The 21 Challenge - restart and love

A couple of hours ago I signed up for the 21 Challenge.

In Australia more than 32,000 young Australians will sleep on our streets every night.

Challenge yourself, your friends and your workmates to do, or not do, something from June 1st to 21st.  June 21st is the longest night of the year and a particularly difficult time on the streets for our homeless youth.

The 21 Challenge is your chance to help homeless youth by doing something you love, perhaps something you don’t love, or even something you’ve never done before for 21 days and asking friends and family to sponsor you.  Be as creative or ridiculous as you like and the money you raise will go to Open Family Australia’s Outreach programs, supporting youth at-risk.

You will be supporting a great cause with all the benefits of your efforts going towards Open Family Australia’s Outreach programs to benefit at-risk and homeless young people. 

(Description from the official website)

I'm not sure how I stumbled across the link on Facebook, but I read a couple of the stories on there about the challenges some young people have to cope with on a daily basis, and the efforts of the outreach officers to bring some stability into their lives. And I just clicked on register. I'm not sure what difference it would make but a small amount of awareness makes it worthwhile... with awareness comes greater empathy, not to mention the fundraising itself that will actually help individuals get assistance.

So my challenge is in two parts. At first I saw that some had declared that they would quit sugar for 21 days, which is something I've been meaning to do anyway. So that is one part. But then, I was meaning to do it anyway and it isn't really related. And being fussy about what food to eat seems so first-world compared to the challenges of homelessness and disadvantage. I still want to do it but I wanted to add a second part that would be more confronting for me.

The other part of my challenge is 21 days of being mindfully grateful and blogging that gratitude every day.

If you read my blog regularly, you will probably have noticed that I've been updating less and less lately. It's a combination of a lot of things - time, energy, lack of taking personal photos to share, and a lot of self-censorship, as well as distractions and deadlines. Partly, also, that I sometimes find it emotionally crippling to be the recipient of attention. A sort of antithesis to craving it (which also comes and goes). So, blogging every day would have been a big challenge anyway, but given the topic of homelessness, and my general tiredness at the moment, I wanted to make it a more affirmative, constructive challenge. Therapeutic, even.

This is something I try and think about anyway (positivity), but only inside my own head. And it's certainly not always natural. So I'm going to bring it on out. Instead of thinking how things might be challenging, or the difficulties of a day, or negative feelings, I'm going to find one thing to celebrate about each day, and do my best to share it. Because, in truth, I am not homeless, the subject of abuse of any kind, addicted to drugs or uncertain of where my meals might come from. And that is something to be grateful for to begin with. 

If you would like to sponsor me or donate to the challenge, please click here.

Port Lincoln it is!

Does that sound odd? LOL. I've never been to Port Lincoln. But, as I have said before, I love new places. Big or small. Far or near. Blah blah blah. And I jump at the opportunity to explore a new location.

So, did you know I keep waiting lists for all sort of locations? It depends on the spot itself how many bookings are needed to make a trip possible, but once I have two people interested from one place I look more seriously into making it happen, putting out feelers, spreading the word. And if it looks like enough people would love to have me photograph their family, kids, themselves, etc, in that location, then it's a go ahead!

This is how I happen to be visiting Port Lincoln in South Australia in September, offering photo sessions for the 3 days that I will be there. A couple of spots are booked so far, and I know a couple of more are in the works, so here is current availability:

Friday 28th September: 2:30pm, 4:30pm
Saturday 29th September: 7am, 2:30pm
Sunday 30th September: 7am, 9am, 2:30pm

And if anyone has any tips or recommendations for spots to see, shops to look at, places to eat while I am there, please let me know!

Away with friends

This weekend I have flown with my cousin Bec to Byron for a few days. We are staying with my friends in Bangalow who live in a little house with farmland around and it's a beautiful view, with chooks running around and goats in the field next door.

We flew in yesterday afternoon and are about to head to Byron to check out the markets, look around a bit. Tonight it's back to Bangalow for Bic Runga's show here. We fly home on Tuesday :)