Next please

Naomi Edwards_selfie_on the beach

I was catching up with my friend Tom Fitzgerald the other day, who is a senior coastal planner at the Office for Environment and Heritage for the NSW Government, PhD student, coffee and coast lover, and a real top guy among other things. We were sitting under an outdoor heater in a café in the heart of Sydney. The coffee was good and the croissants were amazing!

Anyway, the point of this tangent is what I was left thinking about after our conversation. Cause if you know me I do a million things and have my fingers in many pies. That means my energy is sprawled across a million things and in many pies. Is that a good idea? Is that sustainable? Is that leading somewhere? Or am I just kidding myself?

At the moment I am in a pretty good position. I am free. I am happy. I am discovering who I am. I am living my passion. I am walking on the same path as my vision. I am single, have an amazing family and group of friends, have the cutest dog in the world, drive my dream car and when I think of an idea I know how to package it up and share it with the world. I am comfortable with the fact that I may not be able to act on all of my ideas and staring into a world where anything is possible at 3am is a regular thing for me. It’s just a while ago that void of spontaneous energy would have be exerted with sex. But I am OK with keeping that energy to myself – for the meantime at least.

I am at the stage of knowing something new is going to happen. I have just completed my Honours degree and so with three degrees under my belt and on the PhD pathway and an ideas factory as a brain what is next for me is to buckle down to turn my ideas into business ideas. Thanks to Tom and a couple of my dear friends who have been listening to my new way of communicating – with no walls, no resistance, no holding back – it’s time to get on with it.

My next phase is to register Happy Beaches as a company – with a social purpose. I have been wondering how to package my passion for beaches, coastal community engagement, and coastal management and not letting go of innovative ideas just because they don’t fit in the lines of bureaucracy (will have to learn how to spell that word without spell check one day). I love taking risks; being innovative and most importantly, I love to push to boundaries.

Bridging my studies and recent experiences with the Foundation of Young Australians Young Social Pioneer program and my Landmark self discovery courses I feel empowered and inspired to turn my inner capacity up a notch.

My vision has always been to provide innovative solutions to environmental problems with communities at the heart.

So, my Happy Beaches vision is to develop a boutique coastal consultancy group with a collective of innovative and passionate thinkers and probers who want to drive fast-paced change for beaches. I know exactly who I want on the team, so the next step is to approach them to see how they can come on board. I have no capital but I have a vision – a world with healthy beaches and happy communities.

In the meantime I know I will have to keep all my other projects afloat. But now I know and feel comfortable with my vision I will have to play the social entrepreneur card to make change happen.

Watch this happy beach space!

The best thing I have done…

Me back in 2006. This area were I am standing is now beautiful rainforest. I used to water the 1000s of plants every Wednesday for a few hours during the drought.

Me back in 2006. The area were I am standing is now a beautiful littoral rainforest. I used to water 1000s of plants every Wednesday for a few hours during the drought.

Me with Joan, a lovely woman who was a huge inspiration and mentor for me in my early 20s. I am very thankful of her guidance and passion to inspire me to be a better person everyday.

Me with Joan, a lovely woman who was a huge inspiration and mentor for me in my early 20s. I am very thankful of her guidance and passion to inspire me to be a better person everyday.

… has been getting involved in Landcare. Seriously. I am not being all Landcarey or trying to convert anyone to planting trees, pulling out weeds and cleaning up kilometres of coastline but what if I didn’t get out of bed early one Spring morning in 2006. Where would I be?

Everyday I am thankful for that very experience. Getting on my once beloved Kawasaki EL 250 and cruising across the Sundale Bridge with nothing on my mind other than being eager to know what happens at The Spit and who was behind creating 93 ha of habitat, open green space and a community legacy for generations to come to enjoy and be part of. Wow, my heart just skipped a beat and eyes watered. Why? Because I am thankful for Friends of Federation Walk doing what they do.

For over 14 years the many ‘Friends of’ Federation Walk have gotten up early on a Sunday morning once a month to plant 100s of native coastal plants. Today, the number of plants amount to most likely half a million trees, shrubs, herbs and dune runners to create the littoral rainforest that buffers the narrow spit, a coastal destination loved by many and now an eco-tourism destination only a stone throw from the glitter strip.

This coming Sunday marks another monthly community planting day at Federation Walk Coastal Reserve or more famously known as The Spit. Yes, it is winter and the sun will have only just risen at 7am but now is the perfect time to be up early, enjoying the crisp clean sea breeze and planting a community legacy.

If only we all did a little bit more like the many ‘Friends of’ Federation Walk? What could be achieved? I believe and envision happier beaches. Now is the time to get up this Sunday morning and join Friends of Federation Walk to restore the coastal dunes at The Spit.

When – Sunday 28th June, 7am – 10am

Where – meet at Philip Park carpark opposite the entrance to Seaworld

Have fun!


Doing the imaginable unimaginable

Sydney 2015 Young Social Pioneers for the Foundation for Young Australians

Sydney 2015 Young Social Pioneers for the Foundation for Young Australians

‘To accomplish great things we must not only act but also dream not only plan but also believe’ – Anatole France

I read this quote everyday as it is conveniently hanging up on the dining room wall and each day after reading the quote I plan out how I will act, dream, plan and believe – just a little bit more than the day before. So, it is quite fitting that I start this tangent with sharing a slice of my motivation. Motivation to be that better person, who is living their passion and seeking (more) happiness.

When I was a little girl I dreamed of becoming a fighter pilot. I imagined flying through the clouds at an incredible speed would be exhilarating while rewarding from the effort I’d have to put in to achieve that dream (if only I knew speed was for war…). As I consider myself to be someone who puts their head down when needed and get on with what needs to be done, I did believe I could achieve this dream. However, unbeknown to me while standing in the crowd looking up at the airforce shows did I know another exhilarating pathway was destined for me.

This takes us to the heart of this tangent – doing the imaginable unimaginable 

Before I go any further, what is unimaginable? ’cause now thinking about it once you think about what is unimaginable it becomes imaginable. Right? Yes.

So, what might be unimaginable? Winning the lotto, finding more time, quitting smoking, world peace, a clean ocean, sustainable beaches, no war, happiness, love, health… For me, I thought about a few of these but once I really thought about it they were imaginable – winning the lotto, finding more time, world peace, a clean ocean, sustainable beaches, no war, happiness, love, health…

That means the unimaginable is in fact IMAGINABLE! No way!

This is where having a vision becomes important, a vision to achieve the unimaginable. For instance, I thought doing an Honours degree was unimaginable, but then is happened – yes, completed it today and have now found time (another unimaginable) to write a tangent…

The reason I am tangenting about this is because I am hanging out with another 21 imaginable unimaginable change makers who are doing the unimaginable (along with all those other incredible people in my life) – creating apps to streamline our lives, advocating for support, love and happiness for marginalised communities, working towards world sustainability and leadership opportunities for their own friends, peers and networks. Yes, I am hanging out with the Foundation for Young Australians’ 2015 Sydney Young Social Pioneers. Between completing honours, working, volunteering, traveling, living and breathing, I am now over half way through a life changing opportunity to develop myself as an imaginable unimaginable change maker for the way we manage beaches!

Now that Honours is done and dusted… bring on the Beach Happiness Index – and every other imaginable unimaginable.