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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

It's too Late When you're Dead


For 12 years we sat in captivity discussing life on the other side. We talked about knights on noble steeds, of frolicking in fields of flowers and envisioned ourselves saving the world. We all plotted how we’d make our millions and suffered endless nights dreaming about what we’d do with our freedom.

We really all ought to be frolicers....
When it (freedom) finally came we suddenly forgot our plans. We fled across the world – to Kuwait and England and the states and Naboomspruit and Pretoria. Some of us never found that noble knight. Some never frolicked in fields.  Most of us never made our millions. And most of us still dream about what we will do with our freedom… even though it’s already here.

Ten years ago, as I sat in school (yes, that was a whole 10 years ago), I had no idea what exactly I wanted to do with my life. I had no idea where I was headed or even who I was. If you’d ask me about travel or jobs or friends, there’s no way I would have foreseen myself gypsying about four continents, or meeting so many many exceptionally awesome people, or eating strange delicacies, or accomplishing so many things that seemed impossible at the time, or sailing across an ocean, or finishing degrees, or running companies or being who I am today.

I never dreamed it possible to cycle across countries...

Strange delicacies  the first

Somewhere in Australia...

One night in a trolley... I never thought I'd choose to hang out with kiwis

I never thought that donating blood could actually be fun (actually, I need to donate again, anyone want to join??)

I even survived dangerous encounters with wild creatures

I've seen more beautiful places than school me ever dreamed of seeing 

I fail to be surprised by the people I meet...

Strange delicacy the second
I've even had the privaledge of getting to know all the sesame street characters personally
But the past 10 years have by far been the best years of my life.  And each year blows my mind more than the previous one (I do hope this carries on forever – although I may have had too much goodness too early in life). And 10 years later, I still don’t know what I want to do with my life or where I am headed, or even who I am.  But I’m actually okay with that.

I took the train to work on Monday and was bombarded with offers for penis enlargements and cheap abortions and marriage spells. A preacher on the train shouted that the answer was God and a sangoma (witch doctor) assured us it was in fact inyanga – both supposedly cure everything – but the latter is only available at select back-alley pharmacies and costs money. God can be found anywhere and is available 24/7.

So many of us focus on the negative. We forget that we have freedom. We forget how far we have come. We sit and worry about our problems (just one train ride assured me that they are very easy to resolve, no matter how big or small) and limit ourselves because we forget that all things are possible. We forget that we can only change the present. We accept life the way it is either because it’s comfortable or because we worry that if we change something we will make it worse.

Life is short and it is meant to be awesome. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’ve been or what your problems are – the only person who can start to turn your life about is you. Remember that dreamer you were in younger years and then go and make those dreams a reality.   

It's too late when you're dead.

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Grave Revalation


Whilst I’ve changed my opinion on pirates, tomatoes and the meaning of life; I’ve always been a firm believer in the fact that all things are possible [except roller skating backwards through a revolving door while juggling knives and killer clawed kittens].

Everyone said it was impossible to drive from London to Mongolia in a tin-canish car.... But...
I never dreamed it possible to lug a ginormous teddy about for more than a year and I thought my  ability to cycle across countries even less likely... but...
As a kid I believed that humans could fly. I started a flying academy and whilst all the teachers thought it was cute that a bunch of people would chase me around the field flapping their arms; the hardest part of the academy was finding things high enough to jump off, devising flying contraptions (plastic bag parachutes, umbrellas, cardboard wings, etc), and [the hardest part:] coming up with feasible cover stories for parents and teachers when height + failed contraption = unfortunate incident/sprainage/breakature. I still believe humans can fly…  

and no, sky diving doesn't count...
Similarly I still believe that sailing a self-built raft across oceans is still possible (even if the first attempt was very unsuccessful). I still believe that I will lick a president some day (I’ve lost track of my failure tallies on this one). I still believe that someday I will have an empire… I still believe that I can successfully complete even the most unlikely challenges on my bucket list….


….But I had a grave revelation this week…. it only took 28 years to discover it….

I moved to Cape Town last Saturday to start a new job 8-30am on Sunday.  Lack of transport options led me to rekindle my hatred of the bicycle; cycling 20km in each direction between a house on a hill and a job on a far massiver hill. Fortunately my job involves swinging in the trees and making and keeping people happy (and a bunch of more boring admin/ managerial jumbo) – but it’s a taxing vocation that, combined with the lack of cycling fitness [or any fitness for that matter] in my life, and the need for a social life, and ever-present insomniacishness; has made this the most taxing week of my life!

The typical first day of work bruise

It's a lot less purple now, but it now bends in two very different directions
As I cycled home on Saturday night after 6 days straight of 9 hour shifts with a broken toe, the wind blew me off my bicycle and  onto the pavement shortly before a bird decided to expel its lunch on me on me and I burst into tears when it suddenly hit me…

…and I really don’t like this realization at all, or the ramifications of it…

….and I don’t know how this will affect the ’all things are possible’ philosophy…

….and I hope I’m not the only one that this applies to…

 …but…
 I’m only human. I have limitations.


Friday, March 1, 2013

The End of the Chapter

It's amazing how life rolls on... One random Chapter after the next....

CHAPTER 1- Growing Up 

Back in 1984

1984 -1980somrtthing

Also in the 80s

 CHAPTER 2 - Growing a brain 

This is not actually me... it's just a random kid I found on the interweb
2002 - The last day of school

 CHAPTER 3 - Becoming a Grown Up


I've lost my actual university certificates.... but this one's just about as important

CHAPTER 4 - Moving Out

2005 - The housemates.... some of them at least

CHAPTER 5 - Becoming a Gypsy

2007 - The East Coast of Africarish Trip

CHAPTER 6 - Pretending to be European

2008 - Moving to London Land



CHAPTER 7 - Going Places

2009 - A little drive from London to Mongolia


CHAPTER 8 - Thinking of Growing Up


2010 - Getting a job again and contemplating resouthafricanising
I even acquired some grownupy clothes

CHAPTER 9 - Going Down Under

2010 -  2011... In the land of Aus

CHAPTER 10 - The Ultimate Gypsy

 And this last chapter's been a rediculous one... 

 Jan 2012 - Building the beloved raft, the Illegal Immigrant
Feb 2012 - Joining a biker Gang
March 2012 - Cycling across South East Asia
May 2012 - Hitching across China
June 2012 - Sailing across the Indian Ocean 
 And just like that the chapter end... And tomorrow I start a whole new one. I fly to my new home, Cape Town and come Sunday I become a real person, with a job...

It's funny how life goes really - in every chapter you meet amazing people that shape your life and live out crazy experiences that change your life.

I've never been more terrified at the start of a new chapter... this one will be called "CHAPTER 11 - Real Life" - and that might just be the scariest thing I've ever done.... But it will be awesome. Every chapter is.