I had a wonderful read of my blog from a 3000km bicycle trip I did in Aotearoa New Zealand in 2009. The excerpt that really got me from all of it was 10 pictures defining my life for an article I was interviewed for. Funny thing is that not much has changed!
So nice to be back in New Zealand once again and persuiting it to become ‘home base’ in the future – really interesting mind set to be now, here as a potential frequent stayer…
Anyway blog circa 2009…
I recently had to choose 6 photos about my life, in particular about the past 10 years I’ve been teaching, travelling and volunteering, for a journalist doing an article about me. It was a great exercise and very thought provoking. I couldn’t do it in 6 photos…
This is what I came up with for this moment, I’m sure they change depending on the day and these were after a brilliant day where I spoke at a whole school assembly about volunteering and global awareness and cycled 80km on a perfect day to a brilliant camping spot on my own next to a crystal clear river. This puts a better context to them… Missing of course are friends, nephews and nieces, other shots of people who have influenced me etc… but these were the photos available to me for this time and I encourage others to give it a go, maybe I’ll try after a 30km head wind, raining, flat tyre day!!!
10 Photos …
(first gathering with all of my siblings for over 8 years)
This is where it all comes from the power of my family. While I am very different to my 5 other siblings with what I have done with my life and what I do, I am only me because of their influence and growing up in a fun, happy and loving family.
(a day on our bikes with my year 3/4 class at Tumby Bay, South Australia)
I love education, the outdoors and children. This is one of my favourite days that year – out of the class where the kids are learning and living and this is how as I teacher I aim to create ‘happy thinkers’ for the future.
(woman carrying water in Ethiopia)
A big lesson learnt in my travels, particularly in developing countries, is the amazing resilience and resourcefulness of people around the world. This woman is gathering water from miles away for her family. There is meaning in what she is doing and it is a way of life. She is maybe not sad through hardship or angry with the world about her position in the globe she is just living her life with what SHE HAS and it is a happy, meaningful and fulfilling life (not without hardship or wants for a better life).
(morning market near Kampala, Uganda)
A snapshot of ‘pure life’ this is near Kampala in Uganda and people going about their day doing their shopping. They socially interact, they make meaningful and necessary purchases based on their needs not their wants and they don’t care about brand A or B it’s just a very natural and human way to live. Is this missing in developed society for some people?
(Endeshaw and Mimi friends I lived in the same compound as in Bonga, Ethiopia)
For me the best thing in life are experiences, this is a beautiful moment and I got to experience both of these people. Experiences are for everyone and are meaningful to our lives. I love the slogan I saw on a t-shirt (bloody consumerism!) ‘The best things in life are not things.’
(my colleagues from Bonga College of Teacher Education, Ethiopia, and I at the end of my volunteering there)
In the course of my travels and volunteering I have many friends like these, they are the most precious thing in my life. This is why I think I’m a ‘rich’ person having so many friends from so many places.
(Lake Kaniere, West Coast, New Zealand. Enjoying life where just enough is plenty!)
This is pure satisfaction for me. I have a shelter, transport, food, water and nature. I am completely content at this moment (except for the bloody sandflies…).
(Summit Mt Armstrong, South Island, New Zealand)
This is when I feel the presence of ‘God’. When I climb mountains and stand on the peak and take in the view I truly feel we cannot just say we are lucky to have evolved to experience these things, it is too beautiful for it to just be luck, for me there is a divine touch (I also see this with new babies and other parts of nature). Climbing mountains gives me a kick like nothing else where the more positive suffering that you work through the greater the accomplishment and personal satisfaction.
(Place I stayed on my cycling presentation trip, Queenstown, New Zealand)
Simple pleasures at Colin’s house in Queenstown! A place I stayed that had been bought by a developer but left abandoned in the mean time. I think simplistic living is wonderful and subsistent living can give more pleasure than needing stuff – when we get to choose it.
(me with a class of students on my cycling presentation trip, West Coast, New Zealand)
This is my book cover… many people say I should write a book about my experiences but I firstly don’t think I have anything more worthy to tell than the woman carrying wood on her back in Ethiopia, also I’m not a good writer, can’t spell and can’t sit long enough to write a book! The main reason is I love education and this is the best way for me to relay my experiences onto others in an interactive and fun way where I have a human connection with my audience and get to share and LEARN…
I know we change as we move along in life but reading this now it is reassuring that my inner core and belief is still as strong now as it was 4 years ago!