When opportunity knocks

“Not knowing when the dawn will come
I open every door.” Emily Dickinson

Two weeks ago I received a call from a DJ at a community radio station in Melbourne. Matt, from Joy 94.9, had found my details on the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance website, where I have a profile, and wondered if I’d like to be a guest on his program, The Escape Pod. He was particularly keen for me to talk about my travel photography, as well as my freelance writing and travel blog.

My first instinct was to say a BIG and very resounding NO. I’m so terrified of public speaking and I don’t like being the centre of attention. I think it’s why I enjoy sitting at my computer putting words on a page, or being out on a hiking trail taking photographs. That is what I’m passionate about. And if someone is inspired by my words, I’m thrilled. That’s reward enough for me.

I started this blog at a time when most of my paid freelance work was editing. I wanted to make sure that I kept writing and gave myself the target of one blog per week. Two years on and, I’ll admit, I’ve slipped and haven’t been blogging as much as I should be… or even as much as I would like to be. I guess life got in the way.

But suddenly, totally out of the blue, things like this radio show happen and they serve to remind me to… DO THE THINGS I LOVE! Don’t get bogged down with things that simply don’t matter!

When I first began pitching articles/photographs to editors, some 13 years ago, I had this self-imposed rule – to never say no to any opportunity, even if it’s outside my comfort zone.

The best example of this was in 2008, when I was asked if I’d like to take part on the Great Victorian Bike Ride and write an article for Bicycling Australia. I’d written plenty of articles about recreational cycling before, but I’d never written an article for a magazine that focused more on professional cycling. I was quite nervous about how this would turn out, but I said yes.

On the fourth night of the ride, after cycling into head winds for most of the ride, I was shattered and contemplated not even going to dinner. But, I did, and I found myself sitting next to Leon from Leongatha; a colourful character who knew just about everyone on the ride. When he found out I was writing an article for Bicycling Australia, he said, I know exactly who you need to talk to. He introduced me to Simon Clarke, who, at the time, was the Under 23 Australian Road Race Champion and had just signed a professional contract with an Italian team.

Simon was a huge fan of the Great Victorian Bike Ride, because it was where he got his start. He is still cycling professionally, now with Orica-GreenEDGE, and I’ve seen him on TV cycling the Tour de France. This year (at the end of November), Simon is returning to the Great Victorian Bike Ride as the event’s ambassador.

But for me, I’ll always remember him as a young up-and-coming kid/cyclist who was happy to take time out of his evening to have a chat with me. This was exactly what I needed for an article about recreational cycling in a magazine focused on professional cycling. So I’ll always be grateful to Simon Clarke and, of course, Leon from Leongatha.

There were 4000 people on the Great Victorian Bike Ride and I happened to sit next to the right person for dinner one night. I think the gods were smiling down on me! But I also think it comes down to taking a chance. I believe that things always fall into place if you don’t live in fear, if you are prepared to go outside your comfort zone.

Saying yes to that one job led to so many other opportunities – new contacts, articles, and even a couple of editing jobs – and it’s quite likely that I wouldn’t have ended up with my current editing contract if I’d said no back then.

So, I guess that’s a rather long-winded way of saying that, yes, I did the radio interview.
And I’m so glad I did because, after the initial ‘I think I’m going to be sick’ moment, I just relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with Matt. It brought back some great memories and has given me the confidence to do it again, if opportunity comes knocking.

If you’d like to hear me talking about my travels, click the link below… and thanks for taking the time to read my blog 🙂

Podcast of my radio interview on Joy 94.9


3 thoughts on “When opportunity knocks

  1. Wow that is an inspirational story. I currently have people telling me I should put my words and Stephen’s photos into a book on the West Coast – guess it is one of those “just do it” moments too so your blog posting is very timely! Look forward to listening to the pod cast.

  2. Pingback: Great Victorian Bike Ride | kgrahamjourneys

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