#39

At this point in my life, my strengths and weakness are becoming pretty clear. And not that I like to focus on my weaknesses by any means, but this blog entry relies on one of my biggest – balance.

Since I was little, my balance has never been my strong point. I can elegantly trip over my own feet standing still, and while that sounds like a unique talent, I assure you it’s never been beneficial.

I’ve tried everything from skateboarding to surfing, but I’ve just never been able to figure it out. Perhaps I’ve never really given it enough of a go, but after watching a documentary on bones at the age of sixteen, the fear of falling with my wrists out first has ever since had me fear unbalancing the wellbeing of my radius’.

But as all things go in my life, this determined bundle of ambition I call myself can’t seem to ever give up on the hope of one day not being capable of losing balance on flat ground (or in a room full of people at Pilates).

The thing is though, if you don’t keep trying, you never will learn something new. And I’ve grown to learn that the moment you believe you can’t do something, is the moment you quite literally can’t.

I met someone the other day who told me she couldn’t snorkel because she hadn’t ever had lessons. Now I’m not sure I’ve met one person who’s ever actually had a snorkelling lesson, so I was confused by the notion at the time. Put the mask on, breathe through the tube, swim. Granted it takes some getting used to at first, but I’ve always thought the process to be pretty straight forward.

The entirety of our trip at Isla De Potipot in northern Philippines, she refused to snorkel the beautiful reefs surrounding the island because she’d already made up her mind that she couldn’t. She was scared she would fail at it, and despite us all offering to teach her how, she declined.

And the more I think about it, the more it really stands out to me as a lesson on never imprisoning yourself in accordance to what you think is not possible. She missed out on a whole under water wonderland that day, and while she had every right to make that decision – I just couldn’t understand it.

So I guess when it comes to balance, why should the fact that I have none of it mean I should corner myself in. The reality is, I’m happy to fall off, over or out, if it means experiencing something new. Sometimes you just have to give something a chance and see where it takes you. To hell with the wellbeing of my radial bones, right?

Ergo, bucket list #39. Learning to stand-up paddle board (SUP, as it will from here on be abbreviated to).

It’s always been something I’ve wanted to try. I live close to the beach, and on the ocean’s softer days, it’s home to many people aboard SUPs. To stand on the roof of the ocean, under blue skies and sunshine, had always struck me as being the dream.

On the fourth day of being at Moreton Island last year, we had woken up to a windless morning. The sea was calm, and clear. So my Mr. and I decided to hire a couple of SUPs and give it ago. The added bonus was that I figured falling off into water, would turn out to be a much softer break fall than concrete.

I must admit that while I knew my balance and lack thereof, would keep things interesting, I didn’t anticipate just how hard it would be to stand up, let alone remain upright.

In the time it had taken my Mr. to help me push my board out, head back to the beach, grab his board, head back out, stand up and paddle over the small breaking waves – I had barely accomplished kneeling on all fours.

He could barely control his laughter in between shouting encouragement my way as I put on a show that could only be likened to Bambi’s first steps. With wobbly legs and a whole degree of arm-waving, I finally stood up after far longer than I care to admit.

From there things got easier. Turns out standing up was the hardest part for me, the rest was relatively straight forward. While the occasionally lump in the ocean unsettled my balance, I never fell off. However I will admit to a fair bit of yelling, “Don’t come near me!” and some use of my oar as a jarring stick whenever my Mr. would teasingly come too close for comfort.

After we had paddled ourselves up the beach and back, we decided to spend the rest of our last hired hour laying on our boards. From the depths of the clear blue waters, we had been spotted by a pod of playful dolphins. Sitting on my sup with a smile as wide as my face plastered on, I watched them swim, dancing through the ocean as if it had been rehearsed especially just for us.

If I could SUP and swim with dolphins everyday, I would – because I’m really not sure how it ever gets any better than that, even if it does take me a small lifetime to stand up.

Balance or no balance, never let your weaknesses define what your capable of. There’s always a way if you will it. You can always do something extraordinary.

#39: Learn to Stand-up Paddleboard – Check!

d x

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#66

When I was 12 years old, I broke my wrist riding a scooter down a hill. Granted that it could have been partly my fault given I had been sitting on the foot ledge rather than riding it properly, but you just couldn’t have convinced a younger me that this wouldn’t have ended in disaster at the time. Nevertheless, one fleeting 15 second ride led to a 6 hour wait in hospital and whole lot of not swimming in the middle of summer thanks to one very unfashionable cast.

When I was 13 years old, Dad let me drive the family run-around car back into the garage after we had finished washing it. It was one of those things that sounded like a good idea at the time, but later left you thinking why on earth did we do that. Because there were two things that went terribly wrong in the space of a few seconds. The first was that I forgot where the brake was; the second was that my soap-covered feet had little grip. Slipping on the accelerator was bad, crashing at a decent speed into the foundation wall of our two story house was worse, but forgetting where the brake was and plowing straight back into the wall a second time was downright priceless (in the most expensive way). This stunt also landed me in the emergency ward with a nasty gash to my forehead, and the requirement of a tetanus injection.

When I was 14 years old, I let my friend teach me how to ride her motorbike. I’d never ridden one before, nor did I really know how they worked – so naturally, this also seemed like a good idea. I actually hadn’t been doing too badly, the worst only happened when we decided to stop. You see, there’s a throttle on the handlebar and if you relax your wrist in the form of twisting down (don’t ask me how), you can find yourself tangled in a barb-wire fence pretty quickly with half a metal barb sticking out of your ankle, and a rather large third degree burn curtesy of the exhaust. Back to the hospital, and eight weekly burn dressings later – I never touched another motorbike.

When I was 15 years old, I let a boy push me down a grass hill in a shopping trolley. Was I sober? Yes. Was I smart? Not that day. Hitting a rock halfway down caused the trolley to capsize to the left crushing my elbow under both the trolley and myself. The stomach-turning crunch of my poor bones landed me a return trip to hospital, this time for a surgery and nine months of rehab. I still can’t look at shopping trolleys without cringing.

The point of these three stories is to show you that things with wheels and me, well we’ve never really gotten along. I purposely have never taken on a skateboard for obviously reasons, and have more than a few misfortunes to tell when it comes to my cars. The reality is, there would be less havoc in my life if the wheel had never been invented. But the greater good prevails, and as it turns out, they’re pretty useful in anyone else’s opinion.

But despite having sworn off wheels for the most part, there has always been one more set of wheels I’ve always wanted to try…

At #66 on the bucket list was to ride an adventure ATV, and call me crazy, but despite my unfortunate history with all things round – I’ve always been mentally prepared for the injury I would surely entailed completing this bucket list item.

When planning our trip to Moreton Island last year in November, I stumbled across an advertisement for riding beach ATV’s through the islands notorious sand dunes. Better to stack it on a balmy sand island rather than out in a balinese jungle, I thought. So I convinced my Mr. in no time (who is most definitely pro-theinventionofwheels, and master of all of them!) and we booked it in.

In an unlikely turn of events, I can confirm I managed to ride one without injury or a hospital admission… maybe wheels have taken pity on me and my battle scars after all. In fact, in comparison to the three tourists riding in front of my Mr. and I, who undoubtedly were more of a liability than even me, I think I did quite well. And I most certainly enjoyed every second of racing through the sandy figure-eights built low into the sand dunes, and over the tops of the berms.

Moreton Island is such a beautiful part of the Australian coastline, and to see it from behind the handle-bars of an ATV was such a great experience. Zooming along the shoreline on the beach at sunset is something I will remember as being one of the most beautiful sights I’ve seen. Even with the most wonderful of descriptive words, I couldn’t out-do seeing this place in person. It’s just simply something you’ll need to add to your own bucket list.

There is video proof of my successful ATV adventure in my latest holiday vlog, so if you wanted to check it out in live motion, you can click here.

And as for my war with wheels? Well, I’d like to believe that perhaps we finally made peace in paradise.

#66 – Ride an Adventure ATV: Check!

d x

 

 

 

#64

I think when I look back, I’ve always been a water baby. Between being strongly influenced by red-headed Ariel the Little Mermaid, and being driven by a school-girl crush to reach the level 3 swimming group so I could swim with the cutest boy in third-grade – I always preferred water to land (and not just because LM was swimming in it).

Any given family holiday, you’d find my parents borderline-dragging me from the water’s edge. Wrinkled skin? Not a worry in the world. All the better to hang onto the pool floor with!

Although roughly twenty-something years later my Mr. would argue that my now chosen swimming technique leaves much to be desired, I just put it down to being a different type of swimmer, a floater if you will. A much more leisurely way of enjoying the ocean, because lets face it, I never actually made it to the level 3 swimming group, and the Butterfly Stroke was never meant for me.

All of this aside, almost 6 months ago, I found a way to overcome my shortfalls for my love of the ocean. Its black and orange, and zips through the water like an ocean lamborghini – yes, sir. I did in fact, buy a jetski!

To buy a jetski, has been a goal of mine for quite sometime. I’m not exactly sure what appealed more to me, the thrill of soaring over the water, or just the adventure that comes with it. Maybe a bit of both? All I know, is that life got a little more fun with this new addition!

There is now a new toy to fit into the ever-shrinking garage alongside my Ryobi Builders Collection (that’s what I call it anyway, theres a dropsaw now too boot. This girl is no longer a damsel in distress!). And we have made use of it most weeks since getting it. Whether down along the river, or out in the ocean (I’m getting the hang of the ramp-like waves), we’ve started to explore around home from a different perspective.

Learning to ride a jetski is a little odd at first. For someone who hasn’t really had a whole lot to do with motorbikes or anything throttle-related (and perhaps without being of good cause), riding a jetski for the most part, was a learning curve. But it doesn’t have wheels, so judging by my history we’re safe.

Although speeding along the water at 80km sure used to feel like a death-defying dangerous feat until I got used to it, I’m learning I like being on the water much more than ever before. There’s just something about the wind grazing your face and the ocean salt spray that makes it feel liberating.

Recently, we have bought a donut tube – literally shaped and coloured like a donut with sprinkles. With a double hit of the control panel’s middle button, a little oomph with the help of ‘sports mode’, we can have you scooting round a lake as the donut hole at speed on the back of the ocean lamborghini. It makes for one hell of a day, and a whole lot of laughter, I honestly don’t know why I never invested in buying one sooner.

My Mr. and I are certainly ready for 2019, and many more Jetski adventures to come.
And if you wanted to check out one of the adventures from 2018, click here!

#64: Buy a Jetski – Check!

d x

 

#33

I’ve always had a odd fascination with crime. Not in ever committing it, just that people do and that despite all the psychologists in the world, we just really will never know truely why it happens. Call it my innate desire for justice, or just too many crime scene shows watched as a child (C.S.I was my bread and butter), I was just always intrigued with anything to do with the subject. Perhaps that’s why I’ve dabbled with the idea of becoming a lawyer, I’m not sure.

When I was in grade eight, we went to St Helena Island on the school excursion. St Helena Island is located in the Moreton Bay Region, four kilometres from the mouth of the Brisbane River and home to colonial Queensland’s foremost maximum security prisons for men in the 19th century. We had spent most of the day there touring the old ruins of the prison, imagining what it would have been like to be a prisoner there all that time ago.

I was enthralled. I always had been when it came to history, and when paired with a notorious past of crime – I was hook, line and sinker. I remember standing fearful to the soles of my feet as they talked about the Cat-of-nine-tails, struggling to believe how much times have changed.

On the way back to the bus, my school teacher at the time had made mention of another well known prison in Melbourne. And when she explained it was the prison Ned Kelly had been held captive at before his hanging – you bet it made it’s own special place on the bucket list.

Almost ten years later, I finally got to visit the notorious Melbourne Gaol, #33 on the list.

My Mr. had booked a surprise getaway to Melbourne for my birthday last year. We had stayed in a cosy little AirBnB in the heart of the CBD, and spent the week walking through the many back lanes of the busy city exploring. We had become so exceptionally good at riding the Tram be the end of the third day, we could have almost been mistaken as locals.

Nevertheless, in the home town of the Melbourne Gaol, we decided to visit.

After grabbing a coffee from a cafe on a nearby corner (with honey instead of vanilla, because apparently syrup in coffee in Melbourne is a crime all of its own…), we walked along Russell Street to the jail entrance. If there is one thing I really love about Melbourne, it’s the integration on old historic buildings amongst the new. And there on Russell Street, we found one of the oldest buildings in the city.

The Old Melbourne Gaol opened it’s first cell block in 1845, lasting 79 years until it’s closure in 1924. Famous for being the location of the hanging of Ned Kelly, the jail remains open to the public today to explore the prison, and it’s eyry past. You can climb the stairs of the prison and explore the cells. There is a multitude of information plastered to the walls, and plenty of real life memorabilia to take in. And when you reach the end of the prison block, you can even stand where Ned Kelly was finally hung and bear witness to the rope that claimed his life.

If you have a bit of time, it’s worth doing the full tour, which not to give too much away, includes being processed as prisoner and locked in a prison cell – just a little something to put you out of your comfort zone. The tour includes the city watch tower and magistrates court, before delivering you through to the prison block itself. There are plenty of tourist photo opportunities along the way (and you better believe I made use of every one of them). I thoroughly enjoyed every moment learning about the past, and the lives of some of the most notorious criminals. The tour through the Old Melbourne Gaol cost $28 per adult, and is worth every cent. I couldn’t recommend it enough.

If you’re interested, you can check out our Melbourne trip (inclusive of the old gaol!) here.

Otherwise, if you’re in Melbourne – go see for yourself, this is definitely a must do!
You can find more information about the Old Melbourne Gaol at https://www.oldmelbournegaol.com.au

#33 – Explore the prison where Ned Kelly was help captive in Melbourne: Check!

d x

 

#5 and #52: Philippines 2018 (Helping Children Smile Medical Mission)

First of all – I have to make an apology for taking such a long time to write this blog! There’s been a whole lot of work, and a new tiny-pawed furry addition to the family since finally landing back in Australia last month, so my hands have been kept somewhat hostage…but more on that in my next blog!

Second of all – Philippines!

I’ve been really struggling to find the right word to describe my trip to the Philippines. In reply to most people, I use the word amazing with a gushing enthusiasm and a widen-eyed conviction of the word. But even then, I know this is still an understatement. Because it was just so much more than that.

For those that have been following Life, She Wrote, you will have known that this year’s addition to Bucket List #5 came with it’s own special purpose – but for those that are new to the story, you can read about it here.

Having looked forward to trip since finding out I would be apart of it back in September, I couldn’t believe it had come round so quickly. The end of February was nearing as we all met up at a hotel near the airport in preparation for the three flights ahead of us the next morning. I had met most people prior to trip, but there were a few I hadn’t and it was nice to sit down with everyone, putting faces to names over wine, cheese and Thai.

It was still dark when our early-morning alarms sounded at 4am and we eagerly threw on our team t-shirts (bright blue and not easily missed in a crowd), making our way to the airport. With thirty-something luggage bags in tow carrying various pieces of equipment and monitors, we hustled into the group check-in and busily set about labelling and weighing bags. If I thought the amount of bags we had then and there was extravagant, I had another thing coming for me when we finally did arrive in Vigan (but that’s getting ahead of myself).

The first leg of the trip was flying into Sydney, where we met up with the two surgeons and two anaesthetists, and one other member of the team. Choosing to go it alone at the Duty Free, I managed to get myself utterly lost between terminals an hour later – but I’ll blame that on the airlines changing the terminal departure and those big electronic boards displaying way too many flights to Manilla (was there really that many people departing to Manilla?). Nevertheless, we all boarded on time and I was quite happy not to be left sitting back at terminal 34 on my lonesome.

Touching down in Manilla was a relatively smooth process. We quickly caught a bus to the hotel, with our priorities set on food, sleep and a quick 7-Eleven pitstop. I don’t remember falling asleep that night, I just figured I must have switched out as soon as my head hit that pillow and woken up 6 hours later.

After a traditional buffet breakfast we checked out and made our way back to the Manilla airport to catch our next flight to Laoag. It was a quick flight, landing beside one of the smallest airports I’ve ever seen. The little brick building, covered in pink flowering vines, could be walked end-to-end in less than five minutes.  But with a large sign welcoming Helping Children Smile to the Philippines, we felt right at home.

We collected ourselves, and our many pieces of luggage, into a large coach bus which carted us on a two hour journey to Vigan – our final stop for the trip and the location of the hospital we would be performing surgery at. We stopped midway at a small village supplier for afternoon tea where we we lucky enough to try some local food. Any food at this point was a god-send after having only had a pork bun since breakfast!

We arrived at our hotel in Vigan late that afternoon and quickly changed before heading into town to see the hospital. Having never been on a mission before, I wasn’t really sure what to expect – but the hospital appeared in relatively good condition in comparison to pictures I’d seen from previous mission trips. We toured the theatre rooms, recovery and the shed-like room that would be our ward. Everyone seemed pretty happy with it’s prospects and so we went to check on the luggage. Well in addition to the bags we had brought over, there was at least a dozen more to fill three ward rooms full. How we could have ever needed this much, I’ll never quite know – but it was our way to ensuring we never had to place any cost upon the hospital by only using our own equipment and supplies.

It was still light out when we ventured back to the hotel, so we snuck in a quick swim in the pool and laughed hysterically at those game enough to take on the waterslide that ended at least a metre above the water. There were plenty bruises and red marks all round to tell the tale of that endevour.

 

The next six days were a bit of a blur. But after setting up our recovery room on Monday, we were straight to work with two surgeries that afternoon. Back home, recovery spans across almost a whole floor catering for well over twenty patients. In Vigan, the recovery room was no more than 4 metres by 4 metres, perhaps smaller. It had two small beds either side of the room, with a cupboard in the corner and a cabinet full of drugs at the tail-end. We commandeered two small tables and set them up between each bed, tetras-packing them with our equipment. And we made-do. Theatre was much the same, simplistic, but functional – and from all accounts, better than expected.

It was such a rush to see it all play out, and then to be a part of it. Carrying the children in their hands, the anaesthetic nurse would rush out of the OT into our small recovery placing the child onto one of the beds. In a swift rush, the pulse oximeter and oxygen mask would be connected and we would intently monitor their small airways until they woke.

Waking up from the anaesthetic in the Philippines was a little rougher than at home, and so as soon as our little ones opened their eyes, we would whisk them off the trolleys and into our arms to rock and soothe. Their were plenty of wrigglers and plenty of tears, but that all got a little better as soon as mum arrived to hold there hands. After a quick dose of pain relief and a drink of water, we let them return to the ward.

Upstairs in the ward, it became a noisy collection of people after the third day. Families consisting of parents, siblings, uncles and aunties would squeeze into the same bed offering support to the children, becoming the ultimate nursing team. We would leave instructions for the parents in regards to pain relief; how much and how often, each night and return each morning to do a quick round and see how they had progressed.

The children were beautiful. And again, this too feels to be a rather large understatement. I fell in love with them the moment I met them. Their tiny faces that lit up the moment you gave them a smile, or handed them something as little as a toy car, had my heart bursting at it’s seams. These children were just so grateful for the things that many children here take for granted, and I couldn’t help but be in awe of their strength despite their circumstances.

Before each surgery we would adorn them with a little material cape made by volunteers here in Australia, and help them believe in superheroes. We would place little coins called ‘lucky money’ in their hands when they went to sleep, and would make sure they woke up with the lucky money still there. It was these little things that made surgery feel a little less frightening, and helped them feel a little more brave.

 

The differences to the their lips and palates were remarkable, and being a part of a process that changed each of their lives in the most unbelievable way has undoubtedly changed my perspective on my own world immensely.

After six days, we had performed over thirty operations. The hospital had kindly provided food each day and made every sacrifice possible to ensure our operations went smoothly. We were truly spoilt to have been able to work in Vigan, and were treated to dinner each night in the small town by different members of the Vigan Rotary Club.

On our last few days, we had enough downtime to do some exploring throughout the Provence of Vigan, a budding city on the tourist hot-spot list. From Dancing Fountain Shows to historical 17th Century walkways, monumental buildings to heritage listed sites – we were privileged to see so much in such a short time frame. And as we drunk a San Miguel (apple flavoured, for me) Beer at sunset on the beach, I think each one of us counted ourselves as lucky to have been on this trip.

After a heart wrenching clinic morning, checking up on the kids after their surgeries and waving goodbye to the children that had changed our lives perhaps even more so than we had changed theirs, we packed our bags and set off on the long journey home.

There aren’t enough words to describe the fullness of my heart, or the awe I have in the strength of these little ones and their parents. I am so proud to have been able to work alongside some of the most amazing clinicians and to have had the opportunity to utilise my own nursing career in a corner of the world that really needed it.

This trip has taught me that there is so much kindness, courage and generosity still to be shared in this world, and that it sometimes comes most from those who have far less than you.

For more information about the Helping Children Smile Organisation, or to donate to the cause for next year’s mission, click here. I cannot express how much of a difference surgery for these children makes in simple tasks such as eating and speaking, nor the happiness it brings to a part of the world who truely appreciate it.

For more details about visiting Vigan and Manilla, where to go and what to do – head over to The Travel Log!

And to have a sneak peak at the trip, the children we operated on and the places we managed to visit after-hours all in colour motion, you can head to my YouTube Channel!

This has been the most rewarding bucket list ‘check’ yet, and I really do hope to go again next year!

#5: Travel to a new place every year and #52: Volunteer in a Third World Country – double check!

d x

#68

It’s really not until you become a house owner that you understand the true beauty of a hardware store. As a child I used to dread trips there. I would drag my feet down every aisle adorned with every different kind of screw known to mankind (and yet still not the one my father would need) and grumble the entire way.

I really never understood the hype, until three days after moving into the new house when I needed to use a screw driver to attach the new 75 inch tv to its accompanying stand and realised a large gap in my inventory… tools.

Off to the local Bunnings I marched, concerned that my creativity and a knife tip in place of a screwdriver may not quite get me through the years to come. How I had gotten 22 years in and never found use for one, I’ll never quite know – but I was very aware this was now an issue.

In the midst of the large store room, inundated with every tool, contraption and adjunct I could have imagined, I realised I was well out of my depth. If the crisp white dress and beach wedges hadn’t already given that away, I was sure my overwhelmed, and slightly clueless, expression would…

And without warning, standing there in the middle of the tool section, it happened. I caught the hardware bug, my creative bones humming at the new ideas growing bigger aisle by aisle.

That was all it took. From that point, I’m sure I became Bunnings best customer, taking fondly to the ability to create an online ‘Bunnings Wishlist’.

I had so many big ideas! But the first of many, was a hanging vegetable garden – earning a spot on the bucket list at #68. My first industrial project for the little white house.

With a old palette collected from the skip bin down the road where another house was being built at the time, a little Tarzan SuperGlue, screws and my newly acquired drill (possibly my favourite purchase since becoming somewhat of my own builder’s apprentice), I managed to construct a hanging garden shelf. Pulling every second wooden paling from the palette skeleton, I cut and glued it to the base of the existing palings. And with little tightening of a few screws, a whole lot of youtube instruction and some creative ingenuity, it was finished.

A true tradie would have laughed hysterically at me. But everyone has to start somewhere right? And I hadn’t sawed off a finger or glued myself to the wood – so I viewed that as being rather successful in my books.

A week later it was secured to the fence just outside the door to my butlers pantry and I filled it with a dozen herbs, a little bit of lavender (out of Igloo’s reach) and a couple of succulents for show. And I oddly had never been more proud of anything else as watched my little herbs grow to overflow their pots.

Now, even two years later, every time I eat my famous spaghetti bolognaise infused with fresh basil, oregano and chive, I feel just that little bit more accomplished and that little bit more in love with creating something of own.

And if that has you inspired for dinner tonight, I’ll leave the recipe below 😉

#68: Build a hanging vegetable garden – check!

d x

Spaghetti Bolognaise
Ingredients:
– 500g Pork Mince (somehow just better than beef..)
– 425g Tomato Soup
– 140g Tomato Paste w/ Garlic and Herb
– Basil, Oregano + Chive (fresh is better, but from a jar will do too!)
– Pasta

Method:
1) Heat saucepan and cook pork mince on high until brown, removing excess water from pan if necessary.
2) Reduce heat + add in tomato soup, tomato paste and herbs
3) Leave to simmer + add Basil, Oregano and Chive to taste (I prefer a good pinch of all three!)
4) Serve with pasta

Servings:
4 people (or 2 + a delicious lunch for you both the next day!)

Happy cooking!

Helping abroad

Well, it’s official – I’m going to the Philippines next year!

For those that have been following, you might remember me mentioning becoming the newest member of the Helping Children Smile Organisation about two months ago (if not, read about it here). You might also remember me applying for next year’s mission trip in February to perform free surgery for the children over there with cleft palates – and lo and behold, one phone call last week confirmed I was successful!

In all honesty, being so new to the team, I wasn’t really sure whether I was in with much of a chance of being selected in the first place. It’s a huge trip with so many applicants each round, and I had only been there for all of five minutes. But encouraged by a couple of the girls at last month’s meeting, and with the CN application ordeal fresh in my memory – I figured there was no harm in showing my interest. This is my year of conquering fear, after all.

I’d originally put in an expression of interest for the ‘admin’ position – similar to a being a go-for. Someone who would help with the admissions, file paperwork and run errands. While it wasn’t exactly a position that would utilise my nursing skills as such, it would have been the perfect position to get a taste for the trip, in the hope to return the following year in a more surgical position.

So when I received a cryptic phone call asking whether I would have any interest in being a recovery nurse for the trip, I couldn’t help but feel the excitement bubble. Apparently, my experience in surgical nursing and airway management in neonates in my nursing internship made me a little more eligible than a go-for. One week later, I was officially asked to accompany the 2018 Mission Trip as the newest recovery nurse to the team.

I had to use every ounce of self-control to not squeal  down the line, but the smile that breached ear to ear said enough. It was as if it had all been falling in place since the moment I spotted the infamous post of Facebook. If there was ever a moment where I have felt like something was just meant to be – this was it, this was that moment.

I now have a lot to organise, including applying for a temporary permit to work in the Philippines – which is a whole other level of paperwork in itself. But I’m no way complaining. This is certainly going to be one amazing experience. And at the risk of sounding a little too much like my Father, there really is no substitute for doing something like this.

I’m so excited to use my nursing career for something so meaningful, in a place that really needs it. It’s been on the Bucket List for a long time, and finally #52 has found it’s promising ‘check’ – so stay tuned for that one. I’m already looking for forward to blogging this amazing adventure next February!

d x