ME

Mindfulness. Relaxed & Happy = Success+. Bring on 2015!

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St Kilda pier. Christmas Eve. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group). www.hotndelicious.wordpress.com

Christmas Eve 2014. Kickin’ it here on St Kilda Beach pier with this view. Amazing start to the day and pretty spectacular!

While I am exhausted and still winding down from 6 months of 60-80 hour weeks (between agency work and my own biz), I am at peace.

Agency life has been insane having gone from overseeing the social media for 2 global brands to 6 brands with more on the way in the new year.

In the 2nd half of 2014, my first love and passion project Hot & Delicious Group, has also taken several significant steps with the launch of my “Photographic Tales of an ex-Emirates flight attendant” photography travel series and the “Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet” podcast series, which captures 1-on-1 audio interviews with inspiring people and entrepreneurs across a range of industries that fuel the fire of my own inspiration, personal business ambitions and the desire to inspire up & coming dreamers who aspire to their own success.

I am quite excited for the year ahead and while I’m not a New Years resolution kind-of-guy, I already have a swag of plans for the ‘Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet’ project including ramping up the profile of podcast & guests, kicking back into my own music, holding a “Photographic Tales of an ex-Emirates flight attendant” photo exhibition, creating a new ‘Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet’ website to start tapping into other revenue streams and sounding out global business opportunities.

Now to the outsider and friends who know me a little, this probably sounds like the standard year of unwavering ambition, but in reality, despite being exhausted right now I am at peace and energized all at the same time.

I’m at peace because if there’s one area of self that I’ve developed this year it is this… My ambition for the future is only strengthened by soaking up & living each moment. And what is the one key thing that’s helped me achieve this? Meditation. I shit you not.

In my very first post for 2014, “2 days ago I woke up to a beach sunrise over the ocean, sand & the waves at my feet.. 2014.. I’m ready..”  the final paragraph finished as follows:

Living in the moment is what I want to see more of from myself this year and not a concept that’s new to me, but taking time out to reflect & enjoy is where we get fresh energy, a sense of calm and it’s in this headspace where the fresh ideas & magic flow.. 2014.. I’m ready..

Meditation started for me when I got to a point in my year and my life when exercise alone wasn’t enough to keep me fresh and clear-headed – I realized that despite living a wicked existence and working on many amazing projects over the past 20 years of my life, that I wasn’t happy, craved some quiet in my mind and inner peace in my heart.

Being time-poor and not a true-believer of meditation at the time, I began setting aside 10 minutes every morning after my daily workout and tried out free meditation app Smiling Mind, which was recommended to me by a friend of mine. This meant that the skeptic in me could trial meditation without giving up too much of my time.

After a period of meditating regularly using Smiling Mind, I began to get bored of just using the app all the time; in my life I crave variety and so I brought other styles of meditation in to combine with Smiling Mind so that I could mix it up and keep my meditation sessions fresh. I evolved to trying different forms of meditation including listening to a 10 minute track of waves washing gently upon a beach that I downloaded from iTunes, taking time out on my lunch-break to sit in the sunshine listening to relaxing songs I love and focusing on the music/lyrics whilst breathing steadily or quite simply even meditating in silence with my iPhone on timer.

Almost immediately I noticed the difference and over the coming weeks and months I found myself unplugging from music and podcasts whilst traveling to work or from place to place, varying my route to our South Melbourne office in search of visual inspiration and the peace of a few deep breaths whilst enjoying another Melbourne sunset. Come Christmas and I’ve spent the past 4 days pretty much hanging out by myself doing something new and different every day – chilling by the beach reading books, a long cafe breakfast and the morning paper while everyone else is at work, photography down by the water at St Kilda, lunchtime beers in the sunshine at Ponyfish Island, shopping down at the markets for fresh deli treats, summer fruits and veggies… so many simple everyday pleasures that make me happy.

Thence what started as daily 10 minute meditation sessions grew to me enjoying and being mindful of the peace and joy in everyday moments that can occur multiple times every single day. It’s even got to the stage where I’m conscious of when I haven’t had enough meditation or these moments and know exactly what I need to even myself out.

This sense of mindfulness and almost perpetual state of peace (with multiple daily sense-checks of course), has lead to one of my most productive years of late despite supposedly having less time to cram it in.

I can honestly say for the first time in my life that instead of spending my days wishing for my future successful self that we all envision and crave, that I am happy and thrive on the pure joy of the here & now, whilst still fuelled with my ambition for the future. And that’s made me a better, more efficient and more successful as a person, colleague, family member and friend.

I am truly excited for 2015 and have many goals that I wish to achieve including a serious increase in travel, personal business growth and a swag of others as stated above, but if I can keep on this path of mindfulness, appreciating and living everyday moments, whilst fuelling ambition for the future, I have no doubt this will be a very, very exciting year indeed 🙂

Thank you one and all for listening and reading, especially those who’ve supported myself, the blog and the podcast this year.

I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

DW

P.S. I will be taking the opportunity to recoup from the madness of 2014 from Xmas to New Years Day by switching off all social media technology and taking the opportunity for catch-ups with friends and little day trips to the beach and countryside to clear my head and get back a little bit of sanity. And yes, if you found this article via Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook, I scheduled this shit so feel free to message me but you won’t get a reply until January 😉

You can also listen to the Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet podcast series here.

Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet podcast series is a weekly podcast interviewing inspiring individuals and successful entrepreneurs from around the planet across a range of industries (incl. music, film/tv, fashion, travel, comedy and more) about what makes them tick as people and drives their hunger for success.

Hot & Delicious Group.. Passion, Creativity & Community.

Culture, travel, music, news & sick live photography from around the planet:

Twitter @hotndelicious 
Instagram @hotndelicious
Facebook.com/HotnDelicious
hotndelicious.wordpress.com

Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.

 

 

Scrap Xmas/New Year schedules. Go your own way. Me-time ftw!

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Ponyfish Island. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).

Christmas time.. grumpy shoppers abound, horns tooting, long queues, very few smiles… everyone rushing around like chooks with their heads cut-off, stressed-out with last-minute shopping and here I am chillin’ at Melbourne’s Ponyfish and soaking up a cheeky Christmas Eve beer in peace. Day 4 of “me-time”… 

Don’t get me wrong, 2014 has been a mad, busy year, but I’ve used a balanced diet of meditation, exercise, healthy food and me-time to get me through the ridiculous hours worked over the past 6 months of agency life + business pursuits in my “spare” time.

How do we define “me-time” and why should we take it?

The answer to the ideal “me-time” is entirely down to each individual. For myself, it means stepping away from the rat-race, eschewing social media, technology, schedules, alarms and tasks that are obligation-based and going with the flow – taking each day, each hour, each minute and soaking it up as it comes.

4 days ’til Christmas – I feel like escaping to the country on a road-trip. Do it. 
3 days ’til Santa comes down the chimney
– snoozing solo on St Kilda Beach and reading a book? Why not? (p.s. I did this and towards the end of the afternoon a pod of dolphins rocked-up playing and splashing not 20m from shore).
2 days to go
– wandering Melbourne’s backstreets with a camera without a destination or plan except retail therapy (buying shit for myself!), delicious food, coffee, a cheeky beer and getting off the beaten track. Yep, sounds good.
Christmas Eve
– early morning beach walk, long breakfast & the sports section and lunchtime beers at Ponyfish on the Yarra River which has some of the finest views in Melbourne. I’m sold!

Mental-health days when every other mofo’s exhausted from rushing to this party and that, book-ended by wrapping up work for the year and last-minute gift-excursions to 24-hour shopping centres… Screw that! Time for a sense-check.

Honestly, it’s not that revolutionary. You don’t have to give-up Xmas drinks friends or precious time with family, but just imagine… an extra 4-5 days off work b4 Christmas to recharge for Christmas… seriously… #heaven

Just one day out from St Nic and as hectic+++ as my year has been, I am so relaxed… I’d usually reserve the crucial period between Boxing Day – NYE for sleeping and recovery, but instead I’m not nearly half as exhausted as usual, quite looking forward to Christmas Day celebrations with the family and actually doing a bunch of fun shit from the 26th onwards including road-trips and more (there will still be plenty of snooze, cricket and couch-time 😉 ).

I haven’t booked in Xmas/New Years holidays for 2015, but I can tell you this… for me Xmas is all about having the time to feel grateful for what I have and soaking-up moments of joy with those that I treasure most, so I know what I’ll be doing with this time comes around again.

Love every single minute, lose the Christmas Day family arguments, Fuck the stress… go on… Try it!

You can also listen to the Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet podcast series here.

Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet podcast series is a weekly podcast interviewing inspiring individuals and successful entrepreneurs from around the planet across a range of industries (incl. music, film/tv, fashion, travel, comedy and more) about what makes them tick as people and drives their hunger for success.

Hot & Delicious Group.. Passion, Creativity & Community.

Culture, travel, music, news & sick live photography from around the planet:

Twitter @hotndelicious 
Instagram @hotndelicious
Facebook.com/HotnDelicious
hotndelicious.wordpress.com

Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.

Sydney siege: Rising from the ashes – I pray for understanding &…

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Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson

This morning I watch the news with tears in my eyes… 

My heart goes out to those affected by the Sydney siege, an event which is now at it’s conclusion, but will live on in our hearts, minds and future actions.

Like many Australians I am well travelled and having spent half of my life in Melbourne, I left Australian shores for a life in the Middle East in 1999 with the misguided notion that because I’d grown up in a city with a melting pot of nations that I understood how the world worked and the people living in it.

It wasn’t until I returned to Australia in 2006, having spent 6.5 years living in Dubai, traveling around the globe working for Emirates Airline, working with & managing people from over 100 different nationalities and cultures, that I begin to appreciate how misguided this notion was.

Every day around me I see a casual racism that’s so prevalent and ingrained in Australian “culture” that it’s glossed over, passed off and readily accepted as good humour, whilst in reality has an ongoing impact much more than the user can quantify and know.

What many of us forget is that all of us living on this world’s largest island, a land of wondrous beauty and contrasts, are originally are from somewhere else… black, white, green & gold, true blue… even our indigenous Australians originally came to this land mass some 40,000+ years ago… it existed long before we all got here and will continue to do so long after we’ve left this earth.

Now more than ever, in the wake of the awful events that have just transpired, I’m hopeful that as Australians we can pull together as a people and use the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the diverse range of people across a range of cultures and nationalities that live within our borders.

Many of us fail to stop, recognize and appreciate that essentially as a species we’re all the same in so many ways – watching in wonder as a loved one’s small child takes it’s first steps or the magic of making that child smile as we cradle him or her in our arms, watching as our family puppy does something stupid and makes us laugh, working our hands to the bone during the week, so that we can all enjoy the simple pleasures of spending time in the company of family and friends at night and on weekends, listening to much-loved songs or going out to a live show, cheering on our favourite sports teams, the desire to travel and learn… we all have our own little quirks and idiosyncrasies, we all fear, we all hate, we all love, we all love… and this is what I want us to focus on…

Our fear of those different to us and the fear of the unknown is where prejudice is born, but once we take the time to look beyond colour, race, creed and actually get to know our fellow man the world is a different place. When we step outside of what we think we know to learn more about our fellow man and embrace our differences, we open ourselves up to realizing that we’re not so different after-all.

When you step outside into the world today, with the events of Sydney siege not far from your mind, do me a favour and do one thing that I guarantee will give you fresh perspective, a burst of positive energy and put a smile in your heart.

Take the time to perform a random act of kindness for a complete stranger – whether it be to hold a door open for someone coming up behind you and allowing them to walk through first, getting up to give another your seat on the train/tram/bus/ferry, saying hi and ask the person behind the counter how their day’s been or even sharing the simplest act of kindness through a compliment or smile.

With small steps we can work towards making a positive impact on those within our own world and it’s wonderful how one simple, selfless act can generate warmth, energy and love.

From the red deserts of central Australia, to the mountaintops of snow and pristine beaches lapped by turquoise and aqua waves – like our land, the people in it are blessed to be able to enjoy a wealth of contrasts and we are better for it. 

We are many. We are different, yet still so much the same and by looking out for our fellow man we become strong.

We all love. We are as one. 

Dan Wilkinson

Hot & Delicious Group.. Passion, Creativity & Community.

Culture, travel, music, news & live photography from around the planet:

Twitter @hotndelicious 
Instagram @hotndelicious
Facebook.com/HotnDelicious
hotndelicious.wordpress.com

Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.

Listen to the Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet podcast series by clicking here.

Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet podcast series is a weekly podcast interviewing inspiring individuals and successful entrepreneurs from around the planet across a range of industries (incl. music, film/tv, fashion, travel, comedy and more) about what makes them tick as people and drives their hunger for success.

Little girl with the most amazing eyes. Uttar Pradesh (India).

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Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group). https://hotndelicious.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photographic tales of an ex-Emirates flight attendant – Hot & Delicious:Rocks The Planet

#15. Little girl with the amazing eyes. Uttar Pradesh.India.
Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).

A trip to the Taj Mahal is a once in a lifetime experience… although for that is just 1 highlight of a country that will blow your mind…

Everywhere we traveled on my 5 day journey around India’s Golden Triangle involved an explosion of colours, cultures, cows with their arses parked in the middle of busy streets, Horn Please and of course an Englishman, Irish lass and Aussie boy as pale as the white of snow being followed around by locals, who were either curious at how different we were, keen to get a cash lining for their pockets from the rich foreigners and sometimes a combination of both.

I must admit, at the time I got quite frustrated at the lack of space, being followed absolutely everywhere and constantly begged, hassled and cajoled for money. Life was crazy busy with Emirates Airline and to me holidays were a time to get away from the masses – the hundreds of people I met every single day at work and I was craving a little time to myself/solitude.  Blame yourself, Jack… it was never going to be that kind of holiday! 😀

Anyway, 23 miles along the road from Agra (where the Taj Mahal lives) to Jaipur we stopped at this beautiful ancient city on top of a ridge overlooking the rich brown lands of Uttar Pradesh called Fatehpur Sikri. The city was founded in 1569 by the Mughal emperor Akbar and is a beautiful, walled city of red sandstone.

I was blown away by the architecture and busily snapping away on my Nikon SLR, when all of a sudden I turned around and this beautiful little girl was gazing up at me… like a deer in the headlights she stood stock still and just stared.

She had the most amazing eyes, I was just captivated and I can’t explain it, but in those few seconds for me it felt like time stopped. Everywhere I went in India people were constantly asking for money, which I almost never obliged and when I offered some to this little girl she wouldn’t take it.

She just kept standing there staring…

DW

The ancient ochre city of Fatehpur Sikri. Uttar Pradesh, India.
The ancient ochre city of Fatehpur Sikri. Uttar Pradesh, India.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can also listen to the Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet podcast series here.

Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet podcast series is a weekly podcast interviewing inspiring individuals and successful entrepreneurs from around the planet across a range of industries (incl. music, film/tv, fashion, travel, comedy and more) about what makes them tick as people and drives their hunger for success.

Hot & Delicious Group.. Passion, Creativity & Community.

Culture, travel, music, news & sick live photography from around the planet:

Twitter @hotndelicious 
Instagram @hotndelicious
Facebook.com/HotnDelicious
hotndelicious.wordpress.com

Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.

 

Do not try this at home kids. Sydney (AUS) – Photographic tales of an ex-Emirates flight attendant

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Do not try this at home... Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group). https://hotndelicious.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photographic tales of an ex Emirates flight attendant – Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet!

Do not try this at home. Sydney, Australia Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).

Do not try this at home, kids… 

One of the joys of working with an international airline is the diverse array of people you get to meet across a range of nationalities and cultures. Living away from home in an expat community like Dubai your friends become your family.

As a result, I became friends with a whole bunch people I met through Emirates, the Dubai Dragons rugby team and the Emirates Muppets (Emirates Airline rugby team) whom I had the privilege of touring with around the world to play in tournaments in Paris, Cardiff, Phuket, Johannesburg and more.

I became friends with pilots, lawyers, dentists, teachers, guys in construction and even a group of Sydney-based Emirates engineers who would travel up to Dubai every year to complete new aircraft certifications or renew old ones.

Many of those people I met in my time in Dubai became life-long friends and so almost every time I flew through Sydney on a 5-6 day DXB-SYD-AKL return trip, I’d catch-up with the Emirates engineer boys in the city or down at the seedy Cronulla establishment known as Northies. Invariably we’d spend the afternoon smashing beers and putting the world to right, then head back to one of the boys houses for more bevies and a BBQ, which is when this image was shot. It’s not too clever, but one of the lads was playing around with an aerosol can and a lighter after we finished our meal and me being me I had the camera out and I snapped this image. Looks impressive as a full colour photo, but I just love how the image came out in black and white and captured my imagination.

8 years on I miss jet-setting the globe on a weekly basis, being in a new city every few days with exciting new adventures, visiting the little hidden bars, cafes and restaurants that become your favourite regular haunts when you visit different capital cities around the world and catching up with some of my closest friends who are now spread far and wide across this vast planet of ours, but that’s also a big part of what inspires and drives me.

Ever since I left, I’ve been working towards getting that lifestyle back on my terms doing something I love. I’m close now… I can feel it. 🙂

DW

You can also listen to the Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet podcast series here.

Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet is a weekly podcast interviewing inspiring individuals and successful entrepreneurs from around the planet across a range of industries (incl. music, film/tv, fashion, travel, comedy and more) about what makes them tick as people and drives their hunger for success.

Hot & Delicious Group.. Passion, Creativity & Community.

Culture, travel, music, news & sick live photography from around the planet:

Twitter @hotndelicious 
Instagram @hotndelicious
Facebook.com/HotnDelicious
hotndelicious.wordpress.com

Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.

 

Journey to Jaipur, Rajasthan (India) – Photographic tales of an ex-Emirates flight attendant

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Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group). https://hotndelicious.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet! – Photographic travel diary series.

Roasted peanuts. Jaipur, Rajasthan Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).

Flashbacks to India and another fantastic snap from my trip to the Golden Triangle.

Spending a night or two in Jaipur was just magical and a real eye-opener. Everywhere we went we were followed by crowds of people and I (like most no doubt) was captivated by the striking colour of the buildings in this majestic city in Northern India.

Jaipur, also known as The Pink City, is so named as Maharaja Ram Singh (the ruler of Amber) had to entire city painted in pink in colour to welcome the Prince of Wales and Queen Victoria when they visited India on tour in 1876. Pink is considered to be the colour of hospitality and tradition has been maintained ever since with the locals now obliged by law to keep their buildings pink.

I clearly remember shooting this little dude on the side of the road roasting his peanuts. The 3 of us were wandering around town and everywhere I looked was a photographers dream. Most people hassled us for money, but this guy just kept about his daily task, looked me in the eyes and smiled.

I never did try his nuts…

DW

You can also listen to the Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet podcast series here.

Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet is a weekly podcast interviewing inspiring individuals and successful entrepreneurs from around the planet across a range of industries (incl. music, film/tv, fashion, travel, comedy and more) about what makes them tick as people and drives their hunger for success.

Hot & Delicious Group.. Passion, Creativity & Community.

Culture, travel, music, news & sick live photography from around the planet:

Twitter @hotndelicious 
Instagram @hotndelicious
Facebook.com/HotnDelicious
hotndelicious.wordpress.com

Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.

 

Podcast Interview: ‘Chris & Josh’ webseries creator, writer & director – Matt Smolen.

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1047989_902075706476059_8986914825152976789_oHot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet podcast series

Interview #8 – Matt Smolen – Writer, Director and Creator (Chris & Josh webseries)

Matt Smolen is fuckin’ awesome! 

Met this inspiring dude 3 years at Pyramid Rock Festival when Matt was behind the lens shooting video content for Australian music video blog Speaker TV and my biz was driving Pyramid’s social media.

Since Pyramid Rock, Matt’s career has gone from strength to strength with his video production company Balloon Tree Productions shooting content for a bunch of different Australian brands and creating, writing and directing of international award-winning comedy webseries ’Chris and Josh’ featuring Shane Savage and ex-Neighbours actor Matt Werkmeister.

We chat about losing your virginity, quitting KFC after 1 shift, awful taste in music, having a 1000 views on the first day of releasing previously unheard of and unreleased comedy webseries and flying by the seat of your pants to create a webseries which has go on to win international acclaim and awards at LA Webfest and the 2014 Open Channel Australian Online Video Awards for Best Comedy Series and . Epic!

I seriously lost my shit when he told me what his first ever CD was… fuckin’ hilarious! 

Get into it!

Listen to our podcast with Matt Smolen & subscribe to Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet here.

Follow Matt Smolen on Twitter or contact via Balloon Tree Productions for video production enquiries.

Hit us up on social media here:

Instagram @hotndelicious

Twitter @hotndelicious 
Facebook.com/HotnDelicious
Hot & Delicious YouTube – Ballistyx Snowboard Show, interviews & more.

All images courtesy of Matt Smolen and http://www.maguri.net.

Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet podcast series

Hot & Delicious Group. Culture, travel, music, news & sick live photography from around the planet.

Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.