“Failure isn’t fatal”

“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley

More than a year ago I saw an email pop up in my inbox: UNICEF’s Kilimanjaro Climb for Kids 2014. I signed up after some thought and prayer, to raise $4000, save $6,500 and travel to Africa to climb the house of God, Kilimanjaro to help fund health services for children in Africa.

1.5 years later, I sit in the relative comfort of a coffee shop, sipping on my soy cappuccino, having not climbed to the top of Kilimanjaro. I didn’t make it to the plane. Heck, I didn’t make the $4000. I did all sorts of crazy things to raise money for UNICEF. I ate snails, wiz fizz dipped in spam and consequently, spammed all my friends with repetitive requests to donate to my cause. But sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. In fact, for me – life never goes as planned.

I didn’t have the money to go, I didn’t have the job to raise the money to go, I didn’t have the fitness to go…most importantly, I didn’t have the spirit to go. I’d lost all cause and reason. Getting a job hadn’t been as easy as I hoped, I went from living with a friend (rent free, bless his soul) and collecting my thoughts, to deeply demotivated and overcommitted. I was living in sub standard housing, more than 1 hour away from the job that I had finally managed to get. A job that I hated. I was stuck in a rut. I finally had to let my dream go. I continued living like this for some time, listening to my family members hand out spoonful after spoonful of advice. It seemed that everyone had a better idea of what I should do with my life than I did. I did not agree.

Then one day I received a message from a friend that went like this:

Them: Katelyn! how are you? long time no anything. I had a dream last night witch I am viewing as more of an epiphany and I have something incredible to ask you. Are you ready?
Me: What up my fiesty haired friend!? This sounds interesting. I am prepared!
Them: This is a big question so I can understand any response you give. Ok so I am going to Nepal to climb Mt Annapurna and sufari the jungles and a bunch of other spectacular activitys. Now the trip was originally going to be with my sister, a friend of hers from Melbourne, big boy Troy and myself. However Troy has pulled out. Any ways didn’t think about it too much but then last night I have a dream (epiphany) about you and I climbing a mountain. Now of course this gets me thinking katelyn is like a fitness freak now so she can handle it. Then I’m thinking katelyns a free spirit so I probably shouldn’t feel weird about traveling the world with me (well not overly weird). Then I’m thinking I could probably handle being on a mountain with Katelyn for an extended period of time. So I guess what I am asking is *gets down on one knee* katelyn would you do me the honor of being my travel buddy.


Them: Ps. It’s redonkulously cheap!!!


Me: That was the most unexpected, but agreeably coolest, question I could have been asked


Them: I know right. Have a think about it. But not to long because it’s in 1 month

I knew that even in my wildest dreams this couldn’t happen – I was broke, and struggling.

And then something amazing happened.

…..to be continued…….

“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat


Looking for a miracle

About 9 months ago I signed up for a unique challenge. Climb the mighty Mt. Kilimanjaro and raise $4000 for UNICEF. While I was in Africa, I could stay on to volunteer in orphanages and do amazing things. It would be the trip and experience of a lifetime.

At this point I had a good job, regular income and a training plan. What could go wrong?

Then, amongst fears of burning out and in an effort to preserve my mental health, I quit my job. I quit an abusive relationship. I quit bad friendships. I moved to a city where my family was no more than 1.5hr drive away and I proceeded to strive towards my dream. Except I have a problem. I no longer have income. Nearly three months after I finished my job I am set to start a new job. But for less money, for less hours and for less responsibility. Three days ago I found myself in hospital. I had managed to get tonsillitis so badly it very nearly obstructed my airways and made it impossible to swallow anything leaving me hungry and severely dehydrated.

I’m out of hospital, but I’m also out of money and out of ideas. I have 6 days to come up with $6000.


Will I be able to do it or will I have to give up my dream? This romantic notion of selling everything I own and leaving everything behind, I might have to eschew. But I don’t want to. I don’t want to give up without a fight. I have to believe that these things happen for a reason.





Today was money grabbing day!

Well, kinda. I dressed to ask people and businesses in the area for donations to my cause – the Kilimanjaro Climb for Kids. I tried to dress casual, but smart. Decided on my new boots that I’m still trying to break in. Thinking positive thoughts! But only managed to get to two businesses ha.


Got my packs ready for the next time though!


Today, I quit my job

So today, I quit my job. Just like that. I only told two people, my sister and a friend that I’m not that particularly close to but I was so bursting with the need to tell someone that it just spluttered out. I told them two days ago. So I was prepared. I knew that I was going to leave. But, today, I finally did it.


I’m not actually leaving for three months, but I’m one of those insane people that enjoy giving people the benefit of the doubt. Despite the numerous tales of despair I have heard of poor treatment once the notice has been given – I did it.


Just like that.


I was under the impression that the organisation would value me so much that they would consider shifting me to another position before my departure to Africa to climb Kilimanjaro. The response I got from my boss was of the opposite persuasion.


“Unfortunately there are no current vacancies,” she said, “however I will certainly let you know if this changes.”


It reminds me of a rejection letter that I received when I was a teenager and applied to work at Dreamworld. They appreciated my application, but unfortunately it wasn’t good enough however they would definitely keep my application on file in case something else came up. My mother told me that it was fantastic news. I felt elated! I would have sucked at being Catwoman but maybe I could be Wonderwoman!? My sister dashed my hopes by rudely informing me that every rejection letter said that and no, I would not be receiving a call back. And I never did.


I quit my job and I don’t have a backup. I’m one of those crazies that believes in God, judge me or not, and I am just relying on Him to come through a provide something there for me.


So, well, here goes nothing!




One of my first photos withImage one of the beautiful Aboriginal kids I worked with in my times as a community project worker rural QLD


Girls with a purpose Grad 18 Septmeber 2013 479

I decided, that after the explosion of kale-related goodness that’s appearing everywhere (even available now in Woolies instead of gourmet health food shops), to try my own Kale creation.

I was dubious at first, but gave it a go based on what I had in my fridge that could possibly taste decent in a smoothie. And suprise of all surprises – it actually tasted good! Really good! And if you’ve never blended tof and kale before, I’ll bet you’ll be surprised too.

So, here goes the recipe:

150g x silken tofu
1.5 x bananas (the blacker the better)
2 x stalks of kale with the stalk taken out and wilted (I boil the kettle and wash the Kale in the hot water a couple of times before giving it a cold bast and adding the kale in [DON’T add the water you’ve been washing it in!!]
1/2 cup x skim milk
1.5 tsp manuka honey
couple of shakes of cinnamon

Blend it all together and voila!
317 calories; 1494kj
53g carbs, 15g protein, 7g fat


A green experiment




A night of inspiration!

Tonight we took two young Indigenous girls who are in Grade 12 and beating the odds by doing so well, to see Robyn Moore. Robyn is Australia’s voiceover queen and the voice of much loved Blinky Bill. She is also the most inspiring and thunderous presenter I have heard!

The girls first thought the night would be boring but at the end said it was fantastic! We all agreed that we left her presentation with warm feelings in our hearts.

Some of her memorable quotes include:

‘Live life with urgency without the urgency’

And: ‘if you are going to climb a wall, first throw your hat over so at the very least you are committed.’ In other words, commit to your future and to the direction you want your life to go!

Thanks Robyn for all the memories and the good feelings 🙂




White pants don’t last long on someone as clumsy as myself. Oh well, who wears white jeans after 1983 anyway?




Goondiwindi sure is a long way from Tanzania…!


Climbing to the Top: I Don’t Want To Go Home

Me (on the left) and team mate and friend, Toni Anderson straight after our 10km run.  Noticed the puffed red faced looked. And if you look closely, you will see bacon in my eyes...

Me (on the left) and team mate, Toni Anderson straight after our 10km run.

6 months ago, I couldn’t run 60 seconds straight without having some sort of mini episode that involved a lot of vocal complaining, a reddening of the skin and a strange excretion through my pores – sweat, I think my doctor called it.

Fast forward to now, and I can successfully run 60 seconds straight. In fact, 1 month ago I ran in an 10km challenge to raise money for my employer and charity organisation, Drug Arm. Our little team of 4 completed the 10km run and raised our target $1000 for Drug Arm to put more programs in our local community.

About 3 weeks ago an email popped up in my inbox. Apparently at some point I had signed up to received emails from UNICEF. That, or I was being spammed with a different offer than the usual enticing ‘penis enlargement’ offer. ‘UNICEF Climb for Kids 2014’ it read. ‘Take on Africa’s highest mountain and help kids receive vital services’. My tummy began to have a strange feeling. Like I’d eaten leftover beef stew from Sizzler’s. Or like butterflies, that were halfway through metamorphosis, trying to break free and fly but just landing in a heavy heap at the bottom of my stomach. I knew, this was it. I wanted to do this with every fibre in my being. It took everything I had not to bounce around in my seat. But I couldn’t help myself, I bounced around a little bit. “Metamorphosis didn’t work” I explained to my confused co-workers. This didn’t help their confusion.

About 6km in on my aforementioned 10km run, an elderly man was running next to me. As we were rounding a corner, he put upped the pace and shouted out,’ I don’t want to go home!’. Receiving a few strange looks from those around him, who hadn’t, in fact, offered to take him home for a cup of tea and a biscuit, he powered on ahead. I chuckled to myself as I thought of his determination, and then thought about whether I would have bacon with my eggs when I finished the run, and if they would be scrambled, fried or poached – and if I should add a hash brown to that. My thoughts then went back to that about the elderly man again, and I admired his determination. If only more people thought like that. I mean, the man looked as though he was about to have a stroke – or something equally serious – and yet there are hundreds, even thousands of kids, who can’t be bothered getting up off the couch. I think we are at serious risk of going from a generation of game changers to a generation of game players. People who don’t have the determination or drive to achieve anything with their life. Simply getting through it is enough.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote: ‘What is success? …. to win the respect of the intelligent and the affection of children. To earn the appreciation honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends…to appreciate beauty…to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child…or a redeemed social condition. To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived’.

Why is your purpose in life? What is your mission? Are you a game changer or are you someone just content to sit there and play the game?

I had that funny feeling in my tummy for a reason. The affinity with Africa that I’ve had all my life is finally becoming a reality. And that reality has given me purpose. I am not content to simply sit on the couch of life. I want to be in it. I want to impact people. I want to leave this world a little changed. This time next year, I will have climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. I will have raised money for children who desperately need it. I will achieved something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.

And I won’t have gone home.

This blog will keep track of my progress and successes training and fundraising for the big trip next year and I invite you to follow this story along with me. And I also invite you to be a people who stand up and shout out, ‘We don’t want to go home!’