Goals that actually work? Base them on action

soccer kick photo“To achieve an outcome, you have to take action, and that action should be your goal. You can’t directly choose an outcome, but you can always choose to take action.” ~ Pete MichaudAsk anyone about how to get to success or a successful life and one of the first things they’ll say you have to do is to set goals. Everyone knows to set goals but we don’t do enough or the right ones so we're not successful…. or we’re doing it wrong.I think we’re setting goals wrong.When we set goals, the first thing that comes to mind is the thing we want.We want 10,000 visitors per month to your website.We want to lose 20 pounds.We want $5,000 to pay for the trip next year.The problem with those goals is they are outcomes. Those outcomes are great to keep in mind but they are not what you should think about on a daily basis to complete your goal.You need to think about actions.Blogger and Tech Writer Pete Michaud says it best, "To achieve an outcome, you have to take action, and that action should be your goal. You can’t directly choose an outcome, but you can always choose to take action.”When you set a goal, write it down. Then ask if it’s an action or an outcome. Actions are things you can do yourself right now. Outcomes are things that happen as a result of what you do.Writing blog posts is an action. Getting 10,000 visitors per month to your website is an outcome.Running 45 minutes per day is an action. Losing 20 pounds is an outcome.Doing 1 hour extra paid client work per day is an action. Getting $5,000 to go for your next trip is an outcome.

Can you control it?

Another test I use to see if something is an action or an outcome when I’m setting goals is to ask myself if I can control it. If I can control it then it’s probably an action. If I can’t directly control it then it’s an outcome.I’m very competitive when I play sports and it’s hard to let go of fact that I can’t control whether we win or lose. Winning or losing is the outcome. I play a part in it, for sure, but a very small part. I can control how much I train and how well I play but I can’t control any other players or the weather or the referee. When I’m setting sports goals or looking how I did, I focus on what I can control. How well did I play? Did I train enough? Did I do everything to the best of my ability? Past that, it’s anyones guess as to who is going to win.So the next time you sit down to go through the goals you are setting, ask yourself if they are actions or outcomes. If they are outcomes, you’ll want to rewrite them as actions instead. You’ll be much happier with the results.

Most Popular Posts from 2009 on rcThink

Popular Posts

2009 was the first year I really started writing on this blog. I tried last year and got bored. My 4 month trip to Australia and New Zealand really got my excited to write and share my adventures with the rest of the world. Here are my most popular posts from this year!10. Coming Home From Australia and New ZealandI spent 4 months this year in Australia and New Zealand. It was the best thing I've ever done. Check out my thoughts on returning to Canada after spending some time down under.9. Winter Challenge RoundupI found the best way to get myself to do something was to make a challenge for it. If it was a contest of sorts with myself, I'd be more likely to stick with it and write about it. Here are my challenges for this winter.8. Powerful Beyond MeasureI credit @jonathanmead with this one. What an incredible message. If you want to get riled up for the wickedness that will be your 2010, watch this now.7. A Change In DirectionI had no idea what I was going to be writing about when I started the blog. At first it was going to be about everything I did but it quickly turned into a travel blog while I was away. After returning I wasn't sure what to write about since I wasn't travelling. I'm a bit addicted to trying new things, seeing what I can learn and how far I can push myself so this is what rcThink will be about. If you love these things too check this post out and let me know what you're into.6. My 30 Day Minimalism ChallengeI was moving out. I had loads of stuff. I didn't want to take it all. I couldn't take it all. I started a challenge for myself to get rid of all that I could.5. 1 Week Into My Minimalism ChallengeA status update on the minimalism challenge. I didn't exactly hit my goal of one thing every day for a month but I did get rid of whole lot of stuff. It did change my view on what I need and why I keep things around. I'll be doing another one of these early in the new year to shed unneeded junk and clear my mind to accomplish all the awesomeness I'm going to in 2010.4. The Most Beautiful Place I've Ever SeenOn my trip this year I spent a day in Milford Sound. It's pretty much the most beautiful place I've ever seen. I've never seen anything like it, almost prehistoric. The cliffs rose straight up to staggering heights out of the glassy water. The dolphins were following the boat as we cruised by. Waterfalls poured from the valleys into the fjord below. Definitely worth a read if you want to go (or go back) to New Zealand.3. Rcthink FaceliftI had a tough time choosing a theme for rcThink. I'd change it every once and a while trying to find a fit for myself and my content. I've been so happy with Headlines from Woothemes that it's on a few other blogs I write for as well. Quick advice: Find a good theme and stick to it. Do spend some time finding one you really like though.2. Digital Nomad Blog Carnival #5I got the change to host the 5th Digital Nomad Blog Carnival created by Cody at Thrilling Heroics . I had a fantastic time reading through and picking my favorite posts. I'll be doing this again soon!1. Creating the List LifeWith so many ideas for adventures running around in my head I had to write them down. The best of the best appears in this list. I hope you get some inspiration to get out and really experience life from it!

Plans for 2010

It's an incredible feeling to have a clear purpose for something. I feel like I know exactly where I want to go with this blog and I'm going to pour everything I've got into it and a couple other projects in 2010.In writing this I've tried to experiment and see what the whole blogging thing is about and I've done well on some things and sucked on other things. A few things I want to improve on next year:

1. Regular Posting Schedule

I didn't think this was going to be so hard but posting on a regular schedule ended up being near impossible for me. I'm going to experiment with schedules this year and, who knows, maybe I'll end up with a schedule of no schedule.

2. Wrap up Challenges

I started some posts, challenges and contests this year that petered out into nothing. I won't be doing this again. Everything will have a strong start and an even stronger finish.

3. Spend more time on Posts

I've never spent much time writing. In elementary school, I breezed through. In high school, it was an afterthought. In university, I always did it the night before it was due. Writing has become much more than an afterthought or lame assignment to me now and I'm going to spend much more time learning and perfecting my skills.

Gimme Your Comments

What was your favorite post you wrote this year? What are you going to do next year to improve? To make it your best yet?

Dune Boarding near Cape Reinga

IMG_4949Back in Auckland from my whirlwind trip around New Zealand, I was thankful to have a day or 2 rest before hopping on the plane and heading home.I just had one more trip to do up to Cape Reinga, the top of New Zealand.Because of the way the bus schedule worked we would head up to Paihia the first day, do a day trip to the cape the second, and then have a day to relax on the third.I was expecting this part of the trip to be pretty slow and just a scenic drive up to the cape and back. We got to Paihia and went on a cruise out to the "Hole in the Rock".  It's basically a massive hole in one of the rocks that you can drive through with your boat as long as the water isn't too high. Unfortunately our boat was a little big and the water too high so we didn't fit. We did get to see plenty of dolphins playing around the boat along the way.I didn't realize that we would be doing some dune boarding on the way up to the cape. I had never even seen it before and was excited to give it a try. I assumed it would be on a fairly small dune and the sleds wouldn't go very fast.Just getting to the dunes was a bit of an adventure. Right on 90-mile beach, the dunes rise up off the beach and are bigger than I thought. The road ends abruptly and turns into a stream that heads down to the beach. That didn't stop the bus driver. He slowed a little to make sure we were in the right gear and then plowed on through the river.Careful not to stop in the gooey sand he showed us the smaller dunes the "Oldies" would be sliding down. There were a few buses hitting the dunes that day and a couple were primarily an older crowd. He quickly hauled the bus around so were facing a much larger dune with wind whipping up sand over the top. We'd be climbing that.Our guide and bus driver had an incredible amount of energy and as soon as everyone had a board set about explaining how we were supposed to do this without breaking our necks.He flops down in the mud by the stream and explains where to put your arms, feet, body and how to stop. Then he hops up and starts to run up the sand dune.It wasn't small. And sand is about as hard to hike up as snow, minus the cold. 2 steps up, 1 step back.Near the top, I couldn't wait to rest to catch a breath but had to get right to do the top ridge to do it. Stop before and you'll be assaulted by sand whipping over the top of the dune and down the other side.Finally we make it to the top. Myself and a Finnish fellow named Antti made it to the top first after the guide and we hurry over to where we're supposed to slide down.The first run was fun but I wasn't sure how fast or far I would go so I dragged my feet a little.  Wicked. Now that I know what it's like time to hurl myself down the hill.  I trudge all the way back up to the top of the dune hop in line. Once we've gone once and know what to expect we're allowed to cut the line and go further down the dune. Antti and I rush over past the rest of the wide-eyed first timers and rip down the dune a second time.I pretty much laughed the whole way down. It's like sliding down a huge hill on a sled in the snow but nice and warm. Aside from all the sand getting into my ears, eyes, mouth and nose it was a wicked ride.Antti and I managed to get up the dune 3 more times and got a little further each time. The stream went along the bottom of the dune so if you were going fast enough you'd go right over the stream into the swamp beyond. I didn't quite make it into the swamp but did get onto a little island in the middle of the stream. The last 2 times we raced a couple other people all the way down.We hit up a beautiful beach on the way out of the dunes and hopped in the water to get rid of all the sand. Even after the swim and a shower later, I still was finding sand everywhere. It was a small price to pay for an awesome trip to the sand dunes.[gmap]

Paying to Climb Into a Washing Machine

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That's what it felt like. Like getting into a washing machine.After leaving Wellington and heading north we had a bit of time to look around in Rotorua. I wanted to try Zorbing.After watching some videos and hearing everyone talking about it, Zorbing was definitely something on the New Zealand to-do list.  I had gone through Rotorua on the way south but the weather was horrible so I decided to wait until I was going north.Out of a bus load of people, Russell and I wanted to go. I'm not sure if everyone else was scared or were trying to save money. We got our certificates printed up, changed into our swim suits and headed on up the hilll in a ragged old 4x4.There are 2 runs down that you can choose from. One is straight and wide and the zorb gets moving a faster on the way down this one. The other one that I did zig-zagged down the hill and ended up in the same place as the straight one.The Zorb guy topped up the ball with some air and then shot a bunch of warm water into it. He turns to me and says run and dive in. Really? Ok!  After diving through the small hole in the side and feeling like a fish in a hamster ball, he zipped up the cover and opened the gate.I heard a tap on the outside of the ball so I was ready to go. Moving the ball is not as easy at it looks. I threw all my weight at the downhill side of the ball and I was off.My original plan was to try and stay standed up the entire ride. I had heard it was really hard to do and you find yourself on your ass as soon as you start moving. It was damn near impossible! I gave a couple of pushes in the right direction and then I was down. The Zorb gained some speed down the first stretch and then launched up and hit the fence in the corner. Both the water and I were up in the air. I came down first. The water decided to as well but in the general vicinity of my face.The rest of the way down I felt like I was stuck in a washing machine. I couldn't tell which way was up. The water was sloshing around like crazy and up and over me. I couldn't stop laughing the entire way down but in doing so ended up with a bunch of water in my mouth ever corner with all the water flying around.Coming to a stop at the bottom they unzipped the cover, snapped a couple photos and then I slid out feet first. I was lucky to land on my feet on the way out, most don't. They come flying out with all the water and land on their ass.I had no idea what to expect going to Zorb. It ended up being one of the most fun things I've done on my trip and I'm definitely glad I went.[gmap]

Running in the Windy City

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By that I mean Wellington. Because of it's position and the weather in the area, Wellington is an incredibly windy city. I got to experience first hand what the wind was like on my last run there.I was only going to spend one night in Wellington because I wanted to get moving North and have a few extra days in Rotorua. I ended up washing everything in my backpack because of my own stupidity and needed an extra day for things to dry out.I haven't run much in New Zealand. Being on the bus almost every day and being sick for a week has taken it's toll and I feel like I've been on a tour, sleeping or on the bus the entire time. I was excited to get out and stretch my legs.I took to the seawall heading south from the harbour in Wellington and did ran about 4 kilometers down the path. The wind was howling out of the bay and was pushing sea spray up and over the bank and across the path. I missed most of the big waves but I was still almost covered in salt by the time I turned around.Running with the wind is easy. It wasn't actually that easy because the wind was pushing hard enough that I had to lean back into it and I battled to keep some sort of pace.Running against the wind is not easy. The wind was incredibly gusty and I'd be leaning into it for 30 seconds pushing as hard as I could to continue at the same pace and then it would drop off to nothing and I'd nearly fall on my face. Some of the gusts were strong enough to push my feet together, tripping me up,  and I almost hit the pavement a few times.I laughed out loud a few times on the run as I felt ridiculous trying to remain upright and run in the wind. I was happy to be back at the hostel and get out of the gusts afterwards and into a nice hot shower.[gmap]

Throwing Myself 134 Meters off the Nevis

Nevis BungySomewhere along my trip I got the crazy idea to do a bungy jump. I didn't really want to spend the money to do a skydive so I figured bungy jumping would be the next best thing. Little did I know that everyone thinks bungying is harder. You have to jump yourself.There are 3 bungies around Queenstown. We saw the first and original bungy at the Kawarau Bridge. It's 43 meters high. On the way into town on the bus we stopped for a bit to watch a few people jump. Most of the people looked scared to death. A few were able to dive out like they recommend. The others just fell or hop off feet first. I took away a valuable tip though: don't jump feet first.I never saw the second bungy but it was on an open ledge at the top of the gondola above Queenstown. The smallest of the bungies, it might be the most interesting because you run and jump and there's nothing but dirt and rock below you. You can even do it at night.I figured I'd just throw everything I had at my goal and do the Nevis. I had heard it was the scariest thing ever and at 134 meters I believed it. That's 3 times the height of the bridge jump was had seen. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.I have to say, I don't think I've ever been so nervous as the day before and the morning of the bungy. I was trying to think of every possible excuse to get out of it. Talking to a guy from the hostel that had done it the day before, he had mentioned not being able to do it if you were sick... or was that the skydiving? I had a bit of a cold at this point and would be quite disappointed if I couldn't jump because of it. At the same time, getting out of it for reasons out of my control wasn't exactly a bad thing.I arrived at the office to check in and much to my dismay, everything was a go. The weather was good, everything was running, having a bit of a cold couldn't get me out of it now.There were videos of the bungy  playing at the office and at first I avoided them. I didn't want to know what I was getting myself into. I found myself drawn to them though and they almost had a calming effect. It didn't look that bad. It's only a 8.5 second free fall to a 6 inch deep creek below. I'll only end up horribly mangled or dead if something goes wrong. No problem.I was thankful for the 45 minute bus ride out of town to the bungy. Anything to put it off a little bit more. I tried to collect my thoughts but only ended up more nervous. An American guy near the front of the bus wouldn't stop talking. He sounded nervous but was trying to cover it up. Who was I kidding, I was so nervous I could hardly talk.At the Nevis, I had given into the fact that I was going to throw myself from a perfect safe platform 134 meters into the canyon below. We got harnessed up and I checked and rechecked that things were buckled and tight enough. Poppping out the other side of the building, the gondola comes into view.  I was standing on the view platform when a few other people arrived.The order of the bungy is always heaviest to lightest and to my surprise, I would be near the end. The surprised fellow that was to be first came up beside me and took one look at the canyon. He muttered, "That's bullshit", and quietly wandered away.6 of us slid over to the main gondola at a time on the small one and got our leg straps done up. I had forgotten about the full body harness I had on but this made it all the more real. It was like having shackles around my ankles. "You're not going anywhere but down," they were saying.The first guy got up to go. He looked scared out of his mind. Standing on the edge and looking down he mumbled something and fell off the edge. Wow. After being hauled up to the Gondola and breathing again, all he could say was how cool that was. I didn't believe him.One of the things they repeat over and over before you jump is to make sure you dive out. It makes for a better video and makes for a softer landing at the bottom.  Almost everyone just fell off the ledge before I went. A couple of fellows had managed a bit of a jump and that gave me hope. What would happen when I got to the edge?It was quite windy the day I went so we had to wait for the gusts to die down before jumping. The fellow holding your harness behind you would say "3,2, 1, go" and then you jump, no ifs ands or buts. The American guy that had so much to say on the bus was very quiet just before he went. His first try didn't result in much and he was still standing on the edge staring down. The bungy guy gave him a little pep talk and then started the countdown again. The second time was met with more hesitation and was going to pull back but he had gone to far. With wild flapping of his arms, he was gone.My turn. I sat down in the chair, got my feet hooked into the stirrups and was hooked up. No turning back now. Oddly calm, I smiled for the camera and waddled up to the edge. Waiting for the wind to die down I had second to check out the view. It doesn't look that far down but I know it is.3.....2.....1.... go.I think about doing the best swan dive I can muster and leap.8.5 seconds of screaming toward the ground hardly being able to breathe and it's over. I'm at the end of the bungy. I'm not dead, I'm not mangled, I'm quite happy actually. Happy that I didn't freeze. Happy that I jumped well. Happy that it's over.On the second bounce I reach up and grab the strap that releases my feet and then I'm hanging out in the sun waiting to be lifted back into the Gondola. A round metal contraption hurtles down the bungy and clips into the attachment above me and starts the slow ascent. I felt like Neo in the  Matrix being hauled up into the ship.For the first time in 2 days I can actually think clearly. I'm not constantly worrying about what the bungy was going to be like. There was still lots of things to do on my trip and they hadn't even entered my mind after I started thinking about the bungy.It scared me half to death but it was one of the best things I've done on my trip. I'll definitely be looking for more of those to do!Check out the video to see what it was like.[gmap]

Snowboarding in the Remarkables

I took a day that I was in Queenstown to head up to one of the local mountains and carve up some snow.

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I couldn't see a thing.There were three lifts. 2 of them went up a bit higher and the third stayed more central and lower on the mountain. I tried one of the higher lifts first and found that all I could see was white and the odd marker that showed the middle of the run. Just getting to the next marker was a bit of a nightmare and I hit the snow pretty hard a few times sailing over unseen holes in the snow.The rented boots and board were treating me fine. The combination of wind, snow, fog and old, scratched goggles were frustrating me. I had my sunglasses with me so I tried those out instead. They worked ok but each run I had to dry them out and unstick all the snow from the front of the lenses.Finally giving up I went in to have something warm to drink and mull over my options. I was very close to throwing in the towel and heading down the mountain. I would have to wait until the next bus just after lunch to do that though. May as well stick it out till then and see what happens.I was struck with an idea on the way out and found myself in the ski shop trying on goggles with yellow lense. I hadn't intended on buying any since I couldn't use them for the rest of the trip and they would just take up space but after spending money to get to the mountain I was determined to make things work. I've been looking for some goggles with yellow lenses for dirtbiking at home anyways so I'll be able to use them again.By the afternoon it had cleared up a little.IMG_4254With the fog drifting away and my new goggles I was able to make it down the run without regularly sprawling on my face.I had no expectations going up to the mountain so I can't say I was disappointed. I wouldn't rave about my day at the Remarkables either. Every mountain has its good days and bad though and I'd imagine my day would have been one of the bad ones.Areas that had regular wind run across it ended up icey and slick. Dips in the sun were reduced to piles of slush that grabbed my board and threatened to throw me over the front. There were too many flat spot for my liking. Skiiers wouldn't have minded pushing through the little uphill bits to get back to the lodge by I can't say I was pleased to take off a binding and hike up.The lifts were all quads but were of the old style so a liftee had to hold the chair every time or your knees were abruptly taken out by the seat.Not having boarded much last year I was glad to get out on the snow. I will be riding as much as possible this year and hopefully the snow at home will be a fair bit better than what I found at the Remarkables.[gmap]

The Most Beautiful Place I've Ever Seen: Milford Sound

We left Franz Josef after a night of the hardest rain I've seen on my trip so far. I was desperately hoping that it would move off or abate by the time we got to Queenstown. I had a lot planned for the adrenaline capital of New Zealand and didn't want it spoiled by too much bad weather.The first day I headed out to Milford Sound. It's world famous for its amazing views and incredible walking track. While we didn't have any time for walking the track we took a full day tour out into the waters of the sound. The 4 hour coach took us from Queenstown around the mountains and down to Milford. Even the views from the coach were stunning.IMG_4057The drive took us through some gnarly terrain along the Milford Road. The drivers need a special certification to be allowed to drive this road during the winter because it can get really bad. Sometimes there's snow, sometimes ice, sometimes both. Every few hundred meters there was evidence of avalanches from the last year. Apparently the roads been closed 13 days already this year because of the slides and supposed to get worse.One section of trees looked completely obliterated. There was no snow to be seen even though they had been tossed around recently. The avalanche had stopped further up the hill but the blast of air that comes down with the snow left the trees uprooted and in various snapped and broken positions.Finally, our anxious bus ride was over and we were greeted with the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen.IMG_4120The breeze was calmly blowing through the sound as we boarded the boat and started the 2 hour putter to the Tasman Sea. I lost count the number of times I completely zoned out, dumbstruck by the beauty of the water, mountains, and snow. The past few days had been filled with rain so the waterfalls were moving pretty good and they were all over the place. Small ones, tall ones, wide ones, narrow ones.IMG_4190The landscape looked prehistoric. I half expected a brontosaurus to raise it's head out of the misty woods.On the way out to the sound the driver teased us with the prospect of flying back over the mountains in a helicopter or a plane. Not only would it give us a site of the incredibly picturesque mountains and water, we'd be back in Queenstown in 30 minutes to enjoy the rest of our day. After flying around in the helicopter on the Franz Josef Glacier, I was set on defying gravity again. Once I heard the price of $550 bucks to take the flight back, I had to rethink my choice of travel. Even the flight back was a bit steep at $330. Nearer to the terminal though, the driver announced that we could get a deal for the plane flight at $260(and even less after the exchange). That sealed it. I was going to fly back to Queenstown over the mountains.I wasn't disappointed.IMG_420635 minutes of absolutely amazing views.IMG_4229[gmap]

Queenstown: Adrenaline Capital of New Zealand

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After the scenery of Franz Josef I was really excited to get to Queenstown. It was probably the most talked about of all the places in New Zealand and I was anxious to see what it was like.I was quite surprised with how small it was. I was expecting a much larger full size town but when we rolled into the city limits all that was there were a few suburbs and a little ski town. I have to say though, I was quite impressed by the time I left with how much this little ski town has to offer.Coming in to town we passed the bridge that bungy started on. The Kawarau Bridge was the site of the original bungy and it's still operating today. Jumpers only fall 43 meters before hitting the water but only some of them do the water jump.After jumping a little boat unhooks the jumpers from the bungy and are taken back to the shore. We watched a few from the viewing platform and all I can say is don't jump with your feet first.The rest of the day was pretty relaxed wandering around in town looking for a mexican restaurant. We had been talking about burritos and margaritas that day and had the crave on. After finding the ridiculously expensive mexican place we opted to head down the street to Fergburger instead.The next few posts will be about my activities in Queenstown so stay tuned![gmap]

Walking on Thick Ice

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One of the items on my "must do" list for New Zealand was hiking on a glacier. We headed down to Franz Josef from Greymouth and arrived in time for a half day hike on the glacier. The cheaper option was a walk to the terminal face of the glacier and up the ice a bit. The other was a heli-hike that flew up higher on the glacier, returning you to town after a couple hours on the ice. I had originally planned to only do the half-day hike since it was cheaper and I could move on down the coast the next day but after hearing recommendations about the heli-hike I had to change my mind.An American girl from the bus and 7 others joined me on the heli-hike and it was amazing. I would have been happy with just the helicopter ride above the glacier but having a couple hours on the ice just made it so much better.The ride up the chopper hugged the hills, banking and turning giving us incredible views of the valley and the glacier itself. I have a feeling the pilot was having a great time coming down the valley to where we would start our hike as he pulled some sharp turns then dropped the struts lightly onto the ice. We clambered out and anxiously waited for the rest of the group to be ferried up.After a bit of instruction from our guide Brendan we had donned our crampons and set off onto the ice. Walking with 10 spikes on your feet takes a bit of getting used to but was very liberating once it clicked. Although it definitely wasn't recommended you could literally run around on the ice. The ice was 40-100 meters thick in some places but could be paper thin in others. There could only be a small opening or a bit of water underneath or a massive cavern that you probably wouldn't get out of. Walking in a single file line behind the guide was fairly important as none of us wanted to test out their crevasse rescue techniques.Our itinerary included anywhere we wanted to go. Brendan showed us a few neat spots on the flatter part of the ice then took us in random directions towards the larger seracs further up the glacier. For those that haven't read much about glaciers or mountaineering, seracs are the towers of ice that are left freestanding when 2 crevasses intersect. They range from small enough to step over to enormous blocks of ice that would crush the group if it fell.IMG_3873The rest of our time was spent wandering through, under and over the ice doing our best to stay upright on the steep sections. One of the girls bailed a few times on the downhill sections but the rest of the group did well. If we hit a section that was too steep to scale, Brendan would chop out some steps and we'd cruise on through. Sometimes it's just not possible to continue. About half way we got a bit stuck and after a few minutes of Brendan climbing around on the ice like a monkey, we gave up and headed back to a previous track and went a different direction.I tried to get into the front seat for the ride back but everyone was seated to balance out the chopper so we were back to our assigned seats. The view was again stunning and the ride exciting. The helicopter seemed to defy the laws of physics rising straight up and peeling off sideways during our flight.Back on the ground again with a big grin on my face, we wandered off to the hostel to get cleaned up and ready for the Australia vs New Zealand Rugby game at the local pub.[gmap]

Monteiths Brewery Tour in Greymouth

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Not being able to make it all the way from Nelson to Franz Josef in one day, the buses stop in Greymouth for the night. There isn't much to do in Greymouth but wander around. Someone had mentioned it wasn't a very pretty city and I can't say that I was impressed with any of it. Neptunes, the hostel we stayed at, was quite nice and we were stuffing our faces with free, fresh, baked good before we had even checked in. A couple of us threw on the running gear for a quick jog out to the water and then we were off the Monteiths Brewery.I hadn't expected much from the tour but everyone else was going and I hadn't planned anything else. They bussed us all to the brewery in a sketchy black van that looked like it transported kidnap victims around in its spare time. After about 40 people arrived for the tour we headed off through the maze of buildings and machinery. It seemed the damp, dark hallways would never end but finally we found the start of the process.I have a feeling that few people were listening but were just waiting for the beer at the end. I have to say that I was. Back in the bar in front of the taps we lined up anxiously waiting a taste of the brew we had just heard so much about. They had 6 types on tap and after hearing we had 30 minutes to drink as much as we wanted the energy level in the group increased five fold instantly. The tour guide even let us pour our own after he tired of helping!My favorites where the Raglands which had a distinct limey taste and the Golden which was fairly tame and went down easy. The Black and Red were most interesting though. They both had unique strong flavours but were a little too much for my taste.After we couldn't fill our stomachs with any more we headed over the Railway hotel for the included dinner. We washed down sausages, onions and some salad with more Monteiths beer and then were let loose on the bar. A ride back to the hostel in a police car finished our night off only a few hours before the bus arrived the next morning.So if you're ever in Greymouth definitely check out the tour![gmap]

Countdown to Australia Trip: 20 days to go

Panoramic view of the Sydney Opera House by Christian Mehlführer, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:MC_Sydney_Opera_House.jpg, used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5

Sydney

When you find a website or look at a book about Australia there is going to be a few things mentioned. The Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, and the Sydney Opera House.The Opera House is one of Australia's iconic symbols. Most people can tell you what and where it is without blinking an eye. I'll definitely be having a closeup look at this place while I'm down there. It is where I land and where I'll leave from.Their official website is http://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/ and has all the good information about shows to see and how to get a guided tour.The City of Sydney also has their own website with tons of information of things to do and how to get there, http://www.sydney.com/ . I'm particularly interested in the outdoor part of things, which they've got lots of destinations to choose from.

National Parks

Sydney and New South Wales ( the state Sydney is in) have numerous outdoor areas and national parks. Blue Mountains, Barrington Tops, Dorrigo and Mungo are just a few of the parks that have many trails open for guided or non-guided walks through them. The beautiful scenery makes getting outside high on the list of things to do for many travellers.

Mountains around Sydney

Mount Warning is very close to Australia's eastern most point, Cape Byron. Being a fair bit higher than the surrounding area makes it the first place in Australia to get hit by the sun each day. From what I've heard, the sunrise from the summit is quite spectacular.Mount Kosciuszko is Australia's tallest mountain. Relatively short compared to the tallest mountains on other continents, hikers can reach the summit in the summer in a couple hours from the trailhead. My trip takes me to this area around the middle of the Australian winter so it will be hard to tell if  trail runners alone will take me to the top. Summiting this peak is definitely on the list of things to do but might take more preparation and gear than I'll have with me.  Australia in the summer will be have to be added the adventure list!Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe Island has to be one of the most picturesque places I have ever seen in photos. Some places look completely different in real life but I'd imagine this one looks exactly as amazing and beautiful in real life. The only issue with travelling there is that it's a little out of the way. It requires a plane ride from Sydney or New Zealand and is not exactly cheap.  Getting to the island is only half the battle. Because of the fragile ecosystem and the number of rare species of birds and plants on the island, camping is not permitted. Accomodations start at about $130 a night and go up from there. Not what I call backpacker friendly! Check out http://www.lordhoweisland.info/ for info, pictures and contact info.Quantas offers daily flights from Sydney for $336 - $620 depending on the time and date.   http://www.oxleytravel.com.au/lhi/23.html often has deals on to get to Lord Howe Island from Sydney and Brisbane. These are probably your cheapest bet but check out the prices for flights and accomodation and then see what the deals are like.   Flying from Auckland in New Zealand will cost ya $700-$900 depending on the deal you find.~Ross- always an adventure -

Countdown to Australia Trip: 22 days to go.

Chillin in AustraliaThis is the introduction to my Coutdown to Australia series. I'll be highlighting the awesome places that I'm heading down under to experience. After I land there, this will be the place you can catch up with me and see what I've been up to.  The videos will be here. The photos will be here. Links to the awesome people I've connected with will be here.  Check them out and don't forget to check back! It will be a 4 month adventure, come along with me and have some fun!Some of the posts will go up on pureoutside adventures. The adventurous ones will be stuck up there but weekly updates of awesome my trip is going will be here on rcthink.Everything I do online makes its way over to my lifestream as well.If anyone's been to Australia, or know someone that has been, please comment and let me know the best places to go and the worst places to stay away from!~Ross