Freedom on the open road

A poem about Motorcycling

Freedom and speed on the open road,

v-twin underneath me growling for more.

Motorcycling its my passion,

never goes out of fashion.

The speed and adrenaline pushing me on,

the ultimate high on black roads, under blue sky.

If one day it should come to an end,

through old age or excitement in a fast sweeping bend.

I’ll know I lived a life as full as can be,

yes motorcycling is the lifestyle for me.

Freedom and Rebellion — The Joy of Motorcycles

Once part of pop culture Motorcycle riding is declining fast

Ever since man first jumped on a horse we have wanted speed.

The feeling of freedom.

The danger and exhilaration.

Since the early 20th century we have been able to pursue these feelings on 2 wheels or 4.

A motorcycle at 15/16 years old, was the gateway drug.

The boardwalk racers of the ’20s, the ton-up boys of the ’50s through the rockers of the ’60s and ’70s. They all embraced motorcycles as a gateway to freedom, rebellion, and speed.

Today this once iconic form of self-expression is disappearing. In the last 30 years, new motorcycle sales have dropped by over 50%. So has the amount of young people taking the bike test.

There are many reasons for that, the tests are harder. The bikes themselves are more expensive, so no big advantage in cost over a car.

But the number 1 reason is that Motorcycles are no longer seen as rebellious.

There is no shock factor in riding a bike anymore. Your parents may not like it, but it’s not shocking.

As we know every teenager wants to shock. So we move onto the next thing.

I can’t help thinking though that generations are missing out on the real fun.

Freedom

As a biker since my teens, I’m biased, but for me, there is nothing like the freedom of being on a bike.

Just you, the bike and the road. Time to think, space to grow.
Plenty of time to open the throttle and enjoy the feeling of speed you can only get on a motorbike.

There is a sense of space and freedom on a motorbike that you don’t get anywhere else.

As the world moves forward so do bikes into electrification. That freedom can come guilt-free in an environmentally friendly form.

If you have ever thought about getting into motorcycling, I would say go for it.

As a biker since my teens, I’m biased, but for me, there is nothing like the freedom of being on a bike.

Just you, the bike and the road. Time to think, space to grow.
Plenty of time to open the throttle and enjoy the feeling of speed you can only get on a motorbike.

There is a sense of space and freedom on a motorbike that you don’t get anywhere else.

As the world moves forward so do bikes into electrification. That freedom can come guilt-free in an environmentally friendly form.

If you have ever thought about getting into motorcycling, I would say go for it.

There is a risk, yes, but the rewards are huge.

After all freedom and rebellion are two of the cornerstones of the human state of mind!

Confessions of a recovering junk food addict

There are more glamourous addition’s out there, but this one is just as powerful and destructive.

Addiction

It’s an incredibly emotional and powerful subject.
Even picking out an image for this story was tough.

Today I want to talk about an addiction. One that’s not made glamourous by Hollywood.

It’s not a sex drugs and rock’n’roll addiction either.

The patterns of self-destruction and ruined health are the same though.

I’m talking about that most modern of addictions…

Junk food

One definition of an addiction is:

Addiction is when the mind and body need a substance to function. Taking that substance away causes physical and psychological withdrawal.

Having been there and come out the other side. I can tell you that addiction to sugary and high carb/fat content food is real.

It’s a real addiction with real consequences and real health issues. It’s also very tough to quit.

Like other addictions, you are never cured. All you can do is recover and try every day not to fall back into it.

The reason I write this is to highlight this issue and share with others. So that they don’t have to go down the same path of discovery.

They say that you are what you eat, it’s taken me about 32 years to work that out.

My diet was awful, sugary drinks and snacks between meals. The meals themselves pizza, burgers, fries. All my own choices, all addictive and all destructive.

Through my twenties, my health declined and at my worst, I weighed 145kgs or around 320lbs.

I was morbidly obese and pre-diabetic. Over time I have lost over 30kgs/60lbs of that weight and regained my health. I’ve also regained my fitness, although I still have around 20kgs/40lbs left to lose. It’s an ongoing journey.

The hardest part of it all? Changing my eating habits.

Recovery and Reeducation

It took me months to work out what was happening. I could go for a few days eating well, drinking water or tea, and exercising. I would feel good when I made those changes. But the next thing I knew I was 8 cokes deep into the day, sitting eating junk food at lunchtime.

As much as I tried, I was struggling to break the cycle. After a lot of soul searching and research, I finally worked out I’m addicted.

I always have known I have an addictive personality, it’s what’s made me terrified of drugs for example. I just never made the link between the food I was eating and the chemicals being released in my brain.

Once I understood that I could begin to tackle my issues properly. This is an addiction like any other and it needs to be treated accordingly.

What works for me is making small changes. The first that I made was my relationship with sugary drinks, which I wrote about on medium.The biggest and best lifestyle change I have ever madeSwitching from Soda to Sparkling watermedium.com

After that went well, it’s been a case of making changes one at a time.

As with any addiction taking one step at a time and counting each day is key.

The support you get from family and friends is also key I have found.

Today about 18 months on from my first real attempts to change its working. Like I said I’m slowly and healthily losing both the weight and the medical issues that I had collected.

I’m much more open to trying new foods and for the last 6 weeks, I have been trying a vegetarian diet. No salad as yet, but it will come.

My main message here is that, if you are stuck in the same cycle that I was help is available. You can change your lifestyle and improve your health.

Yes, it’s frustrating at times and it’s hard work. But in the end, even though there are good days and bad. The positive change makes it all worthwhile.

After all, who wouldn’t want to be lighter, healthier, and here for longer?

Life is meant to be enjoyed. But as anyone who has suffered from addiction will tell you sometimes that easier said than done.

The great thing is that with support there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

Music, the soundtrack to the journey of life

How music frames life and memories as we move through life

Music, its a funny old thing.

So emotive, ever changing. Its also how most of us express ourselves.

How we dress. What culture we follow. Our outlook on life. They are all traced back to music.

Through the course of our lives, the soundtrack changes with us.

Music can affect our mood and our memories.

In many ways its magic and that soundtrack can do many important things for us.

It trigger’s our memories

Music forms a bond to our memories in the brain.

A certain song for example can take us straight to a certain place in time.

Its a time stamp for the up’s, down’s and milestones of life.

When music triggers a memory, it can also trigger the emotions, sights and smells that go with it.

When we replay those memories in our minds, they are much stronger when linked to the music we are hearing.

This is one of the reasons that music can be effective in helping people with Alzheimer’s or Dementia.

It helps people connect to their memories and improves mood amongst other things.

It can shape our outlook on life

Life is unpredictable. Its a journey and an adventure.

Over a lifetime there are more up’s, down’s and bumps in the road than we can count.

When these changes happen in our lives. Music can be a great comfort.

The lyrics empathize with our situation, the music surrounds us and comforts us. It’s familiarity helps us to make sense of the big events in life.

Almost nothing else has the same effect on our mood and emotional state.

Our tastes expand and so does our outlook on life

As time marches on, the soundtrack to our lives evolves. The music we listen to changes.

We explore new genres, new artists, new formats.

When we do that, we also tend to explore the culture that goes with that new music.

As the soundtrack evolves so do our interests and our outlook on life.

Of course reading does the same thing, but music is the more accessible medium of the two.

Final thoughts

Music, its more than something we only listen to.

It adds color and context to our lives and gives us stronger bonds to our memories.

As we go through life, we have this great resource to help us navigate the journey.

When we get to the points where want to take a look behind us. That process can be greatly improved by using the soundtrack of our life to view those memories.

Getting Active

Its not steps, or duration, it’s doing what works for you

Waiting for the spark…

Life is full of changes, up’s/down’s and bumps in the road.

It is often at these times that we stop being active, getting started again can be a huge intimidating thought.

As with most things in life the thought is much worse than the reality, this is where procrastination takes over before you know it.

We wait and wait for the spark of inspiration, to kick start us again.

The truth is though no one and nothing else is going to provide that spark, it can only come from within us…


10,000 steps and the intimidation factor

This is the single biggest road block for many people….

How the heck do I manage 10,000 steps, that’s a huge and intimidating amount of steps.

I have news for you, it’s just a made up number.

Getting active is all about what works for you.

1, 10, 100, 1000 steps, 5, 15, 30 minutes of exercise.

What works for you is best for you.

Physical exercise and activity should be fun and motiviating, not intimidating and a struggle.

This is the single biggest road block for many people….

How the heck do I manage 10,000 steps, that’s a huge and intimidating amount of steps.

I have news for you, it’s just a made up number.

Getting active is all about what works for you.

1, 10, 100, 1000 steps, 5, 15, 30 minutes of exercise.

What works for you is best for you.

Physical exercise and activity should be fun and motiviating, not intimidating and a struggle.

Start small and build up to what works for you, however that best works for you.

Try different ways to get active and have fun along the way.


Learn to love it

Physical activity does something primal to us, it moves and motivates us in ways nothing else can.

It also rewards both the brain and body.

Once you start to get active, the best thing you can do for yourself is keep going, you will after some time, learn to love it.


Small beginnings lead to big changes

This is true of pretty much anything we start in life, but with exercise and physical activity its especially true.

Keep going and make it a daily or even a weekly habit and there are small improvements that take place over time that add up to big changes such as:

  • Weight loss
  • Gain muscle
  • Improved fitness
  • Increased Stamina
  • Mental clarity

The list goes on, even a short 5 minute walk will provide these benefits over time.

Finally…

It can seem tough to get going on the path to getting active, and it times the path itself can be really tough.

It doesn’t have to be intimidating though, it should be a fun and rewarding experiance.

My advice, ignore all the BS around step targets and 150 minutes a week.

Do what works best for you and stick with that, keep going, build the momentum, listen to your body and look for those positive changes.

One thing I can guarantee is that you will be glad you did.

Lessons from the Silver Screen

Great life lesson’s from a movie called “Click”

Lessons from an Adam Sandler movie???

I know, I know…

In fairness it was a Sunday night and there was nothing else on Netflix we wanted to watch.

Christopher Walken is in the movie we thought we would give it a go.

Whats the worst that could happen right?

In the end although its not either actors crowning glory, it did provide us with some thoughts to take away and reflect on and some life lessons.

Not too often you get them in a 1hr 20 family comedy

Can you control life???

In the movie the basic premise is that with a magic remote control for your life, that this is possiblle to a certain extent.

So while there are no do-overs, you can fast forward on auto pilot through the bits of life you don’t like.

We see the main character hit the fast forward button through arguments, meetings, illness, work days.

The lesson: Live in the present, hit the fast forward button and all too soon life is over. Huge chunks of time can go by without you noticing.

Skip the small stuff and miss the big changes

As our character moves forward through life missing all the small “unimportant” stuff as he goes, more of his life is spent in fast forward.

By not living in the present he starts to miss the big changes and milestones in life.

Years pass by in a blur, loved ones die and family grows up and changes.

The lesson: Make time for the small stuff, and learn to enjoy it, it all adds up and adds color and context to the big changes in life as we experiance them.

Where’s the rewind button???

While we can spend too much time in fast forward mode, unfortunately for us in real life just like our lead character found in the movie their is no rewind button.

The lesson: We don’t get the chance for a do-over in life, its what we make of it the first and only time around.

What about a replay button then???

Luckily for us, we don’t need to be in a movie to have the advantage of a replay button.

That’s provided for us by the remote control that we have the ability to click in our brain.

The lesson: While we can’t go back and relive events we can replay them in our mind and learn from them.

Learning from our mistakes is surely one of the most powerful lessons we learn as children.

The power of that lesson should not be reduced as we grow older.

Takeaways

Life isn’t always simple, and of course there are times when we just wish we could hit the fast forward button.

However the joy of life is its many up’s, downs and challenges.

The things we enjoy, the things we learn to love, along with those parts of life we would rather not deal with, they all shape us amd make life what it is.

When things dont go so well, we don’t have a fast forward or rewind button.

What we have instead is a set of lessons we can learn and pass onto the next generation.

Watching them grow and being present for the small things that up to the big steps and changes in life is what counts.

The joy of life and of living is in the small stuff…

Morning Exercise

The most refreshing way to start the day???

The way to start the day??

The answer will be different for us all, but for me right now, I have to say starting the day with exercise make’s a huge difference to me.

It gives me motivation to get up and start the day with something enjoyable.

At the moment that for me is a cycle of around 1 hour.


The positive action

I’m used to starting my day jumping straight into work and eating the frogs first, that is to say, tackling the hardest jobs first.

There are a couple of issues with that approach that I had actually never thought about until I started working from home:

  • I’m not motivated in the mornings at all, I know im going to face difficulty and so I end up getting more motivated as the day goes on and I end up too switched on and ready to work at the end of the day.
  • I don’t have a plan for the day, I just have a to-do list that I jump into head first.

Exercising first is a positive action that motivates me for the rest of the day:

  • Exercise makes me feel good, this alone motivates me to get up in the morning
  • I still have a to eat a frog — my 1 hour cycle, but its a physical challenge and that motivates me
  • I have 1 hour to myself on my bike and during that time, my mind wanders and I actually strategize my day

Those frogs in the shape of tasks are still their to be eaten, but I have a plan for them and im mentally prepared for the day.

The fact that Im prepared for my work day, and also I have the motivation from the exercise, my mornings are much more productive and I actually feel tired at the end of the day.

I also have a routine which helps me feel grounded.


The negatives

The negatives for me exist only on the days I decide not to exercise in the morning.

On those days I have less energy, im less motivated and I get less done.


Final Thoughts

Everyone is different and what works for you, wont work me and vice versa.

What I have found is a routine that is working for me, that im getting alot of motivation from.

The days I decide to stay in bed, I feel worse than the days I get up and at em.

My days are happier and more productive, which is a fantastic reason to keep going and to embrace a healthy lifestyle.

1001 Personal Experiments Continued…

A casual fling with Vegetarianism

The project continues…

I’ve written on medium before about one of my strategies for being quarantined, which was to give myself a series of challenges or experiments.

A lot of those had focused on my relationship with food, which is not a coincidence, since I’m a little more than half way through losing a significant amount of weight.

This new experiment took my by surprise when it entered my thoughts yesterday and so I think its worth writing about.


Challenges of losing weight…..

One of the challenges of trying to lose a significant amount of weight is that what worked for you in the beginning wont work for you all the way through.

Weight loss plateaus, either because your body gets used to the regime, or because you got fed up following the plan.

My strategy to weight loss is intermittent fasting and exercise, and while I don’t find myself getting tired of either of those, I do still have the weight loss plateaus to deal with.

Im in one of those right now, which is how the thought came about I’m sure…


A vegetarian experiment

As a dedicated meat eater, my first thought was have I been abducted by aliens or drugged maybe, there has to be a reason that these thoughts are entering my head, it’s not natural at all….

The more I thought though, the more it makes sense, I need to change gears on the weight loss again and I have already cut red meat consumption down significantly, so this is just the next step in the process.

I wont become a vegetarian full time, that’s not the goal and I have to be honest in telling you that.

What I am interested in is, what can a vegetarian diet (Still consuming dairy) do for my weight loss and my overall health.

To begin with this will be a 7 day experiment.


What will I learn in 7 days???

Not much I think, 7 days is really too short to evaluate anything.

I will be able to see the effect on my blood sugar levels and I’ll know if I feel a difference in myself but that will be it.

So then why 7 days you ask?

The answer is simple, this is probably the biggest and scariest life change I have ever thought of.

If I can compartmentalize it, then I can do 7 days without issues and then extend it if im comfortable with that in 7, 14 or 21 day chunks.

I know I need at least 1 month on this, but that’s looking to far ahead right now and this approach will keep me going.


An exciting new world awaits

All I can do is put one foot in front of the other here and try and make this work, while that’s daunting there is an immediate advantage.

I get to try something new, vegetarian cooking. An exciting new world where the veggies are the main event and not the side show.

As someone who enjoys cooking it’s a new challenge I can look forward to and it genuinely gets me excited for the days ahead.


Final thoughts

In terms of these small personal experiments this is the big one for me.

Its a radical change, so one small step at a time and a compartmentalised view is key.

Ive not focused on the pro’s/con’s etc of a vegetarian lifestyle here because I honestly don’t know.

Im taking the YOLO approach here and will see how it turns out, like much that I do in life.

I’ll write about initial progress this time next week, in the meantime if anyone doe’s have any advice or tips etc please do get in touch…

Attitude

The one thing that can make or break a career

Really?

Yeah I have some bad news, our attitude really is the difference between making it or not in our careers.

There is an idiom that often gets shared on social media where someone has written hard work, punctuality and a few other words on a white board and underneath each word they added the number in the alphabet for each letter and added those up.

Its goes on until the bottom word which is attitude equals 100% and I think thats true, there is quote I love which goes:

A bad attitude is like a flat tyre, you can’t go anywhere unless you change it

Its one thing that we all have the ability to change, and the one thing that can make a huge difference in our lives.

A little humility goes a long way

Life happens to us all, maybe we lose out on a promotion or our dream move, or maybe we are less motivated by what we do than we used to be.

The situation can spiral out of control if we let it. Our attitude goes downhill and before we know it we are in a worse situation than we were to begin with.

When these bumps in the road come along its important to keep perspective, and keep a good attitude, the opportunity will come along again and with a little self reflection you can be ready for it.

Even worse is the situation when sadly a job is lost, which in the market right now is happening more and more.

Its really hard to keep perspective and a good attitude during these time, especially coming from a highly paid job to something very different. There can be rewards however, a different perspective on life for example that will pay us back in time.


Final Thoughts

A smile, a laugh, a joke , humility and hard work are the good attributes and attitude that can keep us going and keep us in a job, almost more than anything else I can think of.

In the horrible event that anyone of us loses a job, then its that same good attitude and sense of perspective that will help get us through.

As an ex colleague of mine remarked today after taking a job in a garden centre part time:

I really miss the salary and the free lunches in a fancy restaurant paid for by someone else, but working hard, meeting people and then eating a sandwich in the back of car at lunchtime, has given me a whole new respect and perspective on life

Attitude really is the thing that makes the difference….

Traveling the world

Its bigger than you think but smaller than ever

Smaller and more connected than ever before

The age of the internet really does mean that the world seems smaller and is certainly more connected than ever before, but that doesnt mean we should’nt take the change to explore it.


The magic of travel

The experiance of the sights, sounds, smell and culture of the places you travel to and experiance, just cannot be replicated by watching or reading something online or in a book.

The magic of travel is soaking up all of those things in person, meeting the people, visiting the landmarks, travelling between places and trying new things, new experiences.


Travel broadens the mind, but often empties the wallet

This is one of the single biggest fears that a lot of people have.

While I can’t say that this isn’t totally untrue, travel today is much cheaper than we tend to think it is, and in fact there are more opportunities to be paid to travel for work than ever before.

Budget airlines, air bnb and group travel options all make it cheaper than you might think to go take a life changing trip.

Or you could explore the career options which allow you to travel for work, these are almost endless and go from long distance track driving and sailing through engineering, sales, management, the list of jobs and list of industries is endless.

If you want to travel and see the world, the options to do that are endless.


Final thoughts

The world really is smaller and more connected than ever before, yes they are some challenges and getting out there right now, but once those end the world is out there.

If you want to make the most of it and see what you can, then the options are there.