New learnings.

During my travels over the last six months, being motivated to get on and achieve new goals was pretty easy. In fact at times, I was quite amazed at how easily some of the goals almost just fell into my lap. As I reflect upon the trip now, two such examples come easily to mind.

The first was meeting Kyle while on the Captain Zodiac trip in Hawaii. Kyle just happened to be a helicopter instructor, and just happened to have a free slot in which he could take me up a couple of days later.

The second example that springs to mind is swimming with whales. I contacted dive business operator Doug in Japan to find out about diving with hammerhead sharks. After he took a look at my website, he got back to me and suggested that swimming with a whale might also be a possibility. And from this lucky connection I enjoyed one of the most stunning and incredible experiences of my life! More about that here.

But now that I am back in Perth for a while I find that my time is a lot less structured, and without a travel schedule, and the time pressures of flights to be taken, it has been a bit easy to just drift along.

But I am drifting in the right direction, and am taking steps towards new goals all the time. Just at times it can be a little dis-heartening, as I sometimes think I am not making any progress.

However, one thing that I got from the seminar I attended at the weekend was that if you keep taking regular, small steps towards your goals, it is inevitable that you will eventually get there!

On the list of goals that I have planned to work on here in Australia, there are a few that are much longer term goals, and involve learning new skills over an extended period. And just the other day a very wise friend pointed out that it is these, apparently smaller goals that could be the ones that may trip me up.

For example, the latest goal that I achieved was going to see Israelite Bay. Although this turned out to be a bit trickier than at first anticipated, it merely involved picking the time to go, organising some gear, renting a vehicle, and then going. Job done. But learning the harmonica, for example, will take much more effort, even though I don’t have to go anywhere, or do anything particularly challenging or stretching.

I had a harmonica and “How to play harmonica” book with me for the whole of my six months of world travel. I don’t think I played it once!!

So now it is time to get serious about some of those longer term goals. I took the harmonica and book with me on the trip to Israelite Bay, and each evening subjected Andrew to ten minutes of my practice. It can’t have been too pleasant for him, as it is very early days for me. How many times can you listen to the first few bars of “Three Blind Mice” or “Ode To Joy” without it wearing too thin? Thanks to Andrew for his patience. And since then I have committed to ten minutes of practice each day, and am seeing a bit of improvement. I have now added the harmonica intro from Neil Young’s “Heart Of Gold” to my repertoire.

I am planning to take some kiteboard lessons next week, and just yesterday, I thought I better get something done towards my goal of learning to play the incredible Australian instrument, the didgeridoo.

And once again, things just seemed to fall neatly into place. I searched the internet for didge lessons her in Perth, and discovered Didgeridoo Breath, a store in Fremantle that run didge lessons. And their next four-week course started that very evening.

I booked in without hesitation, and in the afternoon jumped on the motorbike and headed down the beautiful coast road to Freo. The lesson was fantastic, and there was a good sized group of people from all over the world. (Freo is a very popular backpacker place.)

Our instructor was Levi, and he was fantastic. Over the course of the hour and a half long lesson he took us through the basics of getting the right sound out of the instrument, to making all sorts of different animal noises and different sounds. The final part of the lesson was on circular breathing, and his method of teaching was brilliant, and so simple.

I was given a didge as a present about ten years ago, when I still lived in England. I could manage to get a note out of it, and had figured out how to make a few different sounds. I had also read a bit about circular breathing, and had tried a couple of times to get the hang of it, but without success.

Ten years, and very little progress! Last night, I achieved more in an hour and a half under expert guidance than I have in ten years of trying to figure it out for myself. I found that I could really start to feel how the circular breathing technique works, and practicing again this morning have improved further. The lesson cost $25 – money well invested, I think!

Today’s lesson for me is:
If you want to achieve something, find someone that knows how to do it, and get them to show you how. Incredibly obvious, but I could have saved myself ten years, if I had taken a couple of lessons back then. (But in my own defense, I think didge lessons are easier to find in Australia than England!)

Over the coming days and weeks I also plan to start work on more conversational French, on some fitness work for some of the more physical challenges to come, as well as to get back down to 70kg, and develop a six-pack!! And yesterday I had my first game of online poker, as the start point of my training for entering a high-stakes poker game for real.

A lot to do! Got to get on….

More on didgeridoos and Aboriginal culture here:

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