By Cal Leckenby
1. When did you first become involved with Inc and how did it come about?
I first got involved in 2012 or 2013. A staff member at the Mental Illness Fellowship of Victoria recommended . Once I heard about the service, I was keen to get involved. I went on a day trip and then an overnighter before going on my first 5-day trip, which was the Mitta Mitta rafting program in 2013. It was a great experience. I remember it was quite fresh in the morning, there was a big family of red at the campsite, and the stars at night were incredible. It was such a positive experience meeting other people who had mental health challenges and all the staff members were incredible.
2. What is your favourite program or thing to do at ?
There are a few but I really enjoy the Grampians drumming program with Mo. We do some drumming in the morning and go on some beautiful walks in the afternoon. Mo creates a vibe and is so easygoing.
3. Where is your favourite place to visit with ?
Anywhere around the water – I love getting to a dip in the ocean. One of my favourites is the Mornington peninsula. I remember one trip we stayed in some pretty schmick accommodation. It was low-key and just nice to get away from Melbourne. We did some shopping at second-hand stores and went for some walks along the coast – it’s always nice to be near the saltwater and I love dipping my feet in the bay.
4. Have you always enjoyed being in nature, where did your love of nature and the great come from?
When I was little, I was always a bit of an explorer. I would be out for hours and often miss lunch – I’d be too busy climbing trees or whatever. I got a bit side-tracked with life in my 20s and 30s – I spent 20 years up north in northern NSW and QLD. When I came back to Melbourne and got involved with I discovered that I loved getting back into nature and being able to visit places that I wouldn’t normally go by myself. Having it staffed and surrounded by others with mental health challenges is such a great safety net.
5. What is your favourite activity or thing to do in the ?
Lately, I’ve loved going for walks around Fitzroy gardens and there are some great walks around the Richmond area. It’s also around the Abbotsford Convent. I love morning walks around that area and stopping in for some lunch at the convent – days like that make me happy.
6. If you could live anywhere in the world where would you live?
I’ve never been outside of Australia – due to my mental health travel has always been . Although, I would love to visit Europe and see where my ancestors came from. I’d love to check out Scotland, Norway, and Scandinavia – visit Stonehenge, Egypt, Machu Picchu, and Angkor Wat. Apart from that, living in Melbourne is . Culturally it’s amazing. Great food, arts, culture, and most people are happy to have a chat. I find Melburnians are generally open-minded, which I really like.
7. Tell us something that other people may not know about you?
I played in a band when I was 18-19. We performed some gigs in St. Kilda and Abbotsford. I remember we played a year 10 formal and a birthday party, too. The band was called Homecoming – our drummer was a big U2 fan. I was the lead singer. We could never work out what genre we were but if I had to describe it, I’d say it was rock, with some blues elements, and a keyboard thrown in. We would always play our own original songs; we didn’t do any covers.
8. What do you do when you’re having your own mental health challenges?
I try to be aware of what’s happening and bring mindfulness into it. I try my best to be gentle and flexible with myself – don’t beat myself up about anything. I’ll tell myself that I’m not having a great moment, but things are generally pretty good. I focus on what I have and try to be grateful for all the good things in my life. I also like to spend time with my subconscious and nurture it that way.
9. What is your favourite movie?
The Last of the Mohicans, which stars Daniel Day-Lewis. It’s based on the book and is a beautiful, emotional movie with an uplifting story and an engaging experience. I highly recommend it.