Valparaiso: a Colourful City for the Arty and Fit

On the Pacific coast a few hours from Santiago, Valparaiso is famous for its incredible street art. The town is also very hilly. Valparaiso residents would have to be some of the artiest and fittest people around as I found out in April.

Valparaiso has an excellent produce market and one morning I met up again with Cami and Sara to wonder around both the permanent market and nearby street market.

Valparaiso, Chile

A green vegetable stallĀ at Valparaiso’s produce market with outer leaves and husks discarded on the street Continue reading

Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia, Argentina

The highlight of my visit to El Calafate in January/February this year and, indeed, one of the absolute highlights of my trip, was seeing the Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park. The glacier’s awesomeness cannot be overstated. The mild and sunny weather on both days I visited accentuated the experience.

According to Wikipedia, a glacier is a persistent body of dense ice that is constantly moving under its own weight. Perito Moreno’s movement slowly pushes it against the land, causing various sized pieces of ice to fall off regularly. I was lucky enough to witness and record a giant ~50 metre high slab falling off the glacier (see video below). Every four or five years a bridge forms in the ice and crashes down even more spectacularly. The bridge last ruptured on 10 March, more than a month after I visited.

Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia, Argentina

The head of the Perito Moreno Glacier pushing against the land Continue reading

A Birthday Gift to Remember

A few weeks ago my sister Shannon turned 40. Last year I knew I was going to be away for the birthday so to make up for it, I thought, what would be a dream gift for this wonderful sister, daughter, mother, cousin, niece, colleague and friend? As Shannon is yet to experience the joy of overseas travel, a holiday abroad would be an amazing present for her to remember forever.

I told family about the holiday gift idea and they were very supportive so I developed a plan to enable this gift without Shannon knowing. A protected OzCrowd fund-raising page, a secret Facebook event and complicit family and friends were key aspects of this plan.

Random Title (Medium)

As the campaign title and main image were publicly visible I chose a generic title and image

Private Ozcrowd Campaign (Medium)

Accessing the fund-raising campaign page required a password

Continue reading

Following Dreams

In one month’s time, I’ll be seeing Pearl Jam play live in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Joining my favourite band’s most fanatical fans in concert in South America was one of my dreams.

Several months earlier I decided to follow my dreams. Since then I’ve quit my job, simplified my life and, two days after the half ironman triathlon, will be flying to South America on a one-way ticket.

After seeing Pearl Jam in Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro, I will travel around Brazil including Salvador, Pantanal, the Amazon and wherever else I fancy. After Brazil I will Spanish somewhere, perhaps Bolivia, before visiting the rest of the continent. After South America, I have pencilled in Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Croatia, Greece and a reunion in Turkey.

In early June, weeks after leaving my job, I rediscovered the following diary entry from my time in Turkey, written eleven and a half years earlier:

2015 Goal

The image above reads:

END RESULT: Total financial independence by 2015. Defined by: the ability to retire, travel or choose any other direction I may fancy without reliance on employer/job or other tenuous forms of income.

I reckon I’m 90% of the way there. To fulfil 100% I need to create a sustainable income. Stay tuned for more on that later.

I can’t wait to discover South America and beyond!

Startup Weekend Perth

I have just returned home inspired from witnessing the culmination of 48 hours of creativity, teamwork and action at Spacecubed. Tonight was the final evening of Startup Weekend Perth. Tonight, teams formed only 48 hours earlier pitched their weekend creations.

As an Observer, I could attend the opening and closing pitches and presentations.

It is amazing to think that Friday night all of the applications and businesses were only ideas at most and the team members who collaborated on them were yet to even meet. On Friday, concept validation was promoted as by far the most important factor for the startup businesses and by tonight most startups had already received orders or gained clients!

The winning startup was EasyOT, an application that helps occupational therapists manage their client relationships. This has huge potential, not only for occupational therapists but for many other health and non-health applications. On Friday evening I was lucky enough to chat with Lain, the idea originator, and I was stoked when her team won.

Another startup, worked on by former colleague Karlo, matched personal trainers to customers. Other startups included:

Walk On By – an app that helps one save towards a goal by encouraging people to walk on by and not give in to temptation to make unnecessary purchases

Textie – crowd-sourced responses to anonymous text messages (check out the website)

Equipd – recreational experience and equipment rental

Happy Quokka – quokka selfie sticks and tshirts

Open Oceans – categorising marine images via a fun children’s game

Pitches for Stitches – an alternative to the boring corporate icebreaker activity

Wow! Seeing what can be achieved in a weekend was fantastic and I recommend that anyone with any entrepreneurial thoughts attend their nearest startup weekend.