Why the mo, Nath?
Updated: Nov 21, 2019
HAPPY 1ST DAY OF MOVEMBER!
Behind every moustache, there's a story.
This one is a little different and it has been an incredible adventure.
It began last November. I had a dream that I could use the power of travel and destinations to promote and bring home the reality of men’s health. Yes, I may look good with a moustache (well I think so haha) but this one has been growing on me with such passion to spread as much awareness as possible.
So as some of you have heard: This time of the year we hear a lot about a charity that is promoted extremely well. It is the charity I have been raising money for…Movember.
About the foundation:
Movember is an Australian founded foundation that raises much needed funds for men’s health. In Australia far too many men’s lives are cut short prematurely. There are of course, many factors contributing to these results. Prostate cancer, testicular cancer and suicides are taking too many good men, that have either dodged regular check ups with their local GP, therefore missing their opportunity to catch any cancers forming in the early stages. Also there are those that have suffered in silence and tragically taken their own life.
I signed up as a Mo-Bro last year. As a Mo Bro on the 1st November, you wake up and shave your face with a razor, so it’s a smooth as a babies bottom and makes you look like a 15 year old (well in my case haha). You then promote the foundation, mens health and of course raise as many dollars as you can, so the foundation can use this money to tackle men’s health head on. The goal is to cut this awful premature death rate down.
1 in 6 Australian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
Last Movember I knew I had the support of family and friends that would give me a leg up to start raising these funds. I also knew that people these days love interactive videos and we all spend way too much time looking at screens (guilty!).
What better way to get my Mo-Space page out there. I knew this time I had to do something different than everyone else and keep it exciting. I set a goal:
“If I could raise $2,000.00 AUD within the month of Movember, I would grow my moustache and keep raising funds until the following end of the next Movember without trimming a single hair”.
With help of an amazing bunch of legends, doing their bit and chipping in what they could to my donations page, I had managed to raise $1,800.00 with one day to go. Some friends wanted to be the last one to get me over the $2K line. You wouldn't believe who was the last donor to make me obtain my goal…….the one and only…….Mel my wife.
ICE DIP - Sweden
Like that, Mel and I set off for our year long honeymoon around Europe. Our first stop was in North Sweden, where Mel’s grandparents live. They have a stunning winter house only steps away from a giant fresh water lake.
It was April (the Swedish Spring and if you love outdoor activities in the snow, this is our favourite time of year to be up there), you get these amazing long sunny days with the beauty of the frozen landscape. The lake is completely frozen over and all you can hear is the odd snowmobile whizzing by to get out to their favourite fishing spot on the lake. You have to bore a hole through the ice to get your line down to the fish in the freezing water below.
I drilled a hole not too far from their house and had zero luck catching any fish.The ice you have to bore a hole through here, is over a meter thick! It’s an incredible thing to do, lying over the body of frozen water on a reindeer skin, hoping to catch a fresh meal for lunch. We went to bed and it started bucketing down with rain. It rained throughout the whole night and eased in the morning. I got up early because I could see movement on the lake, gazing from the bedroom window. I ran down to my fishing hole to find the whole icy lake had about 5 cm's of water sitting on top of it. The fishing hole I drilled, was now working as a giant drain. I was blown away with the mass of water over this giant body of ice, now whirling down my fishing hole into the darkness below. I watched the hole grow over the day and noticed it was growing at a tremendous speed. I could feel a Movember challenge brewing.
Off to grab the camera gear, I put it to my friends on Facebook and Instagram. If I could raise $100 in 24hrs, I’d do a run across the ice in nothing but my limited edition Movember Budgy Smugglers (for those of you that don’t know what this is, it’s a mans swimming costume/d*ck slickers/whatever you want to call them haha). I went to bed and found that people were all over this challenge. There was a fresh $140.00 worth of donations on my mo-space page.
”YOU BEAUTY! WE'RE ON!" I knew I had to give the donors a little extra bang for their buck.
"It’s time to take a dip in the fishing hole"
Of course Mel wasn’t happy with the idea (as many wives would think the same), I knew it would catch many viewers attention and hopefully some more generous donations. Here it is in case you missed it. Would you take the plunge?
MOVEMBER HQ - England
This video caught the attention of Movember. They asked for us to drop in and pay them a visit to their London office to meet the team and see what happens behind the scenes. Fast forward to our visit in London. We arrived at the Movember HQ’s and met the friendly faces of this great charity. It felt surreal and I was honoured to be invited there. Escorted through by Jez, we were introduced to the team and straight away, started brainstorming for ideas for potential challenges I could attempt, whilst in different countries on our honeymoon. Before we knew it, the day was over and I was more inspired than ever. So much goes on throughout the year that we don’t hear about. Movember is much more than a one month focussed program.
Since 2003 they have funded more than 1,250 men’s health projects around the world.
From there we drove off into the unknown, with a handful of merchandise and a giant moustache mounted on the front of our car Hilda the Honda, aka our Mo-mobile.
RING OF BEARER CYCLE - Ireland
Enlightened and hungry for my next challenge. I kept calling to the public for ideas for challenges on social media. The biggest and hardest issue was that we were on the road a lot, and it is bloody hard lining up challenges with specific dates, in certain locations when you already have a rough travel deadline. We were house-sitting in a quaint town in the Kerry county of Ireland.
You wouldn’t believe our luck. There was the 110km Ring of Bearer cycle, taking place in 2 days. I knew I had to try my best to get a start. With many calls made over the phone I was told it couldn’t happen as all the positions were taken. What do we do when someone says it can't be done?.........We keep trying!! I didn’t take no as an answer, I needed to do it. More calls were made to bike stores in surrounding towns and what do you know... we found someone had pulled out the day before. This was great news for me, now I need to find a bike.
We messaged the owners of the home we were housesitting for and as it tuns out, Tina had a bike in the shed. I was hopeful the bike was in working order and to my surprise, all it needed was some air in the tyres. I had never rode a racing bike before and should have tried it out before the day of the race haha.
The morning of the race, I attached my number to the bike and helmet, grabbed my Movember outfit and headed for the starting line. Once I was there, I had no idea how to change gears on the bike. A friendly cyclist on the starting line talked me through it and couldn’t believe I had never ridden a bike like this and was about to commence a 110km journey.
We’re off!…. Cycling through the picturesque Kerry county in a cycling race (it’s amazing where these challenges can strike and take you). I stood out like a sore thumb being the only rider in normal street wear clothes haha, everyone was head to toe in lycra. Many legends donated for this effort and for the sake of my poor jelly legs. Thank you x.
Find the video here:
Surströmming - Sweden
Finally someone had been in touch and challenged me to eat a delicacy, when we arrived back in Sweden for the summer. Surströmming for those of you that don’t know, is fermented rotten fish, sealed extremely nice and tight in a can. There isn't even a pull ring on it so no one can pull a prank and open one in a supermarket. Some Swedish people have told me of stories of people opening a can in an apartment block, then everyone coming running out of their homes from the stench. You should only open these cans in a wide open park with plenty of ventilation.
"It is a delicacy only eaten by the bravest Swedes. Many that I have talked to, refuse to ever try it, due to its pungent odour and not so great taste."
When I purchased this can, they had to double check that I really wanted it. When they handed it to me, they explained how bad it is and people were walking around me as if I was holding a live hand grenade haha.
The challenge was to consume 2 whole fish within 10 minutes for a $200 donation.
How did I go? Would you ever have a crack at it?
Find the video here:
Ćevapi – Bosnia
Whilst sailing through Croatia we had a Bosnian tour guide who had a challenge for me for when we made our trip up through Bosnia and into the capital Sarajevo. The challenge was unfortunately another eating one. At least it was tastier. He challenged me, to eat 40 cevapis and he would donate to my Mo-Space page. Off we went with Mel's cousin Danny to hunt down a traditional and well known grill house. The waiter was shocked and was worried for my health when I put the order through.
You can watch how it went down here:
FRESH CUT – Germany
Whilst we were visiting some of Mel’s suppliers from work for Oktoberfest in Oberndorf, word was spreading quickly on why did I have a giant moustache on my face?
Some of the local guys were quick to say: “I’ll donate money to shave it off”. No way are they taking my trophy, what I have worked so hard to get. My hair was really long at this stage. My fringe could touch my chin.
“You can take my hair, if you get enough money together”
What happened next was unbelievable and by far the easiest challenge. This took place at a work function. You need to see it to believe it, the funds were coming in HOT!
Find the video here:
We are now in Italy and have visited 30 countries since April. Driving in our car Hilda through 25 of them. Hilda has clocked over 23,000kms. Let's put this in perspective: to drive the perimeter of Australia is roughly 14,000kms. You can fit Europe inside of Australia.
Our intention always has been, spread good vibes and awareness. Between Hilda and I, we have had plenty of weird looks, beeps, high fives, smiles and laughs from strangers. No matter the country we have turned heads and have started conversations. It really brings it close to home when many people have opened up to me, either about their own experience with health issues or a family member that has struggled with mental health issues. It makes you all warm and fuzzy, knowing the difference one person can do.
Striking up the conversation and spreading awareness to cut premature deaths in males by 25% by the year 2030 is Movember's goal.
Although the challenges have dried up, this month is going to be a cracker. Movember starts today and I'm going to "DO GOOD" every single day of it. Although my Italian vocabulary is pretty much non-existent, I am going to do my best to get in with the community and help out any way I can. The days I can’t find things to do, I’m going to "MOVE" an hour each day. Get outside and move 10 minutes for each of the 6 Australian men that sadly end their lives on average everyday.
GLOBALLY, ON AVERAGE 1 MAN DIES BY SUICIDE, EVERY MINUTE OF EVERYDAY, WITH MALES ACCOUNTING FOR 75% OFF ALL SUICIDES.
This is why I am doing the fundraising. If anyone drops off the social radar, you should do your bit and check in. You could save their life by giving them someone to talk to.
To everyone that has donated to my Mo-Space already, I cannot thank you enough! We have one month to go to raise even more funds. If you haven't got on board, now is your chance.