Learning begins at the end of your comfort zone

I’ve just completed 8 of the best weeks of learning I’ve had in some time! I don’t consider myself either ‘left brain’ or ‘right brain’ … but perhaps a little of both (middle brain?), so creative fields always challenge me, but I love it! I cannot draw to save myself, but I am not too bad with a computer, so graphic design is something I can have a go at.

I enrolled some time ago in the ‘Introduction to Graphic Design’ course at ‘Designworks’ – a private college based in West Burleigh here on the Gold Coast. I’d been looking for some time for a course that helped get me started in this field – I by no means need to be a full time graphic designer (those guys are far too bloody clever), but I wanted to be able to open up the adobe creative suite and not be too afraid to touch things. To play, to create the basics and possibly make a few adjustments at times. I had googled different courses and found various things… I just wasn’t sure I was the TAFE kind of person – It’s also not just about learning the software – youtube can teach me that…

So I showed up the first night, unsure what to expect and I was delighted that we had a teacher who was passionate, realistic and knowledgable and that there was a small group of only 6. They have fantastic labs and facilities and I went home that night knowing I picked the right course!

Over the 8 weeks, we did so many different things. We were treated to the opportunity to do some letterpress – which we were VERY lucky to do and was so so so fun!

IMG_4522 IMG_4521 IMG_4523 IMG_4503 IMG_4520So, I’m not going to lie – I went home a number of nights very frustrated because it’s not the easiest thing to learn. It’s also hard when you haven’t been in learning mode for so long that you forget what it is like not to be proficient at everything you do, so that in itself is a great lesson and very humbling. I also learnt that graphic design is HARD! You can certainly do an average job without too much training or skill. I respected graphic designers before (I always respect the skills of others as you never know the challenges until you try and do it yourself), but I respect them even more now – the complexities and the room for error is much bigger than I thought!

Our teacher Drew asked for feedback in whichever way we wanted to send it.. so I’m blogging mine. If there was a rating for the course, I would give it a 9/10 (always room for improvement he says). I enjoyed the variety of activities and different ways to learn – not all activities clicked for me (but that’s expected for a group of students as not everybody learns the same way) but it was great to be pushed to the limits (they say learning only begins at the end of your comfort zone). I also liked that all of the activities were brought together at the end – it was great to have both structured learning activities and also the ‘free time’ to prepare our documents. I also liked that Drew gave good honest feedback and would tell us the harsh realities of the real world. I also met a lovely group of ladies, who I am sure I will keep in touch with – thanks to the girls and our teachers for your patience and the giggles – you guys are great!

In summary, I’d recommend this course to anybody who wants an intro to graphic design, but not to anybody who just wants to learn how to use the software. Here are some other samples of the work I did (I means also supported by Drew ;-) … IMG_4745 IMG_4753 IMG_4752IMG_4670

The lovlieness of an unexpected bumpy trip

road tripping happiness

This gallery contains 25 photos.

Anybody who’s been watching knows I’ve been to some places this year, some amazing places and I’ve planned a few quick trips. My most recent has been one of the most unexpected, strangest, quickest and yet one of the best … Continue reading

Life is what you make it.

It’s cliche I know.. but it’s true. Life is defintiely what you make it.

I have had so many lovely comments about my adventures of late, that it’s got me thinking. Am I lucky? I guess partly so, but at the same time, you are the owner of your own destiny, you make choices that lead you to where you are and for one final but equally true saying you control your own happiness.

I did however have a giggle when one of my friends asked me very seriously if I had recently won the lottery and was keeping it a giant secret… I had finished up at my job, dropped everything in an instant and went around the world not long after returning from a 2 week holiday, spent two weekends after returning from my round the world trip in beach front resorts and manage to find myself at the beach on a Friday, monday and even Wednesday morning… So I guess I know how it looks. This does make me reflect on how absolutely amazing the past few months.. well past couple of years of my life have been. I do understand that there are a set of circumstances that lead you to where you are.. the cards you are dealt have a big part of it.. BUT you choose what you do with them, you choose how to life your life. I choose to get my butt out there, make the most of every waking moment, find as many ways to get myself to the beach as possible, squish a tiny bit more happiness into each day and TRY with all my might to do it with a smile on my face (not quite every day, but as close to it as I can get).

oh and finally – time for me to stop ‘apologising for not posting more often.. I guess I never promised this to be a daily newspaper.. just a few intersting bits and bobs from my perspective.. if you want to hear about anything in particular, you are going to have to speak up and comment on the page….

So… off you all go -go and make your life amazing.

Small things that you appreciate when travelling!

Sorry I haven’t posted on these last two stops, wifi has been average at best. Ill try to fill you in on London and New York soon.

I’ve just checked out of my hotel and the long journey home commences. It did get me thinking as I was having my last shower for a couple of days (!?!?!!?!) the small things you appreciate when you are travelling, especially when you are travelling solo. The first and possibly the most obvious:

- A good, shower, it doesn’t even need to be a hot one.
- A smiley face
- closing your suitcase easily first try
- checking the weight of your bag as you check in and realising it’s way under (or just over and you get away with it!)
- phone calls and text messages from loved ones
- trustworthy strangers
- People you meet from your home town
- catching local transport successfully
- paying for something in foreign currency without looking like a tourist
- full charge on your electronic devices
- a spare seat next to you on the plane
- when a new line opens up for you in… Well anywhere…
- sleep (at the right place and in the right time zone)
- seeing your favourite brands from home being celebrated by locals (aka billabong, Kathmandu, vegemite and Aussie and kiwi wine!)
- being told by foreigners that Aussies are the friendliest people in the world
- vegetables
- clean feet.
- Walking on the right side of the pavement/sidewalk/staircase without causing chaos with the locals (picture peak hour in grand central station in NYC, where 700 thousand commuters pass through each day and me walking on the ‘Aussie’ side.. Whoopsie)

And last but not least, as amazing as it is to travel and see the world, going home day is always something to cherish. See home soon!

The peacefulness of a foreign country

I’m currently sitting in a beautiful little cafe in urban Paris. It has blue walls, pretty lights, white umbrella’s and sweet mismatched tables and chairs. It is at the bottom of a pretty staircase that takes you to the metro and us are traditional Parisian apartment blocks… It’s postcard perfect.

To complete the picture, I am surrounded completely by locals. It is happy hour and it’s also Bastille day, so they are here, drinking, smoking and chatting away in French. There is an engaged couple who are holding hands across the table and lean across every few minutes to kiss, it’s like there is nobody here but them.

They are all so beautifully dressed, in a way that only French people dress – effortlessly beautiful. They are so comfortable with who they are and what they are about. The waiter is dressed exactly as you imagine, complete with circular glasses.

I am here all on my own and only the slightest chance of conversation if somebody decides to suddenly embrace the English language for a moment.. But I don’t mind. I am enjoying my ‘quiet time’. It’s peaceful and un stressful. Whilst I miss my loved ones terribly and wish badly they were here to share it with me, it leaves me to sit and watch and absorb. To watch the Parisians go about their daily life. Interacting with each other, their body language. Noticing what is the same as at home and what is different. Isn’t that what travel is all about?

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Today brought to you by Rodin

French artist Auguste Rodin referred to his life as ‘une vie a plain bord’ or ‘a life filled to the brim’ or even depending on translation ‘a life at full pace’. Seems rather appropriate for me at the moment.

I started today early and got down to the Eiffel Tower. It’s an amazing sight, especially it’s stature when right underneath, however I do think it’s much prettier when you catch a glimpse of it accidentally while walking along, not quite expecting it and just a little reminder that you are in fact in Paris…

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So during all this, another exciting thing happened right under the Effiel tower. I saw my first ever bumble bee. He got out of there as quick as you can say ‘focus’ to the camera, but there was no mistake it was a bumble bee! This is the flower it was on (a d yes I was again stopping to smell the ‘roses’.. It’s what I do).

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After that excitement I co tinged to tick off my Paris boxes with all the major sites

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But it was the Musee Rodin that captured me today. Such a grand French building, beautiful gardens and famous artwork just sort of dotted around. It’s crazy to think the famous artists who wandered these streets and lived in these houses. It was also a peaceful place for me away from the crowds ! Heaven.

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Une journée spéciale, a special day!

I had a very special day. It wasn’t just because I woke up in a beautiful traditional Parisian apartment in the Montmartre, or because I was offered a job whole eating breakfast, or because I saw the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, wandered down the Avenue des Champ-Élysées, stood on the Pont Alexandre while gazing at the Eiffel Tower or even because I had confit duck in a traditional French cafe which was the best I’ve eaten. All these things were amazing in their own right, however it was the other little things that really topped me off.

It was walking the historic streets of the Montmartre and looking out over Paris from the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur with no other tourists around (a place usually swarming in them).

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After that it was a sweet smile from the cleaner who was trying to mop around me as I stared intensely into the map at the train station. I then was secretly impressed that despite the determination of the train station ticket attendant to be as unhelpful as possible I was able to get a train ticket AND get both on and off the metro at the correct locations first go.

I made my way up to the surface after my successful metro journey and there was the Arc de Triomphe! Again with only one or two tourists. It’s so familiar to me, even though I have only visited once before and it was strangely comforting to see it again.

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I wandered down the Champ-Élysées and soaked up the stunning morning. Feeling incredibly grateful. I discovered a little park called Square Marigny that had roses in it, so I walked over, got down on one knee and smelt it, it was Devine! Such a strong smell! A French lady saw me and asked me something in French, and quickly realised I couldn’t speak English, then asked me again in English if it had a smell, I said yes, so she also go down on one knee and smelt it, then looked at me with the biggest grin and a big happy sigh and remarked that it is so Rae now to come across such a fragrant rose and with the smile still on her face, she wished me a nice day and went on her hurried way as French ladies do. This moment will stick in my kind forever, when you are travelling on your own and just tracking along doing your own thing having not spoken to anybody all day because you are not sure if people can even speak English (or want to speak English) these little moments are more significant than they usually would be. This is the rose

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Tomorrow has if shoes to fill…

The Muddiness continues…

Do things happen in three’s? If so, I need to watch out… I have had my second run in with mud. This time, it was a puddle of it.

I was walking along, minding my own business texting loved ones in a very dark, grassy paddock used for carparking and out of the blue SPLASH.. I am knee deep in a mud puddle with a shocked and mud splashed face (and back, hair, tummy, legs) I can tell you, I was anything but expressionless. I did somehow manage to not fall over OR drop my phone in the puddle.

See Exhibit A:

Muddy Puddle

 

So, once I decided I was ok.. all I could do was giggle. Shame nobody else got to witness my funny little incident.. it surely would have brightened ones day.

Anything funny happen to you all lately that made you giggle?

 

My Mug on the Telly.. covered in mud.

That’s right. I had to work for it… and work hard. So hard I was tired for days and days and days (so tired, I havent been able to blog about it till now :). It was one of the toughest and most rewarding things I have done EVER. I LOVED IT.

So… I trotted along to an obstacle course training session run by Gold Coast based Terrain Training. I was put onto it by a friend and to be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect – there was one clue I should have looked out for though and she warned me to wear something old… ‘something that can get muddy’… she said… UH OH.

Not surprising, it rained heavily the morning as I arrived and I laughed to myself when I was jumping out of the car and that I bothered with my umbrella…

Before I knew it, I was dragging myself through the mud on my hands and knees pushing a tyre up a hill….I quickly gave into the mud and dropped myself right in it. I can safely say, I’m so glad I did.. playing in the mud is so much fun! I scaled a 2.5 metre wall, climbed under AND over a cargo net, (attempted) the rope climb, balanced my way across a tight rope, bear walked, push up-ed, burpee-ed my way through 2 hours of exhausting and rewarding fun.

It started like this:

Dragging Tyres

Cargo nets are harder much harder than they look – I was FREAKING….

Cargo Net Climb

and this is some of the other stuff we got up to. Steph monkey bars Rope Climb

all while the camera crew from the Great South East TV show filmed us…. did I mention it was raining, I was covered in mud and my hair managed to get plastered to my head? Always the conditions you want when being filmed :)

So, what’s the point? Terrain Training is an outdoor fitness company who run these mobile obstacle courses which sprung up as a way to train for ‘Tough Mudder’, ‘True Grit’ and other competitions. They also hold them for team bonding activities and for general fitness.

I was a total beginner at most of these activities and even though I get myself to the gym a few times a week I found this very challenging, BUT very much achievable. I wasn’t the only beginner there and the team were there to help every step of the way. I honestly can say it was some of the best fun I have had in a long time and would recommend it to anybody who wants to give it a go. I might even go as far as saying that ‘training in the mud is now on my list of things I love’……

I couldn’t get the video to work unfortunately.. but you can find it on the Terrain Training Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/TerrainTraining 

Their website is: www.terraintraining.com.au

 

 

 

 

I’ve got that Summer Feelin’

I am currently suffering from an overdose of happy endorphins. I woke up with the sunshine and because of mother natures consistent bad behaviour  recently (that which a sullen teenager would be very proud of), I was very excited to see the sun was out and shining hard! So B and I bounced out of bed, summoned our bikes and hit the road. It was a perfect, clear sunny morning and the water here at Caloundra was perfect, glassy and not a breath of wind. We found hills we weren’t looking for, which made for a pretty tough 30km cycle, but we worked hard on the way out and then found a cruise along the beachfront home – if you have never been to Shelly Beach here on the Sunshine Coast, you should get yourself there immediately. It’s one of those lovely sheltered beaches where the grass rolls into the sandy beach, the waves are as relaxing as the morning sunshine just lulling in and gently crashing into the shore. Everybody who has bothered to get up at that time of the morning are just as we were, taking in the very special atmosphere and counting their blessings… life really is very special in this part of the world.  This is what it looked like:

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We trotted off home and met our loved ones and decided we would soak up a little more of the sunshine and paddle across the passage at Golden Beach to Bribie Island. B and I were in a boat (sorry if there is a more technical term for the TYPE of boat) together and what I lack in technique when it comes to paddling and oars, I make up with enthusiasm  (picture it…). We all made it over alive and without injury and to my complete surprise, none of us fell in – I know – I was impressed too. What we found over there was more crystal clear water with waves to lull about in. The 4 heavenly swims we had more than made up for the biggest fright I’ve ever had when we walked back through some less than clear water and I stood on ‘something’ in the water … this ‘something’ got just as much of a fright as I did and I think it ran (or swam) sideways just as fast as I did – though I think I won in competition for the best blood curdling scream.

We rounded off the morning with a good game, some drinks and some of the best lamb I’ve ever had (and I have had some amazing lamb), slow cooked for 6 hours and covered in the most delicious sauce anybody has ever had.

Everybody is ‘guts up’ as we call it now and we are waiting for the summer storm to hit. This has been the summers day I’ve been hanging out for months to have which is a relief as I consider Easter to be our farewell to summer – it’s last hurrah before winter comes.. otherwise known in sunny Queensland as non-swimming weather.

What are you up to this easter?

“I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days – three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.” John Keats