Telluride, you wrote my life

This post was going to be about a run of the mill country music video. A guy. A bar. Some beer. A girl. A late night mistake and the regret that follows in the light of day. This was because Jake Owen’s ‘Alone With You’ was playing on the CMC channel when I walked out of my apartment this morning. I wrote an entire post. It was really bad. But it also got me thinking about why I started listening to country music in the first place.

The first country song that I fell in love with was an album cut called ‘Telluride‘ by Tim McGraw.

This was the bridge:

“It ended just like a movie scene, and I had to play the part, of the lover who stood there and watched her leave, and me with the frozen heart”

The sequence of a woman leaving a man desperate and broken on a cold night in the Colorado mountains played in my head on repeat for days. I was thirteen years old at the time.

The story of a fling in the Rockies was crafted so simply. But every detail, down to the oak bar with the water rings left over from the cold beer still pop into my head every time I listen. I have been listening to these stories for over a decade and I never tire of them.

In the last few weeks I have been writing and pressing publish on a regular basis. A few people have mentioned that they feel more connected to some of my more recent posts. It might be because I am writing from my own life experiences and not thinking about what people want to read. It feels authentic and not fabricated.

Country music isn’t about the cleanest songwriting or the smoothest tones, it’s about sharing an experience in a concise way. Maybe that’s what I have been tapping into, in a small way.

Mad props to Bryony Cole for reading the draft of this post last night.

Going without. Success in life simplified

I remember the moment when I decided that I needed to achieve balance in life. As I reflected on one day of feeling completely wrecked, I felt this strong urge to make some changes to my daily life. No more caffeine induced shakes. No more impulse purchases.  No more putting my credit card down on the bar.

This was going to be possible because I had done it before. In 2009 I made the decision to transform myself into a healthy person. With a diet consisting of high protein and steamed vegetables and a workout regime involving two gym sessions a day, seven days a week for nine months. I lost 65kgs.

The outcome was “HELL YEAH!” The process itself was both extreme and isolating.

There had to be a better way to push positive boundaries without turning my life upside down. What if, instead of eliminating caffeine and alcohol completely and cutting up my credit cards, I could set micro-objectives and see how they effected me after thirty days? Oh yes. 

Micro-objectives were set and here are the outcomes:

  • No new technology was purchased.
  • I cut down to one coffee a day. It was half soy.
  • Alcohol was consumed sparingly and only in the light of day.

It was an experiment in minimising daily weight. The impact was more clarity. The vision was to simplify my life.

In March I will be relying solely on Rdio for my music experience. No iPod. No iTunes. Just the cloud and my iPhone. For me, is music simply about access? Can I go without my 10,000 song library? Or is it about tangibility and ownership?

That is something I’ll be writing about in the next few weeks as I press publish every day alongside the collective. Feel free to join us here.

Disconnected. A different encounter

It’s a breezy summer day here in St Kilda.

The amazing Cheryl Lin just posted a link to her own stream of consciousness from her desk. I can’t stop smiling.

I came to Miss Jackson with the intention of drinking coffee (it’s my caffeine binge day) and writing about posting daily during the month of March.

Note: I’m also wearing a Foursquare t-shirt, blue Ray Bans, Dr Dre Beats and writing on a MacBook Air.

One of the staff just walked over to my table, grinning.  He asked me what I was working on. My first instinct is these situations is always to laugh. I laughed. He repeated the question. I told him that I was pumping out some content for Steve Hopkins’ writing experiment in March. I finished the explanation in my typical self deprecating form, “Yes, I’m a little geeky.” He laughed, “The t-shirt gave it away. But hey, I listen to Mac podcasts.” Relief set it.

I further explained Steve’s challenge of forming a positive habit by writing daily. He smiled, “Awesome, where can I read your stuff?” I asked him if he was on Twitter. Nope. That was a little refreshing to hear. I read out the URL and he typed it into his iPhone. He finally added, “I’m not into the whole social networking thing but I’m going to check this out.”

This brief exchange might be what I remember most about this entire week. And this has been one of those incredible weeks. I had a few days in Sydney, working hard and catching up with friends. I then returned home to Melbourne for the #AwesomeParty which exceeded all levels of awesomeness.

But this was a little different.

He’s not connected to me in any way. He is not a familiar face from Twitter. There has been no past encounter.

He’s simply stoked on life, exploring it openly, and smiling.

This was originally written yesterday morning at 11:32am. 


Travelling without excess baggage.

Check in, check out. There is no need for excess baggage.

Last week I made the conscious decision to go without anything but my bare necessities for a brief trip to Sydney for work.

This trip was successful for a few reasons.

Logistically, it took me less than five minutes to pack for the trip. Carrying less than 7kgs also made walking around the city an effortless experience.

Having just three outfits in my bag was ridiculously convenient. I didn’t have to spend time thinking about what to wear because the choice had already been made.

As anticipated, between work, dinners with and sleep, I didn’t have time to watch movies on my iPad or read a book.

I also picked up a Hardgraft wallet from the fabulous Amanda Li. This simple leather fold wallet now carries the three bare essentials: cards, cash and iPhone. Awesome.

I achieved what I set out to do – a simplified travel experience with reduced stress.

I look forward to experimenting with different ways simplify my experiences. Let me know if you have any suggestions.

Three days sans GHD

This week I am heading up to Sydney for three days.

In the spirit of going without (and against my female instincts), I will be traveling with my backpack and laptop bag. No carry-on luggage this time.

The following items will be included:

  • Leather jacket
  • Two tops
  • Skirt
  • T-shirt
  • Jeans
  • Heels
  • Thongs
  • Dr Dre Beats headphones
  • Lenovo T410 laptop
  • Toiletries

No outfit variables. No iPad. No GHD hair straightener. No books. Just 7kgs.

The goal? To see if less luggage equals less drama.

The logic? If I remove the mental weight of needing to cater for every potential situation then I can just feel focused and have a rad time while traveling/working. I can also save on some major packing time.

I can always go shopping, right?


A stream of consciousness from @KinfolkCafe

Note: this was written on Tuesday morning.

It’s 9:45am. Right now I am sitting at one of the communal tables at Kinfolk Cafe. In the last few weeks I have been trying to develop the routine of hitting publish on a Sunday night, regardless of the state of my writing. This doesn’t feel natural to me. In the last year I have broken my favourite habit of writing on a daily basis in a notebook. Staring at the screen doesn’t inspire me to write anymore and I am struggling to refine a fluid style.

Kinfolk Cafe itself is a rich blend of suits and t-shirts. To my right is a man typing on his iPad, refining thoughts from scribbles in a notebook. The rest of the table is deeply engaged in deep conversation – I heard the words ‘expanding consciousness’ before I fell into my own world of headphones and bluegrass music. I’m not quite sure what it is, but I feel comfortable here. It might be good to write about it.

I just spoke with Eddie for three minutes on my mobile. He told me to write for twenty five minutes and just let the words flow. If I’m not happy I can simply go back and delete. From a productivity end this method would normally work for me. Right now, I feel content simply by observing my own surroundings but in these last few moments I have found myself reflecting on my own experiences at this table.

Last time I was here for an extended period on a weekday morning I had a coffee/brownie with Steve. This was my initial introduction to the complex world of spiral dynamics which for me has become a new way of understanding the world from a growth development perspective. I also met the incredible Pete Spence for the first time.

I spent a few afternoons here in early 2011 reading David Allen’s ‘Making It All Work’ (I am currently re-reading this with a fresher perspective). I can remember geeking out while having lunch with Bryony as we both pulled the book out of our bags. The blend of conversation around GTD, structured chaos, mindfulness and hip hop music still makes me laugh.

I come here with Tory every Wednesday for our ‘hipster lunch’ where we catch up and talk about .Net web development and our shared fascination with Katy Perry.

There is a positive energy here. It might be the paintings of birds on the walls, the jars full of coffee beans that are dedicated to NFPs or the awesome tea pots.

Either way, I don”t feel blocked right now. I’m not checking for spelling mistakes and refining sentences. I can feel my old writing ‘style’ re-emerging as I type. I feel consciously awake.

Time to get back to the office.

Going without in February

I want to reduce the mental weight of my current daily habits.

So, for the month of February, I’m going to focus on some things that require minimal effort with maximum return. I am testing the theory of going without.

I am literally fueled by caffeine. In an effort to treat my pounding caffeine headaches, I am going to cut down to one latte a day and replace my milk with soy. I should also add that living in Melbourne will not make this an easy task.

I’m not going to purchase any new technology. I recently gave my iMac to my parents. Not only was it a much appreciated gift but also a major weight off my own shoulders. I took a computer out of my bedroom and saved myself some mental space by clearing out that corner. Now all I have is space and white walls.

I am going to go without the partying. It doesn’t achieve anything. I spent three years chilling out and the last year making up for it. For now, it will be the occasional beer or scotch on a Sunday afternoon in summer.

Finally, I will attempt to minimise my self serving behaviour. I’ll try and share positive energy with others and see where that leads me.

I’ll let you know how it goes.