SOMETHING weird and wonderful always happens whenever I stay at the Outrigger Surfers Paradise. And so I find myself yet again, awakening on a Friday morning, convinced I will find Bradley Cooper, a tiger and a baby (preferably in that order) in my hotel room bathroom. Regular readers of The Global Goddess will remember just two years ago, almost to the date, when I woke up with a swollen eye, a random game of two-up, a Gold Coast Meter Maid’s business card, and worst of all, a dodgy tummy which almost forced me to burst into a complete stranger’s hotel room to urgently use their toilet. https://theglobalgoddess.com/2012/09/24/surfers-shenanigans/
And here I am yet again, but on this occasion I have the hangover from hell, the origins of which I am acutely aware, but more curiously, a gigantic flower made entirely from balloons, laying beside me in bed. I squint at the flower and seriously have no idea from where this latest prop in my ridiculous life has sprung. I wrack my brains. Did I date a clown last night? Or worse, did I run away to the circus only to be rejected when they realised my serious lack of skills? What. The. Hell. Has. Happened?
The hangover hangs on but the fog starts to lift and I remember the afternoon started with a Spa-rty with my girlfriends in the Outrigger’s award-winning Day Spa & Salon. I’m dead sober when I walk in and meet the team who has just won the title of Best Customer Care at the Australian Beauty Industry Association’s Awards. You see, these women are not just masseurs, but qualified aestheticians who can make you look like Jennifer Hawkins after a 90 minute emerginC signature facial. (Information which would have come in mighty handy two years ago when I woke up with my Quasimodo eye). I opt for a massage and while I don’t walk out looking like Jennifer Hawkins, I am no longer sober as I have also been offered a glass of champagne. Which would have been great, had I not returned to my room, to find a whole bottle of the sparkling stuff and was overcome by the urge to drink half of it, lest it go flat.
Yes, things have got off to their usual start with me on a work trip (my Facebook fans can attest to the fact I have perfected the art of drinking alcohol while showering to save time while travelling for business). There’s more drinks when I enter the hotel’s aptly-named Deja View Restaurant before we sit down to dine on some of the restaurant’s signature seafood and other buffet items. My friend Corina, who was with me on the original journey two years ago, gently reminds me to take it easy on the oysters, largely because it was her room into which I ended up bursting that morning after the night before. And by bursting, I mean both figuratively and literally.
But the best is yet to come, as our waiter for the evening is Outrigger Surfers Paradise Staff Member of the Quarter Jason, aged 21. At first I think it’s for his impeccable service and incredible manners, but when he pulls out a bag of balloons and starts crafting them into all manners of objects, I realise we are in the company of a genius. And not only that, Jason actually ran away from home at 13 to join the circus, performing with the likes of Cirque de Soleil. For the record, I hate clowns, particularly those of the circus and dating variety. Thankfully this impromptu act has nothing to do with men with big red noses, bow ties and floppy shoes (my latest dates), but pure skill. Jason quickly crafts a colourful flower bracelet which he places around Corina’s wrist, before he makes the gigantic flower that will that night become my bed companion and the source of my confusion the next morning.
Magic, it seems, is the theme of this weekend on the Gold Coast, where the roar of construction from the past few years has been replaced by the gentle hum of trams which now roam her streets. And then there’s the reason I’m on the Gold Coast: the annual national ProBlogger Training Event. I should point out that while there are 500 delegates, only 10 percent are men, so if you are looking at this as some kind of dating event, you should possibly turn your attention elsewhere. (I said this was a weekend of magic, people, not miracles). But what I do receive is two days of training in ways in which to make The Global Goddess better and brighter for you, my valued readers. Darren Rowse, ProBlogger organiser, opens the event with the words: “We live in amazing times where ordinary people are doing extraordinary things”, citing that in this room alone, collectively we possess more than 30 million readers.
In another presentation, I am struck by a quote from Shayne Tilley who says: “The trend is to chase eyeballs. They can have the eyeballs. I care about the hearts and minds of my readers.” The engaging Pat Flynn, who ironically ends his presentation with a magic trick, reminds me to create memorable moments by surprise. But most of all, he reminds me to ask my readers what they want to read. And so, two years after I first launched The Global Goddess, this is my question for you: what do you want to read more of from me? Because my writing wand is poised and I’m ready to create more magic.
The Global Goddess stayed as a guest of The Outrigger Surfers Paradise. To find your own bit of Gold Coast magic, go to http://www.outrigger.com.au
IT’S a Wizard of Oz kind of weekend, where I discover courage and compassion in the most unlikely of characters…the Gold Coast. Beneath the naughty neon lights, the throaty hum of the ocean and the throbbing drum of nightclubs for which Surfers Paradise is famous, lays a rip curl of creativity which is building into the mother of all swells.
My weekend starts with a yoga session in front of Kurrawa Beach, in the park named after swimwear supremo Paula Stafford, whose two-piece bathing costumes put bikinis and the Gold Coast on the global catwalk. I’m in a public park, with my legs in the air, spread wide apart, simultaneously contemplating my form and hoping the swirling seagulls don’t poo on me. It’s a day of downward dogs and inward reflection.
Our yoga teacher for the morning is Laura Humphreys from Threedom Wellness, who gently urges us to accept the notion that yoga is a balance between courage and compassion. And you can forget about bringing your ego to class.
“Backbends are about the future. Forward bends are about looking inwards. We often don’t like to look inwards, it scares most of us,” she says. Interestingly, Laura has to force my body into a forward bend, which becomes easier with each deep yoga breath. Some days, you’ve just gotta breathe.
There’s just enough time for a short break at Broadbeach’s eclectic Elm for a dirty chai – a coffee and chai – before the next wave deposits us at Burleigh and Roar Food. Business Partners Darren Jones and Suki Kasinathan are passionate about sustainable eating, and in two hours will teach you how to prepare 10 raw food recipes. It’s here I learn that cauliflower is “sensitive” – the kind of vege you might avoid if you were dating it, but a perfect substitute for couscous. Want a new twist on pasta? Why not try zucchini spirals? Or a raw food apple pie – cheeky crusts need not apply.
“Each of your vegetables has a personality. When you are eating raw you really connect to the food. Each individual apple will have a different sweetness,” Suki says.
“For me it is a journey and I don’t know where it is going to end but it feels really good.”
The plates you eat on during this class are made from a bi-product of sugar cane, as are the forks and even the recipes are printed on ethical paper made from wheat and soy rice.
The current sweeps me to Budd’s Beach and onto a kayaking journey with Steve Vah from Australian Kayaking Adventures where we cut through the water with our paddles and through the bullshit of life with talk of love and passion. Steve is married to a Colombian and he knows a thing of two about fiery females with big hearts. Our journey along the Gold Coast canal takes us past Bar Helm Bistro @Surfers, where later that night I’ll indulge in Helm’s Smoking Texas Mary cocktail take on a Bloody Mary and reluctantly concede that my friends made a wise choice in the Parmesan Crusted Snapper Fillet with lemon butter.
I’m on the Gold Coast for Australia’s premier blogging training event – ProBlogger – and it’s here that courage and compassion raise their handsome heads again. In his opening address, ProBlogger architect Darren Rows proffers an insight into facing your fears.
“Fear is a signal that something important is about to happen. It’s a good thing. Ask yourself – what’s the worst thing that can happen, how would you recover if it happened, and what’s the best thing that could happen? The reality is somewhere in between,” he says.
“Even wobbly courage is courage. Figure out what the fear actually is. Don’t play the comparison game, comparisons are not fair. People show the best of what they do, where you know everything about yourself, even the bad stuff.
“Compare yourself to yourself. You are unique. Use that to your competitive advantage. No one has your story.”
Guest speaker Trey Ratclif, a photographer who is blind in one eye, is 42 and only picked up a camera 7 years ago. His self-taught imagery is legendry around the world. The kind of excellent work that attracts jealous detractors.
“It is arguably better to have a weird brain than a normal brain. People on the edge of the bell curve do interesting things with their lives. Let the rocks people throw at you just fall,” he says.
“There’s a few people out there who are evil and feed a white core of hate inside of me. I fight back with awesome.
“A blog is probably the greatest self-discovery tool of our age. You find out new things and truths within yourself. When you are telling your stories you are living in the now.”
Actor Samuel Johnson, who is riding around Australia on a unicycle to raise money for breast cancer research in honour of his sister Connie who is battling the disease, makes a surprise guest appearance at the conference. You need courage and compassion to make an epic journey around a monster-sized country like ours. And a heart of gold. And that’s where the crux of this story on courage and compassion lies for me. As a blogger, I think you must write with heart, humour or humility. Like you should live your life. And, if you’re really lucky, you might find all three.
The Global Goddess explored The Gold Coast as a guest of Tourism and Events Queensland. For more information on a Gold Coast holiday go to http://www.queenslandholidays.com.au.
To donate to Samuel Johnson’s ride for breast cancer, please go to http://www.loveyoursister.org