Happy 2021!

Happy 2021!

It’s time to make New Year’s Resolutions!

Or is it?

A problem with New Year’s Resolutions is that by the time we stop saying “Happy New Year” (around mid-January) we tend to stop thinking about our New Year’s Resolutions.

So how about setting some goals?

I have been setting goals for many years. In 2020 I never set any goals. Changes outside my control after 15 years in a business, negatively impacted my motivation and vision… I lost my WHY. I couldn’t face it and needed a break. I drifted through 2020 (who didn’t?), but I still ended up achieving quite a bit – it just wasn’t what I thought it would be. Over the years I have talked to clients about setting goals and many would struggle with it. The idea of wanting more than we have, the thought of change, what to do if the goals are not met – tends to make people freeze.

I started thinking about goals in a different way in 2017. If you were training with me at the time you received my strange email on the 9th January 2018 ( because I tend to keep this stuff!) Instead of making New Year’s Resolutions (that will not see February) or setting goals (that fill you with fear) how about thinking about WHO YOU WANT TO BE? What comes to mind?

For a moment let’s fast forward to Christmas 2021. Think about the kind of person you want to be. Who are you? Grab ahold of the first thoughts you have.
Now ask yourself a few questions – WHO, WHAT, WHERE.

This list could give you some ideas about the kind of questions to ask.
Who is in your life?

Who are the people you are connecting with regularly?

Who is a positive influence in your life?

Who makes you laugh?

What are you doing for a career?

What are you studying?

What do you look like?

What have you done?

What have you read?

What have you watched?

What music have you listened to?

What are you doing for exercise?

What improvements have you made to your health?

What improvements have you made to your home?

What are you driving/riding?

What projects are you working on?

What are you doing to be creative?

What is your financial position?

What clothes are you wearing?

Where are you living?

Where have you travelled?

Where have you been?

Once you have an idea about how your life will look, spend some time thinking about your WHY. Knowing your WHY is a crucial step. Trust me, if you don’t know your WHY, nothing will change. For example, I am thinking about “What am I doing for exercise?”. WHY – because having a fit and healthy body is important to me. It gives me energy and vitality. It’s essential for my mental health. It makes me a better person. My WHY is strong.

Armed with your WHO, WHAT, WHERE and WHY. The next step is fun; think about the HOW. How are you going to get there? Do some brainstorming. Talk to the people around you – but be careful with this. Talk to those that will lift you up, that will inspire you and give you courage and strength to be a better person than you already are. If the person you pick is negative, just walk away. The next step is CRUCIAL. Grab yourself some paper and pencils or pens and write it all down. You absolutely must write it down. This is the time to be honest with yourself. If you don’t write it down, you don’t care about the WHY enough. When you care about something you will find the time, you will make it happen.

If you like the idea of a little time travel to the future and being an even better person than you already are, this is a great way to get there. If you want support give me a call – I am here for you.
Wishing you a happy and healthy 2021 – may it be magical 😊

It must get lonely

Monday 7.36am Monash University.

At this stop I have between 4 and 7 minutes before I need to depart. I tend to get off the bus and stretch, do some high knees and shoulder rotations. Yesterday I noticed a man walking towards the bus stop next to mine. He was quite tall, solid built, dressed in tracksuit pants and a wind-cheater, with a beanie and mask. Then I heard him say “It must get lonely by yourself all day with no one to talk to.” I looked behind me to see who he was talking to. Then I realised that he was talking to me. Foolishly I said “oh, sorry, you were talking to me.” He said “I was.” Then repeated his earlier statement. I replied, “Not really, you kind of get used to it. Thanks for talking to me though!” He laughed and said “No worries, have a good day.”

It made me realise how much I have changed over the last 9 months. Neil and I moved in together in January. That included Neil’s 2 teenage kids, his fur baby and my 2 fur babies. I had left my home, friends, neighbourhood, community and my 15 year business. As if that wasn’t enough, in March the Pandemic arrived. The only person to connect with face to face was on the phone, constantly in meetings and busy dealing with his own COVID world. As I worked through the challenges of this new world I found myself in, my sense of loneliness and isolation was off the scales, fuelled by fear and despair – at times it was unbearable.

I relied heavily on the Be Active Tribe, the Tai Chi gals, the weekly calls with my Dad and Auntie Joy, the frequent messages with my 2 sisters. Without them I don’t know how I would have coped. I have always been a person who can easily start a conversation with whoever I meet. I think it comes from being a country kid! Over the years I have had conversations with people from all walks of life, learnt some really cool things and made lots of great friends. I just love connecting and engaging with people. For six months I have had to change and adapt and learn to be ok without regular connection or engagement. I have learnt to be ok with the loneliness and not having anyone to talk to for long periods of time.

When this pandemic is over we will be different. We will realise that things can be done differently. Life will be changed forever. Some of those changes we can control and some we can’t. I know that I want to go back to being a person who has conversations with random people at bus stops, I want to go back to being a person that has conversations with people all day long. I have also discovered that if I don’t have that I will be ok. We all have a survival instinct – for now I will be ok by myself all day with no one to talk to. Once this is over its conversation time – face to face, without masks and with lots and lots of hugs 😀

70Joanne Link, Glynn Riseley and 68 others37 commentsLikeCommentShare

A wise woman…

Donna seems to be a wise woman….not me 😊  My passenger Donna!

When I started this route, she used to always call me “Driver”. It felt kind of cool but also weird. On the day I introduced myself and we discovered we shared the same name, we also revealed the year we were born, so I know she was born in 1960.

I don’t know her, or her story, but the way she carries and presents herself makes me think of her as a wise woman.

Donna is always polite. She walks with a cheerful, confident, easy-going, purposeful step. She seems to be at ease with the woman she is and the world around her. I think of her as being authentic.

Donna dresses in greens and browns, purples and maroons. Her bag is a combination of all these colours and looks like a kaleidoscope of colour. She carries it slung over one shoulder and across her body. She has a slim frame so the bag (which could be called a holdall, as it must hold it all!) covers her whole side. She usually wears slip-on shoes with thick woollen tights or long boots. She is always in a layered skirt that floats around her calves. Her tops are layered, and the top layer is a long velvet maroon jacket that she wears open with a scarf that hangs down or is wrapped around her neck. With one hand she holds a keeper cup – tea or coffee must be her morning routine. She has auburn hair, threaded with grey, which she often wears loose. Her eyes are watery blue – like she has seen many tears. Tears of joy and tears of happiness. The effect is a cross between a hippie and a gypsy – a wandering soul.

Donna always has a warm welcome for me and always thanks me when she gets off the bus. Her laugh is infectious and genuine. It’s almost a cackle and makes me smile when I hear it. It makes me think she might be a good witch.

She hasn’t been on my bus for a few weeks, so I had assumed she wasn’t an essential worker. This week I have seen her twice – so maybe she is. She was my only passenger to hop on at 6am today.

ME – Good Morning Donna

Donna – Good morning. How are you this morning?

ME – I’m good. As good as I can be given what’s happening.

Donna – That’s the shot. We both woke up this morning. We’re LAUGHIN’ (and she cackled).

Wise Donna made me laugh and reminded me that it’s not that complicated to be wise. Wisdom comes when we can reach inside of ourselves, push our ego out of the way and be truly grateful. When we have true gratitude there is very little room for anything else… apart from laughter……and we always need to be laughin’ 😊

Essential worker…

It became official this week; I am an Essential worker and my job as a Bus Driver is essential. This contradicts how I feel about driving a bus as I don’t feel essential.  If my bus wasn’t there, passengers would find another way to get to work or another bus.  If I wasn’t driving there would be another driver to drive the bus.  Whilst what I offer may be essential, it doesn’t make me feel essential.  What feels essential is the work that I do with my Be Active Tribe (our on-line training group) and my Tai Chi ladies (also currently on-line).  For almost two decades being a P.T.  has filled up my heart and been my passion. After my online Be Active Tribe training and Tai Chi sessions I feel like I have made a difference, created impact and a positive change. I feel like I have been essential.

Yesterday was one of those rare moments when I realised that I am creating an impact and I can create a positive change as a Bus Driver.  Perhaps it is this strange world we live in and even though it is small, I can have an impact on someone’s day.  I have a young, female passenger.  (Young in my eyes! Maybe early 20’s!)  She has this jaunty walk, as if she is on springs, like she has all this energy inside her that is ready to burst at any moment. She is almost dancing.  I can imagine her kicking her heels to the side as she walks along. (This reminds me of you Joanne Link!)  She is a little shorter than me and it is hard to tell what her body is like as she wears a big puffer jacket, baggy pants and a beanie pulled down over her short dark hair.  Her hair spikes out from under her beanie – as if it is also packed full of vibe and energy.   Before she wore a mask, I could see her beautiful coffee coloured skin and lips that were quick to smile. Now I see eyes that dance when she smiles, which she did every time she got on the Bus. She has an accent that I just can’t recognise. I get the feeling she would be a fun, somewhat mischievous person to hang out with. Our passenger/driver relationship was sealed about a month ago. I had left the Bus Stop and was about 20 metres away, when she came running down the footpath towards me. I pulled over and opened the door – which I am not actually allowed to do. I made a quick decision and given  she was one of my regular passengers and is pretty much on the bus 4 to 5 days a week, I figured she would be late for work if I kept driving, so of course I pulled over.

From the first time she hopped on my bus she would always give me a bright and cheerful “Good Morning!”. She pretty much leaps off the bus using the rear door and always calls out something – “See you tomorrow” or “Have a great day” or “Thank you” AND gives me a wave. Without fail she makes me smile. Yesterday she was the only passenger to hop on at 6am. As I pulled into her regular Bus Stop, I pulled up and opened the back door. As I looked in the mirror, she was almost beside me, so I opened the front door. She stood beside me and was kind of shy when she said, “Today is my last day at this job and I won’t be on this bus anymore.”  My heart dropped and I said that I was sorry to hear that. She said I just wanted to say goodbye to you and thank you.  I said I will miss you. She looked at me and said, “You will?” I said of course I will. You are one of my favourite passengers. She looked at me with her dancing eyes and said “Really?”.  I said of course you are. She said that is so nice, thank you. She jumped off the bus and turned around and said to me “Take care, stay safe” and gave me a big wave. I was choked when I said to her “You take care and stay safe”. As I closed the door, I watched her walk away in her bouncy, energetic way and realised that she had been an essential part of my day, and I had been an essential part of hers.  That is the thing about being essential – it is about give and take.

For all those essential workers out there, that may not feel essential, think about what you are doing and remember what you are doing and why.

For all those out there who are interacting with essential workers please remember that they are feeling the same way you are. A kind word and a smile will go a long way.

Smiling is infectious..

In these “trying times” it is SUPER Important that we STOP judging.
We have no idea what another person’s story is.
Let us treat those around us with KINDNESS and COMPASSION.
It is challenging to smile with a face mask covering your mouth – but you can smile with your eyes and with your body language. You can smile with your words and with your tone.
Be aware of the judgement calls you are making.
You get what you focus on.


When I got back in the car at the end of my shift today, I pulled my mask down. After four and a bit hours I wanted it OFF! I got home, reversed around 10 metres down the drive and grabbed my stuff. As I was about to get out of the car a woman walked past, clearly saw I didn’t have a mask on and shot me a terrible look combined with defensive body language. My initial reaction was a flare of anger – but that doesn’t help my mental health.

The next time I see her I will wave and smile. She doesn’t know my story – but I do, so I will do what I can to turn her frown upside down 😊

This poem was one my Nana’s. Even though it’s at least 30 years old it’s still valid 😀

Wakey, Wakey!

Have you ever fallen asleep on Public Transport? I am embarrassed to say that 20 years ago I fell asleep on a train. It was late at night and I had been out drinking. Plenty of good reasons, right?

During my Bus Driver Induction, I was with 6 different Bus Drivers. They all had stories to tell about passengers falling asleep on the bus, at night and mostly smelling of alcohol. I didn’t give it much thought as the Bus Drivers had been driving for years – so once a decade or so seemed feasible.

I am on an early shift – 5.38am to 9.38am Monday to Friday. My route takes me from Oakleigh Train Station to Boxhill via Monash, back to Monash, up to Boxhill again and back to Monash where the service terminates. At Monash I make sure I have no passengers on the bus, otherwise, they would end up going back to Box Hill or to the depot and I am Thoughtful, Considerate Bus Driver 😊

What a surprise then, that over the two months I have been doing this route I have had 2 “sleepers”!! At this rate, I am expecting another one any day now!

The first one was sitting up the back and her head had fallen forward – she was sound asleep. Of course, with social distancing, I didn’t want to get too close! I had to call out a few times to wake her. When she woke up, she just said “thanks” and got off… she wasn’t embarrassed.

The second one was sitting on the seat next to the back door. There’s a panel that separates the seat from the back door. She had her forehead resting on this divider – sound asleep. I knocked on the divider a few times to wake her up. Once again, when she woke up, she said “thanks” and got off. She didn’t seem embarrassed either…..there’s a pattern here!

Twenty-something years ago I just woke up. No one was around, no one woke me up. It got me thinking about how frequently this sleeping on Public Transport thing happens.

I’m driving for around 17 hours a week, weekday mornings. I can’t even begin to guess at how many buses there are on the road…..and I’ve had one a month. Then there are trams, trains, taxis – it must be 1000’s of people a week!!

I think it is time for me to let this embarrassment go!

Perhaps if there was snoring or drool it may have been different 😊

Thoughtful Considerate Bus Driver??

Seems it’s a thin line between Thoughtful, Considerate Bus Driver and Scary, Stalky Bus Driver!  This week I have had 3 incidents with passengers that have led me to feel that I am balancing precariously on that tight rope between the two!

On Tuesday I spotted Passenger Pink Straw on the other side of the road. There was a lot of traffic on Clayton Rd, so she was waiting to get across to the Bus Stop. I gave her a wave, pulled up at the Bus Stop and waited a couple of minutes for her. I have some time on this part of my route, so it seemed the right thing to do. When she got on the Bus she gave me a big smile and said thanks for waiting. I gave myself a pat on the back for being Thoughtful, Considerate Bus Driver. 

The next day I saw Passenger Long Hair running down a side street that connects to Clayton Rd. She often runs the last 20 metres to the Bus Stop but isn’t normally that far away. Obviously, I pulled up at the Bus Stop and waited for her. She was puffing as she got on the bus and thanked me for waiting. Another pat on the back to the Thoughtful, Considerate Bus Driver. 

Today I picked up Passenger Light Hair… He was the only passenger on the bus and as he likes to stand, he stood in the middle of the bus near the back door. We were one stop back from his usual stop when I heard the bell. I was a bit distracted as I knew it wasn’t his normal stop. He then called out that he had hit the button too soon as he can’t see very well in the fog. I replied that’s ok I know which stop you get off at… I looked in the mirror and saw his face. He was frightened…. like Scary, Stalky Bus Driver scared. I couldn’t say anything – Where could I go after that? I pulled up at his usual stop and he got off… he thanked me but there was also a nervous kind of look in his eyes!

Ooopppss! Crossed the line there, I guess! 

Happy Friday!

Thursday’s and Friday’s are the days that I am most likely to try and take my work home with me – which is kind of weird given that I drive a bus…. 

Over the years I have often taken my work home with me. When I worked in Administration, I would go home with thoughts of what I needed to do, who I needed to call, emails I needed to send, spreadsheets to be amended.

As a Personal Trainer I would have ideas about client’s goals and how to achieve them, options for injuries, ways to make training functional and fun.

As a Business Owner I added marketing, finances, franchisee support, weather conditions, rules and regulations – it was never ending!

I was convinced that as a Bus Driver I wouldn’t take work home with me, as there is nothing to take home! Turns out there are 3 things. As it’s always at the end of the week it’s most likely due to sleep deprivation from the 4.40am alarm. I do try to be in bed by 9pm – but that doesn’t always happen. I do try to have an afternoon nap – but that doesn’t always happen. Maybe I need to try harder… 

1. On a bus the indicator and wiper are on the left. On our car it’s the right. Driving home I occasionally turn the wipers on. Haven’t we all done that? 

2. When you stop the bus for more than 3 seconds you must pull the hand brake on. The hand brake is on the right. Often in the car I go to reach out with my right hand… Surely anyone who has driven in Europe has done that? 

3. Driving along Warrigal Road I notice the Bus Stops. If I see someone waiting, I check the mirrors, take my foot off the accelerator, gently brake and flick the indicators. Lucky they are wipers as it breaks my thoughts, makes me realise I am in my car, gives me a giggle and leaves the waiting passenger alone!! DOH!!

We’ve all tried to pick up people at the bus stop right??? 

Goodbye Training Wheels

After 6 weeks on my new bus route, I have finally become a grown-up bus driver!
Do you ever find yourself resisting change due to procrastination and/or fear?
Then the decision is made for you and you are forced to change?
That happened to me last week!

We have this groovy tool called BusMinder. It’s like Google Maps for Bus Drivers. When the bus is started the visual display comes on, along with the MYKI screen, then you select if you want the audio on as well. (Passengers can also view where their bus is via the Ventura Tracker app.) It provides directions, handy tips about intersections, turns, roundabouts, and lets you know when you are approaching the next Bus Stop. After the first week, I didn’t need the audio directions anymore so switched them off. I decided to keep the audio announcement on to know where the Bus Stops were. It was useful, as there is so much to focus on that the reminder was helpful to make sure I didn’t drive past a Bus Stop. I also felt that I could never remember all the Bus Stops – DOH!
Last Wednesday I turned the bus on, the MYKI screen came on but BusMinder didn’t – PANIC Stations! I phoned Control and was super glad I hadn’t used the radio as Rod ever so nicely (he is a sweetie) asked if I had turned it on… no, I hadn’t as I thought it was automatic!! I flicked the switch and turned on BusMinder and it fired up. I was so glad to see it working as I was telling myself this story about how I could never remember all the stops and I was bound to leave passengers behind. I drive “Not in Service” to Oakleigh Station and start from there. By the time I got to Oakleigh Station, BusMinder had tried to restart several times but had then closed again. I was a bit of a wreck when I realised, I would just have to do my best and remember as many as possible. That was a tough morning. Seeing passengers in the dark and picking them up, when I was also trying to find the stop was a challenge. It was even more challenging finding the Bus Stop when a passenger had hit the bell to get off – they know where the Bus Stop is but I wasn’t 100% certain. By the end of my shift, I realised that I hadn’t left anyone behind, surprisingly I could remember most of the stops, I didn’t crash or hit anything……… that I know of!

On Thursday I decided that I wouldn’t turn on the audio…. and to my surprise, I remembered the stops.

Third time lucky on Friday and I was fine.

Today was a new week and I decided that I was never going back to having the audio on. I was Doubting Donna and when forced to remember I could. It was a good reminder that often FEAR is just False Evidence Appearing Real.

Bus Driver to Phone Saviour in a heartbeat!

Driving South on Stephenson’s Road out of Mount Waverley around 8.50am, I had a cyclist just in front of my Bus. He was cruising along at around 45km/hr – so he was quick!  As there are a few Bus Stops along this part of Stephenson’s Road I decided the safest option was to sit behind him.  He crossed Waverley Road and the lights stayed green, so I crossed with him.  Here the road gently declines down towards the Monash Freeway. The cyclist started peddling extremely fast! His pace quickened to 47km/h, 50km/h, 55km/h. I was still sitting behind and had sped up on the incline as well but maintained a safe distance from him.   He then stopped peddling, lowered his upper body over the handlebars and stuck his backside up. I was instantly jealous as I love that feeling of flying along, not peddling, the wind blasting past – I could feel his bliss! And then his mobile phone came flying out of his back pocket, hit the road to the right of me and bounced a couple of times – DAMN!!

I had two thoughts and two thoughts only – stop the cyclist and keep my passengers safe!

Thankfully, no one wanted to stop at the Bus Stop just after the freeway and with relief I saw that there was no-one there. The hill then has an incline and the cyclist slowed down. Unfortunately, so did my bus! I was able to overtake him and drove to the next Bus Stop with the cyclist behind me. I stopped the Bus – handbrake, open front door, hazard lights, seat belt, driver’s door – all done in record time! I jumped out of the bus and ran to the back – damn he was not in sight. I ran to the front of the Bus and there he was – maybe 30 metres in front of the Bus. Using my voice that I could project across a football oval I yelled out to him to STOP and waved my arms like a crazy woman…which he clearly thought I was! He looked back and then in one fluid motion got off his bike, put it on the ground and stormed back to me. I started yelling out YOUR MOBILE PHONE – still waving my arms around. Finally, he heard me, touched his back pocket and his anger was gone as relief sunk in. When he got to me, I told him what had happened. He was so grateful – ran back to his bike, crossed the road, and headed back the way he had come.

I got back on the bus with adrenaline coursing though me, relief that I had stopped him. No-one on the bus even seemed to notice that they had a loud, crazy Bus Driver…..or they were too scared to look up!

As I drove off, I wondered if I had made the right decision – letting him know or letting him go. I hope he was able to retrieve his phone and I REALLY hope that I did not run it over 😊