Matt describes his podcast as “I like conversations that challenge me, inspire me & make me think. And I like coffee. What a good combination”. It was my first podcast and I’m definitely a fan of the longer form interview/chat style.
Matt started our chat off with a very important question – how I like my coffee. I had a laugh as my coffee of choice at this time was a double shot, small cappuccino with extra froth 😊. Friends hearing this usually make me order it myself.
We headed straight back to 2012 to chat about the time I was touring cycling through America with two friends I’d met at university. Doing almost no cycling before this adventure, we all spent 4 months doing as much as possible to prepare. Tour cycling involves a hybrid-type bike (cross between mountain and road) with frames on the front/rear forks to carry bags with all our clothes and supplies, tents, sleeping bags, stove – totally self-sufficient. Sort of like a caravan on two-wheels.
This adventure was partly about figuring out what each of our next moves in life were going to be, as well as the physically challenge of 100km + over 70 days. It very much started off being about the physical, getting up hills, stretching, pushing ourselves and fuelling our bodies. This changed on day 4, encountering some difficult situations as a team on accommodation each night and figuring out how to best work with each of our personality types. On that 4th day it was 7pm in a new town, tired, hungry and wondering where we’d stay. Then an older couple came over to us after noticing the bikes and all the gear and asked us what we were doing. The result of the chat was that they invited us back to their home with their friends and we joined them for a feast. They set up comfortable beds for each of us (I had a blow-up queen mattress with an inflatable headboard…didn’t know they even existed!). We shared a breakfast spread together that would have been an Instagram post success.
I told Matt that the moment we set off after breakfast we all realised that this adventure wasn’t about the physical, it was really going to be about the people we would meet. The experiences and conversations we could share with them and listening to their stories and outlooks on life. This would certainly help each of us in our own next-steps.
Then one morning after more than 50 days of cycling I got the phone call from dad that changed my life. I was told my older sister, Tess had a mole removed from the middle of her back, it was melanoma and Tess was given less than 12 months to live. Matt asked how I felt and I said I honestly spent the next few days in mostly silence trying to process what I’d been told. Eventually my friends asked what was up and I told them.
I continued with them for 5 more days then said I was done. The desire to be with family and to know what’s going on was too strong. The adventure was amazing, it changed my life and my next step were realised – to return to Australia and be with Tess, her husband and new born and be of help.
The rest of the podcast Matt and I touched on the next 6 years. How the passion to keep Tess’s memory strong and how I feel I’ve found my purpose. Becoming a proud supporter for Melanoma Institute Australia and undertaken numerous fundraising initiatives including cycling from Adelaide to Sydney called Cycling to March.
These days I’m based on the Sunshine Coast and very much loving the challenges in setting out to establish a brand ‘bakslap’ and some products/education to help deliver sun safe awareness, innovative ways for prevention and raise some funds for melanoma research to find a cure.
Again, like the cycling through America, Matt helps me realise that it’s the people who I’m meeting and helping me that has become the focus and enjoyment of this stage in my life. A recent Kickstarter campaign that my team and I ran for 30-days involved just this. Sharing what we’re doing and why with communities across Australia and the world and with their help we were able to finish the production of our first product.
Thank you to Matt for inviting me on his show and taking the time to enjoy a long coffee chat with one another. This podcast can be found here (duration 43:53mins)
I hope you enjoy it and feel free to share your thoughts.
Sunday, 1 March
Take steps to beat this killer disease.