Happy New Year!

First blog of the year, it’s going to be a bit of a wrap up of 2017 and some thoughts looking towards 2018. I’ll try and keep it brief but there’s a lot I did during 2017!

Heritage Lodge Trip Dec 2017
During 2016 as I was finishing my Certificate in Exercise and Sports Performance we did a trail “run” as part of our course. I walked the 7km course as my classmates did the 1/2 marathon. After the race I was talking with them and was asked “Antnz did you see those veiws?”…. It suddenly hit me that I hadn’t, I’d been watching my feet the whole time so I wouldn’t ass over, so I could meet my goals of 7km in under 1 hr 30 min and to try and keep to around 60 steps a minute. Sure I met those goals but I’d missed all the views. I got to wondering how many views I’d missed in the last few years because I’d been so focused on reaching “goals”.
Te Mata Peak Trail Run 2016
With that in mind I started 2017 with 2 things in mind. I was aiming for “one adventure a month” and I was going to make an effort to take in more of the journey along the way. It’s not just about climbing a specific cliff, tramping a specific number of km a day or just focusing on getting to a specific site; but also making sure to enjoy and actually take the time to take in the journey along the way.
I definitely took in more of “the journey” during 2017, and although I didn’t quite meet my “one adventure a month”, I definitely achieved a lot. I for this blog up and going and with your support I’m getting more people reading the blog and following along with the Facebook page. In the latter part of the year I was fortunate enough to join Jade Farrar and Mike Pulman in starting to our stories without someone else’s lens.
Jade Farrar, Hannah and myself
I guess if I had to pick 4 “highlights” of the year, they would be the Rangiwahia Hut trip, the Paraclimbing competition, and getting involved with the Enabling Good Lives System Transformation.
The Rangiwahia Hut trip back in February was unforgettable. A 3 day trip to a hut in the Ruahine Ranges. A well groomed track that had a “walk time” of between 2.5 and 3hrs. This trip was hugely significant to me as it was the first “solo” trip in the hills in around 12 years. Now some would argue that it wasn’t “truly a solo” because I had ADNZ Ben; but honestly, he’s not very conversational!
The main reason that I hadn’t gone out solo in so long was that if I fall with a pack on, I do a pretty good turtle impersonation and need someone to help me up. Having ADNZ Ben with me meant that I could right myself and keep going, and we tested that a couple of times on the way to the hut. I got up to the hut in just over 4 hours. I spent a wonderful couple of nights just chilling at the hut, watching the weather and just reflecting. A definite highlight of this trip was hearing a kiwi whistle and call. I’m definitely looking forward to doing more solo trips in the future.

At the end of August I climbed in New Zealand’s first competitive climbing event. When I first got into climbing in 2003 this is not something I would ever happen in NZ. It was amazing to be part of and an honor to climb against Rachel and Diane. Seeing as I started climbing after my back problems started I had zero idea of how I would react. I know how climbing comps work but it was another level again to be climbing in one. I’m excited to see how the sport progresses and grows in the future. It was amazing to be part of a little bit of NZ Climbing history and I’ll definitely be thinking of potentially taking it a step further over the next couple of years. I also helped out with an adaptive climbing clinic since the competition which was amazing to get some more people on the walls; and maybe some more climbers for next years competition! A huge shout out to Climbing NZ, Auckland Sport Climbing Club and Extreme Edge, Glen Eden for an awesome experience! From the bottom of my heart my thanks go out to all those that contributed to get me to the competition, without you I wouldn’t have been able to be there!
The other big highlight of the year was getting involved in the Enabling Good Lives System Transformation. I know that sounds a little weird coming from me, one of the biggest cynics around towards “government consultations and process” but I’ve met some amazing people, learnt a lot and helping the community is somewhat built into my genetics. As I’ve said before I only turned up due to a curiosity about what this round of consultation was about, I asked some questions, talked to a few people and quickly found myself in the middle of doing the work.

It’s been humbling that people value my opinion and recognise the skills I have built over the years. Some people have questioned my involvement at times seeing as I haven’t really been involved in “the sector”, but the way I see it, I have a lot of transferable skills. A lot of what we’re doing is critical thinking and analysis and I can definitely do that, I’m just applying it to a different context. I’m also not exactly one to shy away from saying things as they are from my perspective and ask the questions that people are thinking but not voicing.

The glamorous side of EGL??
We all wander differently

I saw the opportunity to be part of making postive change for our community and I went for it. Yes, I’m still somewhat skeptical if everything will come together effectively in order to provide better support for those that need it. Social Investment and educating the wider community overall is going to be one of the keys to making a better future, I’m prepared to do some of that work. Sociologists say that it takes about 20 years to catch up with “high level” change but I desperately hope that it doesn’t take that long.

2017 has been a see a huge growth in AntnzVentures, and the Facebook page has grown, as I wrote this blog it hit 400 followers! Through the System Transformation I met Jade Farrar and through our mutual interest of creating conversations (content) he introduced me to Mike Pulman and the content creators network was formed. Nothing formal, just a decision to keep making content and sharing each others work. The flavor of AntnzVentures changed a little during the year to include the System Transformation as well as my adventures and saw the YouTube channel started with a couple of Vlogs, which is well outside my comfort zone as I find writing far easier than being in front of a camera.

That time I interviewed Jade and the techo gremlins got me

2017 had it’s bumps, but every year does and it was an amazing year. I didn’t have too much of a direct when it started and now I have more idea of how I want to develop AntnzVentures and there are bigger plans in the works long term.

In some ways 2018 hasn’t got off to the best start, but I’m choosing to look at it like the wobble some cyclists get because they’ve got their bike in too high a gear when they push off from the lights.
On Boxing Day, I will chilling out with family, stretched out with my feet up on the footrest of a Lazyboy chair (recliner for my US friends), I went to stand up not realising that ADNZ Ben had stretched out underneath the foot rest. He let out a huge yelp, and during the evening he just wasn’t acting himself and was appearing to be pretty uncomfortable. We got to got him to the vet on the 27th and Ben had some quite severe bruising on his spine. Dr Gen (vet) prescribed anti-inflammatories and crate rest with reassessment the following week. Turned out at reassessment he needed another week of strict rest. We’re only just now starting to get back to seeing how he copes with his usual length and regularity of walks, it will probably take another few weeks to work up to him being back to 100% with his packs on.

ADNZ Ben being injured triggered some mental health issues; and it didn’t seem to matter how logical I was that ADNZ Ben would be ok and that I could adjust plans, my brain didn’t seem to acknowledge that. My brain kept telling me that I had inflicted a work ending injury on him and that all the plans I had over summer had vanished into thin air.

I’ve got my head back on again and am working on adjusting some of my plans. If anyone wants to come on a trip and do some Sherpa duties please sing out because I want to get out there but I need help to do so. Now those that know me, be proud, I’m actually asking for help! I’m not usually one to ask for help; sometimes I strive for “independence” a little to much!

When I struggle with my mental health some of my self care goes out the window and my physical health suffers a little. Now I’m almost on top of sorting that my physical health as well I’m in much better position to get the year really underway.
So where I am I headed during 2018? To be honest I’m not entirely sure as I have some rather broad long term goals, but I want to continue to grow and develop, both with AntnzVentures and personally.

For AntnzVentures I kicked off on Instagram last week, I figured I take enough pics so I can break up walls of text for this blog so I may as well share some as I go! I’m aiming this year to be posting blog a week and a vlog once a month. I will be doing trip vlogs of trips as I head out this year and learning how to edit will be a big learning curve, but I’m looking forward to showing a little more of what I do. I decided to do a random Live feed on Facebook yesterday on my personal page and from the feedback I’m thinking about introducing a regular session on my AntnzVentures page in the future!

I’ll be continuing with the System Transformation work, I have one more Working Group coming up and the continuing Regional Leadership Group work. The prototype in Mid-Central is getting closer and we’re hoping to make it the best it can be as it moves forward. I am cautiously optimistic that we can make some positive change so people can thrive and not just survive. I’ll also be doing what I can in the community to support people to live the best lives they can.

Thank you to all of you, without you I would not have had such a fantastic year last year and I look forward to sharing the next year with you. If you have any idea for blog or vlogs let me know through the comments across the platforms or email. If you want to join me on some trips also please get in touch as it would be awesome to have someone to wander with.

Chilling at Heritage Lodge Dec 2017

Happy New Year everyone and I wish you all the best for your upcoming year. Take care, stay safe and remember life is adventure if you let it be!


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