Australia 2014

Australia, flying out of New Caledonia so close to you at the end of last year, I thought perhaps it would be a while yet before I saw the beauty of your rocky shores.

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An end, a death to the voyage at sea, is found here upon your vast soil. Here the dead laugh watching over the waves as they tickle the massive fortification, Poseidon never penetrates.

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Though death is not something to laugh at here, where you make the ocean seem small and weak. You sent a beautiful beast to remind me of this, the first morning I awoke, my nose nearly caught in the spider’s web.

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Canberra has a few creations to cherish.

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Though Sydney is where it is at.

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Chinatown has super cheap fruits, veggies and nuts, in a bustling barterers market. 2014-02-22 19.00.022014-02-22 16.24.262014-02-22 18.52.432014-02-22 16.27.08

The beauty of the beaches is something to behold but I think even more is the artwork it is lined with.

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Even at Hogwarts (University of Sydney) in some places this art is accepted.

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The gays of Sydney bring even more color, especially during Marti Gras, where funny friends dress up like fools.

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Obviously the city space is a small part of it all. Venture out side for fruits and Giant Merino’s

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Unending wildlife

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And the best part, the blue mountains. (The Three Sisters)

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Minni Ha Ha Waterfall

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Perhaps someday soon I will come back with more time, and get a car like this one. Wicked car rentals only $20 per day, they also do camper vans.

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After I came home from sailing I again felt overwhelming pain seeing my friends and family lives where they seemed happy, but constantly complained. I felt that people force themselves to have a positive attitude to mask the constant suffering they feel. No one wants to talk about their day at work, their love life, or their addictions to coffee, marijuana and drinking. I looked again at what to do next and was accepted to be a dog sled musher in the Yukon territory for the winter. I doubted if dog sledding was what I really wanted to do and felt like all I was doing was making a name for myself as some adventure junkie.  I felt like I needed to do something for this world rather than escape it. I needed to find a way to put the patience, charisma and holistic view of the world I had gained to use. I started researching into Volunteerism and what sort of things were happening around the world to make a difference. I found many volunteer organizations that had a terrible record and plenty of evidence that the money was not being used properly. I found one organization that had a really cool story and seemed to be dedicated to ensuring sustainable projects. They happened to be nearing their bi-yearly hiring process. The first stage was an open application and essay. The second was a minute long video showing your full capability of charisma. Several thousand applied for the first stage and only a few hundred were accepted to the second. The third narrowed us down into 20 people for skype interviews, and only a few would be hired. I was hired and they flew me out to Australia with in two weeks.

We would be going to two universities per week, two days each, with one partner, the first day we would spend 10 hours running non-stop between the largest lecture halls possible to make 60 second announcements, at least 4 an hour, the second giving info sessions. Circling around our lecture halls we looked for the professors who arrive early to ask them about doing the announcement when their class started. We would have to judge the attitude of the professor and the distances between lecture halls. Sprinting between each we would burst into the lecture hall and scream at the top of our lung about volunteering  the next holiday and throw a handful of fliers inviting everyone to detailed info sessions the next day. There would be die hard competition on each campus with up to four other organizations try to do the same thing. We were known for being the best and our training reflected it. In the vigorous training we memorized the 60 second announcement and ran sprints while screaming it. Did group building excises and individual empowering group competitions. They taught us to look at people like zombies, who would be convinced by using hang gestures, using sneaky sales tactics and averting certain questions. The 45 minute info session was where we made the sale. I was told I couldn’t talk about my independent travels because that would make people think they could travel without using a their volunteer agency. They convinced me to keep working by making me feel like I was respected above the others, and in line to become a volunteer leader who would be paid to stay in different countries taking the volunteers (a high majority beautiful women) on amazing adventures, zip lining, scuba diving, and more. After a few weeks out recruiting I began to question what I was really fighting for. I thought I was giving people a new freedom, that would change their life. I began to realize that most of these people would spend a bunch of money to go for two weeks, live in a planned safe environment,  take pictures to show their friends, and go home thinking they had seen the world.

I was frustrated by the lack of spirituality the recruiter job entailed. We told ourselves we were working for a higher purpose, but everything manifested in self service. When we did announcements in front of 1000 people lectures halls, we often woke people up more than coffee at 7am and received standing ovations. Never had I felt so powerful, but what was the power for? We were encouraged to go to college bars to show our faces around campus and how cool we were. When I told my bosses that I didn’t like the idea of drinking all the time they said well maybe the recruiter life isn’t for you. I felt like my team was doing great and after three hard weeks my partner and I had really bonded. One day our boss showed up on campus and I knew something was wrong. They said no, no everything is OK, I’m just here to help because the campus is big. I knew this was a lie and continued to probe deeper. Finally they admitted that they were here to watch our performance and at the end of the week would fire my partner or I. I immediately quit and said he could keep the job. He was younger than me and much more into it, competing was not worth it. I barely saw my partner during the first day of campuses because we would be on opposite sides. So later that day I asked him what our boss had said and he said ohhh they said they fired you. I laughed and told him the truth. I was pretty angry that they had lied about that so I immediately went into our messaging group and simply said that I decided the recruiter life wasn’t for me, and that I decided to go to Africa to see what this was really about with my own two eyes.

Now I’m in Johannesburg, South Africa, and loving it so much. I met a local artist in the Airport who took me to this new area of town Maboneng right in the center (that used to be the most dangerous) where a rich artist bought 40 buildings and is basically giving them to anyone with motivation and a good idea to reconstruct the area with art spaces, cafes and vintage clothing shops. Like the hostel I’m at now, run by a 21 year old guy, opened 2 months ago, with art work all over the walls and couches made out of recycled tires. There are guys on every corner with huge machine guns to protect the neighborhood. I feel the heart of Africa and look forward to its embrace as I wander (after 1 month of volunteering at Lydenrust farms that is)

 

Thank you Australia, until next time.

 

Ps. Unfortunately, I had to leave behind my parents house, and the beautiful art space we created there as they are moving. Here are some pictures in memory.

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