Unscripted – Introduction

There’s a script to life that tells you what to do, when to do it, what to say and how to interact with others. It is society’s script of social norms. 

The script is a bit like a milepost guide to interstate exits, only it details life stages instead of restaurants and accommodation. 

If you stick to the script and travel along the freeway of life, your road is well-defined and engineered by all those who have passed through before. 

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Beyond Bananas – Hitting the trails

3, 9, 12, 17 August

Like all parents, mine indoctrinated me. They planted the seeds. They fertilised the seeds.

They took my brother and me hiking on many Sundays in our youth. When our friends and family were in church pews in Bible Belt Indiana, our family was out hiking the trails of the state parks of Indiana.

My brother and I would race ahead, sweating and swatting bugs in the humidity of summer or kicking through thick leaves in fall. We were always instructed to wait at the signposts at the next trail junction. When our parents caught up, my Dad would unfold the map and show us where we were and where we could go.

This all helped to instill in me a love of maps and the great outdoors. (It didn’t really stick for my brother)!

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Beyond Bananas – Rides and Hikes Around Salida

July/August 2022

10-20 miles or so at a time on the bike – 3-14 miles or so at a time on foot

I sat around. I hung out with my parents. It was slow and sedentary for that first month in America. It was okay, I had used a whole lot of energy in May and June wrapping up work and that section of life. A bit of rest and relaxation was in order.

But then… that level of couch potato was just too much. I have energy again. I want to use it. And I want to build a little bit of fitness, so that jumping on the bike when I get back to Oz is not quite so painful in those first weeks. Plus, people come to places like this for ‘high altitude’ training. Let’s take advantage of that.

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Beyond Bananas – Colorado Trail – Avalanche Trailhead

18 July 2022

6 miles on foot – elevation gain >3000 ft – end elevation a bit under 12,000 ft

I’d like to say we dove straight in the deep end, but that would suggest that we went down. And we definitely didn’t go down. At least not at first.

The trail went up, not down. In fact, it was a whole lot of up. Like 3000 ft of climbing in 3 miles. And my dad and I had not done much hiking at elevation prior to the hike. It will end up being the hardest hike in elevation change we’ll do together in my time in Colorado – and it was our first hike!

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Explosive… or not

29 June 2022

13,000 kms or so

The climb out of town was steep at first before moderating. The dam wall, the sparkling waters of the dam, and the snow-capped peaks of the ranges around Mt Bogong far behind the dam were perfectly framed. You could make postcards out of scenes like that. And after the longest stretch of cold, grey and wet days to start winter that I’ve ever experienced in Oz, a sunny, cool day with gorgeous views was much appreciated.

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Beyond Bananas – The FAQ post

Hello, Maggie.

The magpie flies overhead and calls as it lands on the power line stanchion. The angle of the sun has settled further down in the sky at mid-day. There’s shade in the yard from the nature reserve trees well into the morning now.

The passing of time is always cause for reflection. Autumn has always said to me that things will be okay, even in those really hard times in life. And here we are in autumn again.

Oh, Maggie, you swooped me when I would walk through the nature reserve behind my house.  But you never swooped me in my yard, even when your young one came to hang out in the afternoons with me in September. He had no fear. 

And so time is moving on. I’ll be on the road when you launch your next brood and are swooping again, dear Maggie.

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Eclipse – Intermission – Who I am

There was a moment. Just a short moment. On the plane. On the way home from America back in June.

We were about six hours into the 15 hours of flight time. The flight was full. The agitated and odd man across the aisle from me was out of his seat, pacing back and forth up in the bulkhead again. The very tall American man squeezed into the middle seat beside me needed to get up and stretch and use the toilet.

I was sitting on the aisle. So I paused the music I was listening to and took off my headphones. I skinnied myself out of the seat in that 45-degree-angle way you do when everyone is crammed in with seats reclined after the dinner service. I stood up into the aisle, and then…. Read more