Today was a little bit grey.

Today was a little bit wet.

Today was the perfect day.

The perfect day to sit in the Crystal Palace, drink coffee and listen to inspiring international speakers.

Or to march down the street with the giant Alice in Wonderland creatures. Each to their own.

I chose the first option, and although I was disappointed to miss the procession, I really enjoyed my coffee and dry clothes. And I learnt a few things about war and surfing. Phil Jarratt (aka The Silver Surfer) pointed out that it appeared that war (completely packed out session) was more popular than surfing (not so packed out session). Why is that, I wonder? I think it might have been because true, hard-core surfers never really lock anything in, because if the surf’s up they’re not free that day. Maybe if we had said that you could come and listen to Phil “at any time”, we would have had a steady stream of surfers through the doors... However, serious surfers- you haven’t actually missed out. Phil will be speaking again at the Crystal Palace tomorrow morning- but you’ve got to lock this one in. 10am.

I loved Phil’s talk. He’s an amazing surfer and writer in his own right, and he also told us some good stories about his surfie friends. Like the one who surfed and competed until he was 85. Eighty-five! Here I was thinking “I’d like to become one of those awesome 80-year-olds who go out walking every day.” I’d never really considering surfing a viable post-retirement option. No excuses now though.

One of the most memorable gems Phil left us with was this: the champion surfers become champions because they are ‘not obsessed with their sport’ and they are ‘well-rounded people’. I agreed with this statement and also felt very challenged. No matter how far up you are, you still need to keep your feet on the ground. There are bills to pay, people who need you, and other things you need to explore and learn from.

Before and after the Silver Surfer I had the privilege of hearing one of the world’s top foreign correspondents, the brilliant Christina Lamb. It is hard to describe just how special it was to bask in this woman’s wisdom and presence and character. Probably as hard as it is for her to describe what it is like being in the middle of a suicide bombing, or having to crawl out of a ditch through open territory and wondering if you will get home for your child’s birthday…to an audience of privileged Tauranga residents.

Because let’s face it, we are privileged to live in this beautiful country that is known as “God-zone”, rather than a war-zone. We are privileged and it’s hard for us to comprehend. But Christina has a beautiful way of sharing her stories and information so that you feel enlightened and empowered, rather than embarrassed. She is both confident and softly spoken, and she is able to tell her stories in a matter-of-fact kind of way, while managing to maintain a sense of humour. Not a small feat when the majority of your career has been carried out in war-torn countries.

Christina also had some interesting things to say about the refugee crisis… and as far as I’m concerned, she is one person who is worth listening to- as she has just been in Europe covering the situation. She’s been on the shores, on the rescue boats; at the detention centres… this is first-hand information.

Honestly, you need to hear this woman speak. And you can tomorrow. She will join Phil (Silver Surfer) and Riley (shark guy) in a discussion about the realities of ‘living your dream on the road’.

2:30 pm at the Palace.

Over and out.

Leah x

“You’ll look up and down streets,

Look ‘em over with care.

And some you will say

“I don’t choose to go there”…

And you may not find any

You’ll want to do down.

In that case, of course,

You’ll head straight out of town.

-Dr Seuss