Crossing the bridge – a 21st Century problem

spreySit back, relax and embrace the hijacking. Inspirez is proud to welcome our first guest blogger post courtesy of our dear friend, the always effervescent, Mr Steven Osprey. He has kindly delivered his perspective on life as we know it, the challenges it presents and the problem of how we define ourselves living in modern-day suburbia. I hope you all enjoy it as much as we have. Steven, we salute you.

Over the past few years, I have been increasingly pre-occupied with some pretty big questions. “Is what I am doing enough?” “What am I leaving behind?” “Have I shaped this world for the better?” I initially shrugged this off as a harmless mid-mid life crisis, but despite purchasing several items of snug leather attire, the pondering persisted. There was nothing for it; I turned Limp Bizkit off, and started making some notes. Having put a good bit of thought into this over the past few months, I believe I have a very 21st Century condition.

For as long as I can remember I have been ambitious in almost everything I do; always looking to try new things, have more experiences, push myself one step further. However, this general desire to ‘do well’, has had little or no real direction to it for several years now.

Growing up in a comfortable and happy middle class family saw my energy channelled by the people and institutions around me, who laid the tracks, pointed out the stops and gave me the start I needed. At this point in life, I was focused on achieving the goals set out in front of me; do well in standard grade to give you options at Higher, get good Highers to get into University, get a good degree to get a good job, get a good job to earn good money. Having clear opportunities put in front of me which made tangible ‘improvements’ to my life suited me well, and I cracked on.

Until now.

In the 6 years since I graduated from Uni, I’ve pretty much stayed on the beaten path and got myself a job and recently, a flat. I’ve had around 18 months here. Still happy, but not moving towards any particular goal. Not passing Go, not collecting my $200. It is at this juncture that I found myself writing notes for this post, trying to make sense of these questions; and to be honest, it’s been a struggle.

“Is what I am doing enough?” “What contribution have I made?” “What do I want from this?”

Bottom line? I have no idea.

While I’ve been on the Great-British Express, desperately shovelling coal to get to the next stop, I’m now realising I don’t know where I’m getting off. What I can say with absolute certainty is I do not

want my entry in reading “Sold computer software – Rudimentary understanding of Hamlet” alongside a selection of my wittiest Facebook posts.

Frustrated, I ploughed my time into smaller goals. Get fitter, decorate the flat, see more stuff. All the while the obituary remains beige.

And so, to the Bridge. In November this year, I watched a recent documentary on the forth rail bridge. Breaking ground in 1883, this was the most ambitious engineering project ever to be undertaken, and the fact that it remains one of our countries most vital economic arteries some 122 years after its completion is a testament to Scottish design and engineering. It was, however, the story of the 63 people who lost their lives in its 7 year construction that got my attention. As tragic as this is, these and the thousands of other men who have long since passed away, have undoubtedly shaped the landscape and history of Scotland. They have earned an immortality embedded in both steel and society.

That ain’t beige. So was that it? Did I want a statue? Immortality? Hero status? Assuming none of that comes with X-ray vision or Invisibility: No.

So if that isn’t what I’m after, why is my head full of these questions? Well, during a particularly long daydream while driving to Fife last week, I might just have stumbled upon the answer.

Our generation (on the whole) has been gifted an unprecedented period of national peace, safety and health. With the possible exception of the IRA and 7/7 bombings in London, the UK has been an extraordinarily safe place to exist for 50-something million souls since VE day in 1945. On top of that, our country has done a good job of keeping us healthy, protected and occupied for well over 60 years. In addition, being a product of the late nineties / early noughties ‘Education Education Education’ system has allowed us to pick almost any career and lifestyle path we want, picking up these skills at little or no cost. We’ve never had it so good.

Not only that, those skills are more transferable than ever. Since the dawn of the digital age, we have embraced new industry and technologies, and replaced our heavy manufacturing past for new, clean tertiary industries. Where our parents were required to hone a skill and ply a specific trade, the majority of us now are tapping keys and looking at a screen; only the order of our keystrokes separate Admiral from Architect.

So my point is, previous generations were issued an identity and (whether welcome or not) a sense of purpose at the school gates. The world was not their oyster, it was a time of doing what needed done, a time of grit and perseverance. While career choice, social mobility and sometimes happiness were sacrificed, they had their goals in front of them. They shaped the world around us, built the roads, buildings and bridges, and fought the Great wars of the 20th Century. Their legacy is civilisation, cities, bridges, sons and daughters, you and I.

We have no great war to fight, no plagues to cure, and only a few crossings left to ford.

And there it was. On a dreary day heading north out of Edinburgh, the deep red of that towering Victorian bridge I have seen a hundred times emerged in the corner of my eye. As I looked over, It

suddenly dawned on me. Our forefather’s achievements are not insurmountable peaks that dwarf us. They are the foundations of the greatest structure in history; each stone, girder and rivet hand crafted for us. Our ancestor’s legacy is our greatest opportunity.

“Am I on the right path?”

I don’t believe there is such a thing. The important thing is that I am walking one that I enjoy, and that I’m committed to. And if that changes, It’s never been easier to do something else.

Live your life like you mean it and history will take care of itself.

Resolution Max

92% of all new year resolutions fail. That is fall on your face flat failure, splat. There’s nothing wrong with being a statistic tho, what about the 8% that achieve what they set out to do? Are they setting the bar really low or are they some sort of super hero achievers, born to rub our faces in their glowing self esteem. Is there a way to join the super succeeder elite? The Double D philosophy always helps and no I don’t mean giant bazookas. Drive and determination. Perhaps the problem with a new year resolution is that most people aren’t used to prolonged periods of continual focus. Let’s be honest, most people including me are flaky, prone to spikes in application and wandering procrastination.

I’ve decided to try something different.

The new month resolution is born. Before you switch off I know that sounds like a dozen times the work but hear me out. At the start of January I made a list of how I want my year to go and as exciting and engaging as that list was it was equally daunting and demanding. I also realised that I probably did the same thing last year and like the 92% of you out there that are probably fed of being a statistic I decided to do something about it this time.

It’s remarkably easy to do and I’m already seeing the benefits. I won’t give away my yearly list, you’ll have to wait a little longer for that but here are the things that I want January to bring.

1. Eat 5 portions of fruit/veg daily.

2. Complete entry for half iron man.

3. Fix my acoustic guitar and learn blues guitar.

4. Take my measurements (waist, chest, arms etc) and set aims.

5. Practice golf twice.

6. Book holiday to Vancouver travelling down the west coast of Canada/America to San Francisco.

7. Go swimming and complete 50 laps.

Seven things of which if I complete them I can look back and say I got out of January what I wanted. Eleven days in and I am sticking to my fruit and veg pledge which I would recommend to anyone, huge boost of energy and concentration. I am waiting on the entry opening up for the Aberfeldy half Ironman this month and as soon as it does my name is going to be on it. I have cleaned, waxed, polished and restrung my 12 year old semi acoustic guitar which I have neglected for too many a year. Learned some short blues riffs and can feel the callouses that I need to play for more than ten minutes start to return. Thanks to Scuba for the inspiration. The old measuring tape can be friend or foe and December was on the foe side so I have where I’m at and we will see where I get to in the rest of the year. Golf is a phenomenal sport but bunker bashingly difficult so the only way to get better like most things is to practice and having put in one two hour session already this month, one more and I’ll be on my way to less on-course freak outs. The west coast of america is a startlingly beautiful place to visit, try it some time. Myself and my good friend Big O have planned our vacation to see 2000 kilometres of it this September, waiting on hopefully a few other participants to bulk up the numbers and we should be able to book it all before the calender flips to February. Finally to tie in with my Iron man entry I’ll need to get to grips with the sea, dust off my water wings, visit the local pool and get some serious training going.

The idea behind all of this is too build little pieces of a big puzzle one month at a time to turn  year into the greatest gigantic mega puzzle ever pieced together. We all want to achieve our dreams so why not ask yourself what goals and dreams have you longed to complete but could never quite reach? Maybe a new month resolution will work for you too. Perhaps when 2014 comes around I’ll be able to join that magical 8% once and for all.

2012: The Greatest Moments


With 2013 having appeared on the horizon faster than a performance enhanced Usain Bolt strapped to a pair of nuclear roller skates the precious seconds of what we called 2o12 dripped away like the tea in your Granny’s hip flask. The very fact we are discussing the beginnings of a new year is surely a reason to drink and be overtly merry. The Mayans had written us all off their stone tablet and into oblivion, if they had only invested in an Ipad we could have avoided the whole embarrassing incident.

Having survived the apocalypse we can all breath a little easier and think back to the moments that took our breath away for the right reasons. A year in review, heavily edited, to look back with Inspirez tinted spectacles on the fantastic things 2012 brought us.


Gangnam Style

We maybe shouldn’t admit this but Gangnam style has made it into the illustrious top ten list. Cast aside everything you know about the K-Pop phenomenon; the clothes, the dance moves, the fact it was the first UK number one single for a Korean artist not to mention an overweight chap in his mid thirties. The main reason it made our list was because of the astounding worldwide reach that gave the song one billion YouTube hits. Justin Bieber is not a happy lady.


Slip stream side burns

Bradley Wiggins‘ year in yellow is something to be marvelled at. Becoming the first British person to win cycling’s most prestigious event would have been enough to hang up his cleats happy. Couple the Tour de France victory with Olympic gold in the time trial and you have every cyclists wet dream of a year good enough to lubricate the most corroded iron horse. Top that off with the BBC’s sports personality of the year award and a knighthood in the new year honours list puts Wiggo’s year up there with the best of them.


Fearless Felix Baumgartner

The man with the tongue twister name, Mr Baumgartner, who on the 14th of October this year decided to step out onto the ledge of his red bull stratos balloon at an elevation of 39km to then jump back down to earth at a neck breaking speed of 834 mph. The fact that the previous record set by Joseph Kittinger stood for 52 years shows you just how nuts the stunt really was. Red Bull may not give you wings but they’ll loan you a giant balloon instead.


Roy of the Rovers

The successful landing of NASAs Martian explorer, Curiosity, was an incredible achievement for the worlds favourite space agency. The highest profile unmanned space mission since the Voyager probes landed gently down on the red planet like a wounded butterfly on the 6th of August. The size of a small family car and equipped with more space gadgets than Will Smith versus illegal immigrant aliens. Sent to explore the Martian surface in search of signs of previous, presumably microbial, life the system that allowed it’s successful landing was incredibly impressive employing the services of a “sky crane” that along with some thruster force slowed the one tonne rover from a rivet jangling 6km per second entry speed to a gentle 1 mile per hour to greet the dusty ferrous surface with a gentle earthly embrace. Maybe it won’t be long before we send some astronauts to keep the magnificent silver beast company.


The Paralympics

From it’s humble beginnings in 1948, the paralympics has ran, jumped, swam and murderballed itself a very long way. A showcase event this year in London brought the paralympics up a huge sporting notch. The true legacy of London’s Olympic games may not be the overriding success of athletes like Usain Bolt and Mo Farah but rather the fundamental change that the paralympics made the world view people with disabilities. Incredible stuff.

ryder cup

Ryder Cup

I love golf, sorry hipsters. The Ryder cup if you do not already know is a biannual competition between the USA and Europe where they tussle it out for golfs greatest glory. The history isn’t important but all you need to know from this years tournament was that Europe won coming behind from an unprecedented 10-6 away deficit to win in incredible fashion on the final day. Throw in some added Seve Ballesteros emotion which gave 2012 an incredible sporting climax.

Don't try this one: Professor Peter Higgs with a description of the Higgs model.

Higgs Boson

Science dweebs unite! The god particle has been discovered by those delightful underground folks at CERN in Switzerland. The statistical confirmation of the particle that brings mass to the world was confirmed earlier this year after being theorised by Peter Higgs back in the sixties. If you think this doesn’t affect you it might actually be the best thing on this list for you and I because fundamental breakthroughs in physics have over the last number of decades been the most beneficial sources of new technologies. Without the development of quantum mechanics during the 20th century we would be without the micro chips in your MAC and the mobile phone in your pocket. The very fact you can read this, the internet, is the resulting work of the scientists at CERN who developed it to share their data. Thanks Mr Higgs.


The Olympics

Where to start. The Queen and 007 taking a leisurely sky dive together, Jessica Ennis charming a nation, David Rudisha’s 800 metre triumph, Usain Bolt running really fast, wheels in the velodrome. Perhaps some British nostalgia coming in here or did the rest of the world revel during London 2012. If they did maybe they enjoyed my own personal highlight as much as me, Mo Farah’s 5000 and 10000 metre wins were astoundingly good telly, enough to make a grown man weep the hopes of a nation were on the little man’s shoulders and he delivered with all the speed and accuracy any Mobot would be proud of. If there is ever an Olympics as good as London 2012 I will eat my hat.

So there we have it, 2012 in a nutshell. Those were the headline grabbing highlights from around the world but what were your own ones. Did you do the things you said you would and will you try again in 2013. Look out for our forthcoming article Revolution Max to help you make 2013 as inspirational as some of these little moments above.

Inspirez out.

”And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by”


In our ideal blogging world, if inspirational personification was as easy as writing a few posts, the majority of our readers would currently have: given up all technology for a portion of their week, constructed their very own tropical island, attached copious balloons to that island and be preparing themselves for some sort of magnificent stratosphere breaching adventure, all this in order to obtain the ultimate enlightenment usually only reserved for those who have defied the Grim Reaper.

Tearing away from the grips of the virtual we find that the real world bares a starker truth with lethargy and I-Pads fearsome foes to destroy. The technology I have shackled, the lethargy is still winning so I thought it best to dust off the old bucket list and quit procrastinating, less preaching more action, no one likes a hypocrite. My counterpart has proclaimed his desire to construct a bamboo bicycle, his hope is that it one day grows into some sort of grandiose two wheeled wooden race to the end. This idea of his has unearthed something in me that I have had squirrelled away at the bottom of my list for quite some time, I thought now was a good time to conquer this particular entry.

I have an affinity with the sea, my home half the year and a place my mind continually drifts to when I am in need of a relaxing mental setting, a life filled with bad manners, queue jumping and bad etiquette is better served when one can escape to a place of calm in their psyche. Sometimes spending hours at sea simply staring at its magnificent barren splendour, taking in the cool breeze and listening to its soothing tune. It’s a respect thing as well; I respect things I know can easily kill me: tigers, grenades, the Ebola virus and Burger King.

An abundance of nautical passion has steered me to the idea of building a boat, a model boat to be precise. I’ve already conceived the design in my head. It will be a fairly large boat, maybe half the length of a small man, light and agile, I hope for it to be fast yet speed is of low importance. It will adorn an understated colour scheme as not to be flashy yet enough that its remains can be easily identified and salvaged following a collision. Sails will harness the power of the wind, a natural propulsion.  I must master the basics of aerodynamics and buoyancy first, wind alone cannot keep a boat afloat. Carved from one piece of mahogany, if unattainable then linden or poplar will suffice. My spare room will become the shipyard and my bathroom will be the marina, a stricken vessel can be easily rescued from a bath tub.

The aim is not just to construct a floating extension of my man hood; it’s something a little more personal and thought provoking than that. When I was a younger version of myself, my father in his infinite wisdom decided that together as father and son we should get a model boat. The plan was to build and then sail it together, it was going to be the one thing we could bond over other than a love of Star Trek and dodgy DIY. An empty promise that never happened and thus a void entered my life. It was not long after this that my dad lost his hero status however that is another tale for another time.

This leads on to my decision to take it upon myself to build the phantom boat of my childhood and when I do I will either display or store it depending on how aesthetically pleasing it is, a sail boat is the hope but a Cast Away style raft more likely the reality. Then the day will permissibly come when I can take my future son or daughter to my favourite loch and launch that boat and upon completion of its maiden voyage that void in my life will hopefully be filled. Maybe my dream will grow into a legacy, maybe my kids will take their kids, do the same and maybe one day father and son or mother and daughter will build a grand ship and together embark on a fantastic voyage.

My main aim in life is when I’m grey, wrinkly and rocking some pretty sweet cardigans, I can look back on my short existence (dementia permitting) and think to myself, I’ve been a good man and a good father. Building that boat won’t automatically make me this person but in my own way it will be a step in the right direction and will provide some soul sorting nautical closure.

Now there is a point to this lengthy post other than just being a soppy tale of one man, a boat and father issues. We all have our bucket lists, mental or written down. They are filled with places we want to go and things we long to do. What you will rarely find in said lists is why these are chosen, what are the reasons for wanting to do or see the things we desire? The famed climber George Mallory was once asked why he wanted so badly to climb Everest and his response was simply “Because it is there”. Climbing Everest is a spectacular feat but is it enough to dedicate so much time and effort to a pursuit if your reasoning is just because it is there, usually vanity is not enough to risk your life. Mallory died on his descent of Everest. I’m not trying to compare my homely vision of boat construction to the climbing zenith of Everest, rather what I’m trying to convey is that if you have something that is a true passion and if that something is also what you have always wanted to achieve, then make that your Everest. If I can build my Everest, albeit within my bathtub, perhaps the dreams of my father won’t be anchored to the horizon

Life, Death and Chalkboards


Death is morbid.

Let’s talk about life instead, yeah life, that stuff is great!

Unfortunately that’s like day without night,  Batman without Robin and Bert without Ernie. It just ain’t gonna happen. Although like all dynamic duos one wouldn’t be quite as strong without the other. Synergy is great and all but do we really need the gooey bloated death stuff to make the sunshine bright life better?

In a word… maybe.

The science bit. Studies have shown that people who have experienced an out of body or near death experience undergo a psycho-physical change that alters the way that they live their life. Furthermore anyone can join in; Atheists, Christians and the Jedis are all equally likely to experience such an event and the resulting life improvements. Neither is such an event dependent on whether you are black, white, blue, old, ugly or new. The after effects have been shown to include a reduction in things like materialism and the pursuit of conventional success and an adjustment to a life built on the pursuit of happiness with a focus on the needs of others. Very Zen.

That was all a bit heavy. Sorry.

All that heavy stuff is great for those lucky enough to be mauled by a ferrel badger or the victim of a segway hit and run. What about those less fortunate. How do you enrich your soul to make life sweeter without the icy hand of death on your shoulder. Here at Inspirez we don’t want anyone rushing to nearly ‘off’ themselves even if they are BFFs with Dr Quinn medicine woman, just in case she has an off day. Maybe there is an artificial way someone can empower change in their life. The first stage could be to decide what kind of person you’d like to be and the things you’d like to do with your time on our little corner of the Milky Way.

One person who is trying to make this happen is American artist Candy Chang who in her TED talk ‘before I die I want to‘ tells of her New Orleans project where she covered a derelict building in one of the cities troubled neighbourhoods with a giant chalkboard.  The instructions if you haven’t already guessed were for members of the community to complete the statement before I die I want to …..  with something personal to them. A powerful project that had real benefits to those who participated. Enough to be life changing? Probably not. Enough to get started? Probably yes.

How to capitalise on a good start then. What about the original question. Before I die I want to? There is surely more than one thing you want to do before you meet your maker. It doesn’t have to be all fluffy tear inducing love cuddles and perhaps there should be more substance than watching cats use roller blades, remember roller blades? Anyway. What I’m getting at here is all you need sometimes is to make a start with the things you want to do and the very first thing you should do is ask yourself that question again but repeat it over and over until you have that favoured thing we love called a bucket list. Check out an example here. What’s on your bucket list?

Death may be morbid but only for those that never really live.


Blogger of the month: My Zen City

Zen on the water

Zen on the water

Month number two of Inspirez’s journey into the deep dark blogosphere, more to that we’ve been Tweeting, Facebooking, Pinterestering, Digging, Redditing and about five others ings that makes us more connected than a dangerously overworked electrical adaptor.
Views are increasing, more followers are following, likes are a plenty and our grammar might even be improving (slowly). We’re doing not bad at all,  in fact I’d say we deserve a couple of cold brewskies for our efforts. Pauses for cold brewskie.  Contrary to popular belief we are not here for self-gratification, today we are here to dish out our monthly dose of appreciation to a fellow blogger. As the title states this month’s honour goes to Laurie over at My Zen City.

As you will be aware, we are into inspiration in a big way here, so one of the reasons for this month’s award going to Laurie is the fact that she inspired one of us. Her comical post Fun Times showed a variety of individuals engrossed in their phones and not taking any notice of the world and people around them, this inspired me to dedicate one day of my life a week to becoming disconnected- which you can read about here.
The way I see it, Laurie, you have inspired one seventh of my coming life and  in our books, that’s pretty good going.

Inspiration a side, Laurie has created a fantastic blog which has been going strong since 2009, a veteran of the blogging game in comparison to our lowly two months. Filled with quirky tales that cheer up our day and crammed with thought provoking posts, her blog is one worth having a look, she has crammed a lot of good stuff onto that page so give it time and have a good snoop.

Keep up the Zen in the city.

Bambeautiful 2.0

Bamboocycle, BamBikes, BamCycles, BooBikes, BigGrassWheeler. Just some of the names given to the hybrid bamboo bicycle phenomenon Inspirez is getting involved with. Okay maybe not BigGrassWheeler, I made that up but I think I like that the best.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about and are about to go back to YouTube for videos of Hippo’s farting and Panda’s reciting Hamlet have a look at Bambeautiful

To get my bicycle race off to the most explosive start I need to know where it will ideally finish so in true social media style a poll will be my catalyst for completion.

For your viewing pleasure I have compiled some of the finest examples of Bamboo Bicycles on the interweb and I am asking you to help a brother out by selecting the one you like best for me to then use as my model guide. You may have already planned your good deed this Christmas but I say stop a second. Hold on to that loose change, don’t hug a hoodie (they don’t deserve your love) and never mind those pesky snow leopards (they’ve got plenty of habitat left!). For real self-fulfilment this festive season contribute to an on-line poll about a man and his as yet non-existent bicycle.

Bamboo Bike 1

Bamboo Bike 1

Bamboo Bike 3

Bamboo bike 4

The Undisconnetables


There is a problem gripping our planet, it’s taking our time, neutering our neurons and pilfering our productivity.

Do you while away the hours watching pandas sneeze, biting babies gnashing fingers and grown men with their majestic double rainbows?

Is the first half hour of your day spent sifting through a relentless mountain of email with nothing but offers for herculean sexual prowess and enticing embezzlement schemes from an endless stream of Nigerian princes?

Has Instagram turned your world into a slightly blurred beige, super saturated world with a magnetic blue tint, containing pinkish overtones and a dash of sepia effect?

If you find your answer to any of the above is yes then welcome to my world. Just about everyone in the developed world is almost totally dependent on an array of technologies that can do everything for us with a simple swipe of a retina display keypad. It doesn’t have to be that way and I hope to take the power back,  as I my friends,  shall become Disconnected.

I’m taking back one day of my life per week. No longer shall I be constrained by the shackles of continuously beeping gadgetry, no longer will the internet beat me down with its depressing tales and doomsday prophecies and no longer will I be micro managed by a continuous barrage of pointless emails.

Wednesday has now become Disconnected Day.

Each and every Wednesday I shall live by this mantra:

  • I will turn my phone off from the moment I go to sleep on Tuesday till the moment I wake on Thursday.
  • I will not watch any TV regardless if it is the season finale of Master Chef or Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
  •  I will not touch a computer except when I am away at work, this will allow me to not get sacked, however I will not read e-mails or access the internet.
  •  I will not use any other gizmo which connects to the internet or has the ability to numb my brain even if that means the sacrifice of my beloved tamagotchi Bert .
  • If I wish to listen to music it must be from my record player no walking into lampposts as I skip the a capella version of Gangnam Style.
  • I will not read a newspaper or magazine, regardless if the world is in the midst of a zombie invasion or if they finally reveal what is in the suitcase in Pulp Fiction.
  •  I will also ban myself from the Kindle, if I want to read then it is back to books for me, fiction only though.
  • I will also not read any mail; generally no good news comes in mail form.
  • If for some uncontrollable reason I cannot do this on Wednesday then the honour will be passed to the next day until I can complete a full day disconnected.
  • One exception though: if I embark on any life threatening adventures I will take my phone with me in case of emergency.

So there it is; my Disconnected Wednesday mantra. You may be wondering to yourself what this has to do with anything we bang on about here at Inspirez. Well our main aim with all this blog and other stuff is to inspire people to achieve things, may it be their wildest dreams or something far simpler. There are numerous reasons why we aren’t all we can be or can’t achieve everything we would like to, one of those is a lack of time and another is that there are too many distractions in our lives.
My belief is that if I take one day a week to completely disconnect myself from a world of mindless distraction, then I can start focusing on achieving things that I have not been able to find the time or concentration to pursue. I will add that in no way is this my attempt to form a part-time Amish community free from the shackles of technology, we love technology here at Inspirez but we also love experiments, new ideas and ways to improve yourself and we hope our little idea might have a big effect on anyone who adopts it.

This is by no means a new idea, many have pursued such enlightenment, I’ve not found out how they fared. I think it could only have had a positive effect on them, let’s hope the absent heart doesn’t grow fonder this time.
I have no plans for what I will do on my Wednesdays of freedom; maybe I’ll learn to juggle or maybe I’ll simply take it easy and enjoy some long-awaited uninterrupted bliss.

If anyone else is up to the challenge then let us know, tell us if it had a positive effect on your life and freed up some vital time and brain capacity, allowing you to go and achieve something you’ve always wanted to.

This post was inspired by-

Image from:


Bamboo Bike

I want to build a bike.

I have wanted to do so for some time, ever since I made my bucket list in fact. I am also aware I haven’t done anything about it, just like my desire to learn a new language, visit Japan and film an epic adventure. Tomorrow is always more appealing.

Procrastination is a devilish trait but delightfully so when faced with something taxing. No more I cry… well at least not for my bike. After all there’s nothing stopping me but me myself. In general terms all I need is time, money, space and the ability to pick up and control a selection of tools. I have the time, nights and weekends should suffice. The money, I can earn or borrow, perhaps I will stumble across a wealthy philanthropist who loves dishing out dollars to those with a passion, perhaps not. The space, the spare room will become my workshop of wonders. Finally I can pick up and hopefully control the tools required for the job albeit with all the finesse of a wet mountain gorilla.

Gorillas and all, I have omitted something. It needs to be incredible. I don’t anticipate doing this again in my lifetime so I want it to be special. I also want to show that having put myself out there that when I hopefully complete it the risk of public humiliation was worth it and a new way to get things done.

Less babble about doing something and more chatter about what it will be like. Well it may surprise you that I don’t own a bike and as much as I understand why people hugely adore cycling as a sport it is not something I consider an interest just now. For that reason I don’t need it to be race weight, with Shimano gears and a fully carbon fibre frame. I want it to be a functional work of art.

I love Bamboo, it’s so versatile that the very word should translate to mean versatility. You can make t-shirts out of the stuff, lighter and stronger than cotton it is hypo-allergenic and soft to the skin, in Hong Kong they use it as scaffolding, men even make ukuleles from it and after all that they boil it in a bowl to make a broth. Now I want to make a bicycle from this magnificent panda nurishment.

Sure, I could do it the easy way, buy an excellent Calfee Bamboo frame and piece together the seat, wheels and all or I could attend the new Bamboo Bicycle Club that designs you a frame and includes a weeks course on building your very special Bamboo Bike. I’d rather piece it together bit by bit.  The bamboobike blog is a great resource I’m sure i’ll tap into and so should you if I’ve managed to sell any of this onto you.

When you set yourself a challenge it’s interesting to imagine what might grow from that original idea. What if it became more than me against the bike. How about it was me against the bike against someone else and their bike if you can forgive that as a statement. What if it became something greater than that, me against my bike against someone and their bike against someone else and their bike in an almighty bicycle race to the finish. If you’re still with my train of thought I applaud you, you can have the first shot when it’s finished.

The aim of this post is to set myself a goal but I also hope it might help other people to visualise a dream they’ve had for some time or even compete in that bike race I was talking about earlier. Whatever you decide you want, make it real and pursue it until it’s done. Inspirez out.

Build yourself a dream

Have you ever built something awesome? What about a Lego fort or the Thunderbirds Tracy island. Maybe something bigger like a half pipe ramp or your own go kart. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to build your own bamboo bicycle or eco car from scratch and I bet you’ve got plans to build your own house one day. How about today then?  These guys have done it so why not you? Here are some of the finest bricks and mortar inspiration we could find for you. Get your pen and paper ready, it’s about to get technical!

What a piece of junk!

millenium falcon

We love the project going on at and featured by the BBC in this video

You’ve got to love these guys enthusiasm for what they’re doing. To build a full-scale 1:1 replica of the millennium falcon from the original Star Wars trilogy is a brilliantly original project and no doubt a product of their childhood dreams. Who knows when it will be finished but no doubt these noble heroes are sleeping peacefully at night in their storm trooper pyjamas against the glowing backdrop of their Yoda night-light. May the force be with you young falcon builders.

Pedal Power

Someone else that has achieved an awesome dream is a rather younger example in the shape of Gordy Toth who when his dad told him that he could build anything he wanted in their backyard in the Mojave desert he did exactly that. He spent six years carving with pick axes and shovels against the baked desert rock to shape his backyard into a fully fledged BMX park for him and his friends. Check out the link below for  a look at the completed park

Johan’s Ark


What about a slightly more biblical tale. Johan’s Ark. Wait? Isn’t it Noah’s Ark, well yes but not this time. An inspired man in the Netherlands has built himself a full-sized replica Ark using the ancient measurement of cubits, the length from a man’s elbow to finger tips. Taking three years to build from Swedish Pine and costing $1.6 million Johan Huibers Ark is a beautiful example of dedication and some of that hard work stuff we talked about at the beginning.

No man is an island


That doesn’t mean you can’t build one. In 1998 Richie Sowa left his life in England behind and moved to Mexico to start a simpler existence. He began collecting plastic bottles for cash and from that he built an island, an island you say?! Tied together in fishing nets he used over 250,000 plastic bottles for a floating base and covered it in bamboo and plywood then topped it with a dusting of sand for his own private beach. Sadly the first island was destroyed in 2005 by a hurricane but since then he has built a larger one and some day hopes to make it large enough so that he can set off to sea and sail the world in his own little floating country. Awesome.

What would you build?