Doing 50 New Things This Year

Inspired by Paul Fenton-Smith's book True North, I decided to committ myself to doing 50 new things this year. Why? In an effort to keep my experiences fresh, to avoid falling into a rut, to learn new things. As I have certainly mentioned before, I am an extraordinarily self-protective person, and my usual reaction to suggestions of doing or experiencing something new is fear and worry. This may surprise anyone who has read my book, Destination Saigon, in which I do all kinds of foolish and dangerous things. But that is because when I am wearing my cap as writer I have a committment to myself to always say "yes" to every suggestion and invitation, for the very reason that I never know where it will lead me. So this year, I am bringing some of that approach to my everyday life.
You know how sometimes you hear something in passing, or someone makes an offhand comment, and it can change your life profoundly? Well, such a shift happened for me about a year or so ago. I was in Bangkok and watching a Japanese travel show on TV in which two middle-aged housewives were exploring Japan. No idea what it was called, but it was fabulous. Their constant refrain, when faced with something new or challenging or daring, was to turn to each other and say, "Well, since we've come so far..."
I turned 40 at the end of last year, a significant milestone I'm sure you'll agree. So from now on my motto is, "Well, since I've come so far..."
I will attempt as best I can to blog my 50 new experiences. I may have to leave out a couple for the sake of discretion :-) But here are my first two:

  1. I visited the Mukti Gupteshwar Mandir in Minto - This is a Hindu Temple far out on the very outskirts of Sydney. It is an underground temple, so quite unique. It has been there since 1999, but I never even knew it was there. I am always thrilled to discover a new sacred place in my city.
  2. Had lunch at Mamak Malaysian restaurant - Almost from the day it opened this place has had vast queues outside its door. We always frequent the Sichuan restaurant right next door, but I knew the food at Mamak must be good - those queues can't be wrong. But I hate queues. By the time I get to a restaurant I am normally starving to the point of collapse, and there is no way I am going to wait in a line for 20 minutes just to get a table. But I have always ached to try Mamak, because I LOVE roti! So on Sunday we resolved to go, and, bizarrely, when we got there just after 12, we walked straight in and got a table - the Universe was looking after us. Thang has blogged the visit here at his food blog Noodlies. And yes, it was delicious. I am still dreaming about it.


Karin said…
Hi Walter - just discovered your blog - I'm currently reading "Destination Saigon" and thoroughly enjoying it ;-)

As a fellow fan of Malaysian food, I wanted to recommend Canberra's very own "Mamak" if you're ever in our fine city:

Delicious! All the best.
Walter Mason said…
Thanks Karin, and when I am next in Canberra I will definitely check out Mamak!

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