Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Weekly(ish) Update - Issue 0017

The Weekly(ish) Update
21st July 2010
Issue Seventeen

The first step is hard, but not always the hardest..

I have had a busy couple of weeks since the last update. I have paid to register ‘Custom Vision’ as a company, got myself an accountant, a lawyer, spoke with two local printing companies about their process, checked out the items I need to purchase to begin to make my own picture frames, including a good electric mitre saw and the different items used to join the frames together. I have been to a ‘Be Your Own Boss’ seminar, designed and had printed some business cards, designed a flyer, and so have very much begun to set up my own business.

To pay for this, and my regular bills, I have managed to find myself a fulltime job anodising aluminium in a factory, a job that thankfully pays reasonably okay so I can again stand on my own two feet, something that over the next couple of months will allow me to further settle in to my new life here in Hamilton.

I have recently moved into the flat above the pub, somewhere I plan to stay long term and so I am now looking at ways to make living there more comfortable without spending a lot of money, I want to do things that remind me of who I am, where I have been, of my friends, family, goals, and dreams. Things that allow me to feel comfortable, small things like photos of people I care about, items from my past, and even just the option to listen to my music. I also need the normal household things as well like getting a home phone and an internet connection to access the outside world, because for the first time since leaving Australia I am again living in my own place, by myself.

Getting here hasn’t been easy. I have had to realise quickly that the things I want to do are not going to happen overnight no matter how motivated I am, because the things I want to do I have to earn, and the only way to do that is to put the time, and effort, into them so once they are achieved there is a sense of them being more than something that is easily obtainable, a sense that what I have achieved really is worth something more because of the effort required to create it. I now realise what I am doing is the biggest step of my life so far.

Part of me arrived in Hamilton thinking that I could take my idea, act upon it, and vola, my business would grow. The part I did not add into the equation was the bit where I would have to consistently act upon my idea, the part where I would have to do more than just start to do something, where I would actually have to consistently do something over a period of time, and then probably keep doing long after I began to see any results of my actions, for which ultimately there were no guarantees I would ever succeed, it is that part of me that has brought me here, and it is here that I now need to dig deeper from to do even more than I have ever done before.

Not knowing this has taken me away from spending time with my family, from doing things I have been doing to become focused on my one goal of doing everything possible to make my business a success, and I guess this is the hardest part of it all cos I feel I am not doing my part to maintain the relationships I have worked so hard to create, but I guess the positive side to that is at least I realise it, and can do more to maintain all of these relationships.

But I guess that’s the point isn’t it, I guess that’s why so many people go into business with such huge dreams discover the reality is so much different, I guess that’s why this challenge is something more than I imagined it would be, that there is another reason for me to make it work and prove to myself that everything I have spent time away from ultimately will be made better with the options I am creating for myself in the long term.

There are many things in my life that I have not done because I did not take the first step towards doing them. I think those few words only state the obvious, but there have also been many things I haven’t done where I have taken the first step, but for one reason or another not completed the original task.

I am easily distracted. I have so many ideas and things I want to do in my life running around in my head at any one moment that staying focused on any one thing is actually probably more difficult than doing the thing itself, and in my life so far this has cost me because I have literally bounced from place to place, scenario to scenario, never really being anything more than who I am within a particular moment of my life, taking what now seems like the easy way out by not growing with anyone, anywhere. Coming back to New Zealand after everything I went through changed that I think, ultimately wanting a relationship with my family first I think has changed me more than I can ever explain.

When I was a little kid I wanted to be a singer in a rock band, I wanted to play in front of thousands of people and conduct the audience with my music like I’d seen others do on T.V by getting them all to clap when I clapped etc, and I even remember being 5 or 6 years old and my adopted brother and me would set up bin lids, pots, pans, plus an array of other metal objects that remotely resembled what a young child could loosely define as instruments in the backyard, and bash them with no musical talent what so ever, over and over again, until someone complained and told us to stop.

It didn’t matter that I was no good at it, this innocent fantasy made me happy, and I’m smiling just thinking about it, but it was just a phase, a stage in my life that I eventually grew out of it after breaking a few wooden spoons that were used as drum sticks, and elastic bands that were used as guitar strings.

Over the years I went through many other stages, I still go through them now even though I think the ones I had when I was younger made me much happier because they were far less complicated, they are a part of life, a part of growing up, and a part of who I am, just like everything else I have done is, right or wrong.

A stage that I am yet to go through is becoming a parent, the part where I have to make a choice to give up a part of my life so that my child can quite simply be allowed to dream, be who ever they want to be, and be happy doing so, a choice that most parents willingly make without even realising that they have done so, and a choice that I hopefully one day get to make as a part of my life.

It’s funny, there are so many choices that we have to make in our lives each and every day, and each one of those choices leads us to somewhere else in our life. I remember reading a book many years ago about a guy who went on a journey to another country, and on this journey he discovered some old scrolls written before Jesus was a twinkle in god’s eye. The scrolls lead the fella on a journey of self discovery, which in short explained that everything living has an energy/soul/spirit, and that energy/soul/spirit reacts to how it is treated within any moment and we all have the ability to equally affect the world around us by how we interact within it.

Some people believe that talking to plants makes them happier and grow better, others would rather a relationship with a pet than a human because of how they react with each other, some see good in other people and bring out the best in all of us, and there are those who seem to always bring out the worst in us simply by being no more than who they are, but did you know that how you look at a situation can effect its outcome, regardless of your actual input into it?

Have you ever been on a bus, or somewhere there are lots of people and somehow been drawn to one person in particular, someone you do not know, someone that may or may not be attractive to you, someone who for within those few moments you can not stop thinking about? I believe most of us would have been in this situation, some of many times if it is something we realise we are doing, because we will obviously do it more often if we know we are doing it, but my point is that in this situation we are meant to (according to the scrolls) go up to that person and say hello, that the person (or thought) in that moment is our link to our next path in life, and by not talking to them, or acting upon a thought we have, we miss out on an opportunity we have to grow.

Now I know that some of you are shaking your head at me again, that’s okay, but I also know that there are a few of you out there who when you think about this it will make some sense to, and because I have tried it in my life, discovered that by doing more than simply having a thought and not acting upon it did in fact allow me to achieve things in my life that I would never have done had I not acted upon my thoughts, regardless of how strange they seemed at the time. Doing something more has made my life more complete than not doing anything at all.

The best example of this is ‘Cycle for Life’, an idea that I acted upon, something that when I first thought of the idea seemed completely unachievable so why even bother, but I did, and it was without any question in my mind the best thing I have done in my life so far.
It wasn’t easy, and the thinking about it was probably the easiest part of the whole thing, but it was worth it, and all I am saying here is that I believe it is okay to act upon our thoughts, that we each know ourselves well enough to know what is right or wrong for us within a particular moment, and by doing more than we otherwise would be doing has to result in something more happening than would otherwise happen if we chose to do nothing.

Our lives are dictated by the choices we make, by who we choose to be from the resulting actions that come from the choices we make, and regardless of who we are, where we have been, it is the choices that we make that will determine the choices we allow ourselves to have not only today, but more importantly tomorrow as well.

For those of you interested in trying a little experiment this week, try acting upon the thoughts you have that you would normally ignore, like for example you sitting next to someone somewhere and you are strangely drawn to someone a few seats away, go out of your way to simply say hello to them, see where the conversation takes you, they might recommend a movie they have seen, or song they have listened to, go see it or listen to it yourself, see where that takes you.

Please don’t do anything silly, walking up to a complete stranger and trying to kiss them because you ‘think’ it would feel nice will probably not get them same reaction as a simple “hello, how are you today?’”. Stopping someone from being where they need to be may again not receive the desired response. Do not expect talking to one person will lead you to where you will end up, they might simply distract you long enough so the person, or moment, you are meant to discover has time to get where they need to be, and don’t hide what you are doing if you are up for it, tell the person you are talking to what you are doing and the resulting conversation may surprise you even further.

If anyone wants to read the book, it is called The Celestine Prophecies (I think) and I enjoyed reading it, regardless of its slightly out there take on the way things are, its message is simple, things react to how they are reacted to, and if we react to something we will receive a reaction, to which we can again react.

I have a long way to go before my business is up and running, there are many things that I need to do for that to happen, but by continuing to work towards my goal I know that there is a greater chance that I will succeed than if I simply think about doing the things I need to do to make it work, but by thinking about the things I need to do I am giving myself more options if I act upon those thoughts.

Sometimes our thoughts are only the beginning, sometimes doing something about those thoughts is only the beginning…

…the first step is hard, but not always the hardest.

Till soon.. Stay safe.. Be You!!!


The Weekly(ish) Update - Issue 0016

The Weekly(ish) Update
17th June 2010
Issue Sixteen

It is still not too late to use the gifts that I have been given..

When I was younger I loved to draw incredibly detailed pictures, pictures that at the time resembled art that was simular in form to what a tattooist would use as a stencil to create their work, linking a series of complicated ideas together artistically so when you looked at a finished piece the level of detail grew, and more was discovered within the image, the longer it was looked at.

I would spend months perfecting the look of a single picture, making sure that even though the entire image consisted of a variety of smaller images linked together, that the overall look of all the separate pieces together was as pleasing to the eye as the lines and shapes within. Everything had to be just right before I was happy with it, the amount of work involved was incredible, often changing the original idea many times, moving further and further away from what was planned, before a final draft was completed.

I enjoyed the overall experience of having an idea of getting a blank piece of paper and creating something that was unique, something that defined for that moment how I felt, what I saw and who I was. I enjoyed the release of energy the overall experience gave me, and the challenge of trying to make each picture the best it could be.
I was very good at what I did, and even without any formal training, I knew that what I was doing was as good, or even better, as what anyone else could do if they tried to do a simular style drawing, because I was passionate about what I was doing, it was something I was ultimately incredibly proud of.

There were times I remember that I would draw on myself, completely covering my hand, arm, or leg in some unusual creation, or other times completely cover a pair of jeans in extremely detailed works of art. On one pair of jeans I remember I had a dragon smoking a pipe which curled up and around one leg, and from out of the smoke of the pipe a series of geckos and angels escaped across the rest of the material, completely covering every centimetre with a variety of different colours.

I would spend months working on a single ‘piece’, getting lost within its construction, rarely showing anyone else the work that I was doing until it was completed. They were me capturing moments, thoughts, or feelings, and my way of expressing the things that my imagination came up with that I could otherwise never define. They were also a way to relax, as I enjoyed creating them. Each was a part of me, some obvious, some not so obvious, and it is a shame that I no longer have any of the pictures I drew because I think it would be very interesting to see what I created again.

Something I keep forgetting to tell people about me is I am completely deaf in my left ear, and the hearing in my right ear has suffered because of this to the point where today if I am somewhere there is any noise, like even just a T.V, or other people talking, I can barely make out a conversation I am having with someone standing in front of me.

A situation that often has me misunderstanding words used, peoples intentions, and generally isolates me from many facets of what most would consider a normal life. I have to sit in a certain place in a room to actually hear people, intentionally stand in a certain place to talk to some one I want to talk to, or other times I am a lot louder in situations than most other people would normally be, and unintentionally ignore people I can not hear.

Something even fewer people know about me is ever since I can remember I have suffered from severe depression, which at times was something that isolated me completely in a variety of situations, at any time it chose to, but not something I shared with anyone. I think this is probably the first time I have openly admitted that depression is something I have suffered from and dealt with on my own, for what seems like all of my life, and it is only now that I share it because I find myself in the unique position of wanting to be completely honest about who I am, without thought of what other people may judge me as.

I sometimes think I need to harden up, to not care what anyone else thinks, other times I think I need to be nicer to people, to care more about what other people think. I have often tried to be someone I am not, to be who other people wanted me to be because I have never had the confidence to be any more than who I am, because in my mind I need to make up for not being nice to people, and when I don’t know how to do that, I do what other people want me to do.

I know I have not yet done enough with my life and want to do more. I know that the things I am doing with my life now are the things I want to be doing, the things that are important to me, and that sticking to my plan will allow me to do even more. I know there are people close to me who want more from me, who to me it seems to me that I am not yet good enough, or able to do enough for, and understand that this is how it may always be, that I can only do what it is that I can do, and that I need help to do more. That people do not realise fully my situation, how many times I have had to start my life over and over again, how much of me I no longer have with me, as I continue to search for somewhere I want to be, because for most people life has found them.

It is only people who open their eyes who can see that I have lived more in my life than most, that I have seen, been, and done things that most people will never experience simply because life would never lead them down the same path that I have travelled, that I am someone they can be proud of if they let me, that I have my own problems, goals, and hobbies which may not be the same as theirs, and in an ideal world not only the people who really care about other people would see that we all walk different paths, aiming for the same place, but everyone would understand each other for who they really are.

It is easy for me to become lost within my own headspace, and be distracted by the things that are a part of who I am. What is hard for me is to consistently concentrate on the things I know I need to do, to do things that I need to do for others to consistently see me as who I really am, because as much as I believe it is possible for me to be who I want to be, it is this that I have always struggled with in one way or another.

Setting up my own business is going to be creatively something I enjoy massively, but the management side of things will be a lot harder because it will require consistency, and that is something I have struggled with often throughout my life, but here I am and it will be from here I move forward simply because it is what I want to do…

…it is still not too late to use the gifts that I have been given.

Till soon.. Stay safe.. Be You!!!


The Weekly(ish) Update - Issue 0015

The Weekly(ish) Update
31st May 2010
Issue Fifteen

Every day is simply another step on my journey, a journey that we call ‘life’…

At the moment I am sitting by myself on a couch in the flat above my birth fathers pub in Hamilton, the same place I called home when I first came back to New Zealand after living in Australia, and I have been thinking about what makes me want to continue to do more than I have been doing, what has made me believe that my actions may make a difference in the life of someone else, when I have seemingly spent so long on my own, and why I am inspired almost every day to show those who look at me who I really am.

This week I officially moved away from Wellington, after achieving everything I set out to do there, to Hamilton, where I want to set up a small photography business of my own, and work towards the goals I continue set for myself each and every day.

Prior to leaving I was both excited about completing my bike ride, wanting to move on to my next challenge, and at the same time deflated when that bike ride, and my greatest challenge so far, had become the best experience of my life and at the same time seemingly ended without celebration, something I struggled with a little because even though I knew that was how it would end, I guess a small part of me thought it would have been nice if it had ended differently.

The overall experience taught me a lot, life goes on, and for me to continue the momentum I created I need to stick to my plan, and add to it where required. If I am to achieve all I set out to do in the future feeling bad that something didn’t happen when I knew already that it wouldn’t happen, is only inviting negative thoughts to distract from the simple fact that I completed that goal as planned, and now must move on to the next step of my life.

Good and bad things happen to everyone, some things are better, and others worse, but the reality is that we each define in our own life how much a moment means to us, and no one has the right to say that any moment in life should mean more or less to someone other than themselves, because those are the only eyes we see through each and every day.

Over the years I have met some very lucky, and very unlucky, people. I think that only a fool would say that all people deserve what they get in life, that everyone chooses their own path, because that is simply not true, and where a person is born is a good example of this, simply not knowing you have other options is another.

I know someone who through my eyes seemingly has the perfect life, he is not a superstar, he just lives in a world surrounded by good people, a loving family, a fantastic wife he has been with since I can remember, that loves him for who he is, and together they are the parents of two healthy kids, in a life that I consider ideal. He deserves this life, just as anyone else.

I also know someone who once had the potential to be one of the world’s greatest surfers who was idolised as a teenager, won everything he entered, then one day was in a car accident through no fault of his own, and spent three months in hospital. On the day of his release he walked down the steps of the hospital, looked right instead of left as he stepped on to the road, and was hit by a bus, sending him straight back into hospital. It damaged his brain so severely that he had little, and sometimes no, control over his actions, sometimes causing him to turn violent, or other times pee his pants, and so he eventually spent the rest of his life on the streets as an outcast, then in and out of a variety of institutions, from where which he eventually died alone. He is only one example of millions of people who become a product of what happens to them in life, not what they have done achieve where they are in life.

Life can not be controlled no matter how hard we try to control it, regardless of what the advertisements tell us, the best we can do with our life is simply the best we each can do within our own circumstances. Sometimes if we are lucky enough to have a hand in where it takes us, were we actually end up where we wanted to be, and then when we get where ever we are it is only luck/god/karma that keeps us a moment within any where we find ourselves before something else happens in life to decide where we are taken to next. No one controls our life, and all we can do is the best we can do.

I also believe that within our life, and in the lives of those our actions effect, both directly and indirectly, that we all individually have the ability to change life, to do more, and/or less, to alter the paths we all travel when we try to, which is why I rode my bike around New Zealand, why I want to start a business that donates directly to charity, and why I am here on the couch thinking out loud about what I think about what I need to do next to allow me to do more with the life I am given.

And yes, of course I realise that not everyone who gets these emails actually reads all of them, that even fewer understand all of them, and maybe only one, or perhaps two, are effected in some way, shape or form, by something written in each, somewhere within their content, of one of the thoughts I have sent, and yet I still send them. I still try to remind each of you that you are a part of my life, and thus a part of my journey.

This has just reminded me of something else I wanted to share. A big little friend asked me the other day what the ‘poem’ meant that is attached to the bottom of the emails I send, which I honestly cant ever recall having been asked before, which kind of surprised me a little, but at the same time made me wonder if people decide their own meaning for it, and if they do what does it mean to them?

For me the ‘poem’ is partially who I am, but mostly who I want to be. I told her the poem is about living life.. about what it is like to not being seen by others for who you really are.. and at the same time try to find someone who really wants to know you.. someone who cares.. that people come.. people go.. that you live.. you learn.. you try.. you fail.. you experience.. and you die.. that in the end the only person any of it really matters to is you.. and it is what you do about that what counts.. that the something you are looking for, and all you need, is inside you and yet you still ask yourself do you give up or keep trying? do you live or die?

I actually wrote it when I was 13 or 14 years old, but it still means the same thing today as it did then.. it says regardless of what happened, I have not given up on me (",)

This week I want to continue living my life. I really need to get a job and earn some money so I can pay a few bills, make some progress on my goals, simply continue to do more than I have been doing. I want to recommence my photography course because it was something I started that I wanted to do. I want to actually start my company by registering it, talk to someone about the best way to do this so I do it properly. I also want to create my first product that will be available for sale soon, go to the gym, continue to organise the charity auction I am doing to celebrate my bike ride, and thus get back on the bike so to speak, because by doing even just one of the things that I want to do, I am actually living the life I have been given.

…every day is simply another step on my journey, a journey that we call ‘life’.

Till Soon.. Stay Safe.. Be You.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Weekly(ish) Update - Issue 0014

The Weekly(ish) Update
13th May 2010
Issue Fourteen


That’s how far I rode on my bike around New Zealand, and what an adventure it turned out to be. I met so many wonderful people, visited so many beautiful places, and achieved my goal of rasing awareness for all New Zealands childrens charities many time over.

I knew before I left that it was not going to be easy, infact until I had done the first week I was unsure if I would be able to complete it, I mean how many people decide that they are going to ride a push bike around an entire country and prepare everything but themselves for the adventure, I literally learnt as I went, and in hindsight think it became even more of an adventure because of it.

Day one was probably the hardest, it had the steepest learning curve of any of the other days, mostly because I learnt as I went, and as I went what I learnt was how hard it was going to be. I had over 50kg’s in the trailer, I carried everything I thought I might need in a trailer designed to carry between 20 – 30kgs.. and surprisingly the trailer did really well for the first few weeks, then things started to go wrong, and repears became bigger, more frequently, and more time consuming.

I left Picton about 7.30am and it was as I was pushing my bike up the road out of Picton that I realised how much of a challenge it was going to be, because everytime the road went slightly uphill I had to get off my bike and push the entire weight myself because I was not fit enough to ride up hills, and that was only the start, the road that leads out of Picton was no where near as steep as other roads about to be encountered, and that became even more of a challenge once I got to the mountain range that separated me from the east coast.

I never gave up though, if it was too hard to ride I got off and pushed, I was determined to complete my journey and I took each day as a separate challenge. Initially my goals were simple, finish the distance I planned to do, and try and remain happy doing it. Quite a simple theory for what was a very physical challenge, and I learnt a lot of lessons quickly because there was no other way to complete the next day if I did not learn from the day I was doing.

For example on day three I think it was I ran out of water, I was only carrying two 500ml bottles that I planned to refill when I could, not being a water drinker or heavy exerciser before this journey I had no idea how important that clear liquid actually was, so I initially assumed carrying those two little bottles would be enough.

Well the day I ran out it was about 30 degrees in the shade, the peak of summer and I had a reasonable head wind to contend with, so I didn’t feel myself burn as the wind cooled me nicely, yet my energy levels slowly but surely fell, they fell to the point where after 5 hours without water I looked, and felt, like I was about to pass out. I was very lucky not to collapse, and even luckier to have made it to the shop to get a drink before I did, but I learnt my lesson, and I never ran out of water like that again. On some days I would drink up to 10 litres of water a day, pee very little, but sweat a lot.

I carried all my food for the South Island with me, porridge and soup. Each morning I would have 2 - 3 sachets of porridge, which half filled the pot I cooked it in, and for lunch I would drink 2 – 3 cups of soup, which kept me going through the day, and mostly at night I was often too tired to eat, so porridge and soup became my main diet as I had very little money to buy anything else.

The trouble with this was 6 weeks of food weighs a lot, and I think it was on day two when I bumped into a guy who had cycled around 20+ countries, looking very professional in all his colourful cycling gear with two small bags attached to his bike, who told me he bought his food each day so he didn’t have to carry all the weight, that I began to make plans for a few changes in the North Island.

I had various problems, like the trailer was over loaded, I slept on the side of the road in a tent with no matress, my shoes gave me blisters, and my bum became incredibly sore spending up to 10 hours each day riding, but none of these caused me to stop any longer than was required to fix the problem, or realise that I just had to keep going to complete that particular day, and that is probably what I am the most proud of, the fact I never gave up.

When I first thought about doing this trip I knew it would be hard, and I guess a few days were much harder than others, the learning curve was incredibly steep to begin with, and physically each day presented different challenges, but at no point did I fully realise how much I would enjoy it, how much what I was doing would come to mean to me, because even though I set out to raise awareness for New Zealand childrens charities, I guess there was always a part of me that doubted my own ability to do that to any great degree. I guess I kind of thought that I would get on my bike, ride around New Zealand, had out a few flyers, take a couple of photos, and no one would really care.

Sure when I was in Auckland they didn’t want to know about me, and I never got much reaction in Wellington, or when I first started the journey on the east coast of the South Island, but everywhere else I went the response was well beyond what I expected. I learnt that what I was doing was important, and not something that just anyone would do, I learnt that I was making a difference every where I went, and at no point was this more evident than when I went through Whangarei.

A group of war vetrans had set up a memorial in the city, 420 crosses in a park, each cross had a laminated a4 piece of paper on it that had a heap of information about one vetran who had been killed in a war, and the 420 crosses represented each of the 420 vetrans from Whangarei who had been kiiled. Family visited their realitives cross and added information to it, the vetrans their had a caravan and invited people to know who these people were, and I swear it is one of the most moving memorials I have ever seen anywhere.

I was talking to a few of the vetrans there, and one of them made me realise how important my journey was when he said “that I was not only raising awareness for New Zealand childrens charities, but doing something for the future of New Zealand children”. Which coming from someone who had fought for New Zealand in a war, mean a lot, and I was humbled by the experience.

During my journey I was lucky enough to get myself written about in maybe 20 local newspapers, most of which had a photo as well, and also I did maybe a dozen interviews on radio stations across the country, including one of my favourite interviews at Nagti Porou Radio in Ruatoria, where a young guy tied his horse up to the post outside the window of the radio station as we were doing the interview, so he could get milk and bread from the shop. I met a range of incredible people, people who all inspired me to continue, some of whom offered me meals, beds, help, prayers, and in one instance an asparigus roll halfway up a mountain I had been pushing my bike for a couple of hours. There were also things I did not like so much, like all those people who actually tried to kill me using their car or truck by ‘squeezing’ past me where I had no room to move, or moved into me instead of away from me as they went past, the few people who laughed at me when I was struggling, or the fact that my jouney had to end and there was no way for me to do anymore than what I had done.

Which I guess is why came up with the idea to try and create an auction for my favourite charity Canteen using some of the photos I took whilst I was doing my ‘Cycle for Life’, and so far it hass not progressed further than an idea, but what I am thinking of doing is allowing Canteen to choose my 10 best photos, print them out on a3 art paper so they are of stunning quality, get them framed using 40,000 year old kauri so the frames make them even more desirable, and auction them on trade me, with all the money going to Canteen.

What do you think?

I would like to do something more, something to end my adventure before I start Custom Vision Photography officially next month after I move to Hamilton next week. I would like a way to celebrate the fact that I rode my bike, and completed my goal, of raising awareness for all New Zealand childrens charities by cycling around Aotearoa…


Till soon.. Stay safe.. Be You!!!


The Weekly(ish) Update - Issue 0013

The Weekly(ish) Update
26th January 2010
Issue Thirteen

I’ve missed you New Zealand…

I finished my job today at the airport driving the staff around in circles, and I must admit that as much as I enjoyed meeting a few new people, spending a moment of each day with a variety of staff from air hostess’s to baggage handlers, I am not really going to miss to much about the place, and I am even more certain that most will not even notice I am no longer there.

It is one of those jobs that anyone with half a brain can do, and even though I tried to be professional, and polite, even when some of the staff were very rude, the fact remains that there is only so much a person can do when the people they are dealing with only ever really see the back of a head for a few minutes a day.

I never intended staying as long as I did, it became a necessity due to the hours I was given, or should I say lack of them, and as hard as it has been financially this year for me, I knew that eventually I would have to decide to leave for another job, or leave to do my own thing, regardless of my situation, because things there were never going to be any more than they were, which was not ideal financially, but being completely honest with you they never really have been for me, so it was time to do something different.

Starting my own business is something I have always wanted to do, I have had lots of ideas over the years for a range of money making schemes that would give me independence from needing to rely on someone else, control over my own destiny, and ultimately freedom to do what I want to do, but for a variety of reasons I have never actively pursued any one of those ideas, which I guess has somehow made me even more determined to make my first venture a success.

My life has led me to this point, I know where I have been and to a degree learnt who I am, I now must take the next step in my life and that step is going to lead me to more options than I have ever had before in my life (those of you who really know me will agree that I have had A LOT of options over the years, some good, some not so good), but my new options will continue to focus on achieving the plan I partially set for myself before I was no longer allowed to drive tour buses around New Zealand, a plan that I have not strayed too far away from regardless of how far away it has seemed at times, because ultimately one of the things I have learnt in my life to date is that achieving my goals is as important in my life as believing that my goals are worth having, in other words… my life is worth living.

I have spent so much time in Wellington trying to build a relationship with my adopted family that is sustainable after I leave here next week, most likely for the last time (as I can only see myself returning to visit briefly once I begin to start working on my own business) that other areas of my life I have not been maintained very well at all, and as much as want to say that ‘repairing’ those other areas of my life will soon become a reality, the truth is those other areas of my life are what they are, and the best thing that I can do is concentrate on doing what I need to do, because for so long I have always worried about things that mattered to other people, instead of focusing on what matters to me.

I think most of you know me well enough to know that there are two definite sides to my personality, one that I try to show people most of the time, the side that is cheeky, playful and happy, the one that wants other people to like me that is neither shy, or easily offended, the side that does things for other people to help them, to make their lives better, and then there is ‘the other one’, the one that I try to hide, the side of me that really does care, that hurts deeper inside than anything else because I am yet to discover a way to appropriately display how this feels to anyone else, because I believe no one who ever really sees me will ever really see me, and for so long it is that which I have hidden inside me that has stopped me from showing who I really am to everyone I meet.

I lost my bus driving job because I showed people glimpses of who I have been and they did not understand it, they did not know me well enough to know that to me those glimpses did not even scratch the surface and that I had dealt with ‘my dark passenger’ for longer than anyone I know has spent in regular contact with me, full stop, not once loosing control over my actions to the point where I felt I needed to get some sort of help, and a couple of you reading this know some of the things that I have been through in my life, which I guess is my way of saying that even though at times I have made some silly choices, said the wrong thing, or acted in a way that may have seemed unreasonable, I have never been a danger to anyone other than myself, and for people to think otherwise hurts, it hurts a lot, because I know how hard I have tried to not hurt anyone but me.

Being completely honest with all of you… I am so sick of having to act like there is nothing wrong, because people continuously treat me like there is something wrong with me, that I am different than they are, that because I have made the changes in my life that I have made, like no drinking etc. even though I didn’t think they effected me negatively) just to show that the things I were doing before did not effect who I was, that the things I did before were just things I did, and not who I was, because thankfully a couple of you have taught me that being myself does not require me to do anything other than be who I am, that regardless of choices I have made, silly things I have said or done, that I am who I am, that I do not have to change to be someone else, and it is with that knowledge I am moving forward in my life.

Before I start my business I am going to ride my bike around New Zealand, something that I am going to start to do in 5 days time, and one of the biggest challenges for me will be going to see all the people I never saw again after I stopped driving around New Zealand.

Even though I know that most of the people I will get to stop in and talk to have got on with their life and not given me a second thought, the right thing, and in some cases the hardest thing, will be going to see them one at a time and telling them what happened, telling them why I stopped coming in to see them, because what I have not told anyone since I finished driving is that when I was not allowed to keep driving, and subsequently unfairly dismissed, I lost contact with all of my friends.
The guys I use to work with, the other drivers and office staff no longer talk to me, the staff in the hostels and café’s no longer talk to me, the operators of all those great activities I took people to see no longer talk to me, and very few of my friends who were once passengers on the bus still talk to me, and because the way it happened, what was said about me both at the time, and in the letters written since, I certainly feel less and less comfortable about the whole thing because the only person effected is me.

I don’t blame anyone for what happened though, no one but myself, and I guess that is the hardest part, accepting complete responsibility for something that happened to me that if seen though my eyes would never have happened, and all I can do is get on with what I am doing, continue the plan that I made and that I will work towards regardless of the challenges that are thrown at me, because in the end that is all I can do, I cant change what has happened, all I can do is put myself into a realistic position so I can do everything I need to do to ensure it does not happen ever again.
I have not changed parts of my life because of other people, I have changed because of myself, because of what I want to do, and I know that some people will think that I am doing what I am doing to spite the fact I no longer drive tour buses, or because I want to start my own business and make money to help young people, but the simple fact is that I am about to get on a bike and ride around the coasts of first the South, and then the North Islands, because it is something that I want to do for myself, and regardless of any money raised or publicity received, the achievement made just in attempting it has rewards I expect to last well beyond the adventure itself, but what an adventure.

I don’t have any money, and I am unsure how far my bike will get as neither of us have ever attempted anything like this before, but I am going to give it a go, I am going to take one day at a time, not push myself too hard so that I enjoy it as much as possible, as I am on the road for three months, cycling between 60 – 90 kilometres every day without a day off, in the variety of weather conditions that so far this summer range from between barely average, to torrential rain with gale force winds, and I have no support crew, which basically means that I am in for one amazing, roller coaster of a journey.

I have tried to get sponsorship, ‘Charlies’ sent me some juice, and ‘Interislander’ offered free travel on the ferry between Wellington and Picton, no one else was interested, I started to collect donations at the suggestion of one of the staff, after selling Christmas cards at work, and when I picked up the donation box this morning I discovered someone had ripped it open and taken all the money that was in it, which included the money from the cards I had made.

I have sent heaps of letters to T.V, radio, and newspapers, with one reply, so before I go I will have another go, but the short version is I am doing this on my own, and it is going to be what I make of it, and as unlucky as I appear to be I think as long as I stay focused on what I need to do, try to make it as enjoyable as possible by not pushing myself too hard, take time out to take photos, meet locals, and share the experience, I will hopefully gather some momentum and a few more people will support what I am doing, but I am preparing myself for the possibility of doing the whole trip unsupported.

One of the charities I support asked me today to remove their logo from the trailer, and my website, because I do not meet their requirements for a supporter (which I think means because I am not guaranteeing that I will be able to give them cash they do not want me benefitting from the use of their brand, which is a shame as they were one of my favourite charities.

There is a lot more still to do before I leave at the end of the week for Picton, but I am getting through it all slowly, and regardless of what happens, on Sunday afternoon I will be on that boat ready to start to ride my bike ride on Monday morning, for the first of ninety one epic stages of ‘Cycle for Life’ that will take me all around this beautiful country I call home…

…I’ve missed you New Zealand.


PS. …if you want to check up on me I will be putting regular updates on my Twitter page every day because I can send messages to it from my mobile phone almost every where I go, and will also update my Blog page when ever I get access to the internet.

If you want to send me messages you can do so via txt to my mobile phone, and if you, or someone you know, are going to be in one of the places I go to on the day I go there and want to offer a friendly face to talk to, a decent meal, or comfortable bed for the night, please contact me using any of the details on my website, which also has detailed route information for the entire journey…

The Weekly(ish) Update - Issue 0012

The Weekly(ish) Update
31st December 2009
Issue Twelve

Things never end how they begin…

Another year has been and is now gone, and as much as I thought I would be saying that I have had a really shitty year, when I think about it I must admit that it wasn’t that bad after all, that I have in fact done more this year than any other to insure that the next year holds more potential than any other year before it, and that is simply not because of what has happened, but what I have done.

Sure it did not go to plan, far from it, and most of that can be traced back to a single event this time last year which allowed other people the opportunity to change my goals for 2009, goals that I thought would find me moving towards where I wanted to be in a particular way, but everything changed almost the moment I decided what I was going to do, and it has literally taken me up until this moment to fully appreciate what I have achieved with everything that has happened, and what I have done in response to it all.

Significantly, two of my aunties died this year from cancer, and I am grateful that I had the chance to get to know each of them, that I came back from Australia to spend time getting to know people who took the time to share moments with me, to get to know me just a little bit, because those moments I will treasure forever.

Last Christmas I drove around the North Island to spend an hour or so with my birth father, and my two very sick aunties, before I drove to Auckland to see my birth mother. A day that reminded me of what an emotional roller coaster I have been on since coming back to New Zealand to meet my birth family for, what was for most, the very first time, and how much I have grown since then, that because I was willing to do so much to simply share a moment knowing almost everyone wanted more from me, which even today I think very few people really understand, I gained so much more within the moments I shared with everyone, and how they all became a part of my life.

That was the very first time I had spent Christmas day with my birth mother, and father, on the same day, which meant heaps to me on its own, but add to that I started the day at my adopted parents, meant I spent my first ever Christmas with all of my family, ever, which I think is pretty cool, but at the same time it was not an easy because knowing I could only share a moment with each meant I couldn’t really relax and really enjoy it.

Seeing both of my aunties was good, but very hard, as they were both so sick with cancer you could see how much those around them were hurting, and yet the day was perfect, even though I didn’t get to see some of my family because they were doing other things that meant when I got to them they were not home, which was a shame, but not something I dwelled on because I did my best and I had tried to see everyone.

I didn’t drink to celebrate Christmas, the first chance for that was when I left on tour and had a couple of drinks at the end of that day, but it was nothing major though.

A couple of hours sleep and I started a day that has led me to change my life more than I ever wanted to, a day that I have relived over and over in my head regularly ever since it happened, trying to understand why it happened, why people who did not know me decided what was best for me, and why events lined up to create a situation that caused me to unfairly loose everything I had worked so hard for.

This year has not been easy, which I have just realised a few of you who know me quite well might find a strange thing for me to say after everything else I have been through in my life, considering this year I found myself a new job to earn a little bit of money, had a place to stay at night, food to eat etc, and compared to so many other years I have had, this year on the surface has not been all that bad, but when you factor in how hard I have worked over the years to not let myself have a future that was my past, how hard I have worked to stand on my own two feet and not only look after myself, but those around me, then to have let others take that away from me, meant that this year has at times been harder than any other year before it.

Because of everything that happened I decided to make two major changes in my life this year, changes that were not planned, nor were they made because I felt I was doing something wrong and needed to change, but changes I have made to prevent certain events happening again, to prevent other people again having leverage to change my path in life in the same way that happened this year ever again.

The first change is that I no longer drink alcohol and/or use any drugs, something that is a massive change in my life because it was a huge part of my life, as this is how I’ve grown up, but something I decided to do in part to honour a commitment to one of my aunties, and also because I believe that this choice will allow me the best opportunity to succeed with my goals, eliminating many distractions, and giving me the best possible focus on achieving everything I am setting out to do in the future.

The second change is I have put myself into a position where I will no longer work for anyone else ever again, that I am now in a position to start my own business, using my talents to earn my own money, and truly stand on my own two feet.

I think that is one of the main reasons I have changed so many things in my life, is because this year I have missed the freedom to do what I want to do when I want to do it, I have missed spending time with my birth father, my birth mother, my sisters, and brother, my nieces and nephews, aunties and uncles, and all of my friends, not because I want, or need anything from them, but because I have at time been reminded through the eyes of others how much I have enjoyed sharing moments with all of these people, how much better my life is with all of these people a part of it.

One of the biggest highlights for me this year has been being a part of my adopted brothers two girls life, my youngest nieces have grown before me and as such I have become a part of who they are, and for me, someone who for many years felt like he was not a part of anything, that has meant so much.

I have realised many things this past year, I have realised that all of my family is the most important thing in my life, that my real friends are part of that family, that I can be true to myself without hiding beneath a mask because the people who really care about me like me for who I really am, not who I disguise myself to be, that life is hard if I choose it to be, that bad things happen to good people, and that it is only when we change what we do that we can change the things that are around us, sharing the things that have allowed me to grow more than any other year before it.

I have a lot of plans for 2010, the two big ones though are ‘Cycle for Life’ and ‘Custom Vision’, but there are a lot of things I am looking forward to doing that will bring me closer to my major goal of building a house on the piece of land I want to buy within the next four years, finally creating myself a ‘home’, and that is what I have been setting myself up to work towards this past year, that is what I am going to continue to work towards this coming year, and for that I can argue 2009 has not been the shitty year I thought it may have been.

I would like to thank you all for being a part of who I am, and who I have become, there is so much I now have to do and I even though I know I have to do what I need to do on my own, I do it with the support of everyone who is, and has been, a part of my life now, and forever.

I hope you all had a very merry Christmas, a safe, and happy New Years eve, and may I just say no matter where you are, what you are doing, or how you feel at a particular moment, in any part of any day, that regardless of what happens to you, “things never end how they begin”.

All the best for 2010 everyone (“,)


PS. …and to my best friend, Peter Michael Wall, who died at almost the exact time this message is sent, on New Years day so many years ago, I still miss you my friend.

The Weekly(ish) Update - Issue 0011

The Weekly(ish) Update
15th December 2009
Issue Eleven

It’s not about what I can get, it’s about what I can give…

I perhaps should have named this the monthy(ish) update, but the last few weeks I have been a little bit busy sorting out a few things in preparation for what will be a very busy 2010, which now is only a few weeks away.

Christmas just around the corner, and this year I am not having Christmas, well not in the same way I have come to think about Christmas, this year I will be at work again doing something I no longer enjoy, but doing it so that next year, and every other year after it, I hopefully do not have to do something I no longer enjoy ever again.

Last year was the first year I managed to spend a part of Christmas day with all three sides of my family, when I started in Wellington at my adopted parents, drove to Hamilton to spend a couple of hours in the afternoon with my birth father and his side of my family, then went to Auckland to spend a little bit of time that night with my birth mother and some of her side of my family, a day that was a little bit rushed, overwhelming, and yet allowed me to tick a big box on my life’s ‘To Do List’.

But that was last year, I am actually glad that this year is almost over, a lot of things happened this year that I have struggled to find sense in, things that took me from being very happy doing things I loved, to a place that I realise now I need to move through so that my life can now move forward, a place that I had been many times but thought I was moving away from at my own pace until I was forced to focus on it again, to have to make changes so I can be in no doubt simular things will never happen again, because all the signs were there I would slide back into being depressed again, so it has been a year of continuous change for me, a year where I managed to do enough to remain focused on my goals, but still another year I am happy to move on from, regardless of how I feel about events that happened within it.

I miss a lot of things in my life at the moment, things that next year I will again work hard on filling gaps in my life with that they have left at the moment, because as much as I need to move forward, and to continue to grow, I also need to feel I am doing all I can to hold on to what is important to me.

Until then I will continue to miss living in Australia, and my friends that I have not seen for ages, I will continue to miss moments shared with all of my family, travelling around New Zealand, meeting new people, and discovering new places, I will continue to miss learning, growing, and simply ‘being me’.

There is a plan, there always was a plan, a few goals I to work towards, and ultimately achieve, a list that is continuously added to, aimed for, and updated as I move forward. A list that includes simple, quick and easy to do things, and longer, more difficult projects, but everything is as important as the other, and makes so much more sense to my life once completed.

I have been doing a lot of reflecting, remembering moments in my life that at the time had little or no meaning, but things that I can now see how much they impacted on choices that were made, paths that were followed, and situations that I found myself in. My life has always been my own, but I have shared it with so many people, and not always done what was the right thing at that time, regardless of whether I knew differently or not in those moments.

Most of you would have heard of an old dead lady called Mother Teresa, who became famous for helping people, but unlike most famous people she never did any one thing that made her famous, she was just a really nice person who gave of herself continuously so that other people’s lives could be better, who is quoted as saying is ‘I have discovered the paradox that if you love until it hurts, then there is no longer hurt, but only love’.

What most people do not know about Mother Teresa is she actually doubted the existence of god (you can check this if you look at facts about her in letters that she wrote that are easy enough to find on the internet, Wikipedia for example has some honest facts about her), but the amazing part is she based her life on ‘doing god’s work’, which is a huge test of her faith, and yet she continuously lived what she believed until the day she died.

I have no idea what paradox means, I could look it up, but that is not the point, the point is that this little old dead lady discovered in giving, she received, that by doing what she thought was right, this little old lady found a place inside herself that allowed her to continuously give to others, because it was ‘right’, and sadly that is not something people know a lot about.

Everyone wants a fancy car, a flash house, pretty clothes and expensive shoes, everyone wants to be like the rappers in music videos, with all their ‘bling’ who continuously want to ‘slap their bitch’, or the corporate mogul whose only goal is to climb to the top of the money tree, at any ones expense, and I guess it is the same for an athlete who wants to be the best, or the team who want to win, everyone wants to be better than who they really are, everyone except those who give of themselves, regardless of what they believe, because it is right, just like a little old dead lady called Mother Teresa.

Now there is no way I’m about to compare myself to any one famous, there are thousands, if not millions, of people who are way more qualified to things for other people than I am, people who genuinely make differences in other peoples lives, but what I would like to do though is my part in making the world I live in a better place, feel like I have done something that means something to someone other than me, simply because I believe that it is the right thing for me to do.

This was reinforced last night when I was watching T.V and there was a family on the news who had two children, the first was diagnosed with type one diabetes, requiring him to injected himself regularly throughout each day with what ever it is they inject themselves with, at a young age, and at some point he admitted he felt hard done by, that it wasn’t fair, that was of course until his brother was found to have a rare form of cancer that they thought would be easily treated, which ultimately wasn’t, and he filled a large jar with well over one thousand of the various beads that patients receive for their treatments, before it eventually took his life just after his seventeenth birthday, and his brother was now ‘inspired’ to live each day to its fullest, whilst his parents stating that there was no cause for the illnesses, that their boys, like so many other people, were just unlucky.

In case anyone has missed the point of all this, I know how lucky I am, regardless of what has happened to me, because it is not about what I can get, its about what I can give.

Till soon.. Stay safe.. Be You!!!


PS. If you guys get a few minutes please check out the website I have been working on, and offer advice, comments, or suggestions…

The Weekly(ish) Update - Issue 0010

The Weekly(ish) Update
9th November 2009
Issue Ten

It’s not about the bike…

“It’s not about the bike” is the title of a book written by American Lance Armstrong, a cancer survivor and the multiple winner of the Tour de France cycle race, who set up his Livestrong foundation to raise awareness, money, and support for cancer patient’s, and his book simply tells of his journey through that.

Cancer is a cruel disease, it can not only paralyse the carrier’s quality of life, but all those around that person who see it’s effect on someone they care about, it can kill quickly, or slowly and painfully, it can be found in anyone, at any age, at any time.

Strangely, I actually consider myself lucky to have had my life touched by a number of people who have lost, and won, their battles with cancer, because it makes me very aware of how lucky I am to be who I am, who I am through what I have seen and done, who I am through what I have seen in so many other peoples lives.

I have been a lot of places in my life, met a lot of people, done a lot of things, and I know that the point I am at in my life right now is a result of the journey I have been on, a journey that has taken me through a variety of good, and bad, situations, a journey that continues in the direction I choose for myself, because I have so many options, unlike so many others who are trapped within their circumstance, and individual situations.

For me ‘the bike’ is simply stuff I acquire and have around me, the material things that come and go in life, things that mean less to me than other parts of my life, and even though over the years I have learnt that sometimes these things can seemingly make life more comfortable in some circumstances, that in other circumstances trying to acquire them, and acquire some of what other people seemingly have, actually makes life more difficult, when the reality should be that we all have the means to be as comfortable as the next person if we only looked inside ourselves, lived our own lives to the best of our ability, instead of looking to things outside of us to make us complete.

I know a lot of people who have a lot of ‘things’, and I know a lot of people who seemingly have almost no ‘things’, and amongst both groups of people I know some of these individuals to be truly great people, people I aspire to be more like not because of the ‘things’ that they have, but because of who they are.

I believe that at separate points in our lives we all arrive at various crossroads, difficult choices we all have to make ultimately define us, choices that with hindsight prove to be pivotal points in our lives, and unsurprisingly most of us take a path that is easiest to travel, regardless of the amount of ‘things’ in our lives, most of us choose to be as comfortable as possible.

Being completely honest I am no different, most of my life I have taken the easy options, I have done things in my life that looking back on I can now almost see what would have happened if I had chosen to take another action, made another decision, and with hindsight I realise that choices I made allowed so many others to follow, taking me on a journey that has seen me do a lot of ‘things’, but nothing significant.

Part of me actually thinks I have done more harm than good in other peoples lives, that by not making good choices and standing up for those who are less fortunate than myself, regardless of what I think of my own life, that I have not impacted the lives of those around me in a way that inspires others to do simular things in their lives, but part of me knows that this is the same for most of us, as demonstrated occasionally in various random events that allow us to individually show our humanity together.

My journey has lead me here, the words on this screen are from me to myself mostly, a reminder of who I am, or perhaps want to be, but like I said in the first issue they are written with the intention to share my journey with all of the people I care about, with the people who are, and have been, a part of my journey, with you.

I think that most people on ‘the list’ this is sent to do not actually read everything I write here, which I realise is mostly because I tend to write a lot and everyone these days is so busy with their own lives that a considerable amount of effort would be involved in taking the time to share this with me, some might not understand it, others might even think I’m too crazy give that time to, but the few who I think do read all of it are very special people, people who are a greater part of my life than perhaps I give them credit for, than actually I know I don’t give enough credit to.

This is the tenth issue of My Weekly(ish) Update, a bit of a milestone really considering I am not great at being consistent with anything other than being inconsistent with everything. I guess that was one of the main reasons this ended up being called the weekly “(ish)” update, and issue ten, apart from the issue one, is the first significant milestone to have been reached.

In issue one I talked about what it was like to be in Wellington, how hard it was to be staying at my adopted parents place again, how little money I was earning, how much I missed the people I would visit regularly around New Zealand, and how bad I was at generally maintaining relationships.

Not a lot has changed, but I have achieved a lot since that first issue where I decided I would start my own business, Custom Vision, and I have made so many decisions towards achieving what it is that I want to do on the next part of my journey.

Something that I am unhappy about though is the fact that I want to be doing more, and I am not. I am doing a lot in theory but there is a lot more that I could be doing, I only have three months left before I leave Wellington, and a lot of things that I need to complete before I leave, I need to be ready, I need to be prepared to do the things I have planned and not simply stumble upon them as I have been doing.

My main focus must be setting up my website, completing more of my photography diploma, planning and preparing for the cycle tour, earning some money to pay my bills, and creating a plan to work towards over the next year and beyond, because everything else is a distraction, there are things that I must do in the next three months or else everything simply will not work as I intend it to.

I already know I need to do more than I am doing at the moment, I know that to do what I need to do I must not take easy options, I must work towards what I want, and thankfully I already know that I will receive very little support physically, simply because that is how it is for me where I am at the moment, I know that no one else will help me do what I need to do but me, and to do everything I must do I need to do it on my own, simply knowing that there are people out there who care about me, people who do love and want the best for me, who would help me if they were able to, is what I must use to motivate me to do everything I need to do.

I have used many excuses in my life to not be who I want to be, who I really am, excuses that effect others around me in various, and often harmful, ways. Throughout my life I have chosen to allow my situation to dictate choices I made, to allow ‘things’ in my life to dictate who I am, knowing full well deep down somewhere inside me that what I was doing was ultimately wrong for both myself, and those around me.

Sometimes it is not easy being me, or trying to be a better me, because sometimes I don’t like who I am, or the things that happen in my life, but I don’t think it is meant to be easy, and sometimes I guess I need to remind myself that for me my life is about more than just the ‘things’ in my life, that for me it’s not about the bike… it’s about the journey, and I want to thank all of you for being a part of that with me.

Till soon.. Stay safe.. Be You!!!


PS. I managed to get myself into the city the other night to take photos of the fireworks display, I have included couple of the better ones that were taken, I hope you like them as much as I enjoyed taking them.

The Weekly(ish) Update - Issue 0009

The Weekly(ish) Update
17th October 2009
Issue Nine

All I can be is who I am…

As I briefly mentioned at the end of the last issue, I plan on cycling around New Zealand. At this stage the first part will take me from Wellington up the west coast of the North Island to Cape Reinga, at the top, the next part will then take me down the east coast back to Wellington, I will then cross over to the South Island and ride down the east coast, before the final part will take me up the west coast, which at the moment I am allowing a total of eighty days to complete the entire trip, which I will do to raise awareness for the start of my business, Custom Vision, and various children’s charities in New Zealand.

I would like to leave Wellington in February, so my goal now is to aim to be ready by the start of February, which will give me the option of leaving later in February if there are any hiccups, but at some point in February I will leave Wellington on my bike, prepared to cycle around New Zealand.

The first question I am expecting everyone to think of, or ask me, is “What made me think of doing it”? And to answer that completely I must first tell you that I have always wanted to do something memorable for other people, something that inspires people to something simular, to highlight that there are people willing to do things for other people, that just because we grow up in a world where people seemingly do so many things selfishly, trying to make their own lives better, in a world where a lot of ‘innocent’ people are hurt in the process, that there are still people who care about people.

I can remember when I was a young boy that I never typically wanted to be a doctor, or lawyer, when I grew up, that earning a lot of money never inspired me, I never really wanted to be anything other than who I was, and even though at times in my life I wished my life was different, I have never wanted to be anyone other than who I am.

In saying that I never really liked who I was until I stopped trying to be something I wasn’t, that until I accepted myself for being who I was regardless of how other people felt about me, and the happiest memories I have are from when I have done what I felt was right for me at a particular moment in my life, right or wrong, and stood on my own two feet.

In the world we live in today, sadly, money is the focus of so much, we are shown in so many ways that it is a major requirement to a good life, that in it’s accumulation we measure success, and judge harshly those without it, yet it is those who give of themselves for the benefit of others, regardless of their situation, who I consider the better people within our world today, those who I admire the most, because it takes a special person to give who they are for someone else, and it is those people I aspire to be more like, because it is those people who make our world a better place.

I am regularly reminded that we are all willing to show others our humanity, but unfortunately that humanity often comes from within tragedy, and one recent example of this is here in New Zealand when a young two year old girl went missing, and sadly her body was found in a drain almost a week later, after the police dug up the pipe she was found in on a hunch, as it had already been searched a few times, by various people, after thousands of people searched the neighbourhood for her, the thing that stood out for me though was how on the night her body was found hundreds of people sat outside her parents house, many with candles, most in tears, offering support to people they never met for their loss, simply letting them know that they cared.

A simular thing happened a few weeks earlier, in another part of the country, when a woman’s body was found under a house, next to the body of the wife of the guy who had murdered both woman, and on the night this womans body was removed from the house the local people gathered to offer support to the family of the murdered woman, again whom most had never met, in a gesture that can only be described as emotional for anyone who witnessed it, and I think this has been happening more and more all around the world, in a variety of situations, because we are all looking for ways we can improve the seemingly shitty world we live in, ways that mean more in our lives because we do something for others to show that their lives are important to all of us, because ultimately it is human nature to care about things other than ourselves, whether we allow ourselves to or not.

It is that part of me that has always wanted to do something for others, it is that part of me that has always wanted to write a book to share my journey to help others, to show that because I am only one person, that I am only who I am, I know I can not change the world on my own, but that I can inspire others who are smarter, and better equipped, to do what I can not do, because I know there are so many people out there who like me want to make a difference, who want to do their part, and I know is that by doing my part others may be inspired to do theirs, because I have been inspired by so many before me.

The actual idea for my trip came from a woman in Wellington recently, who on her sixtieth birthday jogged sixty kilometres, and when I saw this on the news that night I started to think about how if she could jog that far in a day, at her age, then surely I could ride my bike that far in a day, regardless of how fit I was, and if I focused even just a little bit I would certianly be able to do it a lot quicker than someone jogging.

At some point soon after that I was reminded of New Zealand Cricketer, Chris Cairns, whose sister Louise was killed in a level crossing accident that involved a train and truck, Chris walked from Auckland to Christchurch in thirty five days, to raise awareness for rail safety, and I thought to myself that if he could do that, then surely if I was on a bike I could get a lot further, surely I could get around all of New Zealand with a little more effort, in a little more time.

And almost everyone reading this must have heard of the book ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’ written by Jules Verne in the late 1800s, the story of Phileas Fogg and his valet, Passepartout, who race around the world in a balloon as part of a bet, in one of the worlds best known, and all time classic, adventure stories, a story I recently discovered has been used as the basis of a relay race this year by a group of celebrities in the U.K, to raise awareness for children’s charities, in the annual ‘BBC Children in Need’ appeal.

As there is no way I can afford to race around the world, combining the three previous points, the logical conclusion I came upon was to cycle ‘Around New Zealand in Eighty Days’ to raise awareness for the various children’s charities in New Zealand, including Canteen, Make A Wish, StarJam, Childfund, and Starship, plus launch awareness of Custom Vision, and my plan to assist the children of New Zealand with the sale of limited edition New Zealand images, including postcards, larger prints, and a uniquely New Zealand calendar, in my new bussiness.

So in mid November I will begin to raise awareness of my plan, try contacting a radio station, and maybe a T.V channel or T.V program, and see if I can get myself sponsored in some way, shape or form, but even if I leave Wellington in February on my own, with no support, I will be going, I will tell people along the way what I am doing, why I am doing it, and collect names and addresses of people interested my products along the way.

At the very least get a bit of exercise, take some nice photos, and see some more of New Zealand.

Once this adventure is completed I have a few options, one is to rent the unused space at the back of my birth fathers building (or if that has been rented out by then somewhere else), that I can start a small business from, somewhere I can put effort into making it grow, which would include setting up a shop, internet sales, local markets, tourist hot spots, cruise ships, and major events where I can maximise exposure, and expand at a sensible rate.

Another thing I have thought about doing one day is eventually opening a combined gallery and café, something that combines great quality food and a place to display my photography, somewhere unique that people tell their friends about, somewhere friendly, comfortable, and memorable, somewhere different that is definitively New Zealand.

I have travelled a lot around New Zealand, and eaten in many types of places, as I like good food, and good service, but there very few places I would I go out of my way to eat in again, the few I would go out of my way to get to, I would do so simply because they do what they do very well, and that is something I would like to be a part of, by putting a select few people into the position of being able to do something with food that they love, or perhaps down the track food maybe something I would like to learn to do more with myself, something that allows me to promote New Zealand, and my photography, at the same time.

There are a lot of things I would like to do, recently my health has been effected by pain associated with tearing a tendon or nerve in my back, pain that limited what I was able to do for a period of time that has meant I now have to juggle a few of the things I had planned to do, for now it is a case of prioritising what I want to do, with what I actually need to do, and for me that now means one of the photo competitions I had planned entering will now have to wait until next year, simply because if I do concentrate on that entry I will have to take time away from two things that are more important at this moment, my completion of the photography diploma I began at the start of the year, and getting a series of postcards ready to sell within the next few weeks so I am able to develop further options as soon as possible.

Another set back I have had recently is the printing of the postcards is taking a lot longer than expected, and that in turn has effected where I am with the other projects I have been working on, so rather than submit an entry into a competition that requires one hundred percent, when I can not give it that, I have decided to focus on doing what I need to do first.

…I don’t know where I will end up, or what will happen along the way, I just know that no matter what I do in my life that I want to be all that I can be, and even though I still don’t want to be a doctor or a lawyer, I still want to be who I am, whether people like me or not, because that is who I am meant to be.

Till soon.. Stay safe.. Be You!!!


PS. To everyone having a birthday this month – “Happy birthday to us.. Happy birthday to us.. "

The Weekly(ish) Update - Issue 0008

The Weekly(ish) Update
6th October 2009
Issue Eight

Life is about more than just me…

As I have mentioned I have been in heaps of pain the past few weeks, pain that has been so severe that I have been unable to do much else as I have not wanted to make it worse, or it has been so bad, that I have been unable to concentrate on doing anything other than try to get rid of the pain I have been feeling.

I felt as if I was on a bit of a roll prior to injuring myself, that I was making good progress towards setting up Custom Vision and achieving the goals I was setting for myself, but since I have been trying to get better one of the main things I have been thinking about is how much time I have wasted not doing what I want to be doing, and even though I know I need to look after myself and get healthier, I also know that what I want to do with Custom Vision will effect more people than just me.

I left New Zealand and went to Australia all those years ago because I knew that whatever I did there I would be okay, that after years of standing on my own two feet in a variety of situations that I would be able to do the same thing there, regardless of what happened, and even though I had some spectacular failures growing up in New Zealand, that life had a funny way of reminding me I would always have to be willing to learn, that I was ready for my next step.

I wasn’t ready to arrive and have everything stolen, but in some ways I guess you could say I was prepared for it, I knew I had to get a job, and I did even though it was 800kms from where I was, I knew I could get there, and I did even though I had no where to stay when I got there, but I worked it out, regardless of what happened I have always worked it out.

I have been in and out of so many peoples lives that at various points in my life I have actually stepped back and decided that I have not liked what I was doing to people, that it wasn’t fair on them that I would not remain a part of their lives so I it would be easier on them if I never became a part of peoples lives if I could help it, consciously giving to people but never accepting anything from anyone if I could help it, often at a huge cost to myself physically and emotionally, I have actually stopped living my life at various times because I believed that its effect was negative to others.

So many times I have experienced humanity in its various forms, life lessons that have shown me parts of myself that I perhaps would otherwise never have known had it not been for someone else showing me parts of who they are, who they really are, not knowing underneath everything I have been hiding from, that I have been looking at them and seen parts of myself.

Circumstances have allowed me to experience a vast variety of other peoples lives, to realise that what I want to do is possibly not what I have been doing, to learn that I am lucky enough through my life to have many choices that so many others don’t, choices that others do not know or are not in a position to see.

I have seen people around me make huge mistakes in their lives, I have made huge mistakes in my life, and yet I consider myself lucky enough to be able to grow from these parts of my life, instead, as many people I have met have done, become trapped by them.

I grew up quickly not because I wanted to or had to, I grew up quickly because it was part of my life, I saw things at a very young age that I hope no one ever sees, yet I am not so naïve to pretend that no one ever will see a version of those same events in their life, or worse, because part of my growing up has included acceptance of others and the simple fact that these things happen and what is important to me may not be important to anyone else but me, and vice versa, which is not to say everything really is unimportant, but instead that everything can be extremely important within a certain context to anyone of us.

I cherish moments, parts of life that are important to other people I try to look at as they see them, knowing I never can fully appreciate the single gesture within a moment that someone else takes the time to give to me, I instead just try in my own way to acknowledge that moment is shared, that it is that which is important to someone else is not unimportant to me.

I have shared many moments in my life, moments that involve a variety of people, in a variety of situations,

Till soon.. Stay safe.. Be You!!!


The Weekly(ish) Update - Issue 0007

The Weekly(ish) Update
25th September 2009
Issue Seven

I have spent a fair amount of time ‘thinking’ this week about some of the things I have done in my life up until now, I have spent a fair amount of time reminding myself of the things that have impacted on my life in both major and minor ways, but in doing so I have not really made much progress forward from where I was last week.

Part of that is due to me still being in a huge amount of pain, the pain was actually so bad on Thursday morning that I went to hospital and spent the morning getting all sorts of tests done after I mentioned I had chest pain, with pins and needles all down my left arm, which are apparently symptoms for a heart attack. The tests didn’t show anything to be life threatening, so I was sent home, and I think just knowing that whatever is wrong with me isn’t going to cause me to drop dead has actually helped me relax a little bit since then, as no one has been able to tell me yet exactly what is causing the pain, which has been very frustrating. The pain has since eased a little in the last few days, and my physiotherapist now seems to think I have torn a muscle or tendon near my spine, as we seem to have located the source of the pain and are working on a single problem now, but there is still a ways to go before I am completely mended and back to one hundred percent.

I mentioned to someone the other day that when I was younger I could chain smoke three packets of cigarettes whilst I drank a couple of bottles of spirits with friends, or spend up to a thousand dollars in a night, abusing my body and I hardly ever got sick, even though I knew it wasn’t good for me, but it seems now when I am trying to be healthy that I am encountering more health issues than when I wasn’t trying, which I guess would be ironic if I didn’t feel that at least some of the pain I am feeling is self-inflicted.

I have done a lot of crazy shit over the years, things that only people within those moments would truly understand, things that people on the outside would look at judge through their own reality, decide who in their minds I was without ever taking a moment to get to know me, things that are only a part of who I really am, but things that make up how I have arrived at the point in my life where I am today, things that allow me to push myself to want to achieve more.

It’s funny, I can go for months, years even, without giving a second thought to the things that I am doing, or have done, and yet at other times I am consistently questioning, or being reminded of, everything around me.

I am lucky enough to have met some incredible people on my journey, and because my journey has taken me in many directions I have been lucky enough to met many incredible people from all walks of life, people who I have learnt through my life to respect for being who they are because they have learnt through their lives how to respect me for being no more than who I am, we respect each other for who we are.

There are many people in this world who have little or no respect for others, but I have also learnt that those people also have no respect for themselves, for a variety of reasons, and the worst is they do not realise their options, that they in fact have options.

At certain times in my life people have helped me through some incredible situations, some without even having to be there physically, simply because I knew that they would be there if I needed them to, that they would do for me what I would do for them in the same situation, that they could see the situation and just be there with me through it, and this week I have been remembering some of the things that I have been through to get to where I am today.

I was watching television the other day and an advertisement for the finals of the Aussie Rules football in Australia came on, it showed a team walking out on to the ground in front of a huge crowd, which started me thinking about when I worked there, how much I enjoyed doing security for all the different teams, how lucky I felt hanging out with some hugely famous people in the dressing room, from various sporting codes and walking them up onto the ground in front of up to one hundred thousand people.

I started there with nothing, and I discovered everything. I had all my possessions stolen from me within twenty four hours of being in Australia, and I became more and more embarrassed by my situation as I bounced from place to place, random scenario to random scenario, and I began to work harder and harder to create a life for myself because of everything I went through, everything I had been through away from everything I had known in New Zealand.

I was literally homeless the day I started my security course, and that part of my life, but things just fell into place from there. I started working in some of the roughest nightclubs in Melbourne, made friends with some of the roughest people in the country, people who killed other people over money and drugs, before I was lucky enough to walk away from them and begin work at one of the city’s most prestigious universities, which led me to work at various events like the Formula One grand prix, The Presidents Cup golf, Moto GP bikes, V8 Supercars, The Olympic Games, in very prestigious positions when these events were first held in Melbourne, and over the following years, to eventually having my photo taken with HRH Prince Charles at Government House, and working with Her Majesty the Queen of England and the commonwealth games, before I chose to put myself in another situation and return to New Zealand, after a fantastic career that spread over more than ten years.

I can’t not mention the most important job I have ever had, I job I did between my major event work and working at Government House, in which was at the most unlikely of places. The most responsibility I have had, ever, was when I was working at The Royal Woman’s Hospital, where I was trained, amongst other things, to be solely responsible for the medical oxygen that fed a ward full of premature babies in their incubators afterhours, and be the first to respond to all other emergency situations within the hospital at all times, which because of its nature meant a massive range of situations, regularly.

But it was my job at Government House, and friends I had around me at that time, that set me up to want to achieve more from my life. It allowed me to settle down and become very happy whilst I was there, after spending most of my life till that point drifting in and out of other people’s lives, whilst there the people who were around me showed me that being me was okay, that what I had discovered within myself allowed me to want to do something more, which meant I could finally go ‘home’.

I achieved a lot when I was in Australia, and I have since achieved everything I wanted to do upon my return to New Zealand, and more, because I now have a relationship with my birth fathers side of my family, I have renewed the relationship I briefly had with him before I left to go to Australia the first time, and have managed to spend time with him, his wife, sisters, friends, family and everyone he associates with, becoming a part of his life, and thus him becoming a greater part of mine.

I have spent more time with my birth mother, been able to share a Mother’s Day and Christmas with her, and include her as a regular part of my life, to be a regular part of her life, regardless of our past and continuously evolving relationship, I now appreciate our time together more.

I have spent time with my sisters, my nieces and nephews, met my brother, and shared both good and bad times with all members of my family, including my adopted parents, who I am now spending more time with than I have in twenty years, time that is allowing me to put together a plan, get to know my two nieces, and remind myself of everything I have achieved up until this point of my life, time that I appreciate because I know soon I will have embark on the next stage of my life, a stage in my life that I hope will give me lots more wonderful memories of how I became who I am.

Till soon.. Stay safe.. Be You!!!


The Weekly(ish) Update - Issue 0006

The Weekly(ish) Update
9th September 2009
Issue Six

At the moment I am conquering a lot of challenges, some quickly, some slowly, some painfully, but all one at a time...

This past week has been really difficult to get anything productive done as I have been in heaps of pain due to the back/neck injury I have acquired from driving the uncomforatbly small shuttle at work.

I am in the van nonstop for 8 hours and have to make time to get out and let the blood flow to my feet every now and again, which sometimes is less often than ideal, as we do not get given a break, and most of the guys who have been there ages have some sort of van related problem, which sucks, but I am not in a position to do anything else because my options are limited.

I have looked, and continue to look, for something that can allow me to continue the progress I have made, a new job that offers me more money, or better conditions, but in the current climate I think the best thing I can do is concentrate on what I have been doing, to make the most of the opportunity I have now to set up my own business.

I already have considered going back to Australia and earning a good living, putting myself back into the life I enjoyed before I returned to New Zealand, but part of me considers that taking the easy option, not achieving what I want to achieve, and giving up after working so hard towards my goals.

I have also thought about applying to drive a tour bus for another company, to go back to doing what I loved doing last year, but I do not want to commit to another company, regardless of how my previous employer treated me, because it simply would not be the same. A part of me knows it would not be as enjoyable, that I would have to start over again, and in doing so I would need to put my own goals on hold, which after spending so much time ‘in between dreams’ to get where i am, I simply can not see the logic in doing.

I want to set up my busniess here in New Zealand before i do the same thing in Australia on a bigger scale, that is and always has been the plan, and so that is what i am going to do.

I have never had any problems with my back or neck before, even though I have really bad posture and tend to ‘slouch’ heaps, I have never really understood the pain associated with the spine and neck until now, and I swear the two things that this reminds me of are tooth aches and severe burns, of which I have had problems with before, and even then I think that the pain I have been in the past few weeks is even worse simply because it is constant.

I have not been to the gym at all week, I can hardly move my left arm and when I do it hurts heaps, but I have managed to get my bike fixed and been able to use that when I have felt up to it. I also have been to a physiotherapist twice so far, with many more visits required I’m told over the next few months before it will get better.

To give you an idea it hurts heaps down my left arm and shoulder just typing this, so forgive me if I just focus on the highlights of my week, instead of doing anything too involved until I can concentrate a little bit better, and this week I simply tell you what I have been up to.

So apart from being in heaps of pain, and still not having sorted myself out financially, I have managed to get a couple of things done this past week, the main one being I now have myself a website address ( which I will over the next few weeks get set up, because at the moment all I could afford to do was purchase the name itself, not get it hosted so anyone else can view it, but that in itself is another small step towards what I want to do.

Something else that I need to spend a few dollars on is joining a photography club, I have figured out that the small fee involved each year will give me access to a lot of valuable information from people who otherwise would charge large sums of cash to share the information that they have, that, and the fact I am sick of spending so much time on my own outside of work, so I have decided to do at least this one thing to get me away from my own company, which is only so much fun.

I have really noticed this past month how unhealthy it is for me spending so much time on my own, sure I have been getting things done, but at what cost?

I have another competition coming up at the end of next month, this one is supported by Canon, and is probably the most prestigious competition in New Zealand for ‘student’ photographers, which I am eligible to enter because of the diploma I am doing, and so I will also start to gather ideas for that over the next few weeks, before I head out to take photos and set up the required portfolio to enter.

I have also put together another few ideas for my postcards, which I hope to have finalised and a small series to be able to sell put together by the start of October, as I need to start making some extra money to move forward on a few other ideas that I have, so tomorrow I will head out and take a few photos around wellington, because the market that is in the city is where I want to be around the first week in October with some items I can actually sell, and hopefully a few local postcards will attract some attention.

I would like to launch a version of my website by the end of the month, but properly by mid to late October, and as part of that I would like to try and be able to offer a limited series of framed photos to be purchased online via the website, that are printed on fine art paper using a high quality printer, so I might have to look at getting a good quality professional second hand printer between now and then, or at least work towards doing that as soon as practicable, so there are a few things happening that I am working towards which I am hoping will merge nicely towards the end of the year into what will become the start of my small business, the start of my Custom Vision, which i will have next year to mold into something that i can continue to grow with.

Till soon.. Stay safe.. Be You!!!


Walk 4 Life - North Island

I don't think most stories are meant to start in the middle, but unlike most stories, this is my story. Actually, this is only part of ...