In life we all face challenges. When I was 18 and a student at University, I desperately wanted a windsurfer. They cost about $850 back in 1981. I mentioned it to my mother who without drawing breathe declared “you won’t be able to buy one”.
I remember sitting down and thinking “I will prove you wrong”.
Within 24 hours I acquired three jobs ( bearing in mind that I was full time at University).
I took on a Wednesday morning paper delivery starting at 5.30 am. I commenced working at a rambling family home, on a farm owned by a medical specialist and his GP wife, babysitting their children for 20-30 hours per week.
The piece de resistance? I enlisted in the Australian Defence Force as Reservist. I was attracted by their two week recruitment camp, as that would pay around $275…
The Army were very interested in me. I was a girl at Uni, therefore officer potential. They asked me to sign for six years versus the minimum three. Sure I thought!
I went home at the end of that day feeling pretty chuffed…acquiring three jobs in one day, I had my windsurfer savings plan in place… oh, but I had not considered my parents reaction to their eldest, usually sensible daughter having enlisted …for how many years???? They were less than impressed, but powerless to do anything about it…the Australian Defence Force vs my parents was never going to be a contest..
The experience was great…I got exposed to tear gas ( decided never to be involved in a riot as a result), shocking stuff! I got to fly in an Iroquois helicopter (used in Vietnam), lived with my SLR for a few weeks, stripping it down, cleaning, reassembling, fired submachine guns ( nicer to fire than the SLR), did 24 hour triage setups in freezing cold winters, peeled more potatoes than I care to remember, marched heaps and heaps, with lots of “about turns”, “attention” and yes, I got my windsurfer.
So in 2015 when I got told by my orthopedic surgeon I would not be able to ride more than 5 km, that same “oh yes I will” attitude kicked in. It was a Sam Newman “oh really” moment…
I continue to uphold the same attitude. Until the day I am no longer drawing breathe, I will fight to the best of my ability to live life to the fullest, filling it with positive fun and people. If I manage to motivate others to fill their life with adventure, all the better.
Ah, so you ask what is the point of this blog….yes, I am heading off on another cycling trip…Czech Republic, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy…
Czech Republic is meeting and staying with a Zwift friend and his family, and some riding as Miroslav recovers from a broken arm. I wanted to break his arm last year after he somehow convinced me to enter in the Australian team for the 24 hour event (Australia won!). Miroslav stopped at about 330 km and sent me a photo of him having a beer, whilst I was still slaving away ( I did just over 600 km).
Then I fly to Zurich, then train to Bern for a week of solo riding and my son Ben’s wedding.
Back to Zurich to meet Geoff, a Bike Adventures friend from Mudgee (Australia) who will start riding seriously jet lagged! He is a doctor so he should be able to take care of himself! Hopefully he brings a suture kit with him too, as I’m prone to falls in gravel, as the scars on my knee attest to.
We are bike packing to Italy via Germany and Austria, climbing mountains out of Innsbruck and into Italy.
We then hook up with a 12 night Giro d’Italia tour, ending up in Rome.
Tough gig I know. So I have a new bike bag..quite nifty as it includes a stand to assemble and disassemble. I’m a bit nervous about reattaching my rear derailleur and I always have issues reinserting my back wheel.
Many thanks to Tony for his incredible patience in teaching me what I needed to know…hopefully I don’t stuff up!
I am now happily sitting in the Qantas International Business lounge…having just had a meal here. I am very fortunate in having a lifetime membership to Qantas lounges around the world. I make the most of it!
My flight to Dubai leaves in just over 2 hours. A 15 plus hour flight with 3 hours in Dubai. I will chill out and have a shower in the Emirates Lounge. Then it is about 5 or 6 hours to Prague.
Long haul flights are hard….I don’t sleep on planes, despite being able to just nod off on the home couch without issue! Quite frustrating.
So until I write again, I hope you all have sweet dreams,