Some random facts about me part 1

I have Danny at Dream Big, Dream Often to thank for the idea for this entry – so here are some random facts about me:

1.  I have had the amazing experience of feeling what it is like to go fast – V8 Supercar style!

Me pre hot lap
Me pre hot lap

2. I love dolphins – it stems from a late 2011 dolphin watch cruise off Port Stephens, NSW, Australia

Me and Bella - hugging
Me and Bella – hugging

3. I love coach travel – it’s my other alternative to flying….

Scania K470EB 6x2*4 TV5594 - the first rear-steer coach sold in Australia
Scania K470EB 6×2*4 TV5594 – the first rear-steer coach sold in Australia

4. I used to be scared (not scared – sh*t scared) of heights – I managed to conquer this using a rather unorthodox way!

Bell 206B-3 JetRanger III - the JetRanger III was the first helicopter I had ever flown in..... the smell of burnt Aviation Turbine Fuel (AvTur) is one thing I will always remember!
Bell 206B-3 JetRanger III – the JetRanger III was the first helicopter I had ever flown in….. the smell of burnt Aviation Turbine Fuel (AvTur) is one thing I will always remember!
Me and Craig from Helicruz in Orange, NSW, Australia
Me and Craig from Helicruz in Orange, NSW, Australia

5. I work for my region’s largest employer, Fletcher International Exports (http://www.fletchint.com.au/dir.htm)

6. I love anything to do with cars and trucks….

The Truckright Industry Vehicle MkII - the brainchild of Rod Hannifey and Rod Pilon, both of Dubbo, NSW, Australia
The Truckright Industry Vehicle MkII – the brainchild of Rod Hannifey and Rod Pilon, both of Dubbo, NSW, Australia
New Ford Everest Trend
New Ford Everest Trend

7. I love country music! I was raised on it – it would only be right to keep listening to it as I get older

8. I absolutely love American country rock/southern rock band, Confederate Railroad – Jesus and Mama is the first song I heard that I like!
https://youtu.be/xna9rwr1MRo?t=14s

That is me in a nutshell – more to come!

My Bucket List – thanks to Pascale!

My lovely friend and fellow blogger, Pascale (http://www.lessonsfrommydaughter.me/), has brought up an idea for sharing bucket lists – here is my bucket list in no particular order. Those that have been completed will be marked COMPLETED!

1. Swim with a dolphin – COMPLETED
This was completed in 2012 – and I have done it twice more since then!

Bella and me - hugging
Bella and me – hugging

2. Fly a helicopter – COMPLETED
Had a go at this when I was in Coffs Harbour in 2014 – damn, it’s so much harder to control than a car!

TIF in a Robinson R22 - it is harder than it looks!
TIF in a Robinson R22 – it is harder than it looks!

3. Go for a ride as a pillion on a Harley – COMPLETED
Did this in Coffs Harbour this year – loved every minute of it!

First time sitting on a Harley - and this beaut FLHX Street Glide took me on my 30 minute tour
First time sitting on a Harley – and this beaut FLHX Street Glide took me on my 30 minute tour

4. Go Hot Air Ballooning
Will get another chance in April 2016 to do this…. couldn’t do it this year as the weather was not kind to us!

5. Go for a joy flight in a helicopter – COMPLETED
I have done so many of these I kinda forgot what it’s like not to be in the air in one!

Robinson R44 Raven II VH-RIZ. This helicopter is the helicopter that keeps me in the air!
Robinson R44 Raven II VH-RIZ. This helicopter is the helicopter that keeps me in the air!
Me and Craig from Helicruz in Orange, NSW, Australia
Me and Craig from Helicruz in Orange, NSW, Australia

6. Hot lap in a V8 Supercar – COMPLETED
Refer to 2014 Sydney NRMA 500 – with thanks to Falken Tyres Australia for more on this item! Sitting in a A$400,000 machine with 600hp is rather exhilarating – let alone shooting down the track at 260km/h!

7. Aerobatic joy flight in a Pitts S2C Special aerobatic aircraft
A friend of a friend of mine is a aerobatic pilot who owns a S2C – I would love to do one of these with him!

That’s a condensed version – a more broader version to come!

Recent Blog Update – thanks to Lydia!

My wonderful friend and fellow blogger, Lydia (https://aidyl93.wordpress.com/) has prompted me to do a update on one of my recent blog entries (https://joehupp2004.wordpress.com/2015/08/19/anxiety-and-my-journey-with-it/)

I wish to take a piece of Lydia’s recent blog entry and share my thoughts on what we feel…..

“It’s the state of mind”, so I’ve been told. But this state of mind has lasted centuries. Is it just me? Is it just something so unfix-able I’ll never be allowed to enjoy the smell of fresh flowers in the spring again without worrying about the bee? And that’s truly putting it in its mildest form.

“It’s the state of mind”…. not true. When I first got my anxiety diagnosis back in 2006, I thought that exact same train of thinking. I look at that now and realise it isn’t a state of mind…. I always went through the early stages thinking the worst. Since then, I seem to have a lot more respect for my fellow anxiety sufferers – I suppose I know how they feel since I, too, have it.

“Is it just something so unfix-able…” – another untruth that I felt….. there were times I would get so angry and take it out on my mother. I realise now that I should not have done that…. I wish I could go back to those days and apologise to mum about taking it out on her. I ended up squishing one of my tablets with anger one morning – I was taking 50mg of sertraline hydrocholride (Zoloft) and I had just about had enough that day!

If you’re in Australia and want to get some help, here are a few ways to do so – some are Facebook groups I am in and others are hotlines:

Hotlines: beyondblue – 1300224636 or http://www.beyondblue.org.au/

Some Facebook groups I find very, very helpful – click on the blue link to take you to them. These are worldwide support groups:
Anxiety Support Group – a wonderful group of anxiety sufferers helping one another
Anxiety Disorders Unite – another wonderful group of anxiety sufferers. This group has some interesting photo challenges which are only held when admins ask….
Just Rollin’ With Anxiety – this group is amazeballs! I have had so much help through this group and have been supported all the way
Positive Support for Anxiety & Panic Sufferers – yet another amazeballs group I am proud to be a part of….. helpful and supportive which is always thoughtful!

That list is just four of the many anxiety groups I am in on Facebook. If you want to know more, feel free to ask! I won’t bite!

As a postscript, I want to thank Lydia for sharing her story which has helped me a lot with sharing mine as I don’t often do it…. I suppose I need to but talking to my colleagues at work helps me through even the toughest days and darkest points in my life. Writing blogs and talking about anxiety will help people understand it. This is one of the most understated mental illnesses in Australia – with due time, people like me will change people’s perceptions about it…. we are not different, we aren’t crazy. We just have anxiety – and a little support goes a bloody long way, let me tell you!

Memories….

Why does my mind keep going back to Thursday, May 7??? I think about this day every day – and I can tell you why….

When I first booked my Shallow Water Dolphin Experience at Dolphin Marine Magic in Coffs Harbour back at the end of February for the date I did, I told the person I booked it with that it was a self-brought birthday present for myself. Little was I to know what was to come on the day…. word had filtered back to Paige, the CEO of Dolphin Marine Magic and Paige, along with her staff, had planned something so special and so unexpected. I arrived on the day to check in for the Shallow Experience only to be told there was some amazing news at the bookings desk – I wondered what that might have been so I walked over and handed the lady there the paperwork (which I had previously signed for my Shallow Experience). She then issued me with my wristbands – I stood there looking at the orange wristband on my left wrist…. it was only then I was told my Shallow Dolphin Experience (purple/pink wristband) had been upgraded to the top level Ultimate Dolphin Swim (hence the orange wristband). I realise now I should have got someone to photograph my face – MasterCard priceless comes to mind right now! I had to stand there for a few seconds to comprehend what I had just been told…. and believe me: it took a while to sink in afterwards!

I went out to experience all the pre-show encounters (from seal and dolphin kisses to a double dolphin hug) then got to take part in the first Marine Discovery Presentation. Then it was time to head off for my in-water interaction – and what an experience it was! I got to meet Paige during the pre-encounter brief – the trainer who took us through the brief had said we were working with Calamity. Paige hinted at a surprise – that surprise was in the shape of 9 year old Bella…. I was so surprised! During the swim, we had the most amazing opportunities. My favourite of these was the foot push – I laid down on a body board and Bella pushed me from one side of the pool to the other. After this, I was given yet another opportunity – this opportunity was in the shape of a female Australian Sea Lion named Athena. I got to be the first guest to get a hand push off Athena – the trainers were training her to do them during the Seal Swim encounters. Athena is the most energetic Australian Sea Lion in the family…. I also got to learn about her during this encounter.

Water fight with Bella
Water fight with Bella

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Feeding Zippy during the Marine Magic Presentation
Feeding Zippy during the Marine Magic Presentation
Me and Bella - hugging
Me and Bella – hugging

Seal Kisses - Me and Rocky
Seal Kisses – Me and Rocky

All in all, a absolutely terrific day and one I will never forget for as long as I live!

Anxiety and my journey with it

I often think about where I’d be had I not been diagnosed with anxiety….

Let’s start with my first ever helicopter scenic flight! I was over helping relative with house renovations (they live between Gulgong and Dunedoo in the central west of New South Wales, Australia) – I realised the local field days at Mudgee, a 45 minute drive away, were on at the end of the week…. we arrived at the field days site and had an opportunity to look around before we had a chance to have lunch. I remember watching the helicopters taking off – I think my aunty was watching me look as I ate…. she came up and asked if I wanted to go up in one. I said, “Why not?” – went over and found out how much they were and I realised I was A$10 short. Went back and loaned the extra money off another aunty then went back – my uncle came back this time. I paid and signed in – the policy of the helicopter operator was a minimum of 2 passengers per flight. I didn’t have to wait long before another person arrived – the funny thing was this person was also from Dubbo (where I am from). We went up and did our flight – I can still remember the first four words I said when we landed and alighted from the helicopter: “That was bloody awesome!”…. adrenaline coursing through my body. This first flight was in a Bell JetRanger – I loved it so much I still do them to this day… these days, I am a passenger in a Robinson R44 Raven II piston helicopter.

Robinson R44 Raven II VH-RIZ. This helicopter is the helicopter that keeps me in the air!
Robinson R44 Raven II VH-RIZ. This helicopter is the helicopter that keeps me in the air!

Then my first visit to Coffs Harbour just over 3 years ago – that’s definitely one thing I cannot stop thinking about…. this was my first time in the water with a dolphin and it was a dream come true not once but twice over. When we had our pre-encounter brief, we were told which dolphin we were working with – as soon as I heard that we were working with Bella, I stood there shocked…. it was Bella who I dreamt of doing this with!

Bella and me - hugging
Bella and me – hugging

I still cannot believe I got to do this – I’ll never forget it!

December 2014 – V8 Supercars Sydney NRMA 500: see this post for more: 2014 Sydney NRMA 500 – with thanks to Falken Tyres Australia

May 2015 – and my birthday/trip to Coffs Harbour: see this post for more: Coffs Harbour 2015 and a birthday I will never forget