Have you ever met some-one that stops you in your tracks and makes you really look at what you are doing on a daily basis? I have been fortunate that over the years I have met many such people. The type of person that brightens your day with their enthusiasm for life. The type of person that makes you sit up and take notice. The type of person that doesn’t just say how they want to live their life, they actually live it. About a month ago, I had the privilege of meeting another such person. I was attending a Business Meeting, and the guest speaker was a man who had just crossed the Bass Strait in a kayak. Now, for people that are not familiar with this area of ocean, let me fill you in. The distance is 350km between mainland Australia and Tasmania, (twice as wide as the English Channel) and is considered to be a notoriously dangerous stretch of water with extreme weather conditions.
I can remember thinking “Why on earth would anyone pull such a stunt. He must be crazy”, but I was fascinated to meet a person who would take such risks, and find out why. What I found was a person who had not only crossed the Bass Strait in a kayak, but he had also cycled across Canada to raise money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. I had found Nick Bladen, a person whom I am grateful to have met. Even though we only spoke briefly, he had an impact on me that I don’t think many others had before him. His story will inspire you from the reasons behind his adventures to his life philosophies. Welcome to his story.
In October 2006, I set out to ride across the second largest country in the world to raise awareness about the prevalence of cardiovascular Disease as the biggest killer in the Western World, and educate kids by speaking in schools, and speaking to all those I encountered about the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle. If I could ride my bike across the second biggest country in the world in winter (minus 16 degrees), then hopefully they could ride to school, throw a Frisbee, or go for a walk with the dog. In short, life to me started to appear much like a 10 speed bike. That is, we all have gears we don’t even use. What gears was I not using because I was waiting for life to happen?
The event that gave me the impetus to start such an endeavor was spurred from the death of my father at the age of 47 from a heart attack. I was 21, and did not want to surrender my life to the crippling grip of a morbidly inactive lifestyle where people would eat rather poorly, over consume alcohol, cigarettes and drugs, and die young rather than instill a bit of discipline and self control and live a longer, healthier, happier and more fulfilled life.
I was always inspired by those who acted on what they said they would do, so I set out to ride across Canada. I was in a stage of limbo as I had finished studying, broke up from a 7 year relationship, lost my father, and didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. The trip was embarked on to find myself, but what ended up happening was that I began to create myself instead. It gave me the insight and strength to follow my inner compass and do what I wanted to do, and ever since then, it created this fire inside of me to be my best. To be the best that I could be and share that with the world. Doing these adventurous things has now given me meaning and direction and hopefully has a positive flow-on affect with those around me.
This is the beginning of Nick’s story as I know it. These are his words, and over the coming weeks, I will publish further extracts from his amazing story. His hope, and mine is that his story will encourage comments and debate. Perhaps you have had a tragedy that spurred you on to become a better, stronger person. Or maybe, Nick’s story will inspire you to create yourself and take those first steps to making your change. Whatever this story does for you, please share your thoughts, and help spread Nick’s message of living the type of life we all want, a life of courage, health, fulfillment, and happiness.