Australia 2014

Home from sailing I spent a little time with my family and worked the Chicago German Christmas market to save some dough. I wondered what I would do next. I found a website, dog sled central where people will train and pay you to be a dog sled musher. I got accepted to go up to the Yukon and started buying some serious winter gear. I had doubts if dog sledding was really what I wanted to do. I wasn’t trying to build a reputation for doing crazy adventures. I was trying to help the world, trying to find truth. I felt selfish and started looking for other options.

I looked into volunteering and found that most volunteer organizations were corrupt. Many spent their money on building up their organization with little regard to making a sustainable difference. With some deep research I found what I believe was the best volunteer organization. It was started by a guy who quit his previous organization because of the corruption. He dedicated his to being sustainable and patient with new projects to ensure there was no bribery or foul play that got over looked. They happened to be nearing their bi-annual hiring for volunteer recruiters, a position that require you to have travel experience and a charismatic personality. I slide through the interview process and they paid my way to Australia after a few weeks.

We would be going to two universities a week with a partner. On the first day sprint between the largest lecture halls for ten hours making 60 second announcements trying to hit as many as we could per hour. The second day we would do a few more announcements in the morning. Then in a rented room give power point presentations 45 minutes long, four times, convincing potential volunteers our programs were the best and telling them how easy they could fund raise. At each campus up to four other competitive organizations could be there, but we were known as the best of the best, and our training reflected it.

At training we memorized our announcements, repeating it nearly a thousand times in seven days. We would do sprints while screaming it to prepare us for all the sprinting between lecture halls. We learned about facial and hand gestures to pull in attention. We learned how to talk to professors to convince them to let us announce. Most importantly we learned that people are like sheep who can be guided by loud noises and hand gestures. We would sell them something they didn’t know they wanted. We used sales tactics to keep people on topic in info sessions and avoid tricky questions. I was told I couldn’t talk about my independent travelling because people might being to think they could travel without our organization.

I wasn’t doing the best at first. I had a lot of trouble lying to people. Slowly I became more and more comfortable with “white lies”. I stuck with it because I didn’t want to fail and they encouraged me by saying my leadership skills are setting me up to be volunteer leader. I would someday be paid to take volunteers on adventures around the world, scuba diving, paragliding, visiting ancient runes, etc. The recruiters who made it through the brutal training and made their first real announcement felt at the top of the world. Other organizations would do an announcement before us and no one would clap or listen. Then we would run up full of energy and wake people up better than their coffee at 7 am, by the end of the announcement often times a thousand people would give us a standing ovation. The higher purpose I told myself I was working for kept me content with the amount of self satisfaction I was receiving. They encouraged us to go to campus bars, showing our faces and how cool we were outside of work. When I said I didn’t want to drink and party every night, I was told maybe recruiter life isn’t for me.

I thought I was giving people a way to find a better life. The reality was these people would pay to go for two weeks, stay in a pre-planned safe environment, take some pictures and go home to the same life as before. Some of them might start asking more questions, but would that give them any more answers? I had flashbacks to the times as a child going door to door inviting people to house church in my grandparent’s basement. I remembered the joy we felt when new people arrived, and their face when we accepted them for whoever they were. I remember watching hundreds of people study the Bible and turn their lives around permanently. The more I thought this the less I could focus on volunteer recruiting.

As I did better and better, I began to feel uncomfortable about how close I was to actually lying, maybe I already was lying. There was so much pressure from above to perform. After three weeks our boss showed up on campus and I knew something was wrong. They said of coarse nothing is wrong, I’m just here to help you, this is a big campus. I knew this was bull and again said why are you here I know something is up. Finally they admitted that either my partner or I was going to be fired at the end of the week so we had to compete for the position. I immediately quit and said my partner could have the job, he was a young guy and I knew he liked this life style. When I reunited with my partner later in the day he told me the boss said he fired me. All I could do was laugh.

I decided in that moment to go to Africa and to see what was really happening there.

 

The pictures below are put to a story of what happened in Australia outside of work.

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 its 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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Thank you Australia, until next time.

Here are some pictures in memory of my parents basement and all the artwork that went into it.

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