Ganesha street art in Hosier Lane Melbourne

Call of the wild

Eleven years ago, I came to Melbourne and she’s been my home ever since. She has treated me with such tenderness, much like a warm hug from a dear friend. Melbourne has been a safe haven. She has given me the space and freedom I needed to be myself.

I fell in love with her gritty beauty and met the love of my life. Her green spaces, forgiving streets and rich diversity helped us raise our two children into the beautiful, resilient and open minded young adults they are today.

With every opportunity she smiled upon us, Melbourne has helped us to grow and succeed spectacularly. Hand in hand with the one of I love, we have made this urban beauty our home and we have loved her dearly… Until now.

We can no longer ignore the call of the wild. The restless stirring deep within our hearts. So… we’re off. Just like that. We’re going bush. We’ve sold our house, quit our jobs and bought a ute.

This is our last week in Melbourne, our final hoorah. The next twelve months will take us around the beautiful coastline of our vast country. We’ll camp under her immense starlit skies, immerse ourselves in nature and live life in the slow lane.

The things we truly value – love, freedom and nature will be our guide. Who know’s where we’ll end up? That’s the beauty of our adventure. We’re not too sure where our next home will be, but we’re ready to get lost and find her together.

Freedom is so close we can taste it. Thank you Melbourne, you’ve been a dear friend. We promise we’ll keep in touch. xx

P.s. We have created Unprepared Adventures to share our adventures with the people we love!

Photo credit: Hidden Gems: Melbourne Laneways and Arcades





Close up of Tian Tan Buddha Hong Kong

What I’ve learnt from the ‘world’s happiest man’

Maintaining a state of happiness and compassion in our modern lives is tough! There are so many everyday situations that pull me out of my enlightened and compassionate state and before I know it, my ego and places of hurt have taken over.

So many times I have felt angry that I’ve let a difficult person get under my skin again. Frustrated that I took a step forward, when what I needed was to take a step back. Hurt and ashamed because of something I said in the heat of the moment. I still have so much to learn! Who best to learn from than the ‘world’s happiest man’?

I recently listened to a podcast called ‘Happiness as Human Flourishing’. It was a delightful conversation full of wisdom between Matthieu Ricard and Krista Tippett. Throughout their conversation they discussed the idea of embodiment – leading lives of integrity. It was exactly the conversation I needed to hear!

Here is what I learnt from Matthieu Ricard…

Meditate everyday to cultivate compassion and happiness

Just as we exercise our bodies to keep fit, Matthieu suggests we should train our brain by meditating for twenty minutes a day to cultivate happiness and compassion.

‘The more you bring benevolence into your mind, there is no space for hatred. It’s very simple, but we don’t do that! We do exercise every morning for twenty minutes to be fit, but we don’t sit for twenty minutes to cultivate compassion. If we were to do so our mind will change, our brain will change, what we are will change.’ – Matthieu Ricard.

Scientific research Matthieu was involved in clearly showed the lasting effects of meditation through the process of neuroplasticity. When the brain changes, the effects are permanent. As a French-born Buddhist Monk who has meditated for thousands of hours, brain scans showed Matthieu’s brain emitted the same gama waves associated with meditation even when he wasn’t meditating.

Through meditation Matthieu has permanently re-wired his brain so the areas associated with happiness and compassion have the highest function. This is why he has been dubbed the ‘world’s happiest man’, although he doesn’t like this label.

Happiness is a state of being

According to Matthieu happiness is a state of being that give us the resources to deal with the ups and downs of life. He believes that watered down versions of happiness are a ‘recipe for exhaustion!’ So how do we cultivate happiness as a sate of being? Matthieu suggests that we need to focus on the inner conditions that make us truly appreciate the present moment and a genuine sense of fulfillment. He says,

‘We have to distinguish the mental factors which contribute to that way of being, the cluster of qualities – like altruistic love, inner peace, inner freedom and so forth from those that undermine that – jealousy, obsessive desire, hatred, arrogance… we call them mental toxins because they poison our happiness and make us relate to others in a poisonous way.’

Transform yourself to better serve others

Matthieu’s views on altruism and humanitarian work confirmed much of what I have long thought about the sector I used to work in. The humanitarian sector is full of compassionate and altruistic people, however compassion is not enough.

The sector is equally full of those who appear compassionate but are there to serve their ego rather than the people they are supposed to help. If you scratch the surface, you can usually spot the difference between genuine altruism and compassion and those with ego inflated compassion pretty quickly.

Matthieu echoes this sentiment pretty strongly, he says, ‘compassion needs to be enlightened by wisdom otherwise its blind.’ He says that in order to serve others, first we must transform ourselves.

‘It is human factors, such as clashes of ego and corruption, more than resources that bring the global humanitarian network to halt.’

When we transform ourselves to be compassionate, as well as enlightened, he suggests that we can efficiently and wisely be of service to others.

Let go of your ego and find your sense of humour

I’m definitely an optimist and I find overly negative people difficult to be around. However, I sometimes take myself far too seriously and need to be reminded to lighten up! Matthieu’s views on having a sense of humour and not taking life too seriously are another gentle reminder.

Even in the most difficult situations, he believes laughter is important and that taking life lightly is so much more fun. However it’s a matter of perception. Some people will perceive the same situation completely differently either in an optimistic or pessimistic way and he points the finger at our ego. According to Matthieu,

‘a strong ego is not a strength, it’s the ultimate vulnerability, because we are so preoccupied by it that we can’t sleep!’ He suggests that a more transparent ego will give us lightness and real confidence which makes us much more open to others and the world.’

The embodiment of happiness and compassion –  this is the kind of person I aspire to be and I know it’s possible!

If you’re interested in listening to the whole conversation, you can stream it from the Onbeing website: Happiness as Human Flourishing

Woman wearing #whitepeopledoingyoga bag in the street

The problem with #YogaEveryDamnDay

#YogaEveryDamnDay is one of the most popular hashtags used by yoga students and teachers on instagram – 9, 987, 342 people have used this hashtag. I am guilty of using it regularly on my instagram posts too. However, I’ve been feeling a growing sense of unease with using this hashtag because it has become a loaded term.

Yoga teacher Rachel Brathen was the creator behind the #YogaEveryDamnDay hashtag and she explains her intention behind its development in an interview with Yoga International.

“I had just joined instagram and wanted some inspiration and I started noticing these crazy challenges. I disagreed with a lot of the challenges because they seemed really unsafe. People in their work clothes just getting into a no-handed headstand for the first time. When I started the hashtag, I wanted to get away from the idea that ‘yoga is a pose.’ I wanted to remind people that it’s about more than that. It’s meditation, contemplation, it’s pranayama, along with the asana.”

A quick instagram search for the #YogaEveryDamnDay hashtag will show you how far removed it has become from Rachel’s original intention. The hashtag has become synonymous with white women wearing expensive activewear and white shirtless men performing advanced asana, often in exotic locations around the world.

There is very little cultural  or ethnic diversity and almost no reference to the ancient roots of yogic philosophy from which it stems. It’s cultural appropriation at its worst. It’s also exclusionary and assumes that to practise yoga you must fit within the dominant cultural norm and have a certain aesthetic – one that is white, thin, flexible, heterosexual, cis gendered, able bodied and fit.

It promotes this ideal that yoga as advanced asana should be practised every day. For many this is an unrealistic and unsafe expectation and ignores the other seven limbs of yoga. It also implies that if you’re not practising yoga asana every day you’re somehow less of a yogi and this reinforces the idea that yoga is something that must be attained through rigid practice of asana.

This is often a confronting and uncomfortable conversation and I am guilty of much of this myself. However, I believe it’s a conversation worth having if we are to change the western mindset of yoga and reclaim the original intention behind #YogaEveryDamnDay. This is not a judgemental diatribe, it’s simply an honest act of love from my heart to yours.

How can we turn this around? Here are some of the steps I am taking personally:

  • Disrupt the #YogaEveryDamnDay hashtag by flooding the feed with more diversity and everything yogic apart from asana – meditation, self study, non-violence, non-attachment, self care etc.
  • Stop using the #YogaEveryDamnDay hashtag altogether and build a more mindful community on social media with alternative hashtags that really reflect who you are, your practice and your intention.
  • Lead by example – be honest and humble about your own yoga practice and make sure your contribution to the yoga community is mindful and authentic both online and offline.
  • Learn more about the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, practise the eight limbs of yoga and make this visible by acknowledging what you do and don’t practise.
  • Educate yourself and be conscious of the cultural appropriation of yoga on a macro level as well as within your own practice. Try not to contribute to it and call it out when you see it. Nisha Ahuja provides an excellent online resource that is very accessible – exploring yoga and the impact of cultural appropriation. I highly recommend watching her short film and reading some of the articles in the resources section.

‘Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public’ – Cornel West.

I would love to hear how others within the yoga community are also reflecting upon their practice and taking action, please feel free to comment below.


Person meditating on the beach at sunrise with palms in chin mudra

Free mindfulness apps to improve wellbeing

We have a problem…

To say that we live in a busy world is a pretty big understatement. We are constantly connected to the internet for work and play. We are bombarded endlessly, with negative messages about the state of our world.

We work long hours, our jobs are becoming more stressful and we often struggle to maintain work/life balance. Our cities are becoming busier and more expensive to live in, so we work even harder. It’s no wonder that we are struggling. Our young people are struggling too.

Headspace and the National Union of Students annual survey found that about a third of the 2,600 Australian university and TAFE students surveyed had considered self harm or suicide in the past 12 months. It also found two thirds reported very high psychological distress in the past 12 months; almost 80% had felt anxious and more than half had experienced panic.

As an educator, I have seen first hand the impacts mental health issues, particularly anxiety, can have on young people. I have also seen the positive impact that placing higher importance on wellbeing rather than academic success can have on the life of a young person.

This is why, in my class, I taught mindfulness daily and it worked! I saw huge improvements in my students social relationships, their ability to solve problems and apply mindfulness tools in the heat of the moment. They enjoyed our mindfulness sessions so much, that if I missed one, they were quick to let me know!

What is mindfulness and how can we use it to improve our mental health and wellbeing?

Mindfulness is an essential life skill. Like all skills it is something we must learn and get better at with practise. Mindfulness is about understanding the link between our thoughts and our behaviours. If we allow ourselves to become consumed by the chatter in our minds, especially when this chatter is concerned with worries about the past or future, it can lead to stress, anxiety and even depression.

Mindfulness creates space in our mind and gives us time to think about how we might react or behave in certain situations. This gives us greater control over our emotions and behaviours which can help to improve our social interactions and relationships with others. It also gives us clarity so that we can see solutions – often referred to as growth mindset. All of these things can help to reduce stress and have a positive impact on our mental health.

By being mindful, we are training our brains to focus on the present moment and create a calmer state of mind. Being mindful doesn’t have to be a chore! Creating space for just 10 minutes of daily mindfulness meditation can have a massive impact on your wellbeing and can also be lots of fun!

Free mindfulness apps!

Here are three mindfulness apps that got a regular workout in my classroom and that I continue to use today. Why not give them a try?

Smiling Mind

Smiling mind aims to build a mindful generation of happier, healthier and more compassionate people. For both kids and adults, this app is easy to use and is quite intuitive. Once you’ve selected your age group, this app will give you a set of guided meditations designed to build upon your mindful meditation experience over time.


Headspace is designed to be your very own personal trainer for your mind. Both adults and kids will find this app highly engaging as social interaction with friends and community is encouraged. Begin with the free take 10 program to learn the basics of mindful meditation, and if you want more, you can subscribe. Subscribing unlocks heaps of research based mindfulness content including guided and unguided meditations from 10 minutes to an hour. The app also allows you to focus on specific areas relating to your own life and includes Headspace SOS for guidance during ‘meltdown moments’.

Stop, Breathe & Think

Mindfulness in a nutshell – Stop, Breathe and Think. This app will help you find your peace in five minutes. By stopping what you are doing, checking in with your thinking and how you’re feeling. Creating space between your thoughts, emotions and reactions by practising breathing techniques. Broadening your perspective and your force field of peace with personalised activities and meditations tuned to your emotions. Created by Tools for Peace, a not for profit organisation dedicated to helping at risk youth experience the benefits of mindfulness and meditation.