Moments

As each moment passes, I miss it more than the last
But the days do nothing but continue to pass
I close my eyes and see a memory
I miss more moments caught up in reverie

Lessons have all been learned, and I'm just about done
I’m ready for the victory lap if I've won
But that's not what is waiting out there
And I fear that these teachings are too much to bear

Nostalgia in my throat and longing in my heart
I wish for the days I once longed to part
Breathe, be present, let it sink in
But forgetting to me would be such a sin

I can't shake the feeling, of wanting to shed my past
While also clinging on, wanting every moment to last
Perhaps if I stay here, underneath the old me
I will not have to face my demons or flee

The battle grows long, and day becomes night
But I can't let go, my only source of light
They grow twisted in here, the longer they stay
And I fear that I've lost, much more than I say

Some days I see more, and the sky is blue
I feel the wind and I don't think about you
I don't look to the future, what it may become
I forget what once was, where I came from

Without it all though, where would I be?
Would I even be able to recognise me?
A deep thinker, a good heart, an old soul
They don't know what hurts most of all

And here we are now, sleep evades my mind
I'll face consequences for taking this long to unwind
But then of course looking back, once gifted with time
I'll be thrilled to have written such a wonderful rhyme

Reflections on 2021

As the year draws to a close, I have been asking the people in my life a question. The question is this; what one thing are you proud of from this year? Or do you have a favorite memory of the year? It could be a huge goal or achievement, or it could be just a moment in time that you felt wonderful. Anything counts. Go on, think of something.

In 2021 I spent 208 days actively recording my gratitude, and many others saying it in my head even if I did not record it. I wrote 4000 words about what I am grateful for in the year. Taking moments to appreciate what I have, rather than focus on what I don’t have. And its easy to focus on what I don’t have. I don’t have great mental health, I don’t have tons of energy, I don’t have the career that I want. See, there I go again…

But somehow, I am still here, at the end of 2021, and it’s been a tough year in a lot of ways. I’ve never wanted to not be here more than I have this year, but at the same time, I have never experienced such joy in my life. High highs and low lows all mixed in together.

One of my more obvious achievements of the year was running my first 50kms. I cried through the last 5kms of the race on and off, as my body hurt in all sorts of various places and I trudged, stubbornly towards the end goal. I finished the race. A goal I had set back in 2019. Finishing was one moment in time, and I will be proud of it always. But loving running? That is something I will carry with me forever, and that’s way more powerful than one race.

I noticed a few years ago that I wasn’t consuming fiction in the same way I did when I was a kid. And yes, it was partially because I had no life, and I had very little friends and I was very unhappy, and reading was my escape. Well, if ever there was a year for escapism, it’s been this one. I set my usual target of at least 52 books for the whole year. Which is one book a week. I smashed that goal and I have read 60 books this year but will probably finish another one before the year ends. And again, the goal is there, but the real gift is all the late nights I’ve spent lost in another world, completely losing track of days when I most needed to. Its also all the things I have learnt while listening to an audiobook out on a walk or while driving, my preferable way to read nonfiction and memoir.

Perhaps one of my biggest growth points in 2021 was practicing failure. Taking a chance, even when I didn’t really want to. A lot of the time I don’t really feel like doing anything at all. I took a risk though, and it both paid off and cost me. I quit my new life and new job after only a few months at it, after feeling it was very much not the right fit for me. But I do feel that I gave it a red hot go and that’s all I can really ask of myself. Regardless of the outcome, I took a swing. And then when I missed, I took another one. The ball is still in the air so I’m not sure where I will land.

The experience was hard, but ridiculously rewarding too. I learnt so much about myself and was exposed to an entirely different world. I don’t regret it for a second, even though I am still recovering in many ways.

I trained my dog more than I ever have this year, and I’m fucking proud of that. I joined a dog club, started a new sport, made friends. Found people in the dog industry who speak my language, realized that the extremists are not the majority. I feel like I’ve found my people. I am really looking forward to a dog training seminar that got postponed to 2022. I’ve never felt surer in my life of what I am most passionate about and what I want to do with my life. I’ve also questioned myself and my abilities as I’ve learnt how much I still don’t know and how far I have to go on the never-ending learning journey that is dog training. And dog training is life, so there is a lot of learning still to come.

I spent a lot of time practicing stillness this year. I thought I practiced it last year during lockdowns but true stillness for me was not working, not having a thing to do for months. I joined in on a lockdown challenge that my friend invited me to, and I ended up participating in a daily challenge for over 60 days straight, without missing a single challenge. I was crowned the lockdown challenge queen. But the best part of it was having stupid random memories that I created every day. Dances, ridiculous eating challenges and everything in between. I now have a crazy number of strange videos on my phone. It was something that helped me cultivate joy in my life and helped me feel like the main character. Which is the main reason I am constantly creating content for my Instagram and tik tok. Putting a collection of videos under a soundtrack helps me romanticize myself like nothing else.

I had a few very memorable moments in the outdoors this year. My entire road trip around Tasmania was incredible, and helped me build my solo travel skills, as well as experience life on the road as a solo camper. My happy place when I close my eyes is still camped at the beach in my swag listening to the waves lull me to sleep, or at the top of yet another stunning peak that I had sweated my butt off to climb to the top. I also fit in a few other camping trips with friends that were very memorable, including one where we got snowed on and the tent collapsed, and another where we were swimming on an inflatable boat with three fully grown humans and a dog.

It’s been quite a year. Maybe I didn’t achieve everything on my “list”, but I sure had some incredible adventures along the way with some even more incredible people.

In the New Year I am most looking forward to more of the things I love: working with my dog, challenging my limits personally and professionally, exploring places ive never been before, learning from my favorite podcasts, reading until the sun comes up, dancing in the kitchen and sleeping without setting my alarm. I read a book recently that talked about starting points. Instead of focusing on the big things, starting points are the little things. The small things that make you want to be alive. These are my starting points.

Bird by bird.

The Taste of Memories

Do you have food memories? Flavors are powerful, especially when they are attached to a significant moment in time. For me, so many foods I now eat taste infinitely like some of my favorite memories in time. Every time I eat a certain food, I get flashbacks to that time in my life or just enjoy it more because I have associated the taste of it with something positive. Essentially classically conditioning myself to specific foods.

Here are the stories of these foods.

Blueberries: I can’t walk past a punnet of blueberries in the supermarket, I simply cannot. Almost every year of my childhood my family would load up the car with empty buckets and frolic through the bushes for blueberries. As we picked, we would stuff our faces with the berries as we went. When we got home, dad would cook up blueberry pancakes and we would eat them out on the deck. Do the supermarket blueberries even hold a candle to the ones I am remembering? No, but its enough of the flavor to remind me and that’s all I need.

Raspberries: Mum had an extensive vegetable garden that she would grow in our backyard when the snow thawed every year. Amongst the most coveted delicacies in the garden was the raspberry vine. It was almost forbidden to pick the raspberries off the vine but sometimes we would sneak one when she wasn’t looking. Honestly nothing compares to the flavor of fresh wild raspberries. These days I settle for the supermarket version. But one day I hope to have my own raspberry vine and eat as many as I want to.

Beans: Want to get your children to eat vegetables? Grow them yourself. Beans off the vine have a fuzzy texture that I adore and are so crisp and fresh tasting. I used to cut up a salad from the garden and I always included beans. To this day beans are still a favorite of mine.

Bacon and egg mcmuffin: Yall know we aren’t going to get through this without a mention of my favorite fast food chain of which I was a loyal employee for many years. This one has two components to it. A bacon and egg mcmuffin tastes like a roadtrip across Canada to new York where mum and dad would pack us into the car still in our sleeping bags and pop on a movie while they went and had a shower at the caravan park and packed up the tent. Then we would hit the drive thru. It was a super rare treat for us. Ironically my dad used to tease us that if we failed at school there “was always jobs at mcdonalds’’. I didn’t fail at school but I did end up working every weekend morning making bacon and eggs for the hoardes. So bacon and egg mcmuffins taste like Sunday mornings with my friends, working in the kitchen with everyone teasing me with how I wrap a mcmuffin.

Gatorade: To this day, every time I have a sip of Gatorade it tastes like weekends at the ice hockey rink in Dryden. Dad would let us have a sugary drink as a reward for playing our game. I lived for that drink, we rarely had sugary drinks as kids.

Homemade lemonade: Tastes like picking 284 lemons with my friend and my brother at my Nanas old house that had a wildly successful lemon tree. When she sold the house we went to take as many as we could pick. We picked so many that we had lemons in the laundry for months trying to move them. I made endless batches of lemonade and lemon loaf.

KFC original recipe: KFC tastes like when grandpa came to town and we would sit down to a giant bucket of fried chicken. The game as kids was to pile all the bones on Grandpas plate and then tease him about how he had eaten all of them and not left any for us. I remember walking up in the middle of the night feeling thirsty from all the salt and mum being mad that we had eaten so much unhealthy food. I have KFC very rarely, but it reminds me of Grandpa. So does the taste of beer, but that’s a different story.

Lemon loaf: A very long time ago, mum used to bake us treats for our school lunches and sometimes she would even bake an afternoon treat. Lemon loaf tastes like coming home from school to the smell of baking and digging into a fresh piece with some friends I had invited over at the last minute. Mum always let me bring friend’s round.

Chocolate coated stick ice cream: Dad would take us to Dairy Queen only to have tricked us and to buy the cheapest ice cream there: a chocolate coated vanilla stick ice cream. We wanted a Reese’s blizzard but instead we got a plain old choc coated stick ice cream. When I went back to Dairy Queen as an adult, I got the blizzard. A plain stick ice cream still hits the spot though.

Popcorn: Mum would always make a huge batch up on the stove. Jed, our Labrador, would stand by on any that popped their way out of the pan. He was happy to clean up the mess on the ground. We would take a giant bread bag of it to school to share with our friends. I became known for it amongst my whole class for having the best popcorn in primary school. Children would chase me around the playground for it. I thought I was popular for a minute there. But it was just the popcorn. These days I know how to make stove popcorn just like mum did. And it tastes almost as good.

Pancakes: You just can’t beat the classic pancake. Pancakes taste like a bunch of my friends gathered at the table the morning after a sleepover. It was before any of us had discovered coffee so we just substituted with sugar. We lay out every different topping available and cook up a huge stack of pancakes. And sometimes I would just make a batch on the weekend for my brother and I, wake him up with a big stack of pancakes that I had spent half the morning preparing. Pancakes will always remind me of mornings like that.

Chocolate cake: Mums chocolate cake recipe is a staple in our family. The original recipe comes from my late auntie, and we make it for every birthday. It tastes like every birthday I’ve ever had. Eventually I took over the cake baking for special occasions. Whipping up a double stack with Vienna cream and sprinkles on top.

Roast chicken rolls: The car is packed already. There’s dogs and kids piled everywhere. Its sweltering and summer when we stop at the supermarket to pick up a roast chicken and some rolls. The groceries are piled on our laps as there’s no more room in the car. We arrive at the campsite holding our breath to get ‘the spot’. We set up the tent, arguing with each other, grumpy and hungry. Then mum busts out the roast chicken rolls with mayo and lettuce. It hits the spot every time.

Boosts: I’m 14 and at the mall with my friends. We’ve been shopping all day and are legless with exhaustion as we carry bags laden with new clothes. We head to the smoothie bar to pick up a boost. There’s nothing that hits quite as well after a shopping spree. I still get a boost on the odd occasion that I go shopping for clothes. It tastes like I’m a teenager all over again. Passion mango is my favorite.

Sweet and sour meatballs: I’m sitting at the dinner table; mum and my brother are arguing about something irrelevant. I am sharing random facts about my day as we share a meal of my favorite: sweet and sour meatballs. They taste like my mum, cooking them for me because she knows I like them. I should really learn how to make them.

What are some of your food memories?

Is there a food you eat more because it reminds you of something?

Let me know

Passion, Pain, and Purpose-What is the relationship?

I’ve spent the last two days watching the Ultra Trail Mont Du Blanc, arguably the most prestigious and well known ultra-running event in the world. Every year, thousands of ultra-runners line up at the start lines of several insane races, wanting to push themselves to their limits. The most well-known race is the 170km/100mile UTMB, covering over 10,000 meters of elevation gain. The race is hugely technical, with crazy descents and treacherous uphill’s as it winds through the countries of France, Italy, and Switzerland. And the race is also very well known for its coverage, it is one of the first races to have race coverage and tracking, making it easy for people around the world to feel the magic of the mountains as they watch people run through them. They have cameramen and women on rollerblades, mountain bikes and even drone footage now. All this enables me in locked down Australia, to enjoy watching all these incredible humans bust their ass as they push themselves.

Most people wonder why? Why would someone want to put themselves through something like that? The front of the pack leaders makes it in around 20 hours or so, but the back of the pack runs through 2 full nights, no less epic just because it takes them a little longer. But when you could stay in the comfort of your own home why face such an epic challenge? The answer is simple really, comfort isn’t the route to happiness, struggle is.

I run for several different reasons, one of them is spite. But one of the more important reasons I run is because running is a metaphor for life. Running can help you unlock parts of yourself that you didn’t know existed. When you sign up for a half marathon, or a marathon or a 170km ultramarathon, you set yourself up for a new experience. And no matter the outcome of that, you begin to break down the barriers that you have in your head about what’s possible. That unlocking of yourself can carry into the rest of your life.

And once you take down one barrier, it becomes addictive. Who knows what is waiting for you at the end of 24 or god forbid 48 hours of running? There is a saying in ultra-running where they talk about ‘’meeting your maker’’ which is basically the description of what are you made of when you strip everything else away. How much pain and suffering can the human spirit endure? And what is the result of enduring some suffering intentionally? Because we all suffer in life, in one way or another, but it’s a little different when you choose to put yourself in that place of suffering, and you choose to keep going in that moment. It takes guts, resilience, and a whole lot of commitment.

It may not be that everyone’s cup of tea is running in the mountains for hours on end. But it does pose some interesting questions.

What are you passionate about but may have put a barrier up in front of?

What are you willing to sacrifice?

How willing are you to test yourself and put yourself out of your comfort zone?

What might you learn about yourself in the process?

I was absolutely blown away by some of the performances at the UTMB this year. But what really struck me was the community, the atmosphere, and the spirit of the event. Watching those runners cross the finish line and experience the high of making it all the way through that is awe inspiring. The emotions on their faces say it all and I only hope that I can join them one day.

Who knows what I might be capable of?

The darkness

This is the darkness

Deep in my soul

I hide it away

From them all

 

But I can always feel it

Deep in my chest

Shadows follow me

They don’t ever rest

 

I fight and I wrangle

I fall to my knees

Nothing can stop

These dark possibilities

 

After a time

I dont jump at the black

Im used to it now

It is part of my pack

 

Maybe if I love it

It will go away

The inside and out

The shades of grey

 

I know that the darkness

Will always be around

But I will still learn to fly

It wont keep me on the ground

 

The journey will be long

And full of traps

But without going on it

I won’t get the maps

 

It began with the dark

But it will end with the light

And somewhere in the middle

I will learn to love the night

Too much but never enough

Speak your mind,

But wait, that is too much!

We do not want to hear,

About your crutch

 

And my crutch is my mind

It flies and it flows

Words fly with it

Sharing what it thinks it knows

 

I reel it in

Like a fish on a hook

But at the last minute

My plan goes crook

 

Out the words fly

Hitting all in their path

Watch out for the deadly

After…. math

 

The guilt is immense

Or sometimes not

At times, it is just passion

Escaping its knot

 

Unravelling me

As I dive deeper still

Join me I say,

Come along for the thrill

 

The voice is there?

In the back of my head

Shut up, tone it down

But it’s already been fed

 

I used to not notice

Anybody’s reaction

Caught up in excitement

Thoughts gaining traction

 

But now all that was natural

Has been beaten into submission

Filled with doubt

Is my new condition

 

Somehow, I am too much

But I am never enough

Years of trying

And I am still not tough


If only my weapon’

Was much thicker skin

But instead, I get

Words mixed with chagrin

 

Maybe one day

I will master the art

Of conversation

Not feel so far apart

 

But right now,

I am doing the best that I can

I guess that is okay

If no one is a fan

 

Different, always different

When will it end?

It would be a little easier

If I could share with a friend

Post-race interview

Welcome back to interviews with myself!

Did the day go how you expected it to?

Yes and no. There were a few surprises out on the trail. For one I did not expect the traffic jam heading down the golden stairs. We were almost standstill for about an hour. It was frustrating but sometimes in big races things like this happen, so you roll with the punches. It was a precarious slippery slide downhill so understandable that people would be moving cautiously down it. Also, even though I was excited for the lead up I really struggled on the actual day to feel enthusiastic.

What was the toughest part?

Stairs. The stairs. About 5000 stairs total in the new UTA 22 course. Furber steps are well known for their relentlessness. Luckily, I had a lot of fantastic companions to traverse them with so mentally it was a great distraction. People have an incredible ability to band together and help each other out in tough times. Its one of my favorite things about trail running. Feels like more of a team effort than an individual one. I can do it alone, but its better with others.

Any injuries or issues?

I was comfortable out there overall. I did have an ankle rolling scare but overall went well and do not have any significant aches or pains.

What was your best moment out there on the trail?

I really enjoyed cheering others on. For me I was not in my best form, but I was enthusiastic in my encouragement of others. It was a bumpy race and I felt like I never really hit my stride. When we hit Ferber steps though I was super proud that I climbed steadily without stopping.

What did you learn from this race?

Great question. I found it hard doing this race in the order that I did it. The fact that I ran my first 50km about 6 weeks earlier. I was struggling with the concept that I could have gone farther and that it was “not enough”. It sounds a bit stupid I know, but I guess I was feeling like I was moving backwards rather than forwards. The actual truth is that I can move in whatever direction I want, I can run whatever distance I feel like whenever I feel like it and I do belong in this space regardless of how much I feel like I do not sometimes.

Were you worried about the driving; did it impact you?

Yes. I drove about 900 kms the day before the race. And It took a bit of energy out of me. Ideally, I would get there earlier next time and set myself up for success. A girl can dream. I may consider flying at least. Or I may be living closer than I was now. It did not stop me though!

Anything you would do differently?

Honestly considering my lack of training I am happy with my performance. But I really like to walk up to the start line feeling like I have respect for the race and my body by being prepared. So that is a goal for my next race.

What does your post-race recovery look like?

I go for the three S’s every-time: Sustenance, stretching and sleep. Getting some calories in post-race is important. I had a big meal that was full of carbs and protein. I went for a cool down walk with my dog and stretched out my legs a lot. Then I had an exceedingly early night and got a huge sleep. The body uses sleep to repair everything.

Will you be back?

Heck yes, I will be back! Potentially 50 or 100k next up! Or if anyone wants to join me, I will do the 22km with a friend.

What is next for you?

Great question. Honestly, I think I just need to take a moment to recalibrate and rest. I have a lot of things to sort out and some big changes ahead. But I am already looking at races near the end of the year and early next year. I am interested in both another 50k and my first 100k looking ahead. Again, I will need to honor the distance and my body and go into it feeling somewhat prepared.

Any advice for someone out there who is reading this and would love to do something like this?

Yes definitely. My biggest advice is probably that I think 22kms is a very achievable distance for almost everyone. If you are interested, then I would go for it. The great thing about UTA is it is a very accessible event, the cut off times are generous, and the atmosphere is electric. You can walk and eat and talk and laugh and have a great run!

If anyone has any extra questions let me know!

Pre race interview

The questions answered, before you even asked them…

Welcome Beth, first of all can you tell us about what race you are doing this weekend?

Thanks so much for having me here, I am doing the 22km trail race at Ultra Trail Australia (UTA)

Where is this race? What sort of terrain are we looking at?

Its in the Blue Mountains in NSW, which I am not super familiar with. The terrain is going to be lots of stairs from what I have read. It has got about 910+/- of elevation so it is going to have some hills!

Why are you doing this race?

Well, there is two answers to that question. Both why I am doing THIS race and why I like to run long distances at all. Firstly, UTA has been on my bucket list ever since it came on my radar in my early days of running. It is a world class race that attracts a lot of different people. Obviously, this year it is mostly an Australian field but its still a hugely popular race, tickets sell out super-fast.  To answer the second half. I am running this race to test myself, to feel the fire that is inside me when I push myself, to have a great day out in nature and to have fun.

What is your goal for this race?

Well truth be told I am not as prepared as I would like to be for this race. But regardless of that I am excited to be a part of it. My goal is to finish the race, to not be last and to not be injured! I like to keep it simple.

What are you most excited about for this race?

Honestly, I am excited to cheer everyone on! And the views, I am always keen for the views.

What sort of gear are you carrying for this race?

Well, there is a list of mandatory items that all runners must bring. Including potentially a rain-jacket and thermals depending on the weather which fingers crossed will not be an issue. Its going to be cold but I am hoping for a blue-sky day. I will be mostly fueling with spring energy gels and potentially some fruit and nuts.

Is this your favorite distance?

It is a funny story, but I have never actually run this distance in an official capacity. I have done it on training runs though. To be honest, I am expecting the race atmosphere to fuel me more than the runs by myself in my neighborhood during lockdown did.

You mentioned your training has not been where you want it, what has that looked like for you?

Well, when I first booked this race back in 2019, it was supposed to be my first trail half. But COVID had other plans. I did a 50k just under 2 months ago. So, I have had about a 6 week in between stage. I have mostly been doing shorter training runs when I can fit them in. But I have done some long runs and some higher intensity runs. The thing that has really been missing from my training has been the hills. But I am a strong hiker so I think I will be okay with the hills. Talk to me after and I may not feel the same way…

What does your race day breakfast look like?

At this point its looking like some porridge washed down with a red bull. I struggle to eat in the morning so no promises for what I will be able to keep down.

What is your worst fear for the race?

Honestly for me its probably that I will sleep in and miss it. For me winning is about showing up and giving it a go. Sometimes other factors are out of my control and that is okay. But I will be setting a lot of alarms for the morning!

We heard a rumor that your dog will be travelling with you, is that true?

Yes, it is true. I swore on my last holiday that I was done going places without my bestie, so he is coming with. Of course, he is not allowed in the national park so he will be staying at home for that one. But we will be going on a fabulous cool down walk together and that means the world to me. Helps me stay moving in post-race recovery and he is a great road trip buddy!

What does your lead up to this race look like?

It looks like 10 hours of driving unfortunately. Due to circumstances out of my control I will likely have a bit of a driving hangover. But at least my legs will be excited to stretch out on the trail. And I plan on having a good sleep beforehand.

How would you describe your running style?

I am not super majestic, I just kind of clomp around until I reach the finish line. I tend to hike my hills and hammer my downhills and flats, like a lot of trail runners.

What would you say is your greatest strength as a runner?

Probably my positive attitude. And my resilience, both are essential in running and in life. I may not have had that much race experience, but I have had some life experience that has helped shape that.

Do you have any last inspirational words or mantras?

One of my favorite quotes to lean on when things get tough is “Only you can decide what breaks you”. I also tend to tell myself to keep smiling and to just put one foot in front of the other. I really try to stay in the present and not think too far ahead or that can be a bit demoralizing.

Well best of luck for the race, we are sure you will smash it!

Thanks so much for your time!

As one door closes……

I finally did it. For those of you who know me, you probably know that I have always worked somewhere. Since I was 15, I have had the same job and always been employed there. I am now 25, so it has been nearly a decade of working for the same place. And I loved that job as much as life itself.

When I was in high school and I wanted to upgrade from my first job-a paper round in my neighborhood. I applied at a chocolate café at my local shopping center. I was so excited I could barely sleep the night before my first shift. When the day finally arrived, my mum dropped me off, so proud of me for going to my first “real” job. We were shown a whole bunch of things, and I was busy trying to get the hang of everything. I was only 14 and 9 months at the time. Not even 2 hours into my first shift ever, the manager of the business came over and told me that it was not going to work out, I just was not picking up how to make pancakes fast enough (jokes on her because I make incredible pancakes). But at the time I was absolutely crushed. I had to call my mum to come pick me up early and she was confused on the phone, but I managed to hold it together. By the time she picked me up out the front I immediately started bawling as I told her my sorry tale. She was comforting and told me all the right things, like that woman did not know a good worker when she saw one.

A week later I had recovered from my incident and I decided to get back on the horse. I applied for local jobs. I got two interviews almost immediately. One at the local supermarket, and one at a local fast-food chain. I went to both interviews, but I picked the fast-food place simply because they offered me a job first. Once again, I was super nervous for my first shift, but I need not have worried. My trainer was lovely, and I got many training shifts before I had to venture out on my own. Even after that I had a lot of time to adjust to my new workplace.

I threw myself into it wholeheartedly, a classic Beth, is what I would call it. I was not enjoying high school a whole lot. Just like primary school, high school had become clique and I did not fit in. I was no longer teased for being Canadian, but I was apparently still different. Too loud, too enthusiastic, and just generally no one’s cup of tea. Hard to believe at a school of 300 people per year level. Scouts, my extracurricular, just was not doing it for me anymore also. I had broken up with my ‘’on again, off again’’ ‘boyfriend’ and he was probably most of the reason I had been doing scouting. At home I was coping with helping my mum out a lot around the house due to my dad having left a few years earlier.

Finally at work, I had something that was completely mine. This was my world. And I rocked it. I worked fast at a hustle pace non-stop. It was chaotic but once again absolute signature Beth. I was always willing to help, cover a shift, start early, or stay back. Work was a world I understood. I knew what I needed to do and when I needed to do it. I had work friends who I could talk to and felt part of something important. It meant the world to me.

Within a year, I was promoted. I officially dropped out of scouts and threw myself at work. I even preferred work to school. I kept doing school of course, but it was only so I could go to work afterwards (sad I know). I studied work procedures the same way someone studies for a test. I was always doing extra credit stuff for work. When I got my heart broken for a second time, I just kept working. When my best friend stopped talking to me, I picked up more shifts. Started doing all my homework at the library and getting more work done in class.

My mum by this point was thoroughly sick of dropping me off at work and picking me up, but she was proud of my achievements as I continued to gain recognition and awards through work. My best friend joined me at my job, which was so fun! Of course, I was all about the work. No time to talk when I am busy working. But I enjoyed sharing my world with her, nonetheless.

When I finished high school, I took a few weeks off work to go visit home. My trip in Canada was fantastic and so nostalgic. By the time I arrived back I was booked into a management course on my birthday. I was so excited! I took a gap year and took a huge step up in my job. It now became a full-time thing. I was challenged in huge ways. I had to learn to deal with crazy things happening on my shifts and I was the one responsible for it. I had to deal with people, people, and even more people. People in every direction. I like to think that I had it all figured out in that first year, but honestly that was just season 1 Beth….

I loved my job so much by this point. Despite the long hours, the crazy shifts, the constant chaos of the workplace, I still loved it. I loved it despite the burgers thrown at me, the customers that made me cry and the junkie I had to call an ambulance for. But I had to make an incredibly tough decision. Did I want to climb this ladder and see where it took me? Or follow a different dream, one that I had always had, and go study at university the degree I had gotten into but postponed for the last year? The decision-making process was not easy, it never is. I thought about it for months. I was so lucky to be offered two fantastic opportunities. Ultimately, I went for the riskier choice. The more unstable, wild, life changing decision. I chose to move 5 hours away to do a degree in horses even though I had barely been around horses my entire life. I had been riding while working on my gap year and had done some courses, but I was a complete newbie to the horse world. Still, I think I am an adventurous bold spirit, whether I have always had that, or it has been forced upon me, I am that person.

I do not regret my decision for one second. I had a ridiculously incredible time at uni. I grew and changed in many ways. Becoming truly independent and facing even more challenges that I had to learn from. The piece of paper means absolutely nothing to me compared to the experiences I had because of my decision to go to uni. And as for my job? The people and friends I left behind? I somehow ended up in an arrangement where on my breaks I would come back and work with them again. It worked well, I got to see my family and catch up with all my Melbourne friends, while still earning money on my holidays. And I did not have a job for most of first year, so it was incredibly handy. Even when I got a job at up there and put down more roots, I still regularly returned home only to slip back into my old life. It was comfortable, familiar, and fun. It was hard to keep up at times. Not having practiced my skills for 52 weeks a year I struggled at times, but overall, I made up for it by working super hard and showing up as the same high energy human I had always been. And I got to keep a piece of my heart close by.

When I finally finished my degree, it was only natural to keep working at the job I had always loved, rather than the toxic one I had at university, although I loved that one too, despite its flaws. So, I returned, not really having any idea what I was going to do with the rest of my life. Yes, I had ideas, but how to implement them? Before I could even draw breath on what I was about to do next, the pandemic hit the world by storm. Taking away most opportunities anyway. I huddled down, stayed put (because there was literally no other choice), kept working and did a ridiculous amount of self-work. Looking inside myself to find out who the heck I was, why I was this way and how I wanted to be in the future. I found out I am an incredible human capable of many things. I learned that I love my own company and can be my own best friend. I learned that I do not need to have everyone’s approval if I can accept myself. I spent a lot of time figuring out myself. I have not got it all figured out even now. But I am grateful for the time that I had and that I was lucky enough to have work and a roof over my head during a pandemic, many others were not so lucky. But as much as I still loved my work and put my full effort in, I was no longer thriving in the way I once did. It was essentially my choice but work was no longer a challenge and I was no longer climbing the ladder. I still enjoyed helping develop people on the team, but began to feel irrelevant and outdated. And so I was at yet another crossroads…

I began to regroup out of lockdown, and tentatively think about doing something else. So, I did some more halfhearted applications, not expecting anything of it. But to my complete and utter shock I received two interviews and two job offers, both in different cities but similar roles. I will admit I was not even excited at first. I am so comfortable in my discomfort that it has become a rock for me to crawl under and pretend that my future does not exist. But I know thanks to all my self-awareness that I need to step into my next challenge. So, after weeks of agonizing, I said yes to something and put myself back out there. I am not just dipping my toe in either. I am diving headfirst into a new city, a new industry, and an entirely new life. It is terrifying.

But I have been scared before. And I have taken the big risk before, I can do it again.

The hardest thing? That I did not anticipate? Quitting the job that I have now held for a decade. Saying bye to a workplace that has been a second family to me. Sometimes I love them, sometimes I hate them, but they are always there for me, and me for them. So many people have come and gone, so many different chapters of Beth have worked there, so many memories that I will never forget. I am so lucky to have had that.

Farewell old friends, because of you I am now an absolute boss, and I am about to go out there and smash this thing called life. Thank you for being a part of creating that.

Miss you already,

Beth

TASMANIA ROADTRIP CHRONICLES (DAY 10)

My last day in Tasmania *sighs*. Feels like an age ago now, pretty much has been. But got to finish one adventure to begin another, or so i’ve been told.

Cool things I saw on my last day. Lots of bikies getting onto the spirit of Tasmania. A whole flock of geese on the side of the road, a really cute kitty cat, lots of cows, really cool stacked firewood piles-yes mum I was thinking of you, a mailbox fashioned out of a horse feed bucket, so many gorgeous roads and trees.

The day started with rain yet again. Tasmania certainly does love its rain. While I also love rain, I do not enjoy the packing up in the rain part. I won’t lie and say I was eager to get on the road. Similiar to yesterday, I was feeling a bit legless with fatigue. But I knew I would still see some beautiful things today if I managed to get my show on the road.

Once packed up and ready for my day I drove to a roadhouse, knowing the general direction I wanted to head. Once there and eating breakfast I got to googling. Sitting on my phone in the dry of my car trying to figure out where on earth I was going to go in the rain. I picked a waterfall to chase and headed off. It really wasnt far so I got there in no time. Did a short walk and walked around what had to be one of the biggest trees i’ve ever seen. Even in the rain, I appreciated Tasmania once again and all of its beauty as I wandered.

My next stop was a bit more of a challenge but eventually I picked a Gorge that had very good reviews. It was a bit more of a drive but the drive was stunning. I had my first maccas in over a week because I just couldnt resist as I wound my way to the gorge. When I arrived, there was a small walk to the gorge which was definitely a stretch for the legs. Lots and lots of stairs. But I got to the first lookout and the view was breathtaking. I took it all in.

I descended further down what felt like a million stairs before arriving at another lookout. The mosquitos came for me then, which was motivating for me to move. The next lookout was lower but still beautiful. I would definitely recommend this as something to see if you are in the area. It is called Hellyers Gorge.

I was a reluctant traveller by this point. I had squeezed so much adventure into my ten days and so much beauty I was beginning to feel numb to it all. But regardless I was still incredibly grateful to have seen yet more of beautiful Tasmania.

Once I climbed back up to the car. I sat on a picnic table for a while, absorbing the nature around me and reflecting before reluctantly getting in the car. Despite exhaustion every step that led me closer to home was hard to take, I never was good at goodbyes.

I spent my last few hours in Tassie organizing my car, getting a rather delicious dinner at Zambreros, and then eating my burrito on a beach in Devonport as I watched the ferry sail in. I slept hard on the way home and woke up in Melbourne.

What an incredible adventure. Tasmania, I will be back.

For those of you who have been reading along, thanks for coming!

"Until one has loved an animal, ones soul remains unawakened"