Theodolite and Back

It was around the 20km mark that I started to question my sanity. “Why did I ever think this was a good idea?” I asked a big hairy biker dude who had crossed over to my side of the road to check out the beach. Of course he had no idea what the hell I was on about and looked at me sideways and said, “What? Going for a run?” (I’m not sure who runs in hiking boots but hey, whatever makes your hair blow back). “Nah, a bloody long walk. It’s 33km,” I said and I could see him shift ever so slightly away from me as though I’d just revealed that I had a necrotic skin disease of the airborne variety. He laughed an uncomfortable laugh and made to walk off, perhaps back to his bike to ride the flock away from me, although he beeped as he rode past me later on his Harley.

It’s hard to accept that other people don’t necessarily care about the things that are important to me. I get so caught up in something being the nexus of the universe that it seems perfectly natural that every other person on the planet would feel the same way. After all, who doesn’t want to find the nexus of the universe, but when I tell someone about something I’ve done or something I’m excited about and they just go, “oh, ok” and go back to swiping on their phone, or talking about what happened on the latest instalment of some boring TV series  it’s a good reminder that just because it’s important to me, doesn’t mean it’s important to other people.

Walking a long way is important to me. I usually like to do it while carrying a monster of a pack, but on the 33km walk to Theodolite Creek and back I only had a small day pack that weighed around 5kg. I can’t even really call it a hike. It was too flat, the pack was too light and I had fish, chips and a chocolate milkshake at the local takeaway shop.  Milkshakes are one thing I fantasise about when I’m on a hike. I usually get involved with telling myself stories outloud about the kinds of food and drink I would like to drive into my face. It really takes away from the fact that I feel like I’m dying, but it doesn’t help my hunger, in fact nothing does, not even food!

I’d never walked as far as 33km in one day before. I think 22km was it. If I hadn’t tried this I would never have realised how far it’s possible to walk in one day. It made me wonder what could be possible if I pushed myself and tried new stuff whenever the idea came to mind or whenever the opportunity arose.

The world is an unbelievable place and even people who think they know a thing or two about life can be catapulted into outer space every now and then when they cross paths with an enigmatic stranger, push themselves further than they thought possible or keep at something even if it feels like they’re failing. These experiences give life a new and exciting edge and will foster the desire to gain similar experiences again and again. Before you know it, you’re living right inside an ever-expanding circle of adventure where it only matters what’s important to you, not what’s important to the world at large.

The enigmatic stranger…just kidding, it’s Jon Bernthal. I guess TV shows are good for something after all.




Surrender to no Toilet

There’s this poem that’s on the wall of a toilet I’ve been to a few times. One of the lines says “…gracefully surrendering the things of youth.”

Why? Why should youth be surrendered at all, and really, what is youth anyway? Why should a poem, or anyone else for that matter, be the boss of telling you when it’s time to pack away all the things you once loved and to put behind you the opportunities for growth that contemporary thinking tells us are the rightful property of only the young; you know, stuff like learning new shit, taking extreme risks and being bold and courageous; dancing in the street, running a marathon, sailing across an ocean; learning a new language, becoming a surfer or riding a horse for the first time.

As far as poems go for offering life advice, I do prefer the one that says “…do not go gentle into that good night.” It’s a poem that implores “…rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

Anyone of any age can do anything they want. There are actually no age related restrictions for people who are over 18, only the restrictions we put on ourselves. We live in a youth obsessed culture because we’ve swallowed the idea put forward in the toilet poem about needing to surrender youth. Bullshit. We don’t need to surrender anything. An attitude of decline will bring decline as will an attitude of surrender.

For all of its length and breadth, life must be embraced; acted upon, lived in both its extremes and its comforts. This is where having an attitude of adventure can let you live a life that is longer and broader in experience comparative to your lived years.

Fill your live with adventure and

become someone who never has to surrender anything.




Speech Transcript

We’re more alike than we are different.

Maybe you’ve become stuck on the idea of what kind of person you think you are.

Perhaps this comes from pre-defined roles and what you’ve learned from society at large and your own personal experience.

Ideas that teach you that the boundaries of being female are finite and limited.

Have you ever considered that there are actually no boundaries?


Courage to be bold, courage to accept the challenges that life sends flying your way on some random Tuesday doesn’t grow OUT THERE. It grows IN HERE.

And really, you know that, you do, because you live it everyday.

And, like the air you breath, it would be impossible to live without it.

That courage that you synthesise to get through the everyday, the courage that grows INSIDE HERE,

Is the same courage that it takes to be bold,

To be adventurous and do something new and amazing that could change your life in a way you NEVER thought possible.

I never thought it possible that I could be on stage speaking to a captive audience,


About something which I have always been passionate about.

I never thought it possible that I could hike almost 400km on my own carrying this 22kg pack on my back.

But I was able to do these things and lead the amazing and awesomely adventurous life I do by taking small steps.

All adventure begins with just one step.

Even these amazing and skilful women we’ll see in these beautiful films began their adventures with just one step.

Adventure doesn’t have to be climbing mountains or being the best, fastest or youngest at something.

Adventure lives in simple acts of courage where you decide to

Question an old belief.

Talk to a stranger.

Cut your hair differently.

Try a chai latte for the first time.

These simple acts build on each other giving you confidence and synthesising courage so that you can become the best version of yourself that you can be.

Someone who lives a life that matters.

Someone engaged in a purposeful existence beyond the bounds of an individual life.

Someone who can shape the course of the future.

I hope you enjoy the films and I hope that I can continue to bring the show and others like it to this beautiful part of Qld, where we have access to the most amazing natural landscapes and seascapes in Australia.

I’m Jennifer Parry; your local host for the Bundaberg screening of the Women’s Adventure Film tour.



Smashed it!

Well, I smashed the Women’s Adventure Film Tour!! Yeah! Over 200 people came to the event and as I watched them filing in and I as I continued to watch more of them file in I started to think, “Holy shit, these people are all here because of me.” It kind of freaked me out!

I gave a talk, which scared the crap out of me, but I just accepted that I wouldn’t die from talking in front of people and did it anyway. Here’s the video of it:

Some stuff went wrong on the night, but I didn’t let it kill my vibe because more stuff went right in the end, and some of the things that went wrong (like someone making off with one of the lucky door prizes) was pretty funny.

I had one freakin’ awesome helper who drove all the way from Toowoomba to give me a hand, and man, was I glad she was there! When I could feel myself starting to slip into crisis mode I just looked at her and knew that everything would be ok. She is the most grounded person I reckon I’ve ever come across. She made up for the cool guy not being able to come. I was a bit sad about that, but he’s having fun doing his own awesome shit in a pretty damn cool place and he’ll be back very soon.

The Moncrieff staff were unreal and the box office manager was the most helpful and accommodating person ever. If I bring the tour back next year I know how easy it will be to deal with these guys. Five out of five stars for their pure brilliance!

I had a cool business owner who took up my offer to collaborate and he set up a flashy display in the foyer. He owns a surf and SUP school and looked just like you’d imagine a real surfy dude would look.

Everyone seemed to really enjoy the night. I did too, but I’m glad it’s over (although not yet finished cos I still have a bunch of emails to send to the people who won the lucky door prizes that didn’t get stolen). I think next time I’d probably like to get some help. It’s a big job for one person to run marketing for such an event. Especially a person who has never done anything like that before!

I smashed this awesome event because I know that the courage to get through everday challenges is the same courage that it takes to:

Be Bold


Irky Discomfort

I’ve done so much marketing that it feels to me like everyone by now would have heard about the Women’s Adventure Film tour. I tackled Facebook and recruited the managers of Autobarn and Take the Plunge Café to teach me how to advertise on my Facebook page. I stuck posters to my car and left it parked near the door of a shopping centre in Bundaberg, I stuck posters up all over town, left flyers in Bundaberg businesses and got a few businesses to put posters up in their windows. I got my mum to hand out flyers in Childers and Buxton and I recruited a friend in Bundy to do the same. I also emailed around 500 businesses, community groups, high schools, healthcare centres, hospitals, councillors, and people I know. I posted out letters to primary schools, had letters hand delivered to high schools, told stories to journalists, I wrote posts and generally just got on everyones’ nerves about the whole thing.

I’d really like to not lose my savings that I’ve invested in hosting the event, but I have to let my attachment to the money go. I was talking to the cool guy I’m married to about it earlier and he convinced me to see it all in a different way.

I’ve done absolutely everything I can to get people interested in the event and I’m happy with the effort I’ve put in. I haven’t stopped for weeks and I won’t stop until the event is finished. I pretty much feel like I’ve busted my arse trying to make it work. If it doesn’t work and I don’t get my money back, well that just means that I paid to learn how to run an event. I would have paid more to attend formal training about the same thing, so not only is it a cheap way to learn something I’ve always wanted to learn, but it’s likely a better way to learn it because the best way is to learn by doing, and that’s certainly what’s been going on: a lot of doing.

The main thing I’ve learned so far is that it’s ok to feel uncomfortable about stuff and that’s good because I feel pretty damn uncomfortable about the whole film tour situation! I feel uncomfortable because I don’t know what I’m doing and I don’t know what will happen and I don’t know if I can rely on people to do what they’ve told me they will do. Basically, I don’t know the answers and I don’t like the way that makes me feel because I’m not used to not knowing stuff. Not that I know everything, but the irky (that’s a real word btw) feeling I’ve got is precisely because I’m doing something totally new and I’m teaching myself that it’s absolutely ok to have that irky feeling and to continue to do the thing that is giving me the irks in the first place. I won’t feel like this forever and I know without a doubt that good shit will be on the other side of the irks. The whole thing started with one small step and that’s all I’ve got to keep on doing.

Stepping outside of your comfort zone is simple, just not easy, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Build your confidence with small steps; build up to big adventures with small ones because:

small step

Drilling in all Directions

Lots of nice stuff can come from drilling down on one thing: you get to be really good at something, you might win some prizes and meet some cool people along the way, but what about all the other awesome stuff that you didn’t get to do because you were so focused on only being good at one thing?

I read a book a while ago that really brought it home for me. It was about an amazing mountain climber who climbed impossible climbs. He was able to do this because he has climbed since he was a kid and he totally drilled down on it and got to be one of the best climbers in the world. He’s still really good at it. He also seems like a really nice guy. There’s a movie coming out about him next month that I’ll definitely watch (trailer below).

Until reading the climbing book, I’d always wondered what it would have been like to have become really good at one thing. I’d always chastised myself for not sticking with anything long enough to gain the respect of my peers for my expertise. Sure, I’m pretty good at some stuff, ok at other stuff and piss-poor at pretty much everything else,  but I’m really expert at nothing. The phrase “jack of all trades, master of none” has always sat just on my periphery, haunting me.

What I didn’t realise though, is that the whole time I’ve been drilling sideways, I have actually developed an expertise; one that I didn’t recognise until today: I’m an expert at living. I know how to apply myself to living a life that matters and the only way I was able to develop this awesome skill was to immerse myself in the entirety of life. To become everything and nothing. To be all of it at the expense of none of it. To experience and learn everything I can about what it means to be alive right now, the best time there ever was to be alive.

Being an expert at life means that I’m a better runner because I’m a dancer, I’m a better dancer because I’m a skipper, I’m a better skipper because I’m a rider, I’m a better rider because I’m a hiker, I’m a better hiker because I’m a reader, I’m a better reader because I’m a writer, I’m a better writer because I loved and I lost and all of it because I’m a survivor. Each thing I do and each thing I’ve ever done has lead me to the next and the next, and the next. Everything has built on the shoulders of the thing that came before it and man-o-man, I’ve built myself one shit-hot castle of a life; the whole thing made of golden bricks.

I know it’s pretty unlikely that I will ever get really good at anything other than being good at being alive and that’s ok because I’m going to keep drilling sideways.

Drill sideways by way of adventure





Scared but not

At the moment I’m working really hard on not letting fear get to me. Basically I’m on the verge of having a total freak out, but I’m somehow managing to keep it under control, which, if you knew me, you’d realise was some kind of wayward miracle.

There’s lots of shit going on that warrants a freak out – a new job, a new way of living, making hard decisions, my first half marathon and of course, the big one: The Women’s Adventure Film Tour. Aaaargh! Help! This is how I look on the outside:


This is how I look on the inside:

freak out

That’s because I don’t want to see this:

empty theatre

Well, not that I would really see that, because that’s actually the Sydney Opera House, not the Moncrief Theatre, but still, it’s empty and that makes me sad.

I’m scared, but not. The “not” part of that comes from the way I’m choosing to see myself in relation to the fear and the faith I’ve got that everything will work out in the end. I feel like that because I know that worrying about the event won’t actually change the way it all pans out. Worrying about it will make me cranky and that has never helped anyone AT ALL….EVER. In fact, I can recall quite a few times when getting cranky has actually made things a lot worse than they had to be if you can believe that! Yeah, yelling, stomping and throwing yourself on the ground doesn’t work. Not once you’re past the age of two. Letting go of the outcome, but without letting go of the personal responsibility I assumed when I agreed to host the tour has really helped me let go of worry. That means I’m free to enjoy the adventure of being scared but not.

Be scared, but do it anyway