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Day 905 – NEW ZEALAND: Motivational Speaking
1�� 12th, 2009 | categorizilation: all categories,Arrival Home,New Zealand,School Visits
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A big thanks to Heather for bringing this guy to my attention – Nick Vujicic.

Born with no arms and no legs, among other things he does motivational speaking. Click on the image below to see him in action.

Nick Vujicic Motivational Speaker

His story of course is inspirational. It would be hard to dispute his authority and credentials for speaking and motivating on the topics he talks about in the preview above.

What I immediately noticed however, was how very well he presents his talk. There are many very good motivational speakers out there, with many many amazing stories. Vujicic however in the talk above had some great things that I’d like to incorporate into any future talks I do about my trip:

  • Vujicic gets his listeners to write keywords down. Right at the beginning of his talk he has them write own the three key things he will talk about and illustrate in his talk; Perspective, Vision, and Choices. He then had listeners write down key points during the talk also.
  • Passion. He is a passionate speaker and knows what he wants to get across. I spoke at a Boys Brigade camp yesterday, and while the presentation went well, I felt there was something missing. It didn’t really ram home any key points that the boys would be able to take away from it. It wasn’t clear what I wanted to convey.

And the link that Heather shared was the one below. A very hard-hitting, short and to the point message from Vujicic:

Nick Vujicic Motivational Speaker

By the way, I would just embed these videos in my blog if I could…but I can’t. My messy hack of the WordPress content management software (upon which this entire website balances) doesn’t allow it.

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Day 903 – NEW ZEALAND: Running
1�� 10th, 2009 | categorizilation: all categories
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A distinct lack of photos are being taken these days. Oh well.

So I went running with the Christchurch Marathon Clinic today. Absolutely fantastic. Running has never been so perfectly agreeable. The biggest thing that I enjoy about doing physical activity with others, is the fact that your mind is taken off any physical suffering that you might be enduring.

Hmm….let me put it another way. When I am on my own, I tend to focus inwards on my suffering. When I am with others, I realise that my suffering either doesn’t even exist at all, or is actually of a very insignificant presence.

So I’ll keep that up, me thinks. It gave my mind a rest.

In other news, a trio of talented longboarders, Paul Kent, Aaron Enevoldsen, and Adam Colton are currently on the road skateboarding from Lima in Peru, in a general south-ward direction in South America. They are all carrying their own gear individually, and have some massively beautiful challenges ahead of them, including quite a few 4,000m plus high passes across the Andes. It gave me goose-bumps reading about their first few days in Lima. A land of contrasts, vastly different culturally to their own. It’s going to be a mad, mad ride, so hang on with them for the ride:

Long Treks On Skate Deckshttp://longtreksonskatedecks.blogspot.com/

Solo Distance Skateboarding South America

A big thanks to Happyskater.org for working on the site and coordinating some of the web stuff for them, and for us (the readers).

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Day 902 – NEW ZEALAND: Who am I?
1�� 9th, 2009 | categorizilation: all categories,Arrival Home,New Zealand
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“There is a guy I know who has a skate ramp in his garage.”

This was a comment from a friend recently about me trying to find new friends.

It got me to thinking that when you’re involved in the long-distance skateboarding scene, and only involved in the long distance skateboarding scene, then other forms of skateboarding don’t really have much appeal.

But then again, when I had a go on a friend of a friend’s shortboard the other day, I quite enjoyed playing about on it, and even thought that I should get myself one.

So does that make me a skater?

Identity, or lack of a sense of identity, or a new-found identity that one has not yet come to grips with, is tough work.

Who am I?

What are the moral and ethical implications of pursuing a life of adventure (which costs money and time) when there are people without even the basic life essentials?

“How we can justify all the expensive gear, travel resources, impact on environment, and so on, for the human pleasure of a high-end adventure trip?”Outdoor Education, Ethics, and Moral Development

Am I not just another priveliged western developed-world-class citizen splurging money and time for my own pleasure?
I’d be interested to hear your take on this. Through my choice to spend NZ$15,000 and 2.5 years of precious time on this journey (that could have been spent on…I don’t know…random choice…volunteering to build school-houses in Ethiopia), what have you, the blog reader, gotten out of my journey? Has it influenced your life for the better? Are there any ehtical dilemas in journeys like mine?

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Day 902 – NEW ZEALAND: Priorities
1�� 9th, 2009 | categorizilation: all categories,Arrival Home,New Zealand
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So yesterday I went to a counsellor to talk through some of the issues that are bothering me at the moment upon re-entry to New Zealand.

Some semblance of clarity has been restored, but it’s still all very scary.

Basically I realised that there are heaps of things that I want and/or need to do. They are all very ligitimate needs and wants, but some are more pressing than others. That is, I have priorities.

Here’s a list of high-order priorities that I have at the moment:

  • Invest time in relationships. D’uh, right? Yeah well it’s not always so obivous that spending time with loved ones is important. Look at Chris McCandless (see the book and film based on his true story, called Into The Wild). He let go all that was truely important in his life to pursue his own dreams, and they ultimately robbed him of his life. He missed out on what should have been a hugely sugnificant joy in his life; his family. Well at least that’s one of the lessons I got from his story.
  • Earn money. It is quite tempting to not actively seek work at the moment. Mainly because it is quite nice to just sit at home and ponder life. The problem with sitting at home and pondering life, however, is that the pondering tends to go around and around in circles. One hour of pondering and writing down thoughts is even more effective than five hours of pondering and not writing anything down.
  • Follow up on creative writing courses for 2009. It’s amazing how little thought I am putting into the idea of writing a book, even though that’s what I want to achieve by the end of the 2009 academic year! By the way, if anyone has some good suggestions of any great contemporary travel/adventure books to read, let me know. I’m keen to get a reading list started.
  • Get involved in a local church. There’s something about this Jesus fella and what he said about life that just makes sense. There are plenty of things surrounding him that don’t make sense too, but I’m keen to investigate. I reckon the place where people who are into Jesus congregate is a good place to start.

Immediately after finishing my journey, when I arrived at my parents’ house in Christchurch, I began a flurry of investigation into study options, career options, relationship options, options that were realistically not the biggest priorities right at hand. I wanted to be stable and settled now! I wanted direction now!

I still want those things (kind of, maybe, perhaps), but realistically they don’t happen overnight. Gotta focus on the immediate issues at hand.

On a totally side note, and speaking of not focussing on the immediate issues at hand, I am still registered in the upcoming Motatapu Icebreaker as a participant in the marathon section on the 14th of March this year. It has been difficult to get myself motivated to train for this, especially for the shorter distance training runs (up to 10km). I’ve done one long run so far (16km) and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I have a great training schedule to get my running muscles (or more importantly, my running joints) up to speed. Heather from Blenheim sent me this schedule, since she is also entered in the marathon, and has done much more running than I have.
However, the problem I find with running (or any physical exercise for that matter), is that if I do it on my own, with the sole purpose being just to ‘exercise’ or to ‘train’, I find it extremely difficult to motivate myself to do it. A run to work, a skate to work, a cycle to work…this is fine. I’m going there anway.

A run to….somewhere…..and back again, or a skate to…..somewhere….and back again….um….yeah….seems kind of pointless (apart from the physical benefits).

So I have contacted the Christchurch Marathon Clinic, and have arranged to join in on one of their weekly runs tomorrow. A 14km flat-land run around some suburbs of Christchurch starting at 8am. I’m looking forward to some social and intellectual benefits from running with others tomorrow, in addition to the physical benefits. Several of the Marathon Clinic members are also participating in the Motatapu marathon, and to my relief, there are others that will be glad just to complete it, rather than compete it.
The Motatapu Icebreaker is a fully off-road marathon with numerous river-crossings, 500m vertical gain, and lots of ups and downs. The route crosses from Wanaka to Arrowtown in the South Island of New Zealand, crossing otherwise closed-to-public land belonging to Shania Twain. I refuse to consider the event as a race, and I certainly see myself as a ‘participant’ rather than a ‘competitor’. I’m looking forward to travelling through some great Otago hill country. By the looks of things is is going to be a beautiful day out!

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Day 900 – NEW ZEALAND: Inverview with ICON-X in Shanghai
1�� 7th, 2009 | categorizilation: all categories,Arrival Home,China,New Zealand
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I just discovered this interview online. One I did with ICON-X when I just finished skating in Shanghai. It already feels like a blast from the past! Just click on the image for the interview.

ICON-X Interview - click here

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Day 898 – NEW ZEALAND: Wear a Helmet
1�� 5th, 2009 | categorizilation: all categories,New Zealand,planning/prep
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I was perusing the www.skatefurther.com forum today and came across a link to www.whoisadamcolton.com‘s upcoming solo skate journey in Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile.

In true world wide web surfing fashion, I ended up clicking on a link in Adam’s website about helmets. He condones helmet use in skateboarding. So do I. And here’s a wee website that will make you condone it too. Link found via Adam’s website. Just click on the image to start watching some very compelling videos.


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Day 898 – NEW ZEALAND: The future…
1�� 5th, 2009 | categorizilation: all categories,Arrival Home,New Zealand
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Thinking Ahead

And so it goes in my head. In most things these days; not just as in the case of the cartoon above. It is so easy to get ahead of myself. To not live in the moment. Or at least have a healthy balance between living in the moment and considering future possibilities.

I remember arriving home to Christchurch, and already I was frantically researching future study options that realistically I was not going to be able to consider beginning for at least a year.

The up side is that I can laugh at myself now. Trying as hard as I can to remind myself that this is a time of essentially reconstructing my life from ground zero in terms of friendships, world-view, ‘career*’, living arrangements etc.

It is hard to have patience at the moment. But time flows as slowly or as quickly as the eye of the beholder feels it.

* Career: A convenient term to describe ‘thing(s) that I do which I enjoy and get fulfilment out of, but also recieve money from’.

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Day 896 – NEW ZEALAND: Happy Christmas…Merry New Year
1�� 3rd, 2009 | categorizilation: all categories,Arrival Home,New Zealand
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A rather belated season’s greetings to everyone. It’s 2009, and everything is going to be fine.

Welcome to the future.

Just before Christmas I was greeted with a message when trying to access my website, telling me that I had exceeded my monthly allowance for bandwidth. A blessing and a curse, I guess. Lots of people still checking in to catch up on the action.
It was my first Christmas at home for 5 years this year. The actual Christmas family gathering at my parents’ place was nice, but what I have enjoyed most is catching up with individual family and extended family members individually here and there for the last few weeks.

Chillaxing with fandamily in Sumner, Christchurch, New Zealand Chillaxing with fandamily in Sumner, Christchurch, New Zealand

Chillaxing with fandamily in Sumner, Christchurch, New Zealand Evie and Uncle Rob

Christmas dinner was typical family chaos with new babies and new couples and generally new everything (to me).

Family Christmas in Halswell, Christchurch

Hayley and EmJay in Halswell, Christchurch With Makayla in Halswell, Christchurch

New Years was quickly destined to be a rather quiet one until my brother Chris paid for a flight for me down to Queenstown to spend New Years in Wanaka. It was great to get away from Christchurch and socialise a little, despite not knowing many of those that I socialised with over the four days.

New Years in Wanaka was a wild one with a huge party hosted at the half-built house of a friend of my brother’s. Overlooking the township and lake of Wanaka, the house was in an awesome location. The day after, my brother and I tried to visualise how big a container would have to be made in order to contain every drop of alcoholic beverage consumed in Wanaka alone the night before. Many a reveler was paying the painful but content price for ushering in the new year.

My brother had also flown down to Queenstown for New Years, so we were both without transport. Putting his resourcefulness in action once again, Chris manged to find us a free rental car for the duration. For three days we were driving around a large, gutless, but oh so classy Jucy Charger campervan. The arrangement was that we would relocate it to Christchurch, only paying for fuel and insurance. A very good deal.

On the 2nd of January we headed to Otematata, at the southern end of Lake Benmore, to catch up with another of Chris’s friends. Waterskiiing on the 3rd, and home by 9pm that day.

So…a reality check. How am I feeling at the moment?

  • I felt more comfortable in a cross-cultural environment that I do now in my own local culture. I find it hard to make small-talk.
  • I’m finding it hard to get excited about anything at all.
  • I feel burnt out and tired most of the time.
  • I don’t know what I want. I still feel a huge lack of direction and purpose.
  • I feel guilty and uncomfortable about the ‘excesses’ I percieve in my own western cultural bubble. Water-skiing and boating for example. What a huge luxury. I’m not sure how to think about it all.
  • I am feeling lonely and disconnected with society. It has been hard to find opportunities to make new friends here in Christchurch. This is due to the fact that any clubs or groups that I have been interested in have been non-operational over the end of year break.

As for 2009, I am still on the prowl for a creative writing course. The plan is to enrol in one of the courses out there that allow students to work towards a finished manuscript over the course of a year, whilst receiving mentoring and reading advice along the way. I had initially looked into online courses, but I have ditched that idea. Too unsocial. I need some interraction. So I’ve emailed course directors for courses in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin. I hope to hear back from them in a week or so.

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