Finally got back on my bike today for the first time in 2021, after seven months recovering from spinal surgery. The shitty weather and blowing cold Ballarat wind couldn’t take away from my sheer joy in being back on the road, with the wind in my face, fighting back tears of relief.
With international borders closed (for Australians, anyway) until god-only-knows-when, and a nice local trip looking very attractive as an introduction to touring for my partner Danielle, we’ve been planning a Tasmanian East Coast cycling trip for a few months now. We’ve outlined a nice 15-leg route that will take us 13–14 days in total riding, across perhaps three weeks (given rests and sightseeing).
Victoria is currently in our fourth COVID-19 lockdown, and I find myself sitting inside, on a chill but sunny Sunday afternoon in late autumn, preparing for a European bike tour that might never eventuate, but even if it does, certainly won’t for quite a few years. So why bother planning it at all? Well, primarily the answer to that question at the moment is: I’m bored shitless. But I also need something to look forward to.
Today was a nice sunny day, only 14°C but it feels like 20-something. I could take it no longer: I had to get out. I haven’t fished since early December 2020 due to my back issues, so it was refreshing to get the spinning rod out and hit Lake Wendouree.
The past fortnight has been a big change from a recovery perspective, some things have regressed a little and other areas are rapidly improving.
The pain has regressed somewhat. It was to be expected as I lowered my narcotic levels that the underlying pain would surface, but it has been hard to go backwards in areas like sleep. On the other hand, my trip to the physiotherapist certainly paid dividends and I have been able to help out more around the house, which with a troublesome teenager reluctant to contribute, has been a good thing for our family dynamic.
Although I finished my bachelor’s degree and was awarded my testamur (certificate) in December, I had my actual graduation ceremony today out at the Mt. Helen Campus of Federation University. Present with me were some unlucky fellow graduates who finished theirs at the end of 2019, forced to wait for their physical ceremony for a year and a half due to COVID-19.
I had my first outpatient follow-up appointment with my neurosurgeon yesterday. Today marks five weeks since my surgery. I was hoping for a little more relaxing of restrictions than the surgeon ultimately allowed, but got more than I expected in other areas, so I’m altogether OK with that.
Batavia is the amazing true story of a treasure-laden flagship of a fleet owned by the Dutch East Indies Company (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie or VOC). The Batavia and its accompanying ships embarked on a nine month journey to Batavia (known today as Jakarta, in Indonesia) in 1628–29, on a mission to trade in the lucrative exotic spices that shaped that era of exploration and ultimately changed the world. Tragedy befalls the ship and its crew before they reach their port of destination, and mayhem quickly ensues amongst a crew of desperate misfits and malcontents.
So I love the outdoors, this much is obvious. Whether you’re reading my blog for the first time, or have been hanging around for a while, I think it’s safe to assume with a blog called Getting Out There that my happiness in life involves being outside. Unfortunately, in late November 2020 I injured my spine, herniating my L5/S1 disc.
I never went to university after high school, electing to instead enlist in the Royal Australian Navy. So in 2016, after a few different career paths, I decided to undertake study at Federation University in Ballarat as a mature-aged student. I had no idea how much this new journey would challenge me, and how much I would gain from it. It truly changed my life.
This morning I woke up to the nicest morning yet. A beautiful sunrise was shining through the trees and across the river, lighting up a wedge-tailed eagle in her nest in the tree directly above my tent. Compared to the wind of last night it was a beautiful tranquil scene.
I had a bit of rain today, but nothing too heavy and after the past few days, it was actually quite refreshing. I woke in Cohuna, had my coffee and breakfast and packed down my camp quite quickly. I didn’t have phone reception so was keen to get into a better area for it so I could let my partner know I was OK, etc. I was also low on water so decided to venture away from the Murray to detour through Cohuna township.