TRAVEL TALES: Ballina’s Scott Rawstorne kayaks on Lake Arragan just north of Brooms Head in the Yuraygir National Park.
TRAVEL TALES: Ballina’s Scott Rawstorne kayaks on Lake Arragan just north of Brooms Head in the Yuraygir National Park.

Paddler’s guide to obtaining a healthy work-life balance

IS YOUR New Year's resolution to get more active? Or to improve your work-life balance? Then take a leaf out of Scott Rawstorne's book - literally.

The Ballina man spent 20 years living in Sydney and working as a software developer.

"I was getting pretty depressed about it all," he said.

"I'd be sitting on the bus every day, in silence, then going into an office all day.

"I thought, 'this isn't working for me'."

So Mr Rawstorne decided to make some major life changes.

He'd always been a keen kayaker, and often gave other people advice about good paddling destinations.

In 2007 he "swapped the grey suits and fluorescently lit boxes of city life for a pair of board shorts, a kayak and a retractable pencil, and set out to explore and write paddling guidebooks for the waterways of Australia".

"My first major research trip was a successfully completed mission to experience 40 paddles and 40 pubs in 40 days.

"Since then there have been numerous month-long research trips on which I have paddled every day and slept in the back of my car in nearby free camp sites.

"My parents, who live in Alstonville, said to me, 'If you want to get serious about writing, come and live with us, rent-free, and focus on your first book'. It was my opportunity.

"I've now written about 300 destinations."

With his IT background, Mr Rawstorne has been able to create his own website and do his own graphic design.

"It's been a steep learning curve," he said.

"I've just finished the second edition of the Paddler's Guide to New South Wales.

"The Northern Rivers gets the most content, because I live here.

"One of my favourite places to paddle is Clarrie Hall Dam - it is absolutely stunning. You get views of Mt Warning. If you go in the morning you get those beautiful mirror reflections, the lilies are flowering, there are forested banks."

The Paddler's Guide to New South Wales contains trip descriptions, maps, photographs, logistical details and recommended places to eat, drink and stay the night.

A percentage of the profits from the book sales go to Ballina-based non-profit organisation WetlandCare Australia.

For more information visit www.globalpaddler.com.au.



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