Monday, 15 April 2013

The Golden DIVE ticket: Palau Preparation Success and Overcoming Fears

Yesterday Nathan and I completed our PADI Open Water Dive ticket. I still can't believe I did it! Until recently I had a deep-seeded fear of water due to traumatic childhood experiences. I had held onto this anxiety for such a longtime even though it served no purpose.  Rationally, I knew that the fear held me back but ingrain behaviours are hard to shift.

So how do you go from having a fear of water to getting your dive ticket?? I guess conquering of this fear has been a long time coming. The success came from motivation, planning, hard work and support.

There have been 2 other times in my adult life that I have unsuccessfully tried to conquer this fear. I guess it's kind of like giving up smoking. You really need to have the right motivation and support to be kick the addiction. Previously, my motivation had been simply that I didn't want to be scared anymore so I'd go to the pool once or twice, get a kick board, do some laps and then some excuse would arise like: I'm too busy to go or it's too cold, and I'd stop.
My motivation this time was Palau! How could I move to a place like Palau and not take the opportunity to see some of the best dive spots in the world? With this in mind I decided to get serious and fork-out for private swimming lessons. In the end I only had 3 private lessons but I continued to practice 2-3 times a week, swimming laps and a variety of swimming drills that Professor Google suggested. Let me be clear, I'll never be an Olympic swimmer but to actually get in the pool and swim laps without feeling nauseous is a MASSIVE achievement for me.

Lastly, the support I got from my Dive Instructor John and Nathan was great! We had several recommendations to do our PADI with John from Professional Dive Services and he was wonderful!! He clearly has a love for what he does and wants to share it with those who are interested. His class sizes are generally small and this time it was just Nathan and myself. This helped me get the individualised attention that I needed. Don't get me wrong, there were times when I wanted to give up and go sit on the beach and feel sorry for myself but John wouldn't have it! He was patient, encouraging and broke things into smaller, achievable tasks. Not once did I feel embarrassed or bad for being afraid. As the days progressed things became easier and less problematic. So gold stars all round for John and me!!! I should also mention the support that Nathan provides me. He did nothing but encourage me and help me where he could. We are a great team!!

So Palau here we come! I've got my golden ticket and I'm ready to explore this underwater world. Less than 8 weeks and we will be there!!

Monday, 8 April 2013

A glimpse into aid work!

I came across a program aired on a local channel called No Ordinary Journey. I couldn't have stumbled across this at a better time. This program is a AusAid funded PR piece and follows a number of Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development (AYAD) through their placements. It was great to watch! If you are interested in knowing more about the program or what we could potentially be involved with in Palau, I would strongly urge you to watch this!

Below is one of the short stories about Alice in Aceh. I included this clip because it touches on food security work in Aceh and is potentially similar to work that I'll be doing in Palau.

We leave for Palau in 9 weeks and it provided an insight into some of the challenges and experiences. Although Palau was not included the experiences of settling in and connecting with community are still the same. It made me really, really excited to see what we can do and whilst it may not be for everyone I know that I am ready and able. That's not to say there won't be tears, frustration and self doubt but that's all part of the process.Right!?!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Who Am I??

This is a question I used to struggle with an awful lot! Now as I move closer to my mid-thirties I can honestly say that I have the answer..........I am ME!! Profound I know!

Anyway, so what is my impetus to start openly sharing information about my life on the internet? Well, in 2 months and 5 days my soon-to-be-husband (more on that later) and I are packing up our life in Brisbane, Australia and moving about 5000 kms North-ish to a far, far away place called Palau.

Map of Oceania. Palau is directly above PNG and east of the Philippines.

Fun facts about Palau. It is an independent country made up of approximately 300 tiny and beautiful islands. It reportedly has some of the best diving in the world and lakes where you can swim with sting-less Jelly Fish. The national beer of Palau is brewed by an Irishman- it's called Red Rooster. And yes, the tenth season of Survivor was filmed there. Don't pretend like you don't know what I'm talking about!
Some of the 300 islands of Palau. These ones are called Rock Island.
Jelly Fish Lake- where you can swim with sting-less Jelly Fish.
Survivor Palau.
National Beer of Palau

If this was a speed date I would describe myself as a Foodie first and Nutritionist second. A not so bendy yoga student and a lover of music. I laugh at things I really shouldn't and make jokes that would often be considered inappropriate but hopefully not insensitive. I love the outdoors and I am hoping to fall in love with the ocean whilst I live in Palau. I love my friends and family more than anything in this world and I hope that they will be able to feel closer to me whilst I live so far away.

I think that about sums me up! Did I leave anything out??