The First Seven Days

I am coming to the end of the first week since leaving corporate life and I seem to have survived. As a result of the Covid-19 saga, I wasn’t able to head off on my planned kayaking adventure down the Murrumbidgee, so it has been a little weird as I don’t feel like I really had a proper break between working and not working. I have sort of just morphed straight from one to the other and nothing really feels different. Every now and then, for example if I am kayaking at 10am on a Tuesday morning, I get the guilts because I feel like I am slacking off work. I know that over time I will get over this.

It has been interesting to see how quickly I have fallen into a natural routine for each day. I get up, have brekky, walk the dog, exercise, potter around doing odd jobs, have lunch, do some reading, do some learning, walk the dog, have dinner, watch some telly, read some more and go to sleep. With all the social distancing limitations, I think this will pretty much be the routine for the next few months.

One of the things I am going out of my way to do is to do a lot of exercise. Getting super fit is my main project at the moment. We are fortunate to live so close to a great variety of waterways and bushland, so it is really easy to disappear into the wilderness and do some interesting runs and kayaking. So each day (on alternating days) I am going out for either a trail run (“leg day”) or a paddle (“arm day”). I have managed to do 6 out of the 7 days, which is a lot more exercise than I would typically do. I needed a rest day on Wednesday because my body said “no more”.

Like many other families, our dog Chloe is going for a lot more walks than she would normally. She has been exhausted. She has always gone out twice a day, but the afternoon visit to the dog park is normally more social for the humans and she typically lies on the ground chewing a stick. So now the socialisation has ceased, she is now getting two proper walks a day and she is knackered. The best bit is that she is so tired that she actually sleeps past 6.15am in the mornings.


To Paddle or Not to Paddle? – That is the question.

I have been giving the whole issue of whether I should still be kayaking a lot of thought. There has been a fair bit of debate on the various Facebook groups I follow about whether it is socially responsible to still go kayaking. After a lot of consideration, I have come to the conclusion that the way I am approaching it is as responsible (if not more so) than most people who go out for a run, bike ride or walk for exercise.

Currently the Australian government is allowing us to go outside for exercise and NSW Maritime are allowing kayaking on NSW waterways for the purpose of exercise. Victoria, on the other hand, have now banned kayaking all together on the grounds that it is “not essential exercise”. I personally think the term “essential exercise” is a very broad and subjective statement. Based on this definition (or lack of definition), I would argue that riding your bike would not be considered “essential exercise” either. I understand that having groups of people in kayaks, floating around in the sun and maybe trying to catch a fish is not exercise. However, when I paddle, it is 2-3 hours of continuous paddling with the purpose of getting fit, which I classify as exercise.

Also the way I approach it is that I typically head out before sunrise when no one is around. I get into my car in the driveway, drive 5-10 minutes down the road to a remote launching point in the bush, paddle alone on the quiet waterways and then drive straight home. During this time, I have no contact with any people and I don’t touch any surfaces that other people are likely to ever touch. In contrast, on the way home I normally pass groups of cyclists riding together and/or hanging around outside a coffee shop chatting, which seems a lot more risky than what I am doing.

I have a similar approach for the runs that I am doing. Due to an ongoing issue with shinsplints, I can’t really run for prolonged periods of time on concrete, so I tend to run on the bush tracks and fire trails around our suburb. As with the kayaking, it is very rare that I will come across anyone while on these runs. Again in contrast, I was driving past our local oval yesterday and there were so many people exercising that it looked like a school sports carnival.

So for my the sake of my own physical and mental health I am going to continue kayaking and running in the bush…in solitude.

Update on my Projects

I am happy to report that a lot of the odd jobs I had written on my whiteboard have been ticked off. All sorts of jobs, ranging from reattaching gutters to the house to fixing the handle on one of our umbrellas, have been completed.

In my last post I mentioned that my big project for the week was to resurrect the Aunty Monkey podcast. I spent sometime this week sorting out all the online assets for the podcast and remembering how all the recording and editing equipment works. I have two exciting interviews lined up next week, so things are progressing really well and should have an episode published mid next week.

So overall a pretty good first week of my career break.

Here is my weekly list of things…

Reading: Around The World In Wonder Socks: Travel tales of a Nony – not old not young, somewhere in the middle by Arthur Penlington. The book is full of stories from a 50+ old Brisbane fellow who decides (after his marriage ends) to sell his house, pack a backpack and start traveling the world with no plans. No… I am not getting any ideas.

Watching: Like everyone around the world, we have just finished watching Tiger King. Wow… just wow. I have now just started watching the long awaited 3rd season of Ozark… such a good show.

Audio Book I am Listening To: While running and kayaking I have been listening to the autobiography of Tim Rogers (the lead singer of You Am I) called Detours. Tim is a great writer (both music and now books) and since he reads it himself, he adds a lot of extra personality to the book. It has a lot of really enjoyable stories from his childhood and his days on the road.

Music I am Listening To: As a result of listening to Tim Rogers’ audiobook, I have been really getting into the back collection of You Am I this week. In particular the This is: You Am I playlist.

Music I am NOT listening to: Pearl Jam released a new album this week called Gigaton. I really like the stuff Pearl Jam did in the 90s and I really like a lot of Eddie Vedder’s solo work, especially the Into the Wild Soundtrack. However, this new album is really weak and I don’t plan to listen it again. Pearl Jam’s place is in the 90s and they should stay there.

Learning: This week I decided to go back to the basics of video editing and start learning Adobe Premiere Pro from scratch by going through the Adobe Premiere Pro CC Video Editing: The Complete Guide with Abba Shapiro Creative Live classes. I have been using Premiere Pro for years but never bothered taking any classes. So now that I have time, I have gone back to the beginning and while I know 80% of what they have taught so far, the other 20% has been really helpful. I am even starting to use Hot Keys to do things.

Gadget I am Loving: As part of getting ready for recording podcasts, I have dusted off my Zoom H5 recorder. This 4 track recorder is great for capturing really clean audio and really easy to use.

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