Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Get off your butts!

In the spirit of adventure I’ve decided it’s time to buy myself a sleeping bag, some hiking boots and an enamelware cup and head out on a microadventure. “What the hell is a microadventure?” I hear you ask. I’m not quite sure yet, but I stumbled upon the idea today and it sounded good! So it seems that here in Australia we’re a bit behind the times. (Or maybe it’s just me). But there’s a movement happening across the globe right now that’s getting people off their butts, out of their houses and making the most of the 5 to 9 outdoors.

Alastair Humphreys, National Geographic’s 2012 Adventurer of the year (see how behind the times I am!) seems to have been pushing the idea for years, and I’m wondering why I’ve never heard about it. Especially with people heading out to fantastic destinations close to home; jumping on a train and heading out for a slice of rural adventure, walking down to a local beach or through a national park. Alastair Humphreys even microadventured alongside England’s M25 motorway! It certainly sounds a lot easier than climbing Everest, or setting out on a polar expedition. Although, that could be fun too. And with so much access to nature, even within the walls of Sydney, there’s really no excuse not to have a microadventure, is there?

Climb Every Mountain

Climb Every Mountain

Perhaps the reason for my lack of microadventure knowledge is because I’m a camp-o-phobe. There’s a good reason for my fear of camping. Rain. Whenever I’ve gone camping it has rained. Every. Single. Time. Seriously.

When I’d finished high school, some friends and I went on a road trip from Sydney to Byron Bay. Only we didn’t make it to Byron. The car broke down in Coffs Harbour. We had to camp there for days. Days. In the rain. There was so much rain, in fact, that by about day 3, there were ducks swimming past our tent. As my family can attest, I was none impressed and vowed never to set foot in Coffs Harbour again. Now half the bastards have moved there, so I don’t have any choice! Not that it’s a problem though. Because I don’t have to camp there anymore. But I’m thinking it might be a nice spot to go for my first microadventure. As Alastair Humphreys says:

Adventure is a state of mind.

And I think my mind is (almost) made up. How about yours?

 

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Magical Mystery Tours

The Fortune Teller

 

What a momentous few days I’ve just had. Where to begin? Thursday night sounds like a good place to charge out of the starting blocks. My lovely friend Sarah invited me to The Firehouse Hotel to have a glass of wine and a tarot reading. The fabulous Frankie Starr is there each week offering up fee-free readings. How can you resist?

With trepidation I cut the cards. Please don’t belt with doom and gloom! I prayed.

As Frankie dealt the cards, her nails sparkled a mystical red, and I held my breath, longing for good news. Movement, passion, creativity, adventure and love on the cards! Magic! Just what I need. And a decision: Where to next?

“Pick a place, any place,” she said. “Get up and go. And don’t look back!”

“Where to go? What to do?” I thought. “I’ll see what transpires on the weekend before I make any rash decisions.”

Cue the weekend: I ride into town on my trusty green and yellow steed, pulling into the wharf at Circular Quay with an hour to wallow in a bowl of coffee before wandering down to the Sydney Writers’ Festival, where I was greeted with front row seats (on the floor) at a wonderful talk on myth and fairytales.

View from the Front Row

View from the Front Row

“What do you want to write?” I was asked as I scoffed down my lunch in preparation for a talk on small ‘l’ love.

“I haven’t found my story yet. But I love stories of magic set in reality. And true tales of adventure. So, maybe something that combines those things.”

And from fairytales to explorers I went, to hear tales of polar expeditions, Himalayan hikes and my favourite, a nomadic adventure across the Eurasian steppe. For years I’ve been fascinated by Mongolia, so when I saw Tim Cope’s book, On the Trail of Genghis Khan, on the shelf at my brother’s house, I had to read it! What an inspiring story! He had a dream to cross the steppe on horseback from Mongolia to Hungary to understand the nomadic way of life. He followed that dream, faced incredible adversity, and lived to tell the tale. As did his dog, who I was delighted to meet at the festival!

Thank you to all the adventurers, and trailblazers, dreamers and visionaries. All the people who have a goal or a dream. The ones who take the road less travelled. The ones who take the road more travelled and re-purpose it! To all of you, thank you. I’ll see you out there on the road. Because I found my story that day. My tale of magic set in reality, that’s taking me into a true adventure story. Look out Ireland, I’m headed your way!

Will I see you out there on the road too?

 

Loving the Limelight

Spotlight

Loving the Limelight

Or at least I would be if it was shining on me. Maybe.

What are you loving right now? Or who?

I’m loving the fact that I’ve finally jumped into the ‘Twitterverse’ and dropped my first Tweet-bomb. Can you believe it?! Taking control of technology and letting myself limit my word count!

How do you feel about working with 140 characters? OMG. WTF?! How do you fit it all in? (OK, that was 87 characters, so I’m doing alright!) LOL! (Another 4). BAM!

Busy Tweeting

Busy Tweeting

But back to the limelight. I went to a sales presentation last night and was loving the language the presenter was lashing us with. Not least because it was laden with L-words. (If you’ve been following my posts, you’ll know today, in my ABC journey, I’m up to ‘L’). Life was perfectly timed to coincide with a product launch that was all about lifestyle, luxury, leadership and lattes. Loving the logo, living life beyond the limits. Even just a little. And lassoing the largest market share. Luscious!

What excites you about language? And L-words? Are there words that you just adore to use; that make you feel alive? Words you loathe, and avoid like a putrescent disease? I’m looking forward to my S-day so I can sing the praises of shambolic, succulent and shazam!

Sally forth!

Keep on Truckin’

Keep on Truckin’

I’m pushing on with my writing tonight, cruising on down to the Australian Writer’s Centre to discover the wonderful world of 140 character limits. I’ve avoided that damn social media site since its inception, but it’s time I sucked it up and got my tweet on. Friends have asked me, “what the hell is a hashtag?” and I intend to answer their plaintive cries for answers. We’re not that old, but we’ve been running from this thing the way my grandparents bolted from those new fandangled VCR thingamajiggies back in the 80’s!

I know you’re laughing at me as I sit here feeling as ancient as a dust encrusted corpse. But I’ll show you! I’m getting my Twitter handle locked and loaded and you’ll be able to tweet me at @kyliedcastor faster than you can say something really fast!

 

Before I run off into the twittery night, I want to give a little shout out to my boy, Sven. Dude, you’re awesome. And remember,

Winston Churchill said:

When you’re going through Hell, keep going.

Aunty Schmill says:

Keep on trucking’.

Just in Case You Were Wondering Where I’ve Been

I’ve been soaking up the creative vibes around town, seeking new grist for the mill. Being inspired left, right and smack-bang in the middle by the sights, sounds and deliciousness of the seemingly hidden inner-city haunts of Sydney.

Eternity Playhouse

Eternity Playhouse

But first let me ask you, when was the last time you went to the theatre? If you’ve never been, you should do yourself a favour and get thee to the box office and hand over thy coins. My lovely friend, Krystyna and I traipsed down to the Eternity Playhouse in Darlinghurst on Saturday night to see The Young Tycoons. What a joy it was to return to an old love of ours and reminisce about our days as prop-bitches and wannabe actors. All the while being treated to a thinly veiled stab at the Packers and Murdochs of the world. The smooth sounds of alfresco guitar and cajon drum, the backdrop to deep conversations about the meaning of life, Kevin McCloud and deliberately mismatched shoes. Every night should be a creative inner-city adventure (with the Tom-Tom at the ready).

Perfectly Imperfect

Perfectly Imperfect

Inner-city underground prohibition-era bars are the perfect way to end a Sunday that has been jam-packed full of plotting and planning and panicking about art. With Palmer & Co‘s cool live 1920’s jazz, flapper dresses and black suspenders, you cannot dare to tell me you’re not ensconced in a den of creativity. Or a Woody Allen film. Kicking back with a smooth Argentinian Malbec, Ronan and I managed to exhale after a killer day, finally understanding that spontaneous creativity requires some majorly control-freakish planning!

Palmer & Co

Palmer & Co

How do you deal with your creative deadlines? Do you just throw caution to the wind and hope the muse will guide you through (and just in the nick time)? Do you whip up a spreadsheet and break down your story into cellular components, knowing that by the time you get to cell J45, your main character will be facing their final battle? Do you throw a dart and just see where it lands? Or do you follow your compass to the Nth degree, minute and second?

However you do it, so long as you’re doing it, has got to be alright with me. What are you creating right now? Drop me a line and let me know.

Me, Myself and…

I thought I was going to get away with it! The power has been out all night. The internet’s been on the blink. I’ve been pulling out the “chubby thumbs” excuse so I wouldn’t have to post via my iPhone. But my evil plans to sit in the dark with a couple of candles and a glass of shiraz were derailed about five minutes ago when every light in the house came blazing back to life. I knew I should have gone out tonight. It’s Friday night for God’s sake!!!

I was talking about hitting a creative wall last night, and tonight isn’t much better. I could talk about the beauty of the full moon rising over the harbour as I went for my run tonight. But I wrote about that two or three nights ago. (What is it with the moon being full for 3 nights in a row?!) I could bust out another inspirational quote, like Einstein‘s

Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.

But I won’t.

Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.

I could find another funny photo, but I actually can’t.

It’s all over red rover. Inspiration detonation. It’s just me, myself and what are you doing tonight?

 

 

Hell in a Handbasket

Hemingway said:

The first draft of anything is shit.

He was right.

Heeding his words, I deleted my first draft of tonight’s post. I’d been pissing and moaning about having no inspiration; about the hideous guitarist downstairs; about the petty dramas of everyday life, and my inability to hold true to my promise to write every day until my birthday.

I hit the internet, in search of things beginning with the letter ‘H’ in the hopes they’d inspire my writing. I found Hoover’s Happy Hustling Helpers over at Oregon State University.

Hoover’s Happy Hustling Helpers

And these happy souls when I searched for ‘Hair’:

Happy & Hairy

However, words continued to elude me. “I’m going to Hell in a hand basket,” I thought. “And I wonder where that saying comes from?” Apparently heads will roll after a collision with a guillotine. Thus, a basket was a handy way for the previous owner to carry them straight to Hell. Gary Martin‘s call to modernise the saying had me laughing in agreement.

So,

I’m going to hell in a hovercraft!

Will you be joining me?

Go on, Get up, Get out!

Art Gallery of NSW

Art Gallery of NSW

It’s Wednesday night, the full moon has risen, the joggers are hitting the streets, and there’s a great commuter migration. Where are you going? What are you doing? And who are you spending your time with tonight?

Anthony Robbins said:

Who you spend your time with is who you become. Change your life by consciously choosing to surround yourself with people with higher standards.

Tonight I’m becoming a cinefile. The Art Gallery of NSW is open after hours and I’m warming my film critic’s hat for a screening if Rashomon, a film by Akira Kurosawa. I’m going in blind; clueless as to what to expect from a 1950’s Japanese cinema classic, but if Tony Robbins is right I’ll be walking away with much higher standards.

Jokes aside, Tony might just have a point. Who are you when you’re spending time with your workmates? How about when you’re with your family? Your best friend? Your drinking buddies? Your writers group? Are you the same person? Is one version better or worse than another?

Who do you want to become? If you want to be a creator, are you gutsy enough to create your own life first? Are you game to build new habits, new networks, new relationships? Are you willing to leap right out of your comfort zone?

On the Sideline

On the Sideline

Go on, get amongst it! Even if you go to the gallery, the film, the stand-up comedy or that course on your own, you’ll still be surrounded by the people you’re itching to become. I’m doing Tony Robbins proud and going for gold. How about you?

Full Moon Rising (almost)

Rise up!

Rise up!

I went for a run tonight; my post-work head clearing (and calorie burning) ritual. The almost-full moon was rising over the ocean, its beams flickering over the waves. A hypnotic invitation to just let go. It’s fascinating how quickly the thoughts and stresses of the day evaporate as you step (or run) into the flow. That feeling where there is no time, no mind chatter, no distractions. It’s just you in the moment. Free.

Within those moments of freedom the occasional bright spark of an idea might flicker. When it does you’d better run home quick to write it down. Repeat that idea like a mantra with each footfall. Over and over and over and oh look, a possum!

Tonight I flew through the door and scribbled my idea down with a flourish before it disappeared. It’s now patiently waiting to be examined in the crisp coolness of the dawn.

What steps do you take to get into the flow? And how do you avoid distractive possums on your evening run?

Everyday Inspiration

What inspires you to get out of bed every day? Every day? Even on days like the ones we’ve been having in Sydney of late. The ones where  hefty grey clouds dump their loads on a far too frequent basis. The wind whips up and blows the rain in under your umbrella. Sydney’s sideways rain. I’m not a fan! But it can make for interesting attempts at getting out of your comfort zone, getting out of your pyjamas, and getting your creativity on.

Rain & Drain

Rain & Drain

To fire up my creativity I’ve been taking a photo a day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a photographer. I’m all about the point and click! But pointing and clicking has found me 43 days into taking a photo a day, every day for a year – #94 on my list of things to achieve in this lifetime. It’s bulking up my flacid creative neural networks, making me more aware of the inspiration to be found in everyday things, and more alert to creative opportunities that spontaneously appear, like #137 on my list: photograph a double rainbow.

 

Double Rainbow

Double Rainbow

Chantelle over at Fat Mum Slim has some fantastic photo a day challenges to play with. I’d encourage you to check them out. Especially if you’re struggling to drag yourself out of bed today. And if that doesn’t help, maybe this little video will. It’s the ultimate in double rainbows.