An unexpected twist and trip to the convict colony

A lovely cafe in the Katik Langtan village near our house.

A lovely cafe in the Katik Langtan village near our house.

I’m sitting here in a cafe next to a rice field near the house I share with three other Bule in the village of Katick Langtan, near Ubud. In a few hours from now, l’ll be flying to Sydney, something I’d not contemplated this time last week.

Then, two days after climbing Bali’s three highest volcanoes inside 24 hours, I decided to spend a couple of days at Bali Silent Retreat. I’d been thinking about trying meditation for a long, so I headed there last Sunday and it was a peaceful mini break (which I may write about another time).

The site of Bali Silent Retreat near Tabanan

The site of Bali Silent Retreat near Tabanan

After two days of clear thinking ‘space’, I returned to Ubud on Tuesday with a good idea of what to focus on: health (inspired by the 3 Peaks Challenge completed while woefully unfit), working with Pieter Moorman on our online course for startups, and planning the Balinese craft workshop with Dek, Deco, Ketut and Arcana to be held at the same time as Bali Spirit Festival (31 March to 5 April).

Before I continue, I must make mention of the 3 Peaks. It was an idea I dreamed up when climbing Mt Batur in November – I even made a promotional video at the top! I mentioned it to a couple of the lads at Tribewanted and next thing we were doing it. Ben Keene has written a great post on it.

Me, Liza, Ben Keene, Janine, David and Ben Saul-Garner - the six Tribewated 3 Peaks survivors!

Me, Liza, Ben Keene, Janine, David and Ben Saul-Garner – the six Tribewanted 3 Peaks survivors!

So what happened? 

Within 5 minutes of getting back to Ubud, getting my haircut and generally tidying up my appearance, I was asked to lunch by Pak Dave Fogarty and Olivier Pouillon and I finished up being asked to run a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for Olivier’s super cool Cash for Trash project – the winning team from Startup Weekend Bali back in November. I’m pondering that one.

If that was a tremor to my focus, the email I received from Suncorp Insurance was a monster eruption! And I’m not talking about a premium increase.

In amongst all the usual crap in my inbox (not your email mum!) there was an invite to go to Sydney for Suncorp’s ‘sensing’ day working with the leading ‘future of finance’ firm, Anthemis of London.

I was ‘humbled’ (I take that to mean … I cant find the words) that Frank Ray and me had been invited. It was our New Way of Working video that caught Suncorp’s attention back in October. We really thought that lead had gone dead, but here we were being invited to join in a pretty serious event.

Over the two days at the Silent Retreat, I had thought a lot about my professional worth as I feel at age 39 it is diminishing. Others of my mates are feeling the same thing. To be asked to join a group that I could not even say I see as my peers (they are a long way ahead in my eyes) was both flattering and incredibly lucky.

So, I decided I’d go, even if Frank couldn’t (he is in Surrey with his wife Julia and two daughters). He made me promise that I’d ask Suncorp to cover my costs, which I did and they are paying! I’ve never been invited to an event in my profession, let alone not have to pay the $1500 costs of attending.

Last time I was here was with my great mate Jeremy Wallis watching Aus v India at the SCG in 2008

Last time I was here was with my great mate Jeremy Wallis watching Aus v India at the SCG in 2008

I don’t know much about what will happen at Suncorp on Tuesday but what I do know, as Frank has reminded me today in a video message, I have been invited to go because they see value in my views and opinions. I have become pretty radical in the last 12 months and most people don’t get what the hell I am on about. What they don’t know is how much thought goes into what I say, which goes all the way back to one month, alcohol-free, doing yoga in Bali 12 months ago.

It seems Suncorp gets it. We’ll see on Tuesday.


An added bonus

I had a text from my dear friend Bec Cass today saying (again) how in love with cricket she is, while the World Cup is on in my homeland, New Zealand. As it happens I watched the Rugby World Cup final with Bec at a pub breakfast in Islington in October 2011.

Apart from a few hours watching England get trounced by the convicts a week or so back with Ben Keene, I’ve not watched any of the tournament. I could go to Kuta and watch it surrounded by West Australian bogans, but no thanks.

So, while there are no games on in Sydney while I am there, I’m looking forward to watching a lot of Channel 9 and Wide World of Sports. Life has changed a lot since I interviewed Richie Benaud at the Adelaide Oval in 2004, though I still have the Beige Brigade shirt I was wearing that day, with me here in Ubud.

A final word(s)

If you enjoy reading what I write, please share it with others. I write because I enjoy it and it helps me think and I am trying to be more honest with myself by doing it.

Finally, if anyone can work out how to get rid of the black box covering Ketut’s face at the top of the page, please let me know.


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