It snowed!

Living in Canberra we get a lot of cold weather. However, it does not very often snow. Today was one of those days where it actually snowed in Canberra (well parts of it anyway). When it snows in Canberra, it is an exciting event and seems to unleash the inner child in many people. The snow today was not forecasted but late morning the temperature dropped and white flakes started falling from the sky.

As soon as the snow started, social media feeds became swamped with reports and pictures of it snowing and the news websites hastily filed reports detailing where the snow was falling, how long it may last and how much snow may fall. Things came to a standstill. Children were let out of class to look at the snow and adults displayed child-like excitement as productivity came to a grinding halt while workers stepped outside to look at the snow. There was not enough snow to build a snowman and in most areas it didn’t even settle on the ground. However, the excitement and buzz was definitely present. People who live in areas where it snows regularly would be unlikely to understand the excitement generated by such a small amount of snow but to Canberrans, the excitement was contagious.

For the rest of the day, the first thing people asked was “Did you see the snow?” I went to a meeting tonight and the conversation was dominated with talk about it snowing today until everyone settled enough to concentrate on the task at hand.

It is unlikely to snow again in Canberra this year. Tomorrow it is forecasted to be a standard Canberra winters day complete with a morning frost and sunny skies in the afternoon. So our inner child that was unleashed today when it snowed gets put away again. Until next time the white flakes fall from the sky.

Brisbane

Like many people, when I first started travelling for work, I thought it would be glamorous. Airports, planes, hotels. What’s not to like right? As anyone who has ever travelled for work will know, it is not so glamorous.

Travelling for work tends to consist of early mornings, late nights, packing and unpacking bags through security and a delicious combination of airport and airplane food. Not to mention the nights alone in hotel rooms. Tiring- yes, glamorous- not so much.

After only getting home from Townsville and the Sunshine coast a few days ago, today I went to Brisbane. I didn’t have to leave home until 8am- that’s late for a travel day and felt rather luxurious. Furthermore, unlike Canberra, it was nice and warm in Brisbane today.

So after my luxuriously late start, I grabbed breakfast in the airport lounge and boarded a plane. I managed to knock over some work on the plane and landed in nice sunny Brisvegas. With some time to kill and a document I needed to print I headed to the lounge for its free printing service, lunch and the chance to use free Wi-Fi to knock over some more work.

At the appropriate time I jump in a cab, head to my meeting and following its conclusion it is back to the airport to once again for free Wi-Fi to finish off some work and dinner in the lounge.

As I ate my scrumptious dinner in the lounge which consisted of a small quiche (not bad) and a hotdog with sauce (not so good), it dawned on me……..every meal I ate today consisted of airport lounge food. For anyone who has ever spent considerable time in airport lounges, you will know, while having access to airport lounge food is a novelty at first, after a while it becomes repetitive and not particularly appetizing. Although, it is still more palatable than paying exorbitant amounts of money for food in airport cafes that generally isn’t any better. Every meal in a day at an airport lounge though- that is not so good and a little sad!

So as I head home tonight, I will land just after 9pm and my luxuriously late start seems not so luxurious but rather an essential requirement to avoiding the potential resultant exhaustion that comes on those travel days where the start is early and the finish is late. But hey, my flights have all been on time today and tonight I get to sleep in my own bed instead of a hotel so who am I to complain. All in all, a pretty good travel day today even if I am looking forwards to not eating airport lounge food until at least next week.

I Can’t Run

I call myself a runner. I like to run. I like the sense of accomplishment I get from finishing a run and I enjoy the endorphins running causes to be released and the effect that has on my mood. However, I also know I am not a good runner. I am not speedy, and my ability to go long distances has definitely deteriorated over the years with age and life getting in the way of consistent running. However, I would not say I can’t run even if I am unfit enough that running a couple of hundred metres leaves me gasping for breath.

Often when friends tell me they need a cheap form of exercise I suggest they try going for a run. All you need is shorts, t-shirt and a pair of runners and off you go. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need all of the latest gadgetry to go for a run. Look at kids- they run and run all day long and don’t require anything special to do so except a desire to get to the next point quickly. As adults, we can also run with minimalistic equipment and don’t actually require heart rate monitors, a GPS enabled watch etc.

When I suggest to my friends that they try running, often they will say, “I can’t run” or “I am not a runner” or “I tried running once but couldn’t”. As I probe further, I discover it is that they can’t run very far or very fast. Not being able to do something well is not the same as not being able to do it at all.

We live in a day and age where we get used to getting things instantly. Emails, text messages and information are all at our fingertips in an instant. That doesn’t mean that being good at things is also instantaneous. Being good at something still takes time and effort even in this age where other things are instantaneous. This blog for me is largely about improving my writing. I can write an essay well, I can write a report, I can write a presentation. All of these forms of writing I can do well. However, creative writing or writing a blog are areas I have never really tried. Am I good at them? Probably not really yet. Can I get better at them if I work at it? Of course! Would I call myself a writer? This is maybe where I need to take my own advice. I will probably never be a professional writer but I can put words on a page, formulate ideas, publish my blog or write a story. Am I a writer? Yes. Will I ever be the best writer in the world? I think I can safely say no. Am I a runner? Yes, will I ever be a professional athlete? No.

I do know that not working at something is the fastest way to guarantee not getting better at it. So, whether it be running or writing, we should all remember that you don’t have to be the best at something to get enjoyment out of it or benefits from it. We should also not expect to be great at something the first time we try it. If we could be wouldn’t everyone do it? So put on your running shoes and go for a run even if you only make 50 metres. Tomorrow you might make 100 metres. Pick up your pen and write something or draw a picture. Whatever it is you think you aren’t good at, go and give it a try, work at and you might just surprise yourself or at least have some fun along the way.

Mt Taylor

Today while many of my friends were tackling the 14km City to Surf fun run in Sydney, I was having a lazy day. After a sleep in and late brunch followed by some writing, I realised at 2pm that I had walked an entire 925 steps. Just a little short of my 10,000 daily target.

Since the sun was shining, I decided it was time to get up off the couch and go for a walk. Since I am not really fit enough to run too far but wanted some decent exercise I decided going up a hill was a good idea, specifically Mount Taylor.

Mount Taylor is not too far from my home but I made a tactical error by accidentally taking the long way to the bottom of the mountain meaning I had walked over 2 kms by the time I even got there. It was a beautiful day and the Kangaroos were out in abundance. Usually the keep their distance or hop away as soon as you get close but there were a couple of game ones out and about today. This one in particular did not seem to be scared by someone plodding along down the path towards him or her.

When I set out from home I was determined to go all the way up to the summit. Seemed like a good idea. Getting to the top would bring awesome views and a sense of accomplishment. By the time I got to the bottom of the hill, I wasn’t so sure. Maybe I will just keep going until I reach 3kms. Or maybe I will turn around at that bend. When you are looking at a nice steep hill upwards, it can be hard to stick to the original plan and this is what I was looking at:

However, I talked myself into it and managed to get all the way to the top. There I was greeted by the expected sensational view and feeling of accomplishment at having toughed it out.

Of course the good thing about it being all uphill on the way there is the nice easy downhill on the way home.

Townsville

I am lucky enough that I get to travel to different places for work. Today I went to Townsville. Townsville is a place I had never been before this year and have been three times in the past six months. Living in Canberra, this is a great time of year to need to go to Townsville as I get to defrost in the warmth of Townsville after being in freezing cold Canberra. Usually I land, go to the hotel, and get stuck straight into work. However, today it was still daylight when I got to the hotel and after a day of traveling, I felt the need for some exercise so I went for a walk. It is always good to stop and look around in new places, you can see some unusual things. If I hadn’t gone for a walk in Townsville today I would never have seen this:

How often do you see a giant dinosaur on the side of a building? I certainly wasn’t expecting it!

Further exploration also yielded photos of boats on the water and the nearby river:

Apart from the dinosaur,  my favourite pictures of the day came from the blackboards at one of the local pubs:

think that makes it time for a cold beer……….