Seven Bridges to Cross Again (Prologue)

Back in 2014, I made my first attempt at the Seven Bridges Walk.

As I recounted in my series ‘Seven Bridges to Cross’, it was a very interesting experience – if at times a very grueling one – and despite not completing it (although I came very close), I was keen to do it again.

Last year, however, I was working down in Canberra so I wasn’t able to do the walk then.

This year, though, it’s looking like I will be able to try the seven bridges again on Sunday, 30 October.

And if I make it on the day, I’ll be doing a few things differently to ensure that this time I complete the walk.

One thing is to start at least an hour earlier. Back in 2014, if I had started an hour earlier, I probably would have made it…

…but then again maybe I wouldn’t have, as towards the end I was experiencing some pain. Which has inspired a second thing I will do this year if the pain most likely arises again (and this thing is partly inspired from my recent reading about thru-hikers on the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails).

A third thing I will do differently this year is start the walk from another location – and a fourth thing I will do in conjunction with that is get to my starting point from close by. Back in 2014, I spent up to an hour walking from home to the closest starting point; this year, however, I hope to begin walking from what I think will be a better starting point that will only be a short walk from where I’m planning to stay the night before (and that in itself I’m looking forward to – as well as what I’m planning to do after the walk).

Despite some trepidation, I’m looking forward to trying the Seven Bridges Walk again.

Until next time, stay well and take care🙂

Posted in Action, Confidence, Happiness, Hope, Inspiration, Life Challenges, Life Strategies, Travel | Leave a comment

It’s been one year

Quest Canberra, Civic ACT (

Quest Canberra, Civic ACT (

I had originally begun writing this post a few weeks ago…but two tries later, it just wasn’t working.

Last night, I began another post about a different subject…but that didn’t work either.

But while trying to write last night’s post, as research I went back and re-read this post about when I began working in Canberra last year.

Although I still recall most of my time in Canberra quite vividly, reading that post made me smile.

It also made me want to re-attempt a post on this subject for the third time, so here goes.


A few weeks ago, I was startled to realise something important.

21 September, then a few days away, would mark an important anniversary – a year since I began my first contracting job in Canberra.

A year!

Realising that presented a lot of mixed emotions.


Some of those emotions were very pleasant.

As I wrote in the last few parts of my series ‘2015: A Life Odyssey’, I had a great time in Canberra. I worked in a great environment; I met some great people; and I thoroughly enjoyed staying at Quest Canberra in the CBD.

Some days, I found myself walking around with a grin on my face.

Before last year, Canberra was already one of my favourite places on Earth – and now, I’m even more fond of it.


But what happened during the first half of this year led to the other emotions I also felt a few weeks ago.

Two weeks into 2016, I was relieved to land my next contract, and it was only 30 minutes’ walk from home in the Sydney CBD. Unfortunately, by the end of the first week I began to dislike it – and a week later I hated it, thanks to my employer’s rotten client.

Fortunately, it was only a month-long contract – and although I was offered another month’s extension, I declined.

Instead, I decided to take a risk. I still had some of my redundancy money left, there was a lot of promising job-hunting activity happening – and most of all, my former manager in Canberra contacted me about my former position perhaps being reinstated.

So there was hope, I thought.


But during the next three months that followed, that hope dimmed.

Despite entering my busiest job-hunting period since redundancy, I got nowhere from mid-February until mid-May – which was very frustrating.

The last of my redundancy money lasted throughout that time, and I also received unemployment benefits – but as those three months passed and my funds dwindled to a final $500 or so, I became increasingly bitter.

And then there was another very unpleasant emotion I experienced.

And to add insult to that injury, it happened during a return to Canberra.


As I briefly recounted in my previous post, back in March I risked a short trip to Canberra for a job interview that ultimately failed – but thanks to a mistake by the interviewer that sent me to the wrong address, and meant that the interview couldn’t be rescheduled until four days later after the Easter long weekend, that trip’s expenses increased and thus consumed a large chunk of my remaining redundancy money.

I returned to stay at Quest Canberra, partly because I had thought the interview would be taking place less than five minutes’ walk away – but despite now having to stay longer than planned and at greater expense, I thought that at least staying there again would be pleasant enough.

But very early on Easter Sunday morning, I suddenly awoke.

A few seconds later, my mind began racing with fear.

And it would take me the next two hours of reading myself into exhaustion before I got back to sleep.

I hadn’t woken up in the middle of the night like that for a long time.

And I HATED it – especially as this had taken place in a favourite hotel in a favourite city where barely three months before I had had such a great time.

The rest of my trip passed under a cloud.


Finally, in mid-May I got a new job. Like that rotten job back in January-February, it was only 30 minutes’ walk from home (in a neighbouring suburb, not the Sydney CBD) – but unlike that rotten job, it was a good one.

Initially, my new contract was only until the end of June – but shortly before then, it was extended to mid-August.

And in early August, my contract was extended again until mid-December.

And recently, I’ve also been able to work from home – which has made my current job even better.

I’ve also been able to rebuild my savings.

And back in early June, I was also able to do something that was very important to me.


Ever since I began my current contract, I have continued job-hunting.

In early June, that included getting an interview for another opportunity in Canberra that was also very close to Quest Canberra.

So back I went to Quest Canberra – to find that I would even be staying in the same room that I had during my failed March visit.

But although I would also be unsuccessful with this interview, my return visit to Quest Canberra was successful. I had an income again, and I could relax.

And most of all, I didn’t wake up in terror during the middle of the night.

Until next time, stay well and take care🙂

Posted in Action, Depression, Fear, Gratitude, Happiness, Hope, Inspiration, Life Challenges, Life is Good, Pain, Travel, Working | Leave a comment

The jazz oases

Wednesday, 27 July 2016, just before 2pm.

I’d just checked in at the Abode Hotel Woden, and now I was entering my room – where I was greeted by an unexpected sound.


I listened to the music as I wheeled my two large suitcases into my room and closed the front door.

It was a pleasant-sounding jazz instrumental, and it seemed to be coming from the enormous flatscreen TV with the currently blank screen.

I continued listening as I looked around at my home away from home for the next five nights, and I smiled.

I was in Canberra again, and for pleasure, and staying in another appealing hotel room that was larger than my cluttered apartment back home in Sydney.

And the jazz music in the background was contributing to the ambiance.

I unpacked one of my suitcases – the other didn’t need unpacking yet – and soon I prepared to leave for the nearby Westfield Woden shopping centre to buy some supplies. Just before I left, I glanced at the flatscreen TV which was now showing the source of the music.

And that’s how I discovered the digital radio station ABC Jazz.


I was in Canberra for Brick Expo 2016, which would take place very close to the Abode Hotel Woden at the Hellenic Club.

The second large suitcase I’d brought was filled with the Lego I would be displaying at Brick Expo. The next day, I would wheel that suitcase over to the Hellenic Club and set up my layout.

This was my third year at Brick Expo, and I was looking forward to it a lot.

As well, as I mentioned above, I was in Canberra again, which I always look forward to.

But there was another reason why I was especially happy to be here.

The first half of 2016 had sucked. A crappy four-week work contract from January to February had been followed by three months of increasingly frustrating unemployment, job-hunting and money running out. Those three lousy months had also included a job-hunting visit to Canberra that would fail – but thanks also to (a) the interviewer sending me to the wrong address and (b) not being able to set up another interview until after the Easter long weekend, it would turn out to be an overly expensive visit that drained a big chunk of the last of my money.

(As regular readers may recall, during my past few posts I’ve alluded to a few series I had planned to write earlier this year. The above paragraph is a summary of what these series were going to cover. I may or may not still write these series – but the first half of 2016 was a very difficult time, especially after the great time I had working and living in Canberra in late 2015, so at present I’m still inclined not to revisit that shitty period.)

Finally, in mid-May I landed a new contract within walking distance from where I live in Sydney. There were some frustrations at first, but eventually I gained an extension thanks to my new employer liking my work so that was welcome. As well, I was receiving the same pay that I got in Canberra last year but without the expense of staying in Canberra, so once again I had extra money in the bank.

And now, I was back in Canberra for a brief but very welcome break to enjoy myself.


And during the next five days, the music of ABC Jazz became the pleasant soundtrack to what would become a very enjoyable break indeed.

The only time I turned off ABC Jazz was when I went to bed – but each morning, one of the first things I did after getting up was to turn it back on. I left it playing whenever I left my room, because I always liked hearing it whenever I returned.

And most of all, I enjoyed having ABC Jazz on during my favourite time of the day – late at night during the last few hours before bedtime. I’d long held a stereotype of jazz that it was the perfect sort of mellow music for unwinding to late at night – and now that I was finally listening to it, I found that it was indeed.


Most good things must come to an end, and so it was with Brick Expo and those five nights in Canberra. But I will always have the memories.

And one thing I was planning to continue doing when I returned to Sydney was listen to ABC Jazz late at night.

Which would ultimately lead to purchasing a type of item I had thought I would never buy again in my lifetime – a radio (or specifically, a digital radio).

Astoundingly, though, it took me almost two weeks of constipated thinking and lame-arse umming-and-aahing before I bought my radio. For that fortnight I listened too much to a voice in my head that whined about whether it was worth it spending more than $100 on a device just to listen to one radio station…until finally I told myself to stop being such a nob-end.

And weeks later as I currently type this, my little black Sony radio sits close by and fills my headphones and ears with yet more great late-night jazz.

I have also extended my boundaries beyond ABC Jazz and bought a few albums by different artists. At present, I mostly favour mellow instrumentals.

I have tried listening to jazz at work, but I much prefer to keep it to my late-night oases where it feels just right.

Until next time, stay well and take care🙂

Posted in Gratitude, Happiness, Inspiration, Life is Good, Resources | Leave a comment

Lone Aussie Rider

(Chris Anderson/Lone Aussie Rider)

(Chris Anderson/Lone Aussie Rider)

Today I learned about Chris Anderson, the Lone Aussie Rider who on 1 May began an incredible journey to raise money and awareness for beyondblue.

Having started from Frankston in Victoria, Chris is aiming to ride 20,000 kilometres by bicycle around the coast of Australia.

He’s already covered more than 3,500 kilometres across the Nullabor Plain and through the southern half of Western Australia.

Unfortunately, the Lone Aussie Rider’s bike was recently stolen – but fortunately, he’s been given a new one.

If you’d like to know more about Chris, here’s the Lone Aussie Rider’s Facebook page.

If you’d like to help Chris, you can donate here.

Chris, stay well and take care – and keep on riding!🙂

Posted in Action, Inspiration, Life Challenges, Life Strategies, Resilience | Leave a comment

The night oasis

First – to regular and long-time readers, an apology.

It’s now been over three months since I last posted here. Don’t worry – nothing major happened to me. The only things that did happen were busyness elsewhere (some good, some not so good), inertia and (especially) ongoing meh.

As well, initially I had been waiting for life events to influence the outcome of a few small series I had been planning to write. That outcome took longer than expected to arrive – life always happens when you make plans – but even after it did, the things I mentioned in the paragraph above didn’t make me feel like writing.


Second – recently I had finally planned to start on those series, but then an unexpected yet very welcome experience has prompted me to write this post instead.

Next time, I may finally start those series. We’ll see.


A couple of weeks ago, I enjoyed reading some online articles about Barack Obama’s late-night routine (like this one).

I enjoyed those articles because like Obama I’m a “night guy”, and reading them took me back to my last full-time job when, especially during its last four years when I worked from home, I preferred completing some of my work hours at night (and sometimes very late).

Those articles also resonated because of my work situation since that full-time job was made redundant early last year. Since then I’ve worked on a few short-term contracts, which meant getting back into the mindset and routine of 9-to-5 hours in offices. That hasn’t been all bad, but many mornings (especially after many nights of unsatisfying sleep) I have missed no longer having the luxury of getting up at around 9am, throwing on just a pair of shorts and being able to start work less than 10 minutes later.

There is always hope, though, that I may be able to work like that again.


Monday, 18 July 2016.

Another work day was over, and I decided to revisit a new favourite restaurant for dinner.

So I headed down to Braza Darling Harbour and once again I enjoyed their all-you-can-eat Brazilian churrasco.

Yet, when I got home afterwards, something was very different.

My usual bedtime is between 12am-1am – but tonight the time wasn’t even 10pm, and I was exhausted.

I hadn’t eaten more than I usually did at Braza…but I think the last few weeks had finally caught with me.

I hadn’t been sleeping well – but most surprising (and troubling of all), the weekend just past had been the worst. It was the first weekend in about a month where I didn’t need to be somewhere by a certain time, so Friday and Saturday nights I’d given myself the luxury of staying in bed for up to eight hours…but despite that, I had spent both Saturday and Sunday feeling tired all day. It had well and truly sucked.

And now I wanted to go to bed long before my usual bedtime, and at first that sucked as well…

…but then I decided to embrace it.

Why not go to bed now? Okay, I may wake up again a few hours later – but even if I do, relax and wait until I go to sleep again.

Or maybe – just maybe – I may even sleep solidly for more than a few hours.

Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

So I brushed my teeth, made a last pit-stop and shortly before 10:30pm went to bed.

I fell asleep pretty quickly.


When I awoke, the first thing I did was glance over at my main window.

There was no dawn light at all coming through the blinds.

Great! It was still most likely very early Tuesday morning, so I relaxed.

Next, I decided to read with the hope that eventually I would fall asleep again.

Recently, I’d been enjoying Keith Foskett’s books about thru-hiking the Camino de Santiago, the Pacific Crest Trail and the Appalachian Trail. As well as being welcome respites from recent life, Foskett’s adventures had got me thinking again about perhaps one day thru-hiking one of those trails myself. I was leaning towards the Camino de Santiago, so recently I had also gotten a copy of Suzanne Ball’s Follow The Yellow Arrows about her Camino experience.

So I powered on the Kindle, read Follow The Yellow Arrows and liked it a lot – but it’s a very short book, and I quickly finished it and found myself not ready to go back to sleep yet.

For a moment I debated whether to lie there and try going back to sleep, or get up for a short while. I decided to get up, as I’m usually no good at lying there trying to go to sleep…

…but for the first time since…I couldn’t remember, I felt refreshed and keen to get up.

I looked at the time on my iPhone. It was 3:51am.

I already been awake for perhaps at least half an hour, so I had slept barely five hours.

But I felt wonderful.

Again, I hadn’t felt this way after sleep for a long time.

I got up feeling very happy.


For the next hour-and-a-half or so, until just after 5:30am, I sat at my desk and felt very mellow.

I did a little gaming, I did a little surfing, and I read some more – including this great article about the joys of train-travel, which added to my mellowness.

Finally, just after 5:30am I started to feel a little tired, and so I went back to bed…albeit a little reluctantly, as I’d very much enjoyed waking up feeling wonderful and having some relaxing middle-of-the-night time to myself.

It took a while to get back to sleep, however, and until 7:30am or so when I reluctantly got back up it was unsettled sleep.


It’s now been almost a week since that visit to the night oasis, and ever since I’ve remembered it very fondly.

I’m not sure when I’ll get to visit again – but in a few days’ time I’ll be travelling to Canberra Brick Expo 2016..

I can’t wait – partly because of Brick Expo; partly because I’ll be in Canberra again; and partly because of five nights relaxing at a hotel, which promises several possible opportunities to return to the oasis.

Until next time, stay well and take care🙂

Posted in Action, Depression, Gratitude, Happiness, Hope, Inspiration, Life Challenges | Leave a comment

Black and Blue Walking Man: North by Northeast, and Back (Part 3)

Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney NSW (J J Harrison/Wikipedia)

Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney NSW (J J Harrison/Wikipedia)

Part 1
Part 2

The drizzle continued as I followed Military Road back into Neutral Bay, but I left my compact umbrella in my travel-vest pocket.

I smiled as I passed many restaurants filled with diners.

Soon, I was crossing back over the Warringah Freeway, re-entering St. Leonards Park and heading back to Miller Street.

I was almost back down the slope of Miller Street to the Rag & Famish Hotel when the drizzle turned into rain.

I pulled over to the steps of one of the high-rise buildings just before the Rag & Famish, put on my backpack’s wet-weather cover and took out my umbrella.

I briefly considered walking another 10 minutes or so to North Sydney Station and getting a train back across Sydney Harbour…but I decided to press on with my walk across the Harbour instead.

It was only rain, after all.

I shouldered my backpack, raised my umbrella and resumed walking.

It was now around 8:30pm, and North Sydney was mostly closed and quiet.

Soon I was heading down the slope of the Pacific Highway past Greenwood Plaza, and entering Milsons Point.

Yet again, similar to when I had last walked this route nine months before, many memories flooded back from the 2000s when I had walked home from my then office in North Sydney hundreds of times along this way.

The rain continued as I headed south through Milsons Point, and once again arrived at the awe-inspiring sight of the night-time Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Soon after I began crossing the Bridge, and about half an hour later I was across the Harbour and in The Rocks.

The rain still continued as I headed south into the CBD, and later south-west as I made it home.

It had taken just under two hours to walk all the way home from Cremorne.

I was wet all over.

But I was happy. Even in rain, a walk like that is always worth it, and the memory will remain with me forever.

That memory makes me smile now as I type this over a month later.


The week after I completed that walk, I suddenly found myself embarking on an adventure to another favourite place that, at first, was filled with excitement and hope.

Unfortunately, both of those feelings would dim during that trip, and then fade afterwards.

And in the weeks that have followed since then, life has become somewhat meh overall.

I may or may not write about this in my next few posts. We’ll see.

But what the last few weeks have reinforced is the value of spending a day doing things like indulging in long meals at fondly-remembered restaurants, and enjoyable night-time long-walks in the rain.

It’s those experiences, and the memories they provide, that help keep you going through the meh.

Until next time, stay well and take care🙂

Posted in Action, Gratitude, Happiness, Hope, Inspiration, Life is Good, Life Strategies, Travel | Leave a comment

Black and Blue Walking Man: North by Northeast, and Back (Part 2)

Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace, Cremorne NSW (

Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace, Cremorne NSW (

Part 1

I continued north up the long slope of Miller Street and passed more locations from my past.

On one side of Miller was the Rydges North Sydney, where one year I’d attended a work function and another year stayed one night for a NaNoWriMo event the next day at the Stanton Library on the other side of Miller Street.

Like many memories, my visits to both those places seemed like they’d happened yesterday yet also hundreds of years ago.

Shortly after that, I reached the summit of Miller Street and continued past North Sydney Oval until I came to St. Leonards Park, where I took a turn north-east.

About 10 minutes later, I crossed the overpass above the Warringah Freeway and entered Neutral Bay.

I’d last walked through Neutral Bay during my walk home from Taronga Zoo in early July last year. It was still very much how I remembered it – noisy thanks to the never-ending traffic along Military Road, but cozy and pleasant to walk through.

I continued along Military Road as it curved up into Cremorne, and soon I smiled as a welcome sight came into view – the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace, one of my all-time favourite cinemas.

Across the street from the Orpheum is the Minskys Hotel, where I had briefly stopped during last year’s walk and thought about trying to return a recruiter’s ‘phone call, but didn’t because of the noise.

Today, however, I planned to stay at Minskys for a while, so I bought a glass of diet cola, grabbed a table and sat down to relax.

It was approaching 3:30pm. Barely half an hour had passed since I'd left Had To Happen Mexican Restaurant (WARNING! Make sure your sound is not too loud).

I didn’t have to be somewhere else for at least another hour and a half.

So relax I did.


There was one small task I had to attend to, though.

Just before noon, not long after my train had left Town Hall station, I had gotten a ‘phone call from a recruiter.

She asked if I would be interested in a possible opportunity based in Parramatta, way out in the western suburbs. Although a job in Parramatta would mean long commuting (ugh), I said yes.

The recruiter sent me an email containing more information about this opportunity, and now at Minksys I was reading the email on my iPad.

Again, the prospect of perhaps working at Parramatta wasn’t all that inspiring…but several weeks had gone by with deafening silence from several other jobs I had applied for.

I replied to the recruiter that I was still interested.


Time passed very pleasantly.

As 5pm approached, I thought about remaining at Minksys for dinner as they had an appealing menu.

But I also thought about the other option I’d been considering during the afternoon, and ultimately I decided on that.

So at 5pm I left Minksys, crossed Military Road and walked past some of the many restaurants that Cremorne has on offer until I came to the place whose food I’d had a growing craving for during the afternoon.


I could have stayed at Minksys and enjoyed a ‘real’ burger, but I rarely eat at McDonald’s anymore and the idea of a couple of Big Macs seemed appealing and exotic.

They weren’t bad.


At around 5:50pm, I left McDonald’s and headed back up Military Road to the Orpheum.

Just after 6pm, I found myself sitting in one of the Orpheum’s charming Art Deco cinemas.

The week before, I had won a double-pass to a ‘secret screening’ preview of an upcoming film.

I heard several people around me wondering aloud which film it would be.

And soon after, the screening’s host appeared and announced that we would be seeing the film I had been hoping for – Eye In The Sky.

As many others cheered, I grinned.

So far, my day had gone very well.

And fortunately, Eye In The Sky turned out to be quite engrossing and thought-provoking.


Shortly after 8pm, I stepped outside the Orpheum to find that it had been raining.

There was a bus stop right across Military Road – but despite the weather, the idea of getting a bus all or part of the way home wasn’t very appealing.

I had always planned to walk home tonight.

And if it did start raining heavily before I reached North Sydney station about half an hour away, it shouldn’t be difficult to get a bus.

I took my compact umbrella out of my backpack and tucked it into one of my travel-vest’s pockets.

Then I crossed Military Road and began walking south-west back towards Neutral Bay.


Posted in Action, Gratitude, Happiness, Having a Laugh, Life is Good, Travel | Leave a comment