Latest News... February, 2011

February 12th, 2011…

Weather Watch and All Things Wonderful

I thought I'd share some interesting news that I've just been alerted to; a cyclone has decided to stir up just off the south coast of the New Caledonia!

This wouldn't usually be of concern but seeing as on Saturday I'm being dropped off on a remote island just off the south coast of New Caledonia, I'm kind of hoping it disappears. I don't think my hammock is up for that!

Rumor has it that it is in fact heading out to sea so I'll be keeping an eye on it but if you feel like doing the same, check out the live weather-link HERE.

A question I get all the time at the moment is; 'How on earth do you organize to stay on a desert island?'. Well the answer is simple; her name is Maz. 

Maz, as it happens, is a campaigner on the 100things Campaigner page. Joining up over a year ago, she's been busy balancing her career in Brisbane with a few of her personal goals and on top also offered to help me organize this entire island challenge!

Hailing from New Caledonia, Maz's background in the tourism industry has made here fantastically good at all the stuff that I happen to be fantastically bad at, and so in that sense it's been great team work! Things like organizing, planning and not forgetting things are all skills of hers that I would like to gain when I grow-up. Jokes aside, Maz has moved heaven and earth for this trip to happen and after months of planning for this item she has lined up a great itinerary which starts today.

  • Thursday 24th Feb (today)- Fly to New Caledonia and check-in to a resort in Noumea for 2 nights.
  • Friday 25th Feb- Top-up survival kit and talk with locals about local fish and fauna that live in and around my little island. Also touch base with New Caledonia Tourism and coast-guards to alert them to my whereabouts.
  • Saturday 26th Feb- Meet local fisherman who will sail me 28kms out to my deserted desert island and drop me off for the first of seven days alone.
  • Saturday 26th, Sunday 27th, Monday 28th, Tuesday 1st March , Wednesday 2nd, Thursday 3rd, Friday 4th, Saturday 5th- Who knows?
  • Saturday 6th March- Get picked up by boat and returned to mainland for 1 night.
  • Sunday 7th March- Fly back to Australia.
  • Monday 8th March- Collapse.

It goes without saying that I am massively thankful for all of Maz's work; without her I wouldn't be sat here at an airport with a survival kit in my bag.

So What's in the Survival Kit?

Initially I wanted to take only 5 items onto the island with me but as soon as I started to think about what these would be, I realized that 5 wouldn't be enough. The onus of course on keeping things minimal but here is the list;

1 x Flint
6 x Tampons *
1 x Medical Kit
1 x Sunscreen
1 x Ground Sheet
2 x Cameras
6 x Candles
1 x SAS Survival Hand Book
2 x French learning Books**
1 x Ukulele ***
2 x Waterproof bags
1 x Leatherman
1 x Knife
1 x Fishing Rod
6 x Coconuts****
1 x Solar Power Battery Charger *****
1 x Change of clothes
1 x Satellite Phone ******
Emergency supply of food and water*******
1 x Ball 
2 x Ropes
1 x Buff Headwear ********

*Tampons may seem like a strange item but thanks to a friendly guy I met in the camping store, I learnt that when shredded a tampon acts a great fire-starter as they light-up really easily. I hope I don't have to explain this to airport customs.

**The French books are of course to help me improve my French as I continue my war of attrition with Number 46- Learn Another Language.

*** My trusty ukulele. How could I not take this to an desert island?

**** I have just learnt that there are no coconut trees on the island which initially shattered my dreams of living off coconut milk for a week. Solution- collect coconuts from the mainland and bring them to the island with me.

***** Thanks to Simms, I've been given a fancy little device that will allow me to charge my cameras by using the power of the sun. Let's hope that cyclone doesn't make it too cloudy.

******In case of an emergency (such as me tripping over a coconut and smashing my head on my ukulele) I will be able to ring for assistance. This will ONLY be used in an emergency (sorry Mum!).

*******I made mention of this the other day but this trip, although a test of survival and solitude, is NOT designed to kill me. As such, in case of an emergency, I will have a minimal supply of water and food rations. I will ONLY use these however if I fail to catch fish, lose my coconuts and fail to source fresh water.

******** Buff Headwear is a type of versatile and durable headwear perfect for outdoor adventure. Buff were nice enough to supply me with one of their products on item Number 85- Go on an Adventure and have done so again for this item. Thanks Buff!

Buff Headgear!

Other Island Dangers

As part of my research for this challenge, I've acquired an SAS Survival Hand Book which i'll admit is one of the best things I've ever bought. Seeing as I struggle with the simple act of tying a knot, this book has offered a great insight into the art of survival and now not only am I able to tie a Bowline but I also know how to survive earthquakes; escape a sinking ship and catch & skin a pig using the same piece of sharpened wood! If only there were pigs i the islands. 

Now one type of animal that I do know lives on the island is a sea-snake of a black & white variety. Named a Sea Krate, the snake is so famous that it gets a special mention in my survival book.

Extract from page 346;
"Sea Krate- Slow to strike but it's venom is incredibly powerful. Bite is almost painless. Symptons can take hours to develop by which time it may be too late. Can be fatal. Double the venom of a cobra."

Maz tells me that the snake is actually very placid and so with this I'll disregard all memory of ever reading page 346.


Until yesterday I wasn't actually sure if my Dad actually knew how to send a text on his phone, but sure enough late last night I received a message from him which got me thinking.

He said this;

"It's just occurred  to me that in a couple of days YOU might be the only person of the 8 billion people on this planet to be truly alone on a single piece of land" 

I was quick to point out that Osama Bin Laden might have something to say about me being the ONLY person alone but regardless it's a thought that's quite strange. I sit here typing on a balcony overlooking Brisbane CBD with lines of cars; queues of people and the sound of a city doing its thing all around me. In a few days, things will be quite different. Whether I'm fishing for dinner on some rocks as the sun sets, trying to crack open a coconut with a rock, walking around the island with no clothes on or even looking out to sea in fear as a storm approaches, I'll be alone. No people, no traffic and no schedule.

I can't wait! I'm even thinking of building a raft. Why not?

Number 72- Stay Awake for 72 Hours.

You may remember that a few months ago, Dave Cornthwaite and myself successfully managed to tick off item Number 72  by staying awake for 73 hours whilst in Melbourne.

Just yesterday he sent me though a little video of some of the highlights. Enjoy!

Keep posted for 1 more update before I leave for the Island.

100Things… What's on your list?

February 21st, 2011…

4 Days Away from Complete Isolation

As I get nearer to attempting certain items on my list, I've found that I find it hard to think about much else. This is certainly the case once again with this week's challenge; living on a desert island for 1 week by myself.

Allow me to explain myself for a brief moment.

I think at one stage or another we've all thought about what would happen if we somehow got stuck on a desert island for a week. What would we eat? Where would we sleep? Who we would we talk to? The questions are endless.

The idea of survival is certainly one thing that I enjoy the idea of, but more than this is the idea of solitude.

For me, I could't think of anything more freeing than being completely alone on an island; miles from anywhere. Physically I would be stuck on an island, but mentally my mind would wander. Now I think of it, I don't think I've ever been away from human contact for more than a day and with this concept comes a number of questions that I don't know the answer to yet. Will I get lonely? Will I get scared? Will I be able to look after myself? Will I wear clothes? Will I befriend a coconut? All these questions as silly as they may sound have kept me up at night over the last few days.

This for me is not a holiday, instead it's a huge challenge. Ultimately this is why this is on my list. I literally have no idea what will unfold once I'm dropped off on the island.

On my Facebook page last week, I asked for some advice on what items I should bring with me on the island. Seeing as I have next to no idea how to survive, I thought some help wouldn't go astray. Thankfully various people responded with suggestions such as flints, knives, ropes and hammocks; all of which were handy but then one guy by the name of Daan wrote something that took me by surprise. Something I had not considered up to that point.

"I think that it should be stressed as well that this is truly a potentially life endangering situation and that you should be aware of that before you find yourself in serious trouble. I'm not trying to talk you out of it (I'd do it without hesitation if I could!), I'm just trying to impart that despite the safety net of knowing when you'll get off the island it's going to be a VERY tough experience."

I agree; Daan I think has a point.

It's funny; I think that a lot of people who visit the 100Things site naturally presume that I'm some kind of fearless mad-man who accomplishes things with great ease and security. This however this isn't quite true. I am just as susceptible to fear and doubt as anyone else, and as such each item from my list is a genuine challenge. With regards to the island survival, I can say right now that I am no Bear Grylls and therefore my friend Daan is completely correct when he says that this challenge is 'potentially life endangering'. This however is the precise reason why I need to do it, not because my life is endangered, but because I think I grow as a person every time I step out of my comfort zone. Being stranded by myself on an otherwise deserted island, 28kms from the New Caledonia mainland, certainly achieves this.

I am sure Daan is not the only one who would love to talk me out of this challenge (Hi Mum) given a chance, but to me the thought of not attempting something because there are risks involved makes me cringe as I type. My list is designed to test me as a person and before starting the list I remember talking my self out of things using an array of excuses such as having no money, no time, other commitments or even fear. What I'm now learning though is that by overcoming these hurdles I am now achieving goals and reaching a degree of satisfaction and fulfillment that I have never experienced in my life before. With this comes my growth and the reason I continue with the list.

Undeniably there are a million logical reasons as to why I should't go to this island. I've been told for example that poisonous sea-snakes are common on the island. It's also happens to be Cyclone Season in the Pacific region at this time of year. On top of that there's even the challenge of feeding myself but all of these things are important for the experience to be of benefit.

Having said that I not going in blind. This item is only partly about survival and so as such I will taking minimal supplies just to ensure that I don't die (and prove Daan right!). After all I feel there is too much ahead to miss out on. As I said I am not Bear Grylls and on the off chance that I'm unable to use the skull of a dead bird to then use as a spear to catch fish to then cook over a fire which I have made using a flint, I will have a back up of some sort for safety. On top of this I will also be taking a satellite phone as an emergency precaution. As of last week I've also been told that my presence on the remote island is known by the coast guards so if a cyclone decides to pop up, there will be an option to being rescued.

Ultimately as I begin to pack my bags today; I cannot wait to get on that island, it will be absolutely epic. Seven days alone on a deserted island is something I've always wanted to do and now that it's just around the corner you can't keep the smile off my face. No doubt there will be a mixture of good and bad things that happen out there, but it's all part of the experience and I can't wait to get stuck in. 

Luckily i'll be taking a video camera as well so it'll all be documented!

It's these moments of nervousness where my heart rate increases that I feel alive. There's nothing quite like taking on a challenge. 

100Things... What's on your list?

February 17th, 2011…

I write this update whilst sitting at the www.whitecollarboxing.com.au gymnasium in Sydney. It's the first spare moment I've had all week and in just 20 minutes I'll put on the gloves and most likely get flogged as I attempt to learn how to box in preparation for Number  22- Have a Fight. It's fun trying new things :)

Sadly though, after 4 weeks of training, things have got extremely busy with various other items and so the scheduled late-March fight had been pushed back a little. At this stage it looks as though late-June is the next free space. With every cloud though there is a silver lining and this means that we now have time to organize a larger event with a better platform to raise funds for Camp Quality. 

Event Organiser?

The fight delay has also led me to do a bit of thinking and it potentially could involve you. Now of course if anyone is keen to fight towards the end of June, the door is open for new contenders (the idea is that we have a 10 fights on the night) but on top of this, if anyone is keen to actually help organize this event, let me know. As much as I'd like to do it myself, I'm finding it hard to keep up with all the things that are popping up. I don't know in what capacity you'd like to help, but again the door is wide open. 

Let me know if you're interested at seb@100things.com.au

Desert Island Progress

As I said, the last few weeks have been unbelievably busy and with less than a week until I fly to New Caladonia to attempt Number 67- Live on a Desert Island for 1 Week, it's all about preparation- something I am notoriously bad at!

Not sure if you can see the little red cross south of the main land, but that's the island!

So far I've decided to take a fishing-rod, a ukulele, an emergency supply of water, a hammock, a flint, a knife and possibly Bear Grylls (if he returns my calls!), but admittedly there's still a lot to research. Tomorrow I am planning to attempt to turn salt-water into fresh-water whilst also starting a fire using my new flint and if that doesn't kill me, I might even learn how to gut a fish. You see the island that I'm being dropped off at is literally 28kms from the New Caledonia coast-line and so rumor has it that there are plenty of fish around. 

Walking Oz

Just quickly today I'd like to introduce you a bloke called Andrew (Cads). Now Cads contacted me a few weeks ago just to say hello; he thought I'd be interested in his current adventure. He was right; it's outrageous. Now Cads is currently walking around Australia. He started a few months ago from NSW and since has headed south past Victoria and onto Tasmania. As he walks, he attempts to raise money for the Cancer Council Australia. What a legend! 

We spoke over the phone during my recent trip across Australia on a scooter and although we didn't get to meet up in person we did get to share some stories. 

Andy almost getting cleaned up by a Road Train!

Wherever you are today Cads, we're wishing you the best. And of course if anyone is keen to join this crazy man for a part of his journey, check out his site HERE.

Camp Quality

Now of course Number 4 on the 100Things list is to raise $100,000 for Camp Quality, the charity bringing happiness to kids and families affected by Cancer. So far we're up to an earth-moving $17,500 but with the plenty coming up this year including the first-ever official Camp Quality & 100Things joint event, we'll be knocking on the door of $100,000 sooner rather than later.

From my own pocket I donate 10% of all talk-related income to Camp Quality and so with more and more people booking little old me to speak at their events and functions, i'll be chipping away gradually. 

If of course you're have an event that could do with a few interesting stories from a guy who doesn't mind being laughed at, let me know at info@100things.com.au. I'll even bring my Guinness World Record! 

The 100Things book that will be available in shops later this year will also have a percentage go towards Camp Quality. With this in mind I calculated that if everybody in the world buys 10 copies I'm fairly sure we'll surpass that $100,000 mark with ease.

Of course if you feel lke you can't wait till then, you can always donate online at the secure Camp Quality SIte HERE.

Book Progress

Speaking of the book, one reason I haven't been updating the site as regularly in the last week is that I've been tapping away on the keys trying to get my first draft to Random House Publishers. My dead-line is late March but last week it dawned on me that if for some reason I was forgotten about and left on the island next week, it would be a shame not to atleast have a book published. After all it is a tick on the list!

In all seriousness, I'm 80,000 words deep and approaching the finish line. Next step; editing!

OK, next week I'm off to the desert island on Wednesday but i'll get one more update in before I leave with my thoughts and feelings on what could quite possibly the most amazing, dangerous and enlightening item from my list.

I'm excited!

100Things… What's on your list?

February 8th... 2011

A Moment to Reflect...

I write this update from Brisbane airport, a little time after 6am on Friday morning. I haven't been home for two weeks and my bag is full of dirty clothes. I've just completed 5 motivational talks in the last 3 days for a large Australian finance company up here in Queensland and I've just realised that in less than 2 weeks I'll be on a remote desert island 28km off the coast of New Caledonia where I'll be attempting to simply survive for the period of 1 week.

The Actual Island

It's moments like this that I realize my life has become quite strange.

After scootering across Australia on a SYM 100cc scooter last week (Number 54), things have been nothing short of hectic. The act of speaking to large audiences about my journey is something that a year and a half ago I could never have predicted but thankfully it's turned out to be something that I love doing. For the first time in my life I feel useful (too dramatic?)! My trip started out as a very personal journey in which my only hope was that I moved closer to gaining some form of self-fulfillment but to now see that my antics somehow encourage others to consider their own possibilities of achieving happiness is an outrageous reality that puts a big smile on my face as I type now. 

Who'd of thought? Not me.

As I stand on stage and deliver my candid thoughts and feelings on what many people have labelled as a bizarre and eclectic list of goals that I've accomplished, I know that something good is happening. How do i know? Well I can feel it. Nothing more, nothing less. My life is based on simplicity and feelings, I'm learning, are the most accurate indicators of how I'm doing.

I even managed to get 3 people at 3 consecutive talks to finally enroll into marathons that they had always wanted to run! haha Keep posted for their progress.

Jess is now enrolled in the upcoming Gold Coast Marathon

In 2 weeks I will be dropped off by a boat on a desert island in New Caladonia simply because I've always liked the idea of solitude and survival. After this I'll be having an organized boxing match (I'm in training at the moment) simply because I've never had a fight and I want to know what it feels like. A few days after being punched in the head a few times I'll be flying to Canada where I'll be attempting to ride a Tandem Bike with good friend Dave Cornthwaite from Vancouver to Las Vegas. I like challenging myself and the fact that we only have 16 days to get there before then speaking at a large financial conference at Planet Hollywood makes it exciting. Three days after speaking, I'll then be committing 10 days of my life to chasing tornado's around the US in what is predicted to be an awesome hurricane season. Why? Because it scares me. If I'm still alive at this stage Dave and I will then be completing a three week speaking circuit back in Australia that will see us visit every major city whilst talking to thousands of people about our experiences. This takes me up to June. After this? Well who I am to guess. I've learnt that I'm just a passenger in this journey and as such I have no idea what's next. I'm just rolling with it.

What's on Your List?

Of late there had been a big shift in the direction of 100Things. It's becoming less and less about me and more about others. I like this a lot.

After finishing our scooter trip in Mebourne last weekend I was lucky enough to meet up with a bloke named Mark. Now Mark and I had never met previously but after hearing about 100Things on TV he wanted to meet up. 

Mark & I

Mark as it turns out has his own list of 150 things he wants to do before he die and after seeing how an average bloke like me can achieve their goals, he decided that anyone could- how right he is! Mark has an amazing list, made even more brilliant by the fact that he has a huge challenge in that he's confined to a wheel chair. This he refuses to let get in the way. 

Check out his campaigner page HERE.

When we met he told me that he'd always wanted to shave his head and so his carer went into his mobility bus and handed me a set of hair clippers. Minutes later after finding a power-point, Mark had no hair but he had a big smile. He had just ticked off his first item from his list. I was stoked to be part of it; shaving heads is becoming a hobby of mine.

After chatting some more about life and his list, Mark told me that he also wanted to complete a marathon. Now Mark's condition is actually undiagnosed but in short he has no movement. This means that he has carers 24/7 and so for the purpose of completing a marathon he needs someone to push him the whole way. As it happens Number 86 on my list is to run a marathon and so just like that we had a plan- we will now be competing in October's Melbourne Marathon as a team. I'll be pushing as Mark yells our directions!

I could't think of anything that I'd rather do with my life right now. This is now a priority for me.

With all the goings on of late, i'll admit that I've been finding it hard to keep on top of all the admin things that go hand in hand with the journey. There are a million emails that I still need to reply to, a thousand phone calls that I need to make, a hundred people I need to say hello to. My plate is filling up quickly and it's clear that I need to get organized to allow this snowball to continue rolling. 

I love the idea of exploring the unknown. It's something that I love to experience and as such I'm enjoying every moment of this journey right now. Where it will take me I don't know, but this isn' important I don't think. Things just feel right and in that alone, I'm happy.

I literally have no idea what's around the corner, but with no plans I guess you can't end up lost?

Anyway, these are just my thoughts as I sit here at Brisbane airport. It's time to board.
100Things… What's on your list?

Read earlier blogs HERE

Northern Beaches Wedding Photography

Northern Beaches Wedding Photography
10% of fees go to CAMP QUALITY