Just before COVID-19 shut down the world, I was in the Philippines with Compassion Australia.

Simply by the fact that I was born in Australia, I have had more opportunities than I deserve and I live a very ‘comfortable’ life. The same can’t be said for Rusty, a young boy who lives with his parents in a shanty owned by his grandmother.

When we met the family, Rusty’s dad Ricky was working as a farmer and earning around 300 pesos per week. That’s just 20 Australian dollars for an entire week’s work.

Rusty’s mum, Thelma, cares for her five children in their small makeshift home. The family often struggle to meet their basic needs and they often go into the forest to gather edible plants to eat.

The children lug heavy buckets of water to their shanty from a nearby creek. They don’t have the luxury of just turning on a tap. While many of us have more than one toilet in our homes, Rusty’s family shares a toilet with another family.

One day, a heavy storm was battering the roof and the walls of their home. Rusty’s family decided to move to his uncle’s house where they thought they’d be safe. But on the way, Rusty slipped and fell, hitting his head on a rock. To stop the bleeding, Thelma rushed him to the hospital where he had to have stitches.

When Rusty and his family were evacuating their home for the relative safety of his uncles’ house during a storm, Rusty fell and gashed his head on a rock. His parents borrowed the money to pay for his medical needs. They’re still paying back the debt.

Things will get better because Rusty has been registered with Compassion and is waiting for a sponsor.

Please take a couple of minutes to watch this video of the day I visited Rusty’s home.

I know that life would have become even harder for this family since the pandemic. Can I ask you to consider sponsoring a child like Rusty and bring hope into their life? Please sponsor a child today.

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Just before COVID-19 shut down the world, I was in the Philippines with Compassion Australia.

One of the families that grabbed my heart was that of Ferdinand and Lorielyn.

Their daughter Faith was almost three when we visited and was registered to be sponsored through Compassion.

Ferdinand is a farm labourer when he can find work. Lorielyn is a full-time mum.

The family lives in the home you can see behind them in the photo above. It’s made of scrap galvanised iron. It’s dark and sparse inside. They don’t own the land and so the owner could ask for the land back at any time if he wants to sell the lot.

Their 18-year-old daughter, Lhean, seen next to Ferdinand, has cerebral palsy. The love, care, and gentleness that Ferdinand shows Lhean is amazing and inspiring.

Unfortunately, they don’t have the money needed for the regular medical check-ups that Lhean requires or the ongoing medication she needs to manage the condition. They simply do the best they can. They are facing a major medical issue without the means to care for their daughter.

To me, that’s unacceptable.

In a world of iPhone 12s, Airbus A380s, millionaire sports stars, and musicians, how can we not be caring for each other? How can we not be ensuring that everyone has enough?

Thankfully, Faith was recently sponsored but there are many others just like her that still need to find a sponsor.

Please take a couple of minutes to watch this video about their story.

I know that life would have become even harder for this family since the pandemic. Can I ask you to consider sponsoring a child like Faith and bring hope into their life? Please sponsor a child today.

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John Miguel

Just before COVID-19 shut down the world, I was in the Philippines with Compassion Australia.

I met a number of beautiful families who are facing incredible hardship due to extreme poverty.

The first family I met was that of Marinessa and Joey, a young couple, both 25 years of age, who have 4 children. The family of six live in a small shanty made of rusted iron sheets, about 2 metres by 2 metres. Their home is next to a pile of rubbish in the shadow of the local cemetery. The landlord keeps threatening to raise the cost of the land they use which would essentially see them losing everything.

Their 3-year-old son, John Miguel, had just been registered with Compassion. I knew that finding John a sponsor would make an incredible difference for the whole family.

Please take a couple of minutes to watch this video about their story.

I know that life would have become even harder for this family since the pandemic. Can I ask you to consider sponsoring a child like John and bring hope into their life? Please sponsor a child today.

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One Year Today

On this day next year, the 18th of September 2021, I’ll start pedaling from Perth, Western Australia towards Newcastle, New South Wales. Ride for Compassion Coast to Coast will be my second time cycling across Australia for Compassion and my seventh crossing overall. I’ll be riding with around 30 other riders for a common cause.

We will arrive at Compassion’s head office in Newcastle, NSW on Wednesday the 20th of October, having cycled around 4,200 km. There’ll be 28 riding days and 5 rest days. The average riding distance for those riding days will be 150 km. Our longest day will be just under 200 km.

Why would I do such a crazy thing?

For decades, the number of people living in extreme poverty has been falling. There have been huge leaps forward in consigning poverty to the history books. There was still a long way to go but the trajectory was promising.

Then …. 2020. While COVID-19 has affected us all, it has hit the most vulnerable the hardest. The World Bank has estimated that between 71 million and 100 million people will be pushed into extreme poverty due to the pandemic. I find that absolutely heartbreaking but it also motivates me to step in and do something about it. I need to be part of the solution.

This ride is part of my efforts to bring a solution.

If you’d like to support my ride you can do so in two ways.

You can sponsor a child living in poverty.

Sponsorship gives kids safe places to play, the chance to see a doctor when they’re sick, education, and the opportunity to discover Jesus’ incredible love for them.

Sponsor a child. Give them a brighter future so they, and eventually their own children, can live free from poverty.

The other way you can support my ride is by making a direct donation. Your donation will touch the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our world through Compassion’s work.

Every child in poverty is vulnerable, but some children are at risk of the most deplorable situations in the world.

Children whose parents who have left, died, or are unable to provide for them, children exposed to exploitation and children with special needs are highly vulnerable. They often find themselves on the edge of extremely dangerous situations like child labour, gang violence, trafficking, and life on the street.

In the midst of these ongoing difficulties, COVID-19 has had a massive effect on children and their families. Now, more than ever, they need people like you and me to step in and play our part in showing them love, kindness and practical care.

Whether you want to sponsor a child or make a donation, just head to my fundraising page

Registrations for the ride close soon but if you’re interested in joining me on a bike or as part of the support team, head to the Ride for Compassion website.

I need to get fit. Really fit.

Over the next twelve months, I need to get myself into better shape than I have ever been. I’m going to have to be strategic and focused if I’m to drop a bunch of kilograms and put plenty of kilometres into my legs. I’ll need to be able to ride around a thousand kilometres a week for just over four weeks.

Taking part in the ride will take a huge effort.

But every effort I make to be part of the ride will be worth it because some things are unacceptable. It’s unacceptable that millions of children are living in extreme poverty. Next year I’ll put my body on the line to do whatever I can to make a difference for as many of those children as I can.

Will you help me give more children a chance to live, dream and hope? Please sponsor a child today or donate through my fundraising page.

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12 Unique Life Experiences

I posted a very similar post to this some years ago and thought it was worth sharing again with a slight update here and there.

Let’s get the conversation going. I want to know about some of the things you’ve experienced that most others haven’t. What are the unique moments of your life?

I thought I’d try to spark things by listing a few things I’ve done that you probably haven’t.

While you may find one or two things on the list that you’ve done I sincerely doubt that you’ve done all twelve. 🙂

I’m hoping that you’ll come up with a few of your own in the comments section of this post. If you’ve done any of the things on my list let me know.

I’ll just list the twelve things and leave it to you. If you have questions about any of the items in the list, feel free to ask.

12 Things You’ve ‘Probably’ Never Done

1. Spent six weeks in court.


It was some years ago and it was quite a high profile case. I had been called on for jury duty for a case that was set down for two to three weeks. Within the first week the judge suggested that things were going really well and we’d probably be all wrapped up in less than two weeks. Then things got complicated.

Six weeks later we finally returned our verdict and our lives could return to normal.

2. Cycled across Australia six times.

It’s been a couple of years since my last Nullarbor crossing in 2018 when I rode from Perth to Newcastle. It seems almost a lifetime away from my first of five crossings back in 1987.

I’ve cycled across Australia in my twenties, my thirties, my forties and in my fifties. I’m currently making plans for another crossing which will start in about 13 months from now. You can find out more about my next crossing (and maybe even join me) by going to the Ride for Compassion website.

1987 – Perth to Canberra
1988 – Perth to Canberra
1990 – Perth to Adelaide
2000 – Perth to Sydney
2003 – Perth to Hobart
2018 – Perth to Newcastle

3. Escaped a country when rioting and looting in the capital became widespread.


I was introduced to the work of Compassion when I was invited to travel to Haiti back in April 2008. We were meant to be there for a little over a week but it was the time of the global financial crisis and subsequently the global food crisis. Families couldn’t afford even the most basic food so after their cries for help to the government fell on deaf ears, they began to riot in the streets.

Roads were barricaded, shops were looted and there were fires across the capital city of Port-au-Prince. Several people died in the riots.

Our small team managed to get out of Haiti under some extremely trying circumstances. It was very difficult getting to the airport and at times we were in very real danger. We finally hooked up with some armed police who escorted us to the airport so that we could leave the country.

You can hear more about our close call in my podcast episode with fellow traveler, Az Hamilton. Just click play on the audio player below.

4. Hand fed an orangutan.


I also got fairly close to a lion, patted a penguin, fed a rhinoceros, had a 1.5 metre snake draped across my shoulders and much more as part of a behind the scenes Zoo experience back in late 2008.

5. Shared a stage with Mikhail Gorbachev.


When I say ‘shared a stage’ what I really mean is that we were both on the same stage at the same time. Gorbachev was speaking to an audience and I was carrying his cup of tea.

It was May 1999 and the World Masters of Business was at the Burswood Dome in Perth. Some friends were staging the event and so I not only recorded all the voice overs to introduce the guests, I got to be stage manager on the day.

One of the things Mr Gorbachev requested was that he would have a very hot cup of tea placed on a table off to the side of his lectern. To ensure it was as hot as possible I carried it on just after he had made his way onto the stage.

6. Had my travel documents confiscated in a foreign country.


It was 1992 and I was traveling to Canada to cycle through The Rockies for a week or so. Our flights had been overbooked so instead of going a fairly direct route we had to visit a few extra airports.

It was back in the day that Australians required a visa to enter the US. When we flew into San Francisco and had to clear US Customs, my passport and other travel documents were confiscated. I didn’t have a visa.

I explained the situation and so it wasn’t really a big deal but I did get a big red ‘TWOV’ stamped in the passport. (Transit Without Visa).

All my documents were finally returned a couple of flights later when I stepped off the plane in Canada.

7. Cycled from Agra to Delhi in India.


On my first of three trips to India I traveled by van to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, before starting the ride back to Delhi.

Cycling in India is an amazing experience. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone with a heart condition but if you’re interested in adventure, start pedaling.

8. Met General ‘Stormin’ Norman Schwarzkopf.

Stormin Norman was another of the speakers at World Masters of Business at the Burswood Dome in Perth. Unlike the other speakers, Norman was back stage well before time. He wanted to hang out with the crew and made sure he introduced himself to everyone. For someone who played such a significant part in the history of our world he was amazingly ‘normal’. He was extremely friendly and seemed to be a genuinely nice guy.

When it was finally time for him to speak, he focused a lot on leading alongside others and having real care for those you lead. From my interactions with him earlier in the day it was obvious that he practiced what he preached.

9. Interviewed 2011 Tour de France winner, Cadel Evans.


I had the honour of interviewing hundreds of people during my years working in radio. I spoke to the famous through to the not so famous and lots in between but some interviews will always be highlights for me. Like the day in 2009 when I had twenty minutes with a cycling hero.

Cadel had just published his biography, Cadel Evans: Close To Flying, and was traveling around Australia on a promotional tour. As soon as I heard he was coming I contacted his publisher and was thrilled when I was told he would be coming to the studio for an interview.

He was quietly spoken and it was obvious that media interviews weren’t his favourite part of the job, but he was gracious and interesting and I got to hang out with a hero.

10. Preached at Cathedral Church of the Redemption in New Delhi, India.

During my first trip to India I found that a number of engagements had been arranged for me. One of those engagements was preaching on the Sunday morning at the Cathedral. I was so glad that I’d packed my suit.

The cathedral is impressive, inside and out, and is known as among the most beautiful and magnificent churches in India. It’s a part of the Church of North India which is a province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

11. Been mentioned in Australia’s Federal Parliament.


It was September 2007 when Stephen Smith delivered a speech regarding the Millennium Development Goals. I was part of a small group representing the Make Poverty History campaign which visited Mr Smith’s office some time beforehand to raise concerns with him.

Our group, gathered from several local churches in Mr Smith’s electorate, were all mentioned by name. Mr Smith finished his short speech to the parliament with this paragraph.

We had a very fruitful conversation, and it was so pleasing to see so many people in the local community in my electorate committed to wanting to see Australia act as a good international citizen, committed from a personal point of view to always trying to ensure that someone who is not as well off as you are gets a helping hand up, and as far as Australia being a good international citizen is concerned, ensuring that Australia is committed to overseas development aid, is committed to the Millennium Development Goals and committed in an international sense to making poverty history for so many developing nations around the globe at the moment.

12. Cycled up and down an aisle at K-Mart in Miami, Florida.


In 2008, on the way to visiting Compassion’s work in Haiti, we stopped in Miami for a night. On the way to the airport we stopped at the local K-Mart so that one of the group could buy some extra clothes.

As we wandered around I noticed the bikes at the very back of the store. I figured that I wouldn’t get another chance like this so I handed my camera to one of the team and then started riding around. I wanted to say that I have cycled in the US. I got the photographic proof and so it’s official.

So there you are. Now it’s over to you.

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