Tag Archives: black dog institute

Bhutan – we’re introduced to the city and culture by Rinchen

 

Reflections and memories of Bhutan – sharing scattered days of my amazing trek in Bhutan with Team Black Dog Institute: Waking up for our first full fay in Bhutan. I was shattered from a huge few days of travel and had gone to bed at just 8pm! We felt back to ourselves and ready for a big day. We packed our trekking bag and prepared for a short acclimatisation walk at 3200m and above today!
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We were met by Rinchen our lovely guide and taken first to the city centre . Our first stop the Bank of Bhutan, we needed Ngutrum the local currency but it was also a fascinating experience seeing how day to day operations run.

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Nic Newling and Rinchen practice selfies.

Then off to buy some essentials for our trip at a local supermarket, always a novelty. Our last local activity was the fruit and veg market. Unlike many other markets we had been to in other countries, this was calm and relaxed. We strolled around observing the local fruits and vegetables and smiling at the stall holders. We purchased some apples for our trek and then watched a presentation on sanitation by school children from a nearby school – beautiful!

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On to the bus and we drove out of Thimpu valley along windy cliff teetering roads. We enjoyed the valley views and chatting amongst the team, quickly getting to know one another. We arrived at Dochula pass, 3150m.

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We were amongst another beautiful sight, the Druk Wangyel stupa with more than 108 stupas built by the Queen Mother in 2002. We stood on top of a lookout and were greeted by a wonderful circular restaurant, Druk Wangyel Cafeteria. Our team rested with tea and coffee while admiring the spectacular views.

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Time to trek! We walked up into the forest and continue on up, up, up for another 40 minutes. It was good to have this warmup and feel what it’s like to be at altitude. It certainly isn’t the same as walking at sea level and we gave ourselves some grace for being a little tired. The good thing is, while you stop to rest you can marvel at the forest surrounds, endless valley views and prayer flags flapping in the wind. We started at 3200m and at the highest point we reached 3500m.

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The descent was certainly easier and we really soaked up our environment. If the area we will do our trek in is even half as beautiful as this one, we’re in for a spectacular six days! We reached the Buddhist stupa again and returned to the restaurant for another incredible meal! We then headed back to Thimpu in the afternoon sunshine again getting to enjoy such wonderful views.

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In Thimpu we saw the king and his cavalcade of cars drive past. Quite a thrill. We then went for the second attempt at the Dzong Fortress. We made it in this time and were so glad we did. Beautiful brightly coloured paintings of Buddhist stories, incredible architecture and a wonderful setting in the heart of the valley. We attended a chanting ceremony of the monks in the temple of 1000 Buddhas and in the shadow of another giant golden Buddha. So spectacular.

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I also decided my goal at the temple was to get the guards to have a cheeky smile and laugh with me. Come on guys! Look on the bright side! So I posed or waved with many of them – it was really fun and they had a good giggle too.

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The afternoon was filled with shopping! Some people buying local outfits and traditional dress. Then onto a long strip of stalls and markets selling beautiful handicrafts. The items are so unique and truly Bhutanese that it was easy to quickly spend our cash. But so worth it to take a peace of this peaceful country home with us. Some haggling and joking made it a fun experience with the locals.

On then to a special cultural show organised by our wonderful local tour company. We go swept away into the culture and history of Bhutan as these women and men danced and sang so effortlessly before us. It was almost as If they were miming stages because we could not believe that these beautiful sounds could be coming from the people before us. We clapped loudly after each dance and were welcomed to join in on the last one, a spectacular experience.


Again the weary travellers had had an enormous day of activity. We went back to our hotel for a meal and stumbled across a Sweet 16th birthday party in the restaurant. We were invited to join in and sang to the birthday girl, enjoying the delicious birthday cake. Just another example of the beautiful nature of the people of Bhutan

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Tomorrow, we begin our trek! The trek to happiness!! But to be honest…. We found it the moment we landed here.

This was Day 3, 10th October 2015, of our Inspired Adventures Bhutan Trek for Happiness, raising funds for Black Dog Institute.

This is an excerpt and my own images and note. Read the full blog at Inspired Adventures. 


I’m not Wonder Woman. Some days I have doubts. 

There are days when I doubt. Truly doubt what I am capable of. Am I doing the right thing? Is this my path? Why do I do what I do? 

Yes! This is a regular existential crisis I face. Because you know what, despite all my achievements and activities. I’m not Wonder Woman! 

   
art of the brick – DC Comics Lego Exhibition at Powerhouse Museum

I’m human. Humans are flawed. We are complex. We are beautifully messed up and complicated. And some days, I doubt!

I saw this quote the other day and it really helped me to put things in perspective and to remember that I can make a difference… Even in a small way. 

As R. Buckminster Fuller said:

“Never forget that you are one of a kind. Never forget that if there weren’t any need for you in all your uniqueness to be on this earth, you wouldn’t be here in the first place. And never forget, no matter how overwhelming life’s challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, it is always because of one person that all the changes that matter in the world come about. So be that one person.”

When I was in Bhutan, I had a beautiful your guide, Rinchen. His attitude and approach to life was refreshing! He said “be good and be kind”. This was his summation of Buddhism. Be good! 

You don’t have to be great, amazing, fantastic, and spectacular! You can be, and go for it!! Good on you – reach for the stars! That’s what my motto is all about this year. But most importantly, be good! 

  

“Believe in something bigger than yourself”
But believing in something bigger and greater, doesn’t mean I have to be SUPER DUPER amazing all the time!

   Bhutan, #trektohappiness with Black Dog Institute
As Rinchen said, we need to be good! Being a good person is actually an amazing thing. We must strive to be good, to ourselves, to our friends, and to the world – because there are so many things bigger than us.    Rinchen also posed the question we all went to Bhutan in search of answering “what is happiness”. We all leaned in …. What is it!!! 
 (Rinchen the wise)

“Happiness is making others happy. If you can make others happy. You will experience happiness. You must share happiness. This is what will bring you happiness in life”
   
 (Emma at the Tiger’s Nest Monastery)

As tears streamed down my face, these words sat with me and rang so true. This doesn’t mean I must forsake all self care and dedicate my life to others, but it does mean that I will “believe in something bigger than myself”.    (Rinchen sharing his beautiful Bhutan)
I can find happiness in the joy of giving and sharing with my fellow humans. It’s not all about me.

These words stay with me and in my moments of doubt, I will remember them. I am just one, but I can make a difference. I can make 10 other people smile, I can share my love and I can be happy. 

 (Tiger’s Nest monastery)

I hope this helps you too and in your moments of doubt, you can remember that you’re never alone and you are part of something greater and bigger.

If you are in need of support as you feel that your problems are bigger than you, speak to a friend or reach out to a service such as Black Dog Institute. I hope by sharing some of my own truths, fears and doubts can help others.

Be good, be kind, be happy. 


R U OK? Day 2015

R u ok?

Thursday 10th September 2015 was R U OK DAY.

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How often do we ask this question? Generally it implies something is wrong. When you ask this question, you often get “Yeah, I’m fine, why?” It shouldn’t be unusual for us to ask someone are they ok – it should be frequent and it should also be normal for them to be able to answer “no, i’m not” if they are in need of help.

Talking is so important and sometimes just sharing with someone our worries, concerns and fears, it can lighten the burden. More often than not when you speak something out loud, it diminishes it’s power. “A problem shared is a problem halved.”

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I feel blessed to have family, friends and even kind strangers around me who have helped me through difficult times. I know that in a time of trouble I can say “I’m not ok” and there will be a support network around me to help me deal with this problem.

There are also incredible sites and resources you can visit to learn more and to get help:

R U OK?

What is r u ok day?

R U OK? is a not-for-profit organisation founded by Gavin Larkin in 2009, whose vision is a world where we’re all connected and are protected from suicide. Accordingly, our mission is to encourage and equip everyone to regularly and meaningfully ask “are you ok?” 

Learn more at R u ok website : www.ruok.org.au

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Lifeline – Call 13 11 14

Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.

Somewhere in Australia there is a new call to Lifeline every minute. People call Lifeline’s 24 hour crisis line 13 11 14 about:

  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Personal crisis
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Loneliness
  • Abuse and trauma
  • Stresses from work, family or society
  • Self-help information for friends and family

For more information visit: https://www.lifeline.org.au/

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Black Dog Institute

The Black Dog Institute is a world leader in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder.

For more information: www.blackdoginstitute.org.au

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In October 2015, I will travel to Bhutan to Trek for Happiness! I will be personally raising $3500 for the work of Black Dog Institute. I wish to support those living with mood disorders and to break the stigma that surrounds mental health. Each year, Black Dog Institute aims to advance the understanding, diagnosis and management of depression and Bipolar Disorder and improve the lives of those affected by these mood disorders. Please help me in my cause by donating through my page.

Sponsor here:http://bhutantrektohappiness.gofundraise.com.au/page/LovellyEmma

In Peru in 2012, trekking to Machu Picchu with Black Dog Institute

In Peru in 2012, trekking to Machu Picchu with Black Dog Institute


Missing Christopher

Powerful, moving, beautifully written & so important! This book is magnificent. You must read “Missing Christopher” by Jayne Newling. A true masterpiece. An easy read for it’s wonderful writing, a difficult read as it’s so deeply personal & so many of the themes I know & associate with.

 

I have just finished Missing Christopher and I have been rocked to my core. This is an incredible piece of writing that captures the heart and invites you intimately into the world of the Newling family and their pain. Jayne Newling is an exceptional writer and I can’t recommend this book more highly.

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Jayne has bared all in this book. It’s so raw and real. I was crying from just a page in and felt the sting in my throat so many times as I choked back tears. Who am I to cry as I read this story when this woman and her family have been through so much. She details so well the characteristics of the people around them, the feeling of the places they lived, the emotions she endured and the suffering they felt. You are with her on every step of the journey and flipping each page to see how she could carry on. It’s an incredibly detailed trip into the world of grief and pain. I admire her courage and strength to write this and share it with the world. I thank her for being so open and know that her words will help others.

I really enjoyed the quotes dotted throughout the book and the way she shares the inspirations that once encouraged her son. The story sometimes jumps around and I like how it replicates the mind in this troubled stage and you can follow her thoughts at these challenging times. You really are taken into the world of depression, suffering, pain, grief and struggle. I felt exhausted but also educated by this book. For anyone who knows someone or themselves is suffering with mood disorders, I recommend this book. I have now passed it on to a 17 year old friend with clinical depression and I know the words will be of great solace to him.

To my friend Nic, the youngest son of Jayne Newling, wow, your journey is amazing & I’m thankful to know you and your goodness! I met Nic on the Trek to Machu Picchu with Black Dog Institute in 2012. Nic had incredible insight into mood disorders and worked for Bite Back with Black Dog Institute. I saw his amazing intuition and kind heart as he supported others on our trip through some tough times. His wisdom and fun loving spirit made him the perfect companion for the good times and the bad. I knew some of his story but nothing like what I read in Missing Christopher. I knew he was a wonderful person and I knew he’d been on a journey but not to such a great extent! I have such a great respect for him and a deep sorrow for the pain the family has endured. No-one should have to go through that. I know that Nic will succeed in his new path of speaking as he shares his story and Christopher’s to so many around Australia.

Nic Newling - Peru Challenge 2013 for Black Dog Institute- Sponsor Thank you T shirt

Nic Newling – Peru Challenge 2012 for Black Dog Institute- Sponsor Thank you T shirt

Nic Newling - Peru Challenge 2013 for Black Dog Institute- Sponsor T shirt

The afterword in this book is written by Professor Gordon Parker AO, founder of the #BlackDogInstitute. His help with the family at the most critical times and the continued support over the years is amazing. His insight and knowledge of mood disorders is above and beyond and I think his work in instigating an organistion such as Black Dog Institute is exemplary.

I have had my own battles with depression. I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress in April 2005. By July 2005, I had slipped into a deep depression and was diagnosed with clinical depression. Despite having loving family and friends, a caring and dedicated doctor, a wonderful school counsellor, supportive school teachers and staff and an appointed psychologist, my mind took over and depression consumed me. I was on anti-depressants and had regular counsellor, doctor and psychologist appointments. I understand the darkness and the depths that depression can take you. For me, it was circumstantial and the family history of it may have been the tipping point. Ultimately, it was the support, the love and the will in me to get through that saw me clear. The Black Dog of depression has re-visited me twice but funnily enough I am thankful for hitting my lowest low in 2005 as I now recognise the signs early enough to seek help.

YAY___Just_got_my_official_Black_Dog_Institute_supporter_pack_____So_excited_to_be_raising_money_for_this_amazing_org.__The_Black_Dog_Institute_is_a_not_for_profit_organisation_dedicated_to_improving_the_lives_of_people_affected_by_mood_disorders_thr

We are all unique individuals and will all travel a different path. I cannot say that my depression was anything like what Christopher experienced. We come from different situations, different triggers and who knows what could, would have been. But I do understand that mental health is important, that mood disorders should be understood by the wider community and that people who are suffering should be treated with kindness, respect, love and care.

I feel passionately about the issue of suicide and mood disorders and value the work of Black Dog Institute. I’m happy to share my story, just as Jayne has shared their story and the pain she endured, so that others may not suffer in the same way.

In October 2015, I will travel to Bhutan to Trek for Happiness! I will be personally raising $3500 for the work of Black Dog Institute. I wish to support those living with mood disorders and to break the stigma that surrounds mental health. Each year, Black Dog Institute aims to advance the understanding, diagnosis and management of depression and Bipolar Disorder and improve the lives of those affected by these mood disorders. Please help me in my cause by donating through my page.

Sponsor here: http://bhutantrektohappiness.gofundraise.com.au/page/LovellyEmma

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Jumping at Sacsayhuaman in Peru in 2012 on the Peru Trek with Black Dog Institute and Inspired Adventures


Emma is trekking to Happiness with Black Dog Institute

It’s time for me to take on another challenge! This time for a cause so close to my heart, Black Dog Institute – raising awareness about mental health.From the 8th-19th October, 2015, I’ll be embarking on the Black Dog Trek to Happiness through Inspired Adventures to raise funds for Black Dog Institute.

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In 2005 I suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which soon led to depression. It’s hard to think back and image how low, dark and sad my days were. It’s like slipping into a black hole and not knowing any way out. I was so fortunate at the time to have the love and support of my family, access to quality health care professionals through my school and a wonderful local GP who understood mental health. The Black Dog has come back to sit with me a few other times but after gaining skills and knowledge on how to manage my depression, I know that for the future, I will be ok and I can take this path to happiness.
It’s not like this for everyone. Some people don’t understand what mental health is and when they are in that black hole, don’t see the help they can receive to find a way out of the darkness. The wonderful work of Black Dog Isntitute is helping those in need and educating our community on mental health. With their support, individuals and families can learn how to cope and live with mental health.
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I trekked to Machu Picchu with Black Dog Institute in 2012 with an amazing team raising more than $60,000. I met a fantastic guy on that trip, Rory Hayward who was passionate about mental health and the work of Black Dog Institute. In January 2013, Rory sadly passed away from a heart condition. In signing up for this trip, I used the motto his friends have formed “What Would Rory Do? (WWRD)”. I tribute this Trek to Happiness and my fundraising efforts to the memory of Rory.Each year, Black Dog Institute aims to advance the understanding, diagnosis and management of depression and Bipolar Disorder and improve the lives of those affected by these mood disorders. Please help me in my cause by donating through my page.

Thanks so much for your support of this wonderful organisation and yet another of my CRAZY adventures!
HAPPINESS IS KEY!

In October 2015, I will travel to Bhutan to Trek for Happiness! I will be personally raising $3500 for the work of Black Dog Institute. I wish to support those living with mood disorders and to break the stigma that surrounds mental health. Each year, Black Dog Institute aims to advance the understanding, diagnosis and management of depression and Bipolar Disorder and improve the lives of those affected by these mood disorders. Please help me in my cause by donating through my page.

Sponsor here: http://bhutantrektohappiness.gofundraise.com.au/page/LovellyEmma


How will you BITE BACK in 2015?

I love this new promotion for BITE BACK as part of Black Dog Institute’s program for youth in 2015. Young people have the chance to make a plan for ways to challenge themselves in 2015 and even win prizes. Here are the details!

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Share your big plans to get the most out of 2015. Some massive prize packs are on offer!

There’s always room for more of the good stuff and it’s great to launch into the new year on a positive note. So for this competition, BITE BACK wants to hear about the positive things you’re doing to take life to the next level.

To sweeten the deal they’ve got 5 prize packs to give away for the most captivating entries including Fuji instant cameras, zombie speakers, an ice cream maker, desktop mini pool table, and heaps more.

So how will you BITE BACK in 2015?

Entries close soon! Visit http://www.biteback.org.au/competition for more details

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Loving this idea of taking positive steps with mental health. Setting plans and making goals are important for a bright future!

In 2015, Emma Lovell will take on the Trek to Happiness in Bhutan with Black Dog Institute. Emma is aiming to raise $3500 for this wonderful organisation. Each year, Black Dog Institute aims to advance the understanding, diagnosis and management of depression and Bipolar Disorder and improve the lives of those affected by these mood disorders. Please help Emma in this cause by donating through the online fundraising page:
http://bhutantrektohappiness.gofundraise.com.au/page/LovellyEmma

You can follow Emma’s adventures at: 

Instagram: @Lovellyem
Twitter: @lovellyinc
Blog: www.travellerem.com
Facebook. www.facebook.com/lovellycommunications


My Brilliant Deuter Backpack for Travelling

Huge thank you goes out to the team at Velovita who sponsored me for my 2012 Peru Challenge to Machu Picchu for Black Dog Institute. Here is me happily ready to set off in Melbourne for my big Peruvian adventure.

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Velovita donated to me the incredible “Aircontact PRO 65 + 15 SL” Backpack” from Deuter. It was a wonderful travel companion and one of the crucial accessories for this trip. I was big on having an easy access backpack, with zip on the front as well as top loading access. It also has compartments on the bottom for sleeping bag/ shoes/ or dirty clothes. I found everything easy to pack, easy to carry and easy to store.

Smiling with my backpack on after hiking up the rocks of Isla Del Sol in Bolivia to our accomodation

Smiling with my backpack on after hiking up the rocks of Isla Del Sol in Bolivia to our accomodation

The year before when I travelled to Kilimanjaro I’d borrowed a backpack, which was so good of my friend, but as I am doing more and more of these trips, it was time to get serious. Mum and I shopped around for a while but through some of her great connections – she was able to get me a sponsor for this important part of equipment and now I have my very own amazing backpack!

On the shores of Copacabana in Bolivia

On the shores of Copacabana in Bolivia

Specs of the bag:

Aircontact PRO 65 + 15 SL

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Article ID 33833-2404

Weight:
6 lbs 10 oz
3000 g
Volume:
3970 + 920 cubic inches
65 + 15 litre
Size:
35 / 14 / 13 (H x W x D) inches
90 / 36 / 34 (H x W x D) cm
Material:
Deuter-Duratex
See more at Deuters website.
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(It really does come with the yellow flower!!)

 

I was never a big fan of the “backpacking” style of travel and didn’t think I needed one! But this backpack has been a godsend. So easy to pack, easy to carry, supportive and stylish! I’m definitely a fan and will continute to use the pack. I’m a true traveller now!

The weary traveller in Can Cun, Mexico

The weary traveller in Can Cun, Mexico

 

Big Thank you again to Velovita and Deuter!


Peru Trek to Machu Pichu

Here are just a few photos of the epic adventure that was Machu Picchu and the trek leading up to it!

Instagram has been amazing for documenting my trip and sharing info along the way.

Trekking in the lares valley, Peru

Finished the trek at Ollantaytambo, almost at Machu Picchu

 

The view of Machu Picchu from Huayna Picchu

 

 

Enjoy!!

 

Please support www.blackdoginstiture.org.au who I did this amazing adventure for!


Peru is amazing!

It’s 11pm and I have to be up at 5am tomorrow to start my 4 day trek to Machu Pichu for Black Dog Institute!

Peru is incredible. So much to share. Cusco is a beautiful city filled with colour, culture and plenty of smiling faces. Very comfortable and happy here.

A photo of our group on our first day in the city.

Much more to come!!


Matt Pratten prepares for the Peru Challenge and trek to Machu Pichu

My dear family friend Matt Pratten decided to join me on the Machu Pichu trip, Peru Challenge 2012, in a spontaneous burst of enthusiasm. I was chatting to Matt on Facebook and said “Come to Peru with me” Attaching the link and adding a smiley face. He responded, “Yeah, it’s been a while since I did a good pack march!” He’s in the army you see and was keen to do something a bit different for training. The next week, he was booked and preparing to come.

I have been overwhelmingly impressed with Matt’s dedication to this trip, this cause and his fundraising efforts. We are raising awareness and much needed funds for Black dog Institute and their work with mood disorders. Depression is something that has affected Matt personally and he wants to make a change.

 

He’s run up mountains, dressed in a dog suit and done a hike, shaved his legs and so much more to get his totals up. He is close to $7000 now and still rising with an initial goal of $4000.

See Matt’s challenge page here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/317008385048293/?fref=ts

You can sponsor Matt here: http://peruchallenge2012.gofundraise.com.au/page/PrattenM

 

Good luck Matt and can’t wait to join you on this epic adventure.

 

 

 

In October 2012, I will climb Machu Pichu for depression and anxiety awareness. The Peru Challenge 2012 will run from October 20-31 and raise much needed funds for Black Dog Institute for the research and awareness of mood disorders. This is a cause close to my heart and I’m doing it honour of my Grandma who lived with depression most her life and also the many friends and other family members who live with this mood disorder. Please donate to my page and learn more about my adventure – http://peruchallenge2012.gofundraise.com.au/page/Lovelly


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