2014 Bucket List

Standard


2014 Bucket List

By Rowena Mynott

 

I go through this every year. I sit down, I make a list of resolutions but when end of the year rolls around and it’s time to sit down to write the next years list, inevitably I find that I haven’t fulfilled many of the resolutions on the previous list. Although it is an ancient tradition, it seems I am not alone in my failure to adhere to ‘the list’. That’s probably not a bad thing. We punish ourselves enough for putting on weight over christmas, for not being good enough at our jobs, for not having the big house or earning enough money. So how about this. How about we set positive goals for the next year? There are plenty of people online that I come across who are doing just that. Similarly to a resolution list they write a list of things that they want to achieve that year, the difference being that they are bucket list items. Items that the author is excited about achieving be it taking a skydive or tasting 6 different types of chocolate. And if you don’t manage to tick every item off? It really doesn’t matter! So here we go. Here is my list for 2014:

1 – Kayak with orcas

2 – See grizzly bears in the wild

3 – Train through the Rockies

4 – Pay off a strangers lay-away Christmas gift for their children

5 – 52 Project

6 – Cage dive with crocodiles in Darwin

7 – Read the top 10 novels of all time

8 – Write an e-book

9 – Learn to play the guitar

10 – Visit a new country

11 – Take a new class

12 – Exercise regularly

13 – Sail around Haida Gwaii

14 – Visit Jasper NP

15 – Visit Banff

16 – Dive Fiji

17 – Visit Tintagel Castle in Cornwall

18 – Take part in an archaeological dig

19 – Eat baguettes, cheese and drink wine in France

20 – Take a helicopter flight

21 – Visit Halden Forest Park with Ethan

22 – Celebrate the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival

23 – Take a narrow boat trip around the English canals

24 – Explore Lundy Island

25 – See how many whales we can spot in the Bay of Fundy

26 – Taste chocolate in Belgium

27 – See otters in the wild

28 – Tobermory, Isle of Mull

29 – Edinburgh Castle

30 – Ride on a steam train

31 – Shoot a quiver of arrows

32 – Introduce my son to a monkey

33 – Hold a bird of prey

I am super excited about this list and can’t wait to start achieving it and sharing with you.  What is on your list this year? I’d love to hear – perhaps pick up some inspiration.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

V3.2 of 72&Rising Magazine out soon!

Standard

With

72&Rising Magazine Cover V3.2

Featured in this issue:

  • Black And White Photography Tips
  • Photoshop With A Message
  • Images With A Message
  • Otter Rehabilitation in English Rivers
  • Travels In Slovenia
  • Water Scarcity And Water Solutions
  • Marine Conservation In China

As well as our usual articles including sustainable recipes and featured artists. Please head to http://www.72andrising.com to find out how to get your copy…

Coastal Living, Coastal Loving

Standard

By Ming Nomchong

http://www.mingnomchong.com

There’s something magical about living by the ocean. Maybe it’s the powerful energy created from the endless movement of water that draws us in and keeps us close to its heart. Or the smell of a sea breeze that wafts past and invokes memories of long summer hazes, whirling, breaking water and salty sun kissed skin.

Whatever the magic may be, each and every one of us has a special connection with the ocean. It’s water.  It’s what we’re made up of. It’s a part of us. The ocean is in us. Every one of us. Our connection with the sea is ingrained in us and is represented through the way we live our lives as coastal dwellers. It’s a feeder of good vibes and positive energy. Whether it’s walks on the beach, sunrise surfs , jumping and splashing about in the water or just feeling the sea breeze through our hair, living by the ocean is apart of who we are as east coast locals, as island inhabitants and Australians.

CoastalLovin-002

CoastalLovin-001

CoastalLovin-003

CoastalLovin-008

CoastalLovin-010

CoastalLovin-011

CoastalLovin-015

CoastalLovin-017

CoastalLovin-019

CoastalLovin-031

CoastalLovin-032

CoastalLovin-023

CoastalLovin-022

CoastalLovin-021

CoastalLovin-028

CoastalLovin-024

CoastalLovin-017

Norway in a Bottle

Standard

By Dorothea Arnold

www.thedotpages.wordpress.com

The night sky in Norway gives way to insurmountable numbers of stars, so many that once the day turns to night, you may begin to experience the realization of how small we really are. It is a place of peaceful moments, which can be as simple as being able to close your eyes for a second just to feel alone in the silence of being away from it all.

For one week during the month of March I participated in a cross-country ski tour in Norway with eight fellow Master’s students and two outstanding professors and teachers in the field of outdoor education. Before this trip, I knew relatively nothing about Norway, or Scandinavian culture. To (what I assume) every Norwegian, the word Friluftsliv is not just a word, but a way of life. I remember when I saw the word Friluftsliv in an article before I even knew how to say it. I spent many moments trying to think of how it would be pronounced, almost spending more time on its pronunciation that what it actually meant. If I was to write out how this word is pronounced for those who may be struggling as I did, it would be: free-looft-sleef. Needless to say, once I learned how to pronounce this word its meaning unraveled before my very eyes.

If I were to sum up this word in one short statement it would be ‘nature is life’, as portrayed in Bob Henderson and Nils Vikander’s book Nature
First. I had the privilege of having Bob on this trip to Norway as one of our instructors, along with my programme’s director Simon Beames. Much can be learned on a trip such as this when you are surrounded by such sources of never ending knowledge and wisdom. Norway delivered a glowing experience through its effervescent sun rays that perpetually burnt our skin, to the moments that we all will never forget. Here is a little story I wrote about our ski tour in Norway:

Surreal it seems just sitting here, in a valley full of snow. As huts are perched and sun rays reach all the way to my toes. Snowy mountains in the distance, ungulate soft and gently. As my skin soaks up the happiness, so real these thatched roofs grow. Friends make this experience real, as we laugh and smile and sing songstrue.Norway’strailslinethelandscape, with a skye so very blue.

Packs on, skis on, sun cream double on, and as the Norwegians say, “God Tur!” To the trail we went and as the snow slowly began to thaw from its original icy condition, the bodies stopped falling and sliding off the trail. Falling was one of the things that happened most on this trip, other than eating endless cans of peaches at the end of each day. Luckily, falling in snow doesn’t hurt that bad, unless you fall on your face or into really soft snow, in that case you sort of flail about like a confused penguin. Needless to say, I was that penguin many a time. Besides the comedic moments of each day, our group was traveling through the Norwegian hut- to-hut system, of which there are over 200 huts throughout the country. Some of these huts are self-service huts, which are fully stocked with the necessities of food, drink, and cosy beds, and of course, a wood burning stove. They emanate the smell of wood and candle wax, a setting for reflection and moments of bonding with your fellows. After a long day of tough skiing these huts and the people I knew waiting inside getting the fire started and the snow melting for water, is what tugged at my heartstrings the most.

Our nights were spent by candlelight, telling stories and learning more about each other. It was these moments that I keep in ‘my bottle’ of Norway along with the breath- taking views of snow capped mountains luminously standing far in the distance, the sun shining through the day, and the moments of weakness supported by an incredible group. These moments of weakness during many of the expeditionary trips I have taken are always great sources of bonding afterwards; I even find this in everyday life as well. A recent visit from my family reminded me of this as we were all stuck driving on the opposite side of the road to Invernesshire, Scotland and knocking off peoples side view mirrors with our car. Needless to say we learned that day to never let Americans drive rental cars overseas, especially in the UK. These experiences can possibly provide the opportunity for the bonding of participants in these situations. Just as my family and I were able to laugh about it after, expedition groups may become stronger in challenging times because they must work together to make through them.

I think that the ‘icing on the cake’ of this experience was the group and the way we all were able to work together and make it through over 70K of cross country skiing, blistered ankles and all. Through this experience in Norway, I have learned many things that I will never forget. One of those things is that everyone, and yes I mean you as well, should travel to Norway and experience what they mean by ‘nature is life’. For, it wasn’t until I went to Norway that I truly knew what they mean when they say the word Friluftsliv. Oh, and one last thing. When you make it to Norway and you are skiing along the trails remember the names of the huts and trail signs you see, because if you ski past a person or a group and you turn to your friend and combine the trail/hut names and say, “Ohh Jaaa, Storholiseter Oskampen Skrirusten, God Tur!” They will basically think your Norwegian, which is pretty cool if you ask me. Cheers for now, until next time…! 

Towards a Sustainable Future

Standard

BY DOROTHEA ARNOLD

The world that we live in is incredibly complex.  With the environment undergoing significant changes, populations rising and social inequalities pervasively running throughout the world, I am left overwhelmed at times at the sheer scope of it all.  People talk of ‘change’ and being the ‘change’ and I have fully embraced such terms throughout my teen years as a fervent advocate for social change and justice.  Traveling around the world and working in under served communities around the globe taught me so much about the reality of life for so many people less fortunate than myself.  I will never forget the humidity of the various airports I entered as a wide-eyed idealistic girl, back sweating with the load of my rucksack weighing me down.  The colors were vivid and my smile was a permanent fixture until I saw the devastation and poverty in communities of El Salvador and Kenya.  I was gifted with great opportunity to experience life-changing things throughout this period of my life and I will never forget it, for even now it influences my practice as a growing outdoor educator, researcher, writer and of course upon my own daily reflections.  But, what to do with such experiences and feeling of deep emotions and the anger that filled me towards the inequality and poverty that I saw…  For years it haunted me and until more recently, I could not find a light at the end of the tunnel of feeling helpless at the vastness of the world’s problems and how it would be possible to make change.

I refer to change being a metamorphosis of sorts.  The kind that takes generations of transformation.  The culmination of this type of metamorphosis would end with deep embedding of the necessity and need for a real, true and deep global shift towards whatever cause people are striving for.  Recent discussions with Chuck Hopkins the UNSECO chair in education for sustainable development, was not only an incredible learning experience but left ruminating perspectives in my mind about the future of our planet.  Over the past 20 years, we have been building perspectives in science, philosophy, research and theories about sustainability and how we are to address climate change.  Organizations and movements such as 350.org are at the forefront of the social media/public outcry for people to pay attention and make some changes in their own lives to be sustainable.  In my opinion, and others in the environmental realm, it is essential that we ‘change’ or metamorphose to live more sustainable lives.

For some this movement towards sustainability means eating less meat, buying clothes from stores that work with artisans and give them fair wages, drinking coffee sourced from fair-trade and organic relationships, supporting local organic food producers or farmer’s markets, and using products that are ‘eco-friendly’ and biodegradable.  But this is not the only answer.  I believe we must work towards changing the way that we teach our children about the environment and the world.  The inter-connectivity of earth systems must be a part of our education systems and we must teach in ways that will re-connect children and adults with each other and the world.  If we are to live sustainable lives, it must be embedded into our practice and lifestyle.

As the sun and rain shift the skies apart in Edinburgh, these thoughts continue to light the trail behind the work that I am trying to do through this MSc programme.  It is through my experiences outdoors and learning about the environment, gardening, farming, social justice and sustainability that I have come to realize the depths of the degree to which we must take the leap towards a sustainable future.  This all may come of incredibly idealistic and maybe even a bit like preaching, but I think it is important to continue this conversation.

In the end, I am left thinking of the possible influence of outdoor education and outdoor learning upon others, for I learned to come to peace with frustration through spending time in nature, as Wendell Berry describes in his poem The Peace of Wild Things. “When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.  I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.  I come into the presence of still water.  And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light.  For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”

Recommended books:  Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold, and Fields of Green edited by Marcia Mackenzie, Paul Hart, Heeson Bai and Bob Jickling.

Taking the Plunge with White Pointers!

Standard

Edit: I started to write an in-depth blog of our journey with the great whites, but it turned into a large article and so will now be featured in Octobers issue of 72&Rising Magazine. Be sure to check it out!

We were a crew of ten.  Seven divers from our local dive shop ‘Sundive’, a Japanese photographer from ‘Diver’ magazine and two lads who had booked their trip before even starting their open water course – what a way to start your diving career! Two flights and an interesting cab ride with the charismatic Frank and we found ourselves hunkered down with a hearty meal and a few beers in the Marina Hotel, waiting to be met by the Rodney Fox Shark Dive crew.

Sadly the weather wasn’t the best and diving in four metre swells and 50kph winds isn’t ideal, so we headed to Tumby Bay to dive with the leafy sea dragons.  Not quite great whites but certainly just as beautiful! Once we had acclimatised ourselves to the 11 degree water it was time to motor the eight hours out to the North Neptune Islands – next stop Antarctica!

Our first days diving was a little bumpy but the sharks more than made up for it.  They were every bit as incredible as I thought they would be, however (and this makes me hang my head in shame a little as I should have known better) I was surprised at their gentleness. I know sharks in general are not crazed man eating machines, I know they are misconstrued in the media and yet here I was getting a reality check watching these five metre fish swim calmly and serenely around me. We saw 16 great whites in total, both male and female, juvenile, sub adults and the ‘Super Sharks’ which are the big boys and girls in the five metre mark.  We were able to identify particular sharks that we had seen: Kiwi, Moo, Rascal and Imax being just some.

It was an amazing adventure and we are all thankful for the crew of Rodney Fox Shark Dive.  I would certainly recommend this trip to anyone – diver or not, and for now I hope you enjoy the images below and my article in the next issue of 72&Rising.

A motley looking crew on the hunt for some big sharks….

North Neptune Islands.  The resident seal colony that lures the great white sharks to this location year round.

Upon arrival, excitement starts to mount and divers start to emerge from the warmth below decks, eager to start scanning the horizon for the first glimpses of a shark.

Sea conditions were fairly poor on our arrival.  Captain Ned and Andrew had to focus on locating the best anchorage.

The burley flag is raised signalling to other ocean goers that chum is now present in the water.

The bait was prepared: tuna gills!

Whilst chumming is seen by some as an unfriendly practice when it comes to shark viewing, I was very pleasantly surprised at how little chum was used to attract the sharks, and how tamely this was deployed.

The bottom cage was winched off the top deck.

Once free it was readied to dive.

The first shark was sighted.  It was not the black shadow lurking in the depths that I had expected to see, but more a golden brown glow gliding through the water checking out these strange creatures above.

The surface cage was deployed and divers began suiting up for the 11 degree water.

Patience…..

There were walls of trevelley amongst the washing machine of the turbulent ocean surface.

And then the sharks appeared.  Images such as the one below are frequently what we see in the media when great whites are mentioned.  Fast action, swirling water, snapping teeth.  As someone who prides themselves on their knowledge, albeit small, of sharks, even I was taken aback by the lack of rapaciousness of these creatures. Their gentle manner betrayed their innocent curiosity.  Sharks are the most perfectly evolved creature on the planet.  I was once told that in human terms, sharks only require one hamburger a week and when you think of this, the idea that they are a fast paced action killing machine just doesn’t fit.  By chasing every living thing around the ocean, a shark would soon deplete their energy reserves, and so it should have come as no surprise to me that great whites spend the majority of their time slowly cruising around, watching and waiting.  When we did see fast paced action as in the image below, the bait was rarely taken.  More often than not, the shark nudged the bait with its snout or gave a swim past checking it out with their dark eyes.

A classic shark fin shot at sunset.

Notice the beautiful colour of this great white whose skin shimmers like gold.  The marks on its body are bite marks from a confrontation with another shark

We received many a swim by from these graceful animals.

Below the water, we could really get a feel for the size of the shark and look for identifying features on the body that allowed us to pinpoint the specific shark we saw.

Despite having such a wide bite, notice how gently this shark is taking the bait.  There is no white water, no snapping jaws and no thrashing tail.

Looking up from 14 metres under the ocean towards the surface cage.

I deliberated about posting this image but decided to as its one of my favourites from the trip. This is another classic shot that is commonly misinterpreted in the media, but before you assume what is happening here let me fill you in a little…..Whilst in the bottom cage we were visited by this magnificent girl who it turns out is a new visitor to these waters.  During the course of a day we humans use our hands to gather a large amount of information: hot or cold, hard or smooth, soft or firm, wet or dry, malleable or rigid and the list goes on. Sharks on the other hand have no external appendages that they are able to use to gather this information and so they use the next best thing – their mouths. This beauty was not trying to break into the cage, nor was she trying to eat us.  We were not tossed around inside the cage and she didn’t shake her head side to side like a feral dog. In fact, what she is doing here is figuring out what on earth we are. We are an anomaly in her world and she is feeling the side of the cage to work us out.  Cage diving can be seen as a little controversial by some as it is seen as damaging to the sharks. I had this in the back of my head whilst I was diving here, but I am very happy to say that this is not the case. This was the only shark that mouthed at the cage and she was very gentle in doing so. Although very occasionally other sharks may have bumped against the boat or the cages, there was no damage caused to either.  Andrew and the crew were very responsible in their duty to entertain their charter and keep them safe, but they didn’t do so at the expense of the shark. The shark came first and I was more than happy to allow this to be so.

Rising to the surface in the bottom cage.

Sunset came too soon, and with it the possibility of tagging one of the ‘Super Sharks’.  Sadly by this point we had lost our appeal to the sharks and didnt get the opportunity to tag the big boys.

There was time for one last quick look before we returned to harbour.

Whilst very different to the isolated location at North Neptune, the marina at Port Lincoln showered us with its own beauty.  The multitude of lights from various fishing vessels lights up the nights sky.

Our dive boat dwarfed by the larger ocean going fishing fleet.

We found the sharks, and everyone came away very happy campers, eager to visit North Hopkins Islands and the Rodney Fox Shark Dive crew again very soon.

Travel for the Soul

Standard

 

yoga copy

Someone wise once told me that the quickest route to self-discovery is to surround yourself with the unknown. The monotony and formulated routine of daily activities – work, eat, sleep – may leave you with a sense of security, but can quickly become lead to personal discontentment.

The ultimate fuel for this ‘unknown’ is travel. It pressures you to make decisions (on bigger issues than which filter to use on Instagram), encourages problem solving skills (how to get by with no foreign money and one change of underwear) and gives you an unrivalled self-satisfaction when you make it through unscathed. Before sampling the ultimate food for the soul, I have created some tips to guide you through the global degustation.

An entrée of enrichment

Visiting another country and failing to venture outside the confines of a resort is like being serenaded with the most beautiful song in the world – without removing your earplugs. Take time to meet locals, their stories are more insightful than any information you can get from a guide book. Study their philosophies, religions and history, and use your learning to make positive changes to the way you think and act.
Food is a great way to connect and many of the most fascinating conversations are had over a meal. Appreciate the flavours of the country and share your fare with others generously and often. Most often you will find that through all the diversity and differences in appearance and lifestyle, there are so many common threads that tie you together.

Me-time for the main

Travel is about relaxation and reconnection, so wherever you go, make sure to leave time to explore the natural surroundings. Embark on a long hike through the jungles, surf the beaches and take a moment to appreciate the small things – the different silhouettes, brilliant colours of the sunrise, the softness of the sand particles on your feet. Push your body physically and test your personal limits with challenging activities before nourishing yourself with fresh local produce.

Something sweet to finish

You are coming towards the end of the adventure and feel like you have had a pretty thorough experience. You’ve met new life-long friends, walked tracks and trails you never thought your body could handle and sampled strange, exotic foods. Your destination offered you pieces of their culture and heritage to you, but have you offered anything in return?
One of the most rewarding aspects of travel is giving back, whether it be in the form of volunteering at a local orphanage, providing labour to build a house or blessing a family with financial aid, as Gandhi wisely stated – The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.

Cheque, please!

As you prepare to return home, remember to self-reflect on the journey you have made. Use a journal to take notes and think about the ways you can implement the lessons you learnt into your everyday life. Appreciate the inner-peace and happiness you have found and whenever you find yourself falling back into the pressures of society, use calming techniques such as yoga and meditation as tools to bring back the perspective you gained from your travels.

– Naomi Ashcroft

Naomi is founder of Salt Retreats, a new all-inclusive tropical sanctuary that combines the untouched beaches and vibrant culture of Indonesia’s Brewa Beach with gourmet, organic meals, daily yoga, surfing, spa treatments and luxury sunset yacht trips.

Find out more at www.saltretreats.com