This is in no way written out of spite. The break up with my girlfriend last year was great for both of us and I am NOT in anyway bitter, twisted or regretful. It was always about what it was not what it should be.
So the reason I have gone with this title is that people will read it! And it did afford me the opportunity to have the world open its arms again and see what was going to happen when I thrust myself towards it.
Also this is not a bragging list of ‘I’ve done this… I’ve been here… bla bla bla!’ It is to show how awesome and radical the world is when you get to interact with it having the freedom, privilege and lack of responsibilities as I have (mainly from just being born in access and opportunity).
- Dreams to come true and I always say I have lived my dreams everyday for the past 11 years which is very true but this was a childhood dream come true as I was the chaperone for Indian cricketing legend BS Chandrasekhar and his wife
- We did a bunch of media and speaking engagements for the awareness and celebration of India being without a case of polio for 12 months
- An incredible mix of meeting my childhood cricketing heroes and social justice – who would have thought that would be the path to cricketing gods!
- Off to one of my favourites – Aotearoa New Zealand for no real reason just to see where I might want to live some day in this kind of way – http://happysimply.wordpress.com/ and also train a number of awesome GPP Ambassadors with great mate and role-model, GPP Country Director Will Watterson
- A bunch of hiking, camping, running, riding was also there in the mix!
- Couple weeks NZ with more Ambassadors and presentations through the South Island
- Off to Hawaii to play wedding celebrant at two soul mates wedding on a cliff above the never-ending Pacific with volcanoes to play on and hills to ride which was nothing to human interaction and sharing that was in abundance at this occasion
- Start of Live Below the Line for five weeks, journeying 1000 miles from Portland, Oregon to Whistler, Canada and back, eating on less than $1.50/day see blog
- Incredible insights, learning and resolve within to see access and opportunity for all
- Only infinite thanks and gratitude to those I met along the way supporting me
- Couple weeks in New York to finish Live Below the Line and set up my mission of polio advocacy across Canada for the next month and a half
- Also touched base on the ground in Quebec and Montreal to start this journey
- Should have finished my polio-Canada-time but extended for more and continued the gong show of polio eradication and grassroots and political engagement to Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Kamloops, Vancouver and back to Toronto
- Learnt a lot about polio but also political interaction, effective campaigning, collaboration and global structures to see a disease wiped from the earth – very cool
- Back to New York where I was meant to be flying off to Europe and Central Asia but again extended my fun and advocacy in Canada
- It was at this time that all the conversations, meetings, emails and more got traction and the doors of Ministers, organisations and opportunities really opened up
- A solid couple of week of advocacy in Ottawa meeting with the decision makers of the country and being heard thanks to the wonderful ground support of Rotarians, schools, polio survivors, post-polio associations, wonderful political advocacy group – RESULTS and many others
- Time to put the icing on the Canadian summer polio advocacy cake and we did it pretty well with a great dinner event in Montreal attended by the former Canadian PM Paul Martin, leaders of Rotary and a wonderful mix of great guests for a night of compelling information and true inspiration, plus $18,000 raised for PolioPlus!
- Then in the last few days of September was the UN General Assembly and a high level polio event attended very well by world leaders, Bill Gates, heads of the major polio partners group and me – a representative of the groundswell from Canada
- On Sept 29 the Global Poverty Project held the Global Citizen Festival with 50,000 people in Central Park New York and watched by a further 15 million online and on TV putting polio and other topics in between the like of K’naan, The Black Keys, John Legend, Foo Fighters, Neil Young and more. Advocacy? Hell yeah!
- A week follow up in New York, a week of rest / setting up for Pakistan in Germany, a few days in Italy and Qatar before reaching Pakistan for my first time ever and ready to learn from the likes of UNICEF Pakistan and the people!
- Learning it certainly was with a grand concoction of mutual inspiration to come together to see how we can support Pakistan and the world to be polio-free see blog
- Further, deeper and clearer learning on the challenges to be faced for Pakistan to be without polio but encouragingly more confident, inspired and knowledgeable about how it is happening and with the best collaboration and expertise possible
- My last day in November was also my last in Pakistan (for now) and gave a 5-hour workshop learning and sharing with the wonderful people of this amazing country
- Almost back full circle as I am in India working with UNICEF India and BS Chandrasekhar as I was doing in January – wow some water under the advocacy bridge to admire when I back on home soil for Christmas…
Again the idea of this post is to show what can and almost always does happen when you offer yourself to the world not really knowing what will pan out but knowing that it will be all things conspiring to inspire…
If giving up your whole life for a year to do this is unreasonable (most humans) then just remember that my advocacy is based upon those many people who do the little thing are carve the way for me to do my do and mould future plans of action and engagement.
You are a part of the change just as much as anyone and we all need each other and it is a beautiful thing!