto every person, activity or situation I come into contact with. Rather than try to understand the situation, I started dismissing this expectation gap (the space between where I think a person or experience should be and the reality) in a not-so-healthy way. It’s as if I’ve resigned myself to disappointment. NOPE!

I think it’s totally fine to expect a lot of myself – that’s how I keep expanding beyond my comfort zone and grow as a person (which honestly feels like my full time job some days, 😂). However, it’s unfair of me to be disappointed in people or frustrated by circumstances that are beyond my control. Instead, when faced with trying situations I need to get more proficient at managing MY expectations. I know I’ll still get disappointed and frustrated – haha, that’s only natural. But I’m going to try and be more aware of whenever those kinds of responses threaten to extend beyond my little sphere of control – in other words, beyond myself.

Because yes, things aren’t always going to work out the way I want them to – that’s something we all deal with. And while I can’t control the outcome of absolutely everything (which is cool – uncertainty brings so much more fun to life), I am completely in control of how I respond to those outcomes which I perceive as less-than-ideal.

As a recovering perfectionist, I think this phase of learning how to better manage expectations is perhaps a natural part of the process; that with time I’ll hopefully become more accepting of whatever outcome arises. This isn’t about giving up and giving in, it’s about being more mindful of my reaction and understanding that I can’t control everything.

Let’s see how this plays out. If I can successfully master this, hey there’s hope for us all. 😂

On taking chances and making changes

You should always take the detour.

I think we have this idea that most things in our lives will follow a straight trajectory, one of steady improvement and continual growth which assuredly shifts us from Point A to Point B. While I understand the appeal of such simplicity, this isn’t how my life unfolds. lol, far from it. 😂

But I can’t say I didn’t try to be ‘normal’. I did my best to follow that socially-endorsed, linear trajectory – I studied hard, earned a sensible degree, and worked in a high-paying corporate job for many years. And yes, while there were great things which came from those experiences, I think I always knew they wouldn’t form the basis of my one and only path.

detour, follow your own path, life balance, making changes, taking chances

As terrifying, destabilising and challenging as it was/is to shift out of that other life, I can’t imagine how things would be if I hadn’t stepped out into the unknown. I think I might have lost myself completely, and that’s a way scarier reality. The thing that I’ve come to know, from direct experience, is that the universe ALWAYS has your back. You might make bad decisions, take a wrong turn, and need to compromise and sacrifice in ways you never imagined, BUT (and that’s a very deliberate big but) … you’ll always be fine. You will always land on your feet, even though there will be times where you think you won’t. You’ve probably just forgotten to trust yourself.

When something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. If an opportunity presents itself and you feel called to respond, regardless of how scary / ridiculous it might be, you should listen. Far better to back yourself and take a chance on something which may be the best / most fun / most rewarding thing you’ve ever done. Even if it turns out that you need to pivot, switch things up, and find another new approach. Nothing is permanent, you can just change and change again.

I used to let fear rule my path – shying away from decisions and experiences which I was drawn to, and yet didn’t follow through on because I was too scared to fail. If you’re anything like me, your mind will LOVE playing the ‘what if’ game … what if this happens? what if you don’t like that new job? what if it’s the wrong choice? … This is a game you’ll never win. Those ‘what ifs’ will keep feeding off each other – distracting you and clouding your vision (if you let them).

How do you find direction amongst all that noise? Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Look deep inside. What is it that you really want? You probably already know the answer, you just need to free up some of that fear-crowded space to let your truth be heard. Lean into the fear with confidence, knowing that there are no missteps to be made, just new horizons waiting for you to explore. It is always worth stepping off that straight line trajectory and seeing what lies beyond.

The satisfaction that comes from taking action to pursue your own path is ALWAYS better than the passive wistfulness of what might have been. Life is way too short to take up any more of your time with second guesses.

Always take the detour. 💖

Workout 17.5 – my CrossFit Open experience

Well that was an epic finish to a huge 5 weeks of competition. I’m going to miss the fun and excitement of competing each week, but at the same time I’m really looking forward to getting back to regular training. The Open has been an extraordinary experience; and I mean that quite literally. I feel like in focusing on the competition – the announcement, completing the WOD, cheering along other competitors, and just the spectacle of it all; it’s as if I took a temporary timeout from my regular life.

Workout 17.5
9 Thrusters (95/65lb or 43/29kg)
35 Double Unders
10 Rounds for Time

I’ve loved the mental and physical challenge of each workout – overcoming those challenges teaches you so much about who you are. And in these past 5 weeks I’ve learnt a lot. And honestly, what’s not to love about a sport that gives you the chance to compete alongside athletes from around the world?!?! ❤️

17.5, crossfit open, crossfit open 2017, workout 17.5

Getting briefed with the CF4504 crew before 17.5 (photo courtesy Lee Sargent).

It’s almost been a year since I started my journey with CrossFit, so in a way the Open was perfectly timed to see how I’ve grown, to appreciate all the skills I’ve learned and strength I’ve gained, and to figure out what goals I want to focus on in the future. Plus it was fun to have that little competitive buzz and adrenaline high waiting for me at the end of each week (well things became infinitely more enjoyable once I survived the terrifying nerves of week 1, lol).

Even though I suspected 17.5 would contain some of my least favourite movements, I was on track for a good prep week. Well that was until I got to Friday morning, where some strange and sudden illness had me feeling very unwell. 😭 Much as I tried to convince myself otherwise, it soon became very clear that I would NOT be competing on Friday night. #sadface

It was still great to go along and support my Mr and the rest of the CF4504 crew, but of course it’s always hard to watch from the sidelines. And this was one brutal workout – short, sharp and very much to the point. Of all the workouts, this was one I really wanted to get DONE. It might have been because this was the final Open workout, or maybe because I wasn’t feeling 100% – but for whatever reason I was feeling a bit apprehensive about facing this workout down.

I’m so glad I felt well enough on Saturday morning to give this one a go, even if I wasn’t feeling 100% confident. I feel like I struggle reaching depth with thrusters, and there were a lot of rounds to get through. But once I got into the workout (just like always), those doubts drifted away and I just did my thing. I stayed true to my strategy throughout, and in the end I was really happy with how I went. 😊

If you’ve ever considered giving CrossFit a go, or thought about entering the Open, my advice is to do both (find an awesome CrossFit community and get yourself ready for next year’s comp). You’ll be amazed at how much fun you’ll have, inspired by the people you’ll meet, and you might just be surprised by what you discover about yourself along the way. 💖

Workout 17.4 – my CrossFit Open experience

Ok, so here’s the thing.
I don’t remember the last time I felt this sore after a workout. This morning I reached a level of soreness that had me questioning whether it’s possible for my soreness to get sore? Like, is that a thing? Because that’s definitely how it was feeling. 😉

17.4 was an AWESOME workout – combining classic movements, a shitload of reps, and not a lot of time on the clock. Starting with 55 deadlifts, my strategy was to break the reps into sets of 10 … and that worked well. It was a plan that allowed me to keep good form, and take a few seconds break in-between sets to catch my breath. And anyway, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love deads? 😀

Workout 17.4
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 13 minutes of:
55 deadlifts, 225 lb.
55 wall-ball shots, 20-lb. ball to 10-ft. target
55-calorie row
55 handstand push-ups

From there it was on to wall balls. You might call me crazy, but I don’t actually hate wall balls. I wouldn’t go as far as saying they’re one of my favourite CrossFit movements, but I do love the challenge they bring. They’re grindy, taxing and always let you know you’re working hard. I broke my sets down into 10 reps and just kept pushing through.

crossfit open, crossfit open 2017, workout 17.4, crossfit, deadlifts

Getting those deads done (& check out the strut on the handsome dude behind me). lol. 😉 Photo courtesy CF4504.

If there was one part of this workout I was dreading, it was the 55 calorie row. YUCK! I actually really enjoy the rower, but coming to it after all those deads and wall balls, I knew it was going to burn. And burn it did.

Rowing for calories always feels super tough; it seems to take f-o-r-e-v-e-r for those calories to tick over. I tried to stay consistent with my strokes, but when your legs are fatigued, your breath is struggling to stay under control, and your arms feel so. very. heavy … well, consistency is easier said than done. 😂

I was VERY grateful to hop off the rower, but less enthused about the hand release push-ups that were then coming my way. 😅 They were tough. Really tough. It was super hard to keep good form, and I needed plenty of rest throughout. I somehow managed 28 of those suckers before the clock caught me.

I really LOVED this workout. It was short and not-so-sweet, which just so happens to be one of my favourite ways to train. At this point you may like to refer above to my whole, ‘you might call me crazy’ statement – I totally understand if you find it necessary to apply it here as well. lol.

There’s just one more week to go of the Open, and I’m REALLY looking forward to what it brings. I’ve enjoyed all the ups and downs of comp season, and I know I’ll miss the buzz, excitement and camaraderie it’s built from week to week. But at the same time, I am looking forward to getting back to my regular training life. Well, it’ll be regular training life with one very BIG difference … because I know that in 12 months time I’ll be back to Open life again (& loving it).  ❤️