Turtle Conservation in Malaysia

Putting her diving ability to good use while she studies for a Masters Degree in the Environment, Kirsten recently landed her Dream Job studying and caring for Turtles in Malaysia.  Turtle Conservation is her passion and her journey is amazing. We’re excited to share her story:

You have just scored your dream job, working in turtle conservation in Malaysia for 8 months. Tell us more about what the job entails and why you are so passionate about this work

I have worked on a few turtle conservation projects in the past, which have involved patrolling the beaches at night for nesting mothers. When you come across one there is often a procedure of measuring, tagging and observing the nest and its parameters which are crucial to understand their mortality rates. The work also involves tracking hatched nests, their success rate and causes of depredation among the eggs.

Turtles are the most magnificent animals to work with and I’ve never felt more peaceful than sitting with a mum as she’s laying. Sometimes it isn’t the most glamorous work (scrambled turtle eggs and vultures is not an uncommon combination) and walking anywhere up to 8km throughout the night can be tough but being around these prehistoric creatures make it all worth it in a heartbeat.

The programme I’ll be looking after in Malaysia will cover all these things, where I’ll be working to coordinate volunteers from all over the map. I’ll have some big shoes to fill but having the beach as an office has been my dream for some time!

A few projects I’ve worked on have also involved surveying the beaches for poachers. Luckily this isn’t a problem in Australia, however is still a reality in many countries where sea turtles lay their eggs. I fell in love with sea turtles on a project in Costa Rica in 2012 with an amazing crew of local conservationists who were dedicating their lives to protecting them. Only a few months after I came home in 2013 one of my mentors, Jairo Mora Sandoval was brutally murdered by poachers. Its hard to believe, but this is how serious animal trades have become in some parts. I’ve never met someone as passionate for conservation as him, and I promised myself that Jairo’s death would not be in vain.

One of your big passions in life is scuba diving – tell us what it is you love so much about diving and where are some of your favourite dives?

 The feeling I get when I’m underwater is indescribable. It’s one thing to sit on the beach and marvel at the view but knowing what lies beneath makes me appreciate what I’m looking at a whole lot more. I feel so lucky to live in a world where such exquisite life exists. And even better is how us humans have worked out how to breathe underwater!

 

 

Every dive is different, but my most memorable ones have been throughout Central America. I dived in a cenoté in Mexico which is an underwater limestone cave that you enter through a hole that may only be a few metres wide but would open up to a range of huge caverns underneath. It was extremely challenging both mentally and physically, knowing that you had to conserve enough air to be able to follow a line throughout the cavern. At one point we surfaced into ’The Bat Cave’, which as the name suggests, was full of bats hanging from the stalactites (those formations that hang eerily from the roof). I don’t know if I’d do that bit again!

Nothing compares to exploring your own backyard and diving over at Stradbroke Island during Grey Nurse Shark season is truly amazing. They are gentle sharks who nurse their young in the waters off Straddie, and I’ve been lucky enough to see a manta rays, turtles, nudibranchs and so much more on the same dive!

 

The underwater adventures of Alida!

This Barefooter story takes a different setting to some of our previous stories . . . as it’s set underwater!! Alida is a passionate scuba diver with impressive qualifications and experience doing Open Water Diving, Rescue Diving and a Divemaster and Instructor course!

 

How did you get into scuba diving and what is it about scuba diving that you love?

As a little girl I cannot remember ever throwing a tantrum for not getting a chocolate or a toy.  I do remember very well though that I LOVED swimming so much that my parents had to drag me away from pools kicking and screaming.  I’ve always had a longing to do scuba diving and although there are endless opportunities living in Brisbane I never got around to doing it.  I was invited by friends to join them on a sailing holiday in Thailand, the opportunity arose to go diving on one of the days . .  I jumped onto Dr. Google to find out about dive courses here!  I decided then and there to book an Open Water Diving Course!!!  After finishing an Advanced Open Water course I decided to do a Rescue Diver Course, followed by a Divemaster and Instructor Course.

From the moment I took my first breath under water a whole new wonderful world came alive.   I love the silence, and hearing only my own breathing, the sense of weightlessness and the absolute beauty of the ocean.  Every dive is different.   You might dive at the same spot and experience something different every time.  From a big sleeping sea turtle to a colourful fish darting centimetres from your mask, beautiful sea stars, anemones and stingrays.  I am yet to encounter a shark!

 

What are your favourite places to dive locally and if you could jump on a plane and dive anywhere around the world where would it be and why?

I am still a “baby” diver.  Only have 15 logged dives.  Every diver will be able to tell you exactly how many dives they’ve done.  To become a Master Scuba Diver you have to have 50 logged dives.   I’ve dived at Nine Mile and Cook Island just off Tweed Heads.  The possibilities of places to dive in Australia are endless.  On my bucket list is to dive at Moreton Island, Townsville, Byron Bay, Great Barrier Reef, rainbow beach, Lady Elliot Island and North Stradbroke Island.  All these places have multiple dive spots.  In January I’ll be diving the Ex-HMAS at Mooloolaba!  Excited!!!

 

Jumping on a plane I’d love to dive in the Red Sea.   A spot with significant history, reefs, sea life and wrecks!  If I had the finances I would jump on a plane tomorrow!  Bag already packed!

 

For any Barefooters who may want to get started in scuba diving, any recommendations on how to get started?

There are various places in Brisbane who have Padi qualified instructors.  The Brisbane Dive Academy has an amazing instructor team who can take you from a recreational diver on to a professional diver.  Best place to start is doing an Open Water Recreational Diving course.  With an Open Water qualification you can dive to 18 meters.  That was my starting point and of course I completely got hooked!

I love the following quote from C.S. Lewis.  “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream…….” Want to start living your Barefoot Lifestyle? Feel free to book an appointment online by clicking this link. 

Pilates Guru, World Traveller and Mum – meet the incredible Maria!

Barefooter Maria is as passionate and vivacious as it gets. She is a mum of 3 and Pilates instructor who is always on the move! We sat down with her to learn more about the things she loves most in life!

You are a Pilates guru – what makes you so passionate about it and how did you first get started with Pilates?

I found Pilates 14 years ago in a Fitness centre in Denver, Colorado USA. It was a big mat class and I just LOVED it straight away. After a few months practicing we moved overseas back to our home country, Venezuela, where there was certainly no Pilates classes available at the time, so I bought a DVD and practiced almost every single day.

Back then my husband had a job with an international company and every two years we had to move countries to a new assignment. Every time we moved, my top-2 priorities upon arrival to our new location were to find a good school for the kids and good Pilates classes for myself.

I loved our journey as a relocating family and amongst other things it allowed me to have many great Pilates experiences in different countries. I practiced in the USA, Mexico, Brazil, Romania and finally Australia. It was in Brazil were my curiosity to know more about Pilates reached the peak. I was fortunate enough to be in Brazil and become inspired by two great instructors. In 2009 I started dreaming about becoming a Pilates Instructor and opening my own Pilates Studio one day.

It wasn’t until 3 years later when my family and I arrived in Australia to settle for good that I started to make my dream a reality. Just a few months after our arrival I started a program to obtain my Polestar Pilates Diploma.

 

For those that don’t know – you studied Pilates in English and in Spanish. Tell us more about your South American heritage and your favourite parts of Venezuelan culture.

I was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. I left 16 years ago and since then have lived in different countries. Spanish is our mother language and we eat the most delicious food. Lots of meat, corn, beans and great desserts! This is the bit I miss the most. Venezuelans are known for partying all the time and sad news is quickly transformed into a laughing matter to shoo away sadness. We dance, we talk, we laugh and we consider everybody a good “Friend” by default.       I completed my Pilates diploma in English, which is my second language, but I have since equipped my library with some manuals in Spanish as well. I studied them and gained confidence with all the Pilates terminology in both languages, so now I run classes in both English and Spanish.

You are a busy lady with 3 children – how do you find time to fit everything in and keep learning and developing your skills? Is there anything special you are working on right now?

I have a great team between my husband and kids. They understand Pilates makes me HAPPY so they are very patient and supportive. I (tried to) organise myself and aim to allocate all my work / study time inside school hours so that after 3 pm I can be just a mum. Nonetheless, often there are certain events, training and workshops of interest on weekends, so I try (still trying) to be more organised than usual then… pre-planning meals is a big one so that no one is starving or cranky  when I get back. There are usually planned activities for that weekend, so the kids can have fun with Daddy while I am not around. I must say I am really blessed with a very supportive family.

Yes, I have a few new projects in the making for next year…The biggest one, and I am sure the one that will keep me busiest, is that I am going to go back to study to become a Pilates Mentor. I am really looking forward to it … More knowledge, more Pilates practice, more Pilates friends for me next year 😉

Anything Interesting you want to share?

Here are 10 facts about me:

1. I am only 150cm tall.

2. I ran ½ Marathon before my 40th

3. The ocean gives me peace.

4. I have moved houses 17 times in 41 years across 8 countries.

5. I speak 4 languages fluently…Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and English.

6. My favorite food is Pizza (Italian style).

7. My favorite part of my body are my arms.

8. I don’t like cold water, so I haven’t dare to have a swim in the Australian beaches.

9. I LOVE surprises.

10. My daily goal is to be a better version of me for the day.

To find out how you can start living your barefoot lifestyle pain free, click here.

 

Our Tough Mudder Mags

It comes as no surprise that our incredible Barefooters are constantly out doing what they love & helping others. Maggie ( or as we like to call her ‘lil mags’) is no exception, her year is filled up with incredible volunteering, fundraising and organising to help others.

She is off on an incredible adventure next year to Ethiopia to help those in need . . so Sal recently sat down with Maggie to hear all about it, and to share it with you!

So Maggie, you volunteer with Red Frogs during Schoolies on the Gold Coast, how many years have you been doing this? And what is involved?

Red Frogs has been going for 20 years and this will be my 7th year of being part of the Red Frog Crew, first three years I was in the hotel chaplaincy team, and for the next four years I have and will be part of the walk home crew. There are five different areas that you can be a part of and they are: Hotel Chaplains, Walk home crew, Red Frog Hotline crew, Support Crew and Entertainment Crew.

Red Frogs

Visiting and hanging out with Schoolies in their hotel rooms to provide a positive peer role-model, cooking more than 50,000 pancakes, walking over 3,000 young people back to their accommodation, answering over 10,000 calls on the Red Frogs 24/7 Hotline, providing positive part entertainment on 5 stages around Australia!

The main question we as RedFrogs get asked is why? why do you pay to do red frogs, and take time off work to look after the schoolies.. for me the answer is: I do it to show them unconditional love no matter what choices they make, no matter what happens to them or their friends, they are our future, our future leaders, teachers, drs. As Red Frogs we are not there to judge the schoolies, we are there to safeguard a generation , to be their best friend in times that they may not have anyone. i know at the end of each schoolies week that I have help make a difference in a least one person’s life.

When Tough Mudder comes around every year we know you’ll be in amongst it! What made you give it a go? What training do you do to be able to complete the course? 

Yes for four years I’ve been getting muddy, climbing walls, going through ice . . . among other things.

Originally I wanted to give Tough Mudder a go as a goal I set myself, to cross the finish line. I knew it would be a challenging obstacle course. For those of you who don’t know what Tough Mudder is: It’s 10-12 miles of mud and 20+ obstacles designed to drag you out of your comfort zone. The ordinary will always be there. Why not try for something extra? With no podiums, winners, or clocks to race against, Tough Mudder isn’t about how fast you can cross the finish line. It’s about pushing yourself.

Maggie completing tough mudder

After my first year I caught the Tough Mudder bug similar to when people catch the travel bug, I found myself wanting to go back for more, though this time it wasn’t just about getting across that finish line, it was about the atmosphere. Tough Mudder has team work and camaraderie even if you start the event as a team of one, that team grows as the people around you become your team as you go through the course everyone helps everyone get through each obstacle.

I also created an opportunity to fundraise for an organisation that is close to my heart.  Each time I create a fundraiser I am blown away by the donations that come in from family and friends who help make a difference to the place I am fundraising for. Next year in May  I have chosen an organisation that has been on my heart for a while to create a fundraiser for a while Grace Centre for Children and Families in Ethiopia. When I mentioned who i was planning on fundraising for, to a few of my friends 7 of them jumped on board and registered to join the team and help me fundraise.

 

And very excitingly you have a trip planned to Ethiopia next year! Tell us more – what will you be doing there?

Yes I am so excited to be heading over to Ethiopia next year, I have wanted to head over to this country for a while so that I could visit Grace Centre for Children and Families, which is who my tough mudder team are fundraising for next year. Just recently, in July, I was offered the amazing opportunity to be the  Australian Sponsorship Coordinator for Grace Centre.

Maggie’s sponsor child holding a teddy she gave him.

Grace Centre is an organisation that focuses on holistically meeting the needs of families at risk in the town of Bahir Dar, in the central north of Ethiopia. We focus of orphan prevention and keeping families together. We achieve this through Child Sponsorship, day care, temporary care, After school care, offering free medical care. We also offer a special needs program, small business , Women’s empowerment and Prison Outreach to connect with children incarcerated with their mothers.

While in Ethiopia I will be using my current qualification in childcare to assist in Grace Centre’s daycare facilities, specifically in areas of best practice, learning through play and hygiene. I will also have the opportunity to meet the children sponsored through Australia, and meet the child I currently sponsor.

We are so excited to see what Lil Mags gets up to over the next year – and to see her compete again at Tough Mudder! Our Barefooters are truly incredible. To read more of our Barefooter stories, click here.

To book in to see one of our team, click here.

Brothers Reid ‘Hard Way Round’

For those of you that haven’t heard (and I admit that would be pretty difficult as I haven’t stopped talking about it!) I ‘MC’d’ the Brothers Reid homecoming party last Friday on the roof top at Brisbane State High. We chose this incredible  location with views over the city as it was our high school and an appropriate landing place for the boys after 2 and half years on dirt. That’s right, 2.5 years overlanding round the world on DR650s raising money and awareness for Mental Health research at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute.  Brothers Reid are 2 brothers; Dylan and Lawson Reid, both engineers and friends of mine that set out to find a silver lining on their trip around the world.

The stats:

  • 100,000km,
  • 50 countries,
  • 938 days
  • 6 continents
  • No arguments (with each other anyway)
  • Just a couple of broken bones

As for the dollar stats – as of right now (Monday afternoon) I think it is around:

  • $75,000 raised for QIMR
  • >$110,000 worth of media attention for QIMR and
  • A $75,000 scholarship for QIMR
  • And the boys are officially broke and need to find jobs

So that was enough for the journalist from the Courier Mail to call this adventure “not just a self indulgent joy ride” – and the boys breathed a collective sigh of relief “we’ve gotten away with it” they said sarcastically.

There is so much more to this trip than the stats, and in fact I think the boys avoid the stats when talking about it as they are true overlanders at heart… the rest of us are happy to hear the stories… as it is difficult to even comprehend embarking on such a journey.

Friday night was a great way for the boys to officially end their trip – talks from Dr Michael Breakspear (the lead researcher where the Brothers Reid money is going) and the boys were fantastic, topped off by the fact we had 3 bikes there – 1 setup ready to ride, 1 set up in camp mode (complete with jocks ‘drying’ on the handlebars) and 1 new 2018 DR650 from Olivers Motorcycles to compare the shininess (or lack thereof to ‘Bent and Buoyant’ as the bikes are now affectionately called). And really we were lucky to pull it all together on time (we had 3 hours to set up but managed to have it all come down to the wire in the end 😊 )

This is part of my introduction speech of the night that I thought you would enjoy to read:

“I’d like to set the scene of what happened just before these guys left Brisbane 2.5 years ago.

It was March 2015 – a Friday night – We were all at the Archive bar down the road here in west end for the send off. A big group of friends and family just like tonight, 2 big shiny new DR650s in the pub and  the boys with their eyes falling out of their heads tired trying to get everything done last minute – they were about to embark on the Hard way round. Overlanding round the world East to West over 6 continents, 50 countries and 100,000km. 

Laws was still in his 20s and getting away with being the baby bro and Dyl had only broken 4 bones in his body and Dylan gets up to explain some of the reasoning behind planning this epic adventure: he says: we lost Heidi in 2011 to suicide and people kept telling us it would get better, or that there’d be some kind of silver lining. And I can say for sure, even now almost 4 years later there isn’t. So we’re going to go make our silver lining and see if we have an epiphany on the the way. Who knows, if we don’t have one we might just need go for another lap.

Then he said one of the most brothers reid things ever: I don’t know why everyone’s congratulating us, we haven’t even done anything yet. 

At that moment I knew they would make it. What I wanted to first acknowledge is what in my opinion brothers reid have really done. . . they have made a significant step in making mental health ok to talk about.  By sharing their story of Heidi over and over again they have made an incredible way for the rest of us to open up dialogue on this very difficult subject. Over the past 2.5 years I have had countless conversations with people about mental health because I could say: I’ve got 2 ratbag mates riding round the world on dirt bikes raising money and awareness for mental health and from there the conversation would just flow. So thank you, you made it ok to talk about.”

We partied into the night and you’ll be happy to hear we managed to pack up in much less time than it took to set up. With the bikes on display in full authenticity all the boys clothes were in bags or ‘drying’ on their bikes, which had to be left under State High until Monday morning… Dylan had the foresight to grab his bag of clothes off the bike, Laws didn’t… so spent all weekend in the same outfit. Suffice to say he’s adjusting well to ‘normality’.

Enjoy the photos and check Brothers Reid out on facebook if you’d like to watch videos and find out more.

Sarah’s musical adventures

Barefooter Sarah has a love for all things musical theatre related and travel! She’s performed in over 12 different musicals and travelled overseas to many different cities and countries including New York and England. Physio Kirsten sat down with Sarah to hear all about her incredible performance in Wicked, and to chat about what is next for her travels!

You have been involved in musical theatre! How did you get involved in this?

I always had a love of performing since childhood (not surprising seeing as Mum is a speech and drama teacher and Dad is a jazz musician), and forced my family to sit through countless living-room performances in my early years. The first time I experienced musical theatre at the age of 10 as a chorus member of Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat with the Toowoomba Choral Society Youth Choir. I had a broken arm at the time, so my family could pick me out from the other 100 children by looking for a blindingly white cast waving about. That really kick-started my love for musical theatre and the people who work so hard to create something magical.

What has been your favourite role and why?

Since Joseph, I have performed in 12 different musicals in my spare time over the years, but I would have to say my favourite role so far has been Nessarose in the Empire Theatre’s production of Wicked. I discovered Wicked as a young teen, and absolutely fell in love with the story, the characters and the music. Playing Nessarose 10 years later was a dream come true for little Sarah. It was also exciting and challenging to play a character who changes so much over the course of the show, from being quite innocent and sheltered, to becoming one of the few characters who is truly “wicked”.

You grew up in Toowoomba, how does that compare to living in Brissy? Fav spots to hit up when you are back visiting?

Toowoomba was a great place to grow up, and I love going back to visit family and friends. However, I love living and studying in Brisbane as there are so many opportunities, things to do, and people to meet. When I visit Woomby (as I like to call it) I usually can be found visiting the local parks (especially at Carnival of Flowers time), as well as checking out some street art and local cafes, and of course catching a show at the Empire Theatre.

Other fun facts:

Another great passion of mine is travelling – I think it’s similar to performing in that you get to experience things, people and cultures you would never encounter in your own every day life. Of course, combining those two passions is the best part – being lucky enough to travel to New York and see some life-changing performances, as well as living close enough to London for a year that I spent every paycheck on a different show! Aside from sitting and watching show after show, I love exploring a new place by foot and getting to know what really makes that place and it’s people special.

If you know of someone who would benefit from popping in to see the Barefoot Team, feel free to send them to our website. Or to read more about Barefoot Physiotherapy, click here.

David’s lifelong learning

Barefooter David has seen and done some incredible things throughout his life. Sal recently sat down with David to hear his incredible stories and how David continues to live his Barefoot Lifestyle.

David we understand you’re an avid believer and advocate for lifelong learning and you have 3 (almost 4) degrees. Can you tell me first of all what studies you have done over the years?

Well I started up doing my biology degree in the UK, in the late 1960s. And then came to Australia to do a PhD in 1968. I didn’t complete my PhD as it was on the effect of light on plants… and that meant spending 8 hours a day in the dark! I did learn a lot and earned my Masters for the work I completed.

After this I did something totally different, I was an educational TV producer for a while at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. Then I went back to England to see my parents for the first time since I’d left seven years previously. Funnily enough towards the end of that trip I was wondering to myself “well how am I going to get back to Australia?” Because I didn’t want to stay in the UK —  there’s too much rain. I saw an ad in the paper for a scholarship at Griffith University in Brisbane at the new School of Australian Environmental Studies so I came back and I did my PhD… not in the dark, and also not in biology!

Over the years my main career has been in the environmental aspects of energy policy which took me all over the world. That was definitely the area I worked in the longest – for 42 years, so far. But I’ve always been interested in learning about other things.

And most recently at the age of 68 I started an external course through Charles Darwin University on indigenous culture. I have found it to be really interesting and at this stage I’ll probably complete it over the next year.

I’m also involved in the Mt Gravatt Men’s Shed and what attracted me to joining was the opportunity to learn more things.

Is there anything you’re struggling with for your current studies?

Well, while I’m studying for a Graduate Diploma, it’s actually a series of undergraduate courses, and undergraduate courses have short word limits. And because I spent 40 years writing long technical reports I’m finding it difficult to stick within the 1,000 word limit. Something I have noticed over the years is that writing about things is a great way of learning about a topic, you really need to know what you’re talking about to write about it.

You said about the Men’s Shed that people come there to learn and that’s probably what interested you initially. Can you tell me about more about the Shed and what your role is there?

Well yes I went to the Men’s Shed because I wanted to learn about how to use big machines like drop saws, bench saws, large routers, drill presses and things like that. The Shed has a very well-equipped woodworking and metalworking workshop and great teachers.

So I started going along and going to the general meetings. At the second general meeting I went to they said, “We’re looking for an assistant secretary.”  And I thought “Oh, you know, I could do that” so I stuck my hand up and for the last 18 months I’ve been the assistant secretary of the Men’s Shed working very closely with the secretary.

Did you know anybody at the Shed before you went?

I knew nobody.  Now I’m meeting all sorts of different types of people who I would normally never meet. There are lots of very practical people and there are guys there who have been Manual Arts teachers for 40 years and they are still teaching Manual Arts at the Shed. I guess the age range of their students has increased now!  What we’re doing at the moment is revising the constitution of the Men’s Shed to make sure we focus on promoting men’s health because the Shed is a registered health promotion charity. The way we promote men’s health is by providing opportunities for men to do things together.  In this way we can ameliorate so many diseases that are avoidable and originate from isolation. Many men once they retire or cease employment are often very isolated therefore what we do is provide a place where men can come and do things together.

And there’s a very large variety of things to do, I mean there’s something like 25 different activities that are available in the Shed, and they’re not all just workshop activities.  There’s social activities and all sorts of different things.

The next question I have for you is about travelling around the world.  With the consulting roles you have worked in you did quite a lot of travel even up until recently.

Can you tell us about places in the world that stood out to you for some reason.

One that stands out was Lapland in the far north of Finland which I remember vividly because Larry, the guy I was working with, and I were riding around on Skidoos. He was from the US and somehow he was a great driver, while I wasn’t. I just kept falling off. Because Larry was on the back when I was driving, he fell off too, but he was very gracious about it.

Probably the most amazing thing about that place was the airport – it was a tiny shed so far from anywhere in the world. When we all turned up to leave, there were about 20 people in our group heading to different places all around the world – Sydney, a small town in Italy, a little rural town in the US etc. The airport didn’t have printed luggage labels for all these places and the two women just handled it – writing out the luggage labels by hand. There were 3 or 4 changes of planes for each of us and I remember thinking “Is that suitcase really going to make it to Sydney?”. Well it did, no problem. 

That was at a meeting of a group attached to the International Energy Agency who I worked with for 15 years. That group had meetings every six months, mostly in Europe but also in some Southeast Asian countries and in the US and occasionally in Australia,  so we went to all sorts of different places.

We also had a meeting of this group on a ship that was travelling along the West Coast of Norway, delivering supplies to all these little towns at the ends of fjords. We started off in Trondheim and we ended up in Tromsø, which is right inside the Arctic circle. Having a meeting on a ship is actually very useful… you can’t get off so everyone has to stay in the meeting.

There was one guy coming from the UK who couldn’t make the first day of the meeting so he had to join the ship at this little tiny town on a fjord  somewhere in Norway.  When he flew in there was hardly anyone there but eventually he found some guy who would drive him to the landing stage. Essentially he said “I need to get on a ship that will be arriving at the wharf in an hour”.  “No worries, I’ll drive you”.

And the other place of course is China. I spent six years travelling to China three or four times a year for a couple of weeks at a time and that was fascinating.  I mean in some ways it was different in other ways it was very similar to the West because all the big cities in China now are very much like western cities.

And that’s true in all the big cities in China now. We did manage to do a little bit of travelling outside the big cities and that was really interesting because it was different. We were able to see farmers driving around on bicycle carts carrying their produce and all that sort of stuff.  I would have liked to have done a lot more travelling around the country but most of the work that we were doing was in the big cities. 

You’re turning 70 next week, is there any advice you would give to your 20 year old self?

I think what I’d say is don’t be afraid of people. Over the years, if I could write something rather than talking to somebody that’s what I’ve always tended to do. I feel safer expressing what I think in writing than I do verbally and especially relating to people in groups. So I’ve leaned in more lately, and that’s one of the things that I’m learning at the Shed, relating to people and I’m starting to like it.

I’d also say that over the last 50 years I have packed a lot in and have always avoided boredom. I always have projects on the go and tend to do something different as often as I possibly can. So I’d say to 20 year old David “There’s a lot of change and interesting things coming your way! You’ll never be bored!”

We absolutely love hearing from about the amazing things our Barefooters get up to. If you would like to read our previous Barefooter stories click here.

Catherine’s Epic Adventure

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk the Camino de Santiage trail? We sat down with Barefooter Catherine to hear all about her incredible travels and adventures, and where she would like to hike next!

You walked the Camino Trail last year. Can you tell us a little about what this was like, what inspired you to do it, and why you want to do it again? 

The Camino de Santiago (route Frances) was an epic journey! In a month I walked a little over 500 km starting with 27 km straight up the Pyrenees. From there it was down into Spain through vineyards, farms, the unending golden meseta, meadows, mountains, villages, towns, cities and even eucalyptus plantations! The camaraderie and friendships are a really important part of the Camino and so is the spiritual and personal growth that comes from this adventure – definitely motivations to return for a second go. It’s also amazing to leave the concerns of everyday life and to spend a month with no more possessions than what you carry on your back. I went with a group of friends from home. We’re Catholic and it was amazing for us to consider the thousands and thousands of pilgrims who have also walked the way of St James over such a long time, to visit so many amazing churches and cathedrals along the way, and to finally arrive at the tomb of St James the Apostle.

What is your most favourite part about being a teacher? Have you got any funny stories for us?

Working with children! I love their joy, especially as they set and reach academic goals. I love laughing with them,  reading stories with them, chatting to them, and helping them develop strategies and skills to overcome challenges and have a growth mindset. I love how passionate they are about life and how this reflects in their work. A little guy in my year two class recently wrote a story about a family of cats who played video games all the day and how bad it was for them. How great is that? I also really enjoy working with parents and the intellectual challenge of planning and delivering lessons. Funny stories…hmm. I did show them a photo from a recent bushwalk where my hair was in double braids and I was wearing a fluro pink top. The girls were amazed that I had braids and one boy said, “You always wear black to school but on the weekend you wear colours!” NB: I don’t always wear black to school!

Where is your favourite walking trail in South East Queensland that is a MUST DO for any of our Barefooters out there who love bush walking?

The Coomera Circuit in Lamington National Park is spectacular. It’s about 17 km, not too arduous and the trail passes waterfall after waterfall. Keep your eyes peeled for blue crayfish! Other favourites are walking out to Hell’s Gates at Noosa, Mt Mitchell, and Flinder’s Peak. I haven’t done much interstate walking but for an experienced hiker, I would recommend the Warrumbungles (NSW) and the Heysen Trail (SA) in a heartbeat.

We love hearing about the incredible things our Barefooters get up to, here at Barefoot we call this living your “Barefoot Lifestyle”. We believe that your body should not hold you back from doing what you love. Rather than simply treating the symptoms of acute or persistent pain or injury, at Barefoot Physiotherapy we utilise our unique Treatment System to find the root cause of your problem, so you can get back to living your life to the full.

To find out more, or to book an appointment, click here.

Cheerleading and all that comes with it