Simply Enough or Simply Not Enough?

Day 14

  • 8 km of walking after being too wet for extra riding around Whistler 😦
  • Breakfast: two slices of homemade bread with ¼ banana smooshed on top
  • Lunch: leftover pasta from the night before
  • Snacks: four slices of cut apple at the Tamwood presentation and porridge pancakes
  • Dinner: half packet of instant noodles at 9.30pm after the Squamish presentation

Definitely made up for my downfall the day before with very simple eating! Also had two wonderful presentations – one at Tamwood International ESL school in Whistler and one a community presentation in Squamish with a great turn out and a fantastic vibe!

My blog title for today ‘Simply Enough or Simply Not Enough’ is a great choice of thought and living that came into my head while walking with my Live Below the Line stomach…

We kind of have two ways to look at our lives when thinking about this:

  • Simply enough – with the basics in life we can be happy and fulfilled; or
  • Simply not enough – no matter what we have we can never be satisfied

The simply not enough interpretation can only be made if we are not faced on the extreme end of poverty where you might not have enough food, water, health, education or access to your rights.

It is not by chance that this popped into me head while I am two weeks into Live Below the Line (minus the damn beef jerky from two days ago!). Live Below the Line puts you completely into the headspace of simply enougheven when you go through hunger, tiredness, frustration and the occasional delusion.

Most people would think for Live Below the Line you would be of the mindset of simply not enough BUT Live Below the Line teaches you that you can have more with less and we sometimes don’t need all these foods or things to be ‘happy’.

I have been lucky that simply enough has been my life for many years now. It is something I feel very fortunate to have achieved and not only through hardship but through real and concrete experiences and happiness.

Some of the simple things in life are usually the best. A shared meal with friends is all anyone can want really...

I am sure that more people would be happier with less – I’m not talking about caves, sticks and water to live on. It is about controlling life more, with less to control. For example – I’m bored, I’ll go for a walk; I’m hungry, I’ll have an apple; I’m stressed, I’ll work less tomorrow. I sometimes think we put ourselves into excess far too easily and often with work, time, money and satisfaction. This is starting to sounds a little Buddhist and Nirvana orientated but it isn’t a religion it is just a way of thinking, practicing and acting and receiving the rewards.

I knew Living Below the Line for five weeks and doing a bunch of physical activity around it was only going to be a positive, inspirational and learning experience for me as I continue to love more from less (just have to be careful not to excess). I am as fulfilled as I have ever been eating on less than $1.50 a day for food and factoring in some cleansing healthy activity throughout the day whilst working/volunteering/giving very rewarding Global Poverty Project presentations to schools and communities.

Maybe this is a slight rant here that sounds like it has come from someone deliberately starving themselves but it is with wonderful clarity and appreciation that I believe less is more. I also feel and live this when I am privileged to be in developing countries or perpetuating that lifestyle in developed countries with things like Live Below the Line.

House, transport and nature doesn't get any better than this - maybe a few friends. If my transport is my feet then I'm on a winner also.

Lastly it is that time where I can’t advocate this campaign enough so I really encourage everyone to take on the Live Below the Line challenge for five days May 7-11! and find your way to the Live Below the Line sign up!

This fun little video sketch is also pretty on the mark with this sort of thinking as well: The High Price of Materialism –

Live Above the Line (a little cheating)

Day 13

  • 18 km of riding and 1.6km (1 mile / 64 laps of 25m pool) swimming
  • Breakfast: steal cut oats, rolled oats, orange peel, pinch of nutmeg, boiling water and flour to make porridge pancakes (totally recommend!)

Sunday must be pancake day so I turned my porridge into pancakes! Just took a little help from flour...

  • Lunch: left over porridge pancakes
  • Snacks: beef jerky and two slices of white bread
  • Dinner: pasta, half cup of frozen vegetables and watered down pasta sauce

I finally cracked… I have reached the half-way point of my journey – Whistler and two weeks. To now the temptations have been there and I think I have been absolute in my refusal of them and sticking to my Live Below the Line rations. Trust me the temptations have been there like the grilled bagel with bacon and cheese that produced the most incredible smells as I walked into a hosts house having ridden 90km to get there on day 1!

But yesterday as I was feeling very hungry, a bit light in the stomach and passed the festival tents for the third day in a row in the Whistler Village giving out free samples of almost everything imaginable – energy bars, flavoured milk, beef jerky and more. I caved and strangely my body told my brain to take a packet of beef jerky which I put into my guilty pocket.

I managed to stop myself from opening the packet and thought I can just give this away to someone who will enjoy it and rode 6km off to the pool to do my 64-lap mile-long swim. After my swim the jerky still happened to be in my pocket and I had to eat. The protein and salt shot through my body and filled the lacking fuel cells. It’s strange as I never really crave meat and eat very little meat even when I have a choice but it seemed like the best thing my body needed – I hate saying that as meat has some serious environmental issues and feeding an animal to feed yourself seems very wrong having done Live Below the Line for two weeks but I can see why the world’s poor see it as a pure luxury.

So this momentary lapse I have palmed off as a reward for the half way point of this trip and I think it has revitalised my dedication and determination to stay below the line for the remaining two weeks of the trip and then the official week of Live Below the Line where I will be in New York. Its that week I will be joining thousands of others taking part in the campaign from around the world May 7-11 and it can also include you!

I was also very encouraged in the morning as one of my great friends in Ireland, James, has signed on to take the Live Below the Line challenge May 7-11. He then also put it to all of our mates to take it on in a great move of male pride, primordial competition and pure peer pressure – I can only encourage it! I then chimed in with a guilt trip (as I usually only do with my friends) and said if they weren’t ‘man’ enough they should at least be sponsoring me for my extended campaign.

I haven’t made reference to sponsorship for the Live Below the Line campaign because for me it is more about the education and advocacy but if I want that education, advocacy and inspiration to continue we need to continue to support the people, programs and organisations that do the much needed work on our behalves. So if you have learnt something, felt inspired or feel a little more connected to movement that can see an end to extreme poverty you can sponsor me as I continue on my tour Living Below the Line…

Beautiful ride down memory lane for me to be back in Whistler where I spent many good times with good people and good snow!

Feeling the cold

Day 11

  • Not much in the way of physical activity – just trying to keep warm was enough!
  • Breakfast: oats, bran, a few flax seeds, orange peel and boiling water
  • Snacks: two slices of homemade bread and four hot chips
  • Lunch: Big piece of crust from the homemade bread with 10c of poutine gravy
  • Dinner: instant noodles with lots of broth

I kind of caved in a little… walking around cold in Whistler I had lunch with my host who bought a big bowl of poutine (hot fried chips with cheese and gravy). I did well to resist till there were some chips left over and I had four and put a teaspoon on leftover gravy on my slice of homemade bread – technically within budget but feel a little dirty for it…

I still to this day have no idea how the entire village of La Rivera, in Bolivia stayed warm?

La Rivera is about a 7-11 hour bus ride from Oruro, a relatively large town in Bolivia on the high altiplano. The village is at about 4300m elevation and the people live more or less subsistently growing a few simple crops of quinoa, garlic and not much else and raise llamas and a few alpacas. I did some teaching at the local school, climbed some nearby mountains and did a lot of learning.

The students of La Rivera playing soccer at 4300m. Was hard enough taking the photo than to even run and kick a soccer ball!

There are three distinct things I remember of my time in La Riverera

  1. The cold at that altitude and that most people didn’t wear shoes, because they couldn’t afford them – how they kept warm I have no idea except resilience
  2. That they were slowly building a much needed bridge as a community. This would take a long time to complete but at the end it would be an important part of the community, shared by all and have an affinity with everyone there as they had all played a role in it’s construction. This is unlike developed countries where it is built and taken for granted. There are both pro’s and con’s to this, but interesting and for me another appreciation of developing countries
  3. The landscape was bare – no trees for fuel, no sanitation (it was up to modesty how far you went to the toilet on the table-top flat landscape) and a continuous wind that would be perfect to run a single efficient windmill for a village that had no power and therefore limited education opportunities – no easy reading at night, no technical resources for the school, etc…

So yesterday I was freezing in Whistler on a pleasant 10 degree day probably because I was hungry and probably a little underweight. All I could only think of were the people of La Rivera and become warmer in my heart for how much I empathise with them and how I will commit to continue to advocate and educate to see them not have to fight for opportunities of education, beating the cold, shoes, toilets and the luxury and benefits of electricity.

Enough Food was not Enough – I got hungry…

Day 10

  • Day off! Except 6km ride, 6km walk – Vancouver
  • Breakfast: oats, bran, a few flax seeds, orange peel, dash of cinnamon and boiling water
  • Snacks: not enough!
  • Lunch: leftover dinner – rice noodles and roasted vegies
  • Dinner: Roasted vegetables, rice and beans

The least amount of energy expenditure for the whole trip but enough food wasn’t enough for the first time, an insatiable hunger that could not be fed…

It was grumpy last week but yesterday it was hungry. The day was spent indoors working away and it was the least amount of physical activity so far for the trip. My body has finally caught up with me and the energy debt I have created is knocking on the door!

It was just one of those days where enough food was never enough. I luckily can up my oats intake a little and make sure I have some filling rice in the evening. But what must someone do who is hungry with nothing in the cupboard or in the field? This is where the world’s poorest become truly remarkable because they just have to weather through the drought or lack of food either till food comes again or till they suffer because of it. I don’t encourage people to be hungry but it gives a sense of venerability and helplessness.

My hosts boys in their play box of lentils - making me more than a little hungry...!

Today is a lucky day as I get to go to a free concert from my favourite musician – Michael Franti ( who is a great role-model for me and has lead a lot of my social justice thinking and reflection. I feel it is going to be the perfect time to see him 10 days into this challenge.

Always an inspiration to meet Mr Franti!

A few exciting things happening with some follow on from polio eradication and a few future plans of possible presentation tours…

Anyway the moral of this story today is let us see those who are hungry not as sad helpless people but as some of the most powerful and hopeful in the world and that we should never have to see anyone be so in a situation that doesn’t need to exist.

A nice way to distract the hunger that I think most people in extreme poverty don't have... Not guilty just in ore of the power of the hungry in the world, just wish they didn't have to be so powerful eh.

GPP LBL Cycling Presentation Tour – Itinerary!

Tour Itinerary… am I coming to place near you? Would love to present 1.4 Billion Reasons and share some experiences and stories about global awareness and Living Below the Line!

Thurs 5 April Portland, OR Arrive Portland 10.55pm and ready to go! Full Map of trip here –
Fri 6 Portland, OR Set up and Presentation opportunity!
Sat 7 Portland, OR Presentation opportunity!
Sun 8 Portland, OR Presentation opportunity!
Mon 9 Portland, OR Presentation opportunity!
Tues 10 Kelso, WA Portland+ 90km → Kelso,WA via Longview City. Pres opportunity!
Wed 11 Grand Mound, WA Kelso,WA+ 90km → Grand Mound, WA. Pres opportunity!
Thurs 12 Kamilche, WA Grand Mound + 55km → Kamilche,WA via Olympia Pres opportunity!
Fri 13 ??? Kamilche,WA+ …km → ? on way to Port Angeles + 170km
Sat 14 Port Angeles, WA Continue of journey to Port Angeles
Sun 15 Victoria, BC Ferry toVictoria. Pres opportunity in evening in Victoria!
Mon 16 Victoria,BC Presentation opportunity!
Tues 17 Vancouver,BC Presentation opportunity! Victoria+ 35km to ferry from Swartz Bay and ferry. Tsawwassen + 55km toVancouver.
Wed 18 Vancouver,BC Presentation opportunity!
Thurs 19 Vancouver,BC Presentation opportunity!
Fri 20 Squamish,BC Vancouver+ 70km → Squamish. Presentation opportunity!
Sat 21 Whistler, BC Squamish + 60km → Whistler. Presentation opportunity!
Sun 22 Whistler, BC Presentation opportunity!
Mon 23 Whistler, BC Presentation opportunity!
Tues 24 Squamish, BC Whistler + 60km → Squamish. Presentation opportunity!
Wed 25 Vancouver, BC Squamish + 70km →Vancouver. Presentation opportunity!
Thurs 26 Vancouver, BC Presentation opportunity!
Fri 27 Vancouver, BC Presentation opportunity!
Sat 28 Vancouver, BC Presentation opportunity!
Sun 29 Bellingham, WA Vancouver+ 90km → Bellingham. Presentation opportunity!
Mon 30 Arlington, WA Bellingham+ 85km → Arlington. Presentation opportunity!
Tues 1 May Seattle, WA Arlington + 95km → Seattle. Presentation opportunity!
Wed 2 Seattle, WA Presentation opportunity!
Thurs 3 Seattle, WA Presentation opportunity!
Fri 4 Portland, OR Train back to Portland to present, return bike, trailer and get organised for official week of Live Below the Line
Sat/Sun 5/6 Portland & beyond? Make way to Calgary, Chicago or New York?
7-11 May Live Below the Line Where best to be for week of Live Below the Line?
3rd wk May Chicago? Europe Chicago 14 May for G8? Tour End – Depart for Europe before May 23