Continuity of Adventure

To be ready?

What is ready?

I seek to write. And to travel.

It is simple.

Though if I am not ready for that, then I guess I should put down my pen, end my lease here in Sydney and return ‘home’ to Brisbane.

Because, after all, for what I say I am not ready, I am already doing.

PJ.

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When FOMO Strikes Hard

I arrived home, exhausted. Tonight was the night. A short nap and then it would begin. Tomorrow was deadline day in which that bitch of an assignment would be due. It was going to be a late one. As late as was required to get it done. Focus was going to be important. Calm and quiet therefore essential. Though surely there were powers conspiring against such desires.

I tried to have that nap. To give me at least some small remnant of the energy required. But the lives of those others with whom I live had contradictory plans. I guess it was a Saturday night after all…

Intoxicated ecstasy fueled laughs and questionable social interactions; the entire flat an amphitheater of care-free joy. I sat upright in my bed. My notes sprawled across my sheets and my laptop perched upon my knees. I tried to block out the noise. But my broken earphones allowed the backing chorus to remain a persistent distraction.

I guess I could have shut my door. But still there was something inside me that wanted to remain connected to the night’s activities. Surely a better prospect than the bore my night would soon become?

Hours went by and visits to my room from increasingly drunk friends rose in frequency. As I looked back down at my laptop screen and noted the stagnant word count, a growing feeling of dread came over my body. Surely I must have known there would be plenty more nights out such as these? But in that moment it seemed as this would be the last of such opportunities.

I am proud to say that I stayed in that night. And I am proud to say the results achieved, despite my internal doubts upon submission, were well and truly worth it.

It is not all about the results, of course, however these small successes are instilling a growing sense of belief within; a sense of direction; a sense of, ‘if I switch on, focus and commit myself to this shit, then there’s really no stopping me.’

Part of my is falling for this arduous grind. More than financial analysis, consumer behaviour analysis and strategic human resource planning, I am learning just what it takes to achieve; just how much hard work and sacrifice is required.

Since that night there were many more occasions in which the word ‘No’ would again become a reiteration of just why I was putting myself through the sleep and social deprivation. It’s not the piece of paper I’ll have in four months time. Nor then the ability to make mention of these sleepless nights on my CV.

It is instead the the knowledge that all those bullshit excuses I once told myself will be cast from my life once and for all; that the many pages of my journals, listing the myriad of things I had started but never finished, can be torn out [and burned] and replaced with far more helpful affirmations of my potential.

And to be blunt with you, that gets me feeling pretty fkn excited.

 

PJ.

 

 

Are you a Number One or Number Two?

‘Oops, sorry, is it possible to get two marshmallows on the side with that? Thanks.’

I arrived at the cafe a little early. I had fifteen minutes to spare before a friend arrived. My double espresso brewed. And then, not two but three marshmallows arrived in its company. Win.

I got out my laptop, opened my WordPress dashboard and paused for a moment to reflect on life’s present events.

Recently, my anxiety has been fluctuating at levels far beyond places of comfort. Certain events had created stresses unforeseen. And whilst I can appreciate the value these events were offering my life, certain inescapable realities remained:

How do I pay rent next week?

I can’t say I’m as stressed about the situation as I would once have been. Months of hard work, nights in and the substitution of Uber Eats for half price mi goreng noodles are, for now at least, keeping me afloat.

Every time I’ve had a setback – like losing a job – it has served as a kick up the arse that directed me onto something even better. Without fail.

Earlier this year I resolved that it was time I started to invest more time into building my empire. I resolved that I needed to begin putting myself out there more, to expand my network, to build relationships and to solidify ideas that have been on my mind and in my soul for much of my life.

But those ‘jobs to pay the bills’ can be distracting. As I have now found. It’s so easy to get sucked into the demands of the daily grind; it’s so easy to fall victim to the trap of the comfort and stability they offer; and our dreams can so easily stall unless we retain the focus and discipline, every day, to keep taking the time to edge that little bit closer to our desired destination.

I had an interview recently for a marketing role. It’s the first opportunity I’ve had like this and my first step away from the sales and customer service roles that I’ve typically pursued over the past six years.

The owner of the company sat down with me and asked:

‘You’ve got all of the skills and talents, you present yourself well… why don’t you just start your own business?’

He continued:

‘Are you a number one? Or a number two? Are you the leader, the visionary, the guy who steers the ship? Or are you the guy who is content working beneath someone? Getting through the workload they pass on to you?’

The answer had never been clearer.

Two days later I met up with a friend and quickly began talking about business ideas, strategies and ways in which we can make a positive impact in the world. Something clicked. We had the type of conversation that I love having most. The types of conversations that give birth to potentially world changing action.

This is exactly what I want to do. These are the conversations I want to be having!

I guess I haven’t really known a life in which I haven’t had a ‘side project’ to work on. Yes, focus is important, as I wrote about in one of my recent blogs. But retaining the motivation for what you’re doing is surely just as important. And I’ve been missing this motivation recently.

My mind is lead now to think of many of the great entrepreneurs over the years. They were going through the motions, but at the same time, they were building their empires. Think Mark Zuckerberg. Think Elon Musk.

Sure, there is merit to following the conventional path. And yes, there is merit in pursuing the known entity. But if your gut, if that little thing inside of you, that little thing that keeps chirping up in the times of hardship, that little thing that says, ‘Why don’t you just give it a go?’, then why don’t we?

Why must we choke on the dust of the many others walking the known path when we know deep down that we are nomads? When we know that we are, and always have been, destined to forge our own path in life?

It takes courage. And confidence. But surely it’s worth it?

I’m about to find out. Are you?

PJ.

 

 

Dreams to Travel and Inspire

It was the end of 2015 and I’d just returned from England. I was unemployed, reluctantly looking for work and with it a return to normal Australian life.

Each day I would get up and sit out on the back patio with my laptop. I was meant to be on Seek looking for jobs. Instead I would have my journal out and be writing about where I would rather be and what I would rather be doing.

I would look up to the sky and watch the planes fly overhead. I would dream of being on them and of all the amazing places they could take me.

Two years have now passed. Still I have those same dreams. Between then and now I have transitioned many a job and found myself living in Sydney. The moment the first plane flew overhead my Coogee flat on final approach I knew this was where I was meant to be, even if only for now.

As I write this, I am sat on my balcony with my feet up, a clear view of the beach in front of me and watch as plane after plane fly into their destination.

I know that I will soon be on those planes and living my dreams. And as I descend on final approach to destinations all over the world, I will look down upon those looking up at me with the same dreams I once had and am now living out. I will remember how I felt and the struggles I faced in arriving at that moment. And I will remember the purpose and responsibility I have in doing so:

To inspire.

PJ.

Winter PJ vs. Summer PJ

Summer PJ feels at ease with himself and his surrounds. His hair is longer and his skin is darker. It’s rare that you’ll see him wearing anything other than his swimmers. And a long sleeve linen shirt. His feet will be as tanned as any other part of his body. ‘Enclosed footwear’ becomes a distant memory.

He feels happy and free. It’s easier for him to engage in conversation. And to put away his phone. He feels more confident in asking a girl on a date. And very rarely will a day pass in which he hasn’t submerged himself in a sea of waves at one beach or another. The sand between his toes and the lapping water against his skin are the only psychologist he needs in this season.

Each day he will wake with vigour and excitedly open his blinds to assess the day’s weather. Slipping on that linen shirt, those swimming shorts and that backward cap, he will throw a towel in his bag and a notebook in hand before bursting forth into the day’s warm rays. Breathing seems easier with each breath much deeper than the months before. His shoulders are relaxed and he confidently strolls toward the water, double espresso now likely in hand.

Eye contact with passers by is comfortably met with a smile, nod and polite g’day. He feels in touch with himself and who he is meant to be. He dreams of a life in which he can live this life year round. A life in which these strolls are not interrupted by the need to return to a workplace mandated only by a requirement to ‘pay the bills’ and stave away the debt collectors from knocking down his door.

He dreams instead of these strolls being broken up by meetings at beach side cafes in which ideas for innovative businesses and world changing charities are discussed over a coffee or beer. He loathes the idea of needing to distinguish ‘work clothes’ from that which he loves most to wear on days such as these. He does not understand the need to wear a suit and tie when the job brief is to create an innovate. Surely this serves only to suffocate such creative energies from flowing freely?

Though surely these days must come to an end as winter encroaches. He checks his Instagram feed for when he was last able to swim the year before. It’s always far too early. As the days get shorter and the temperature falls, throwbacks begin to fill his feed instead. Often, he cannot even wait until Thursday. Scandalous. Friend’s in opposing seasons will invite him to travel, to hike, to swim and adventure. This year it was Colorado, last year it was Croatia. Though budgetary constraints have held him back of late.

2017 will be the first year in the past five in which he has not enjoyed a Summer, either north or south. He resolves it has to be the last. He poses the idea with friends of creating the means to enable such seasonal adventures to continue. And not just for a month or two. But to enjoy the freedom in which the ability to remain in such a climate year round is possible. Of course they laugh. ‘It’s not practical’, they say. He disagrees. In the back of his mind he knows the means it will require. He knows what he must do. He knows what he must build.

This year has been an important year for him. As he finishes his first tertiary diploma, a possibility and ability he had denied for almost seven years, doors have opened and his confidence has grown. A distinction/high-distinction average has fueled the realisation that he can, in fact, do this. All of those doubts he had on the quality of his work have began to fade.

There are still those that suggest and encourage a route of comfort from here but for him, nothing would seem more uncomfortable. He is a nomad. An adventurer. Never one to shy away from attempting the impossible. Until now, he has often not had the confidence in which to successfully take such leaps. But this has changed.

Of course, these words are written by Winter PJ. It’s July. And there are still thirty-six days and nine hours left of winter this year. But who’s counting? Too many warming additions have been added to his wardrobe this year. This frustrates him. But not as much as the comments, ‘Wow, you look really pale!’. He brushes it off, ‘Haha this is Winter Paul! I’m not designed for this weather!’. He will smile and promptly change the subject. But inside it hurts.

He remembers the time in Year 6 when his classmate Michael called him Snow White. And the time he intentionally belly flopped at the school swimming carnival to give his skin at least a hint of colour. And of course the many days spent laying in the sun by the pool at home despite all of the parental protests and warnings of skin cancer.

Today he sits in his favourite cafe, the weather an encouraging reminder of the Summer that was and will once more soon be. He has found the motivation to write again and to publish at least a snippet of his inner thought catalog. Though a weight of anxiety is still felt pressing down on his chest.

He attempts to understand this weight. Some days he will fight it. Some days he will lie about its extent to family and friends. This is not intentional. It’s overwhelmingly confusing to understand for himself let alone to explain to others. He will try and accept it. And will wonder if it will ever go away. He knows that it will. But it’s hard to believe sometimes. He remembers what his Dad used to say on the days he didn’t want to get up and go to school, ‘Feet to the floor!’. Some days this will take longer than others. But he’s always glad that he does.

There is the feeling that anxiety will always remain a part of his life. And that he must learn not to fight it but leverage the positive role it plays. He rationalises the pain it causes with the benefit it will one day offer. However, this does not lessen the level of pain felt.

He is a fighter, however, and he will keep fighting, despite thoughts at times of an easier alternative. Perhaps these thoughts now are a derivative of this seasonal discomfort? And that just as the seasons change so too will this perspective on present feeling? He hopes this will prove to be the case.

Thirty-six days, eight hours and twenty-two minutes.

PJ.

WARNING: Stories From Three Nights In Vegas…

Eight huuuuuuundred titties. I’ve got eight huuuuuuundred titties waiting for you boys for whenever you’re ready…

Olly and I looked at each other. We were amazed. Was that even possible?

I’ll get you boys a free limo, a free bottle of champagne…

The deal kept getting sweeter and sweeter. It almost seemed too good to be true…

As we slowed our walk in ponderous amazement, we looked back and forth at one another with both curiosity and disgust. Was his offer genuine? Just how big was this place to fit 400 topless girls?

Tonight was not the night on which we were going to find out however. In fact, no night was. We continued walking only now a little faster.

‘It’s a trap!’

We seemed to repeat this to one another every few hundred metres. Passing through what we thought was an exit out of one casino, we would somehow end up in the foyer of another.

Buying a beer and finding a seat at which to enjoy it presented the challenge of finding a table without a pokie machine at it’s center. A seat at the bar was no better.

Our gaze often met that of a beautiful girl walking by.

‘Was she, errr, checking me out?’ we would ask ourselves.

Maybe. But the price tag hanging from her neck, just barely shielding her enormous silicone bust from the seedy prying eyes of the three hundred desperately dissatisfied married men in her vicinity, was certainly not what we were after. Not now. Not ever.

We would eventually find a way out of this labyrinth of lustful greed. Though not before another hour spent navigating the ocean of roulette and blackjack tables.

Finally, we made it, throwing our arms into the air proclaiming:

‘Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty we are free at last!’

I doubt whether a certain Martin Luther King Jr. ever foresaw his words being used for this particular purpose…

We woke up the following morning, checked out of our AirBNB two nights early and hit the road bound for San Diego which, for those of you who don’t know, means ‘A whale’s v…’.

I’ll cut myself short on that one.

Perhaps our time in Vegas might have been different had we have had thousands of dollars spare to spend. I’d like to think not. Though I can understand the temptation for those that do.

I’m sure I’ll return one day. But not to gamble. Or to have a twenty-seven year old single mum grind on my junk. Instead it will be for something much more worthwhile. Just what that is exactly, I don’t yet know.

Watch this space.

PJ.

 

The Craziest Year Yet: 2016 In Review

To review this crazy year, I had originally planned to post an array of my favourite pictures. Pictures like these…

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And these…

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Pictures that showcased ‘just how much of an amazing time I had’.

Yes, this year has been pretty wild! I have moved from Brisbane to Sydney. I have traveled to Perth and back to Brisbane for both my sister and brother’s weddings. I have traveled to America. I have had the joy of making so many new friends from all over the world – some of whom I will call friends for life!

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I have solidified my passion for adventure and thirst for the outdoors. Countless days have been spent trekking, stand up paddle-boarding, surfing and kayaking…

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I have even made an appearance on Home and Away and explored my creative and theatrical side!

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I might say this every year, but I really do think that I’ve grown more this year than I ever have before.

Friends have challenged me more than they ever have before. I’ve explored new perspectives and come to realise and to pursue an entirely new outlook on life.

My faith has been challenged and tested beyond belief. And I can say now that, as a result, it has grown to become stronger than it’s ever been before, though it might look and feel different than it ever has before. But that’s a good thing. I know that it is.

Over the past year I’ve experienced the pinnacle of joy and the deepest devastation of despair. There have been moments in which I have had to go into the office to scream out in joy whilst there were other moments in which I had to go into the office only to lay down on the floor and cry helplessly.

I have spent time in the mental heath ward of the local hospital and I have spent time homeless. There were a few months spent couch surfing and even a few nights spent sleeping in my car…

2016 has been tumultuous to say the least and yet the more I write this, the more I realise just how amazing a year it has been!

Though still it would not be fair to post photos as a ‘highlights reel’. Because I’m sure we can all do that; we can all cherry pick the good moments and hide the bad – that’s pretty much what social media has become these days.

The truth is, this year has tested me beyond belief: Financially, psychologically, emotionally, physically, spiritually… There were moments in which I really began to doubt whether I would be able to make it through to the following day.

And yet this brings me to acknowledge all those people who helped to pick me up and to carry me forward in the moments in which I could not carry myself.

I am so grateful.

Aside from all the adventures, it’s the people that have made this year so special; people who I am stoked to be able to call friends and people who I am stoked to be able to share my life with over the many years to come.

Whilst at times it might feel we can do this alone, the truth is, we need each other. It is only together that we can achieve the greatness that awaits us.

Happy New Year team!

PJ.

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Post-Travel Realisations: I Have Too Much Shit!

I thought about formatting this post like many of the viral posts we see on Facebook or BuzzFeed… Creating a blog title like:

17 Things I Hate About Moving House

6 Lessons I Learned From Sleeping On A Couch

How To: Not Be Homeless In 6 Creative Ways

12 Not So Obvious Signs You Might Need A Bed…

There’s websites that teach you how to structure a title to lure in more readers. And whilst I know all of this stuff, for today’s post, it all went out of the window.

There were countless frustrations that came with not having a place to properly call home over the past couple of months.

(How I came to be in that position I’ll save for another post!)

Frustrations that came in awkward moments like those when you’re filling out an official form and don’t have an address to put down.

Or when you go to pick a mate up and he asks why your car is filled to the brim with clothes, miscellaneous furniture items and damp towels… (the joys of living by the beach)

That’s of course not mentioning the embarrassment felt in every conversation you have with someone who asks where you live!

Yes, there were quite a few challenges faced whilst waiting for a suitable flat to come onto the market. Too many to properly list.

With that said, there was one thing that particularly stood out:

I have too much shit!

When I moved to Sydney in March I was able to comfortably fill the boot of my car with all of the things I was bringing with me. Simple things. Clothes. Books. My footy.

And yet somehow, in the space of just six months, I was now laying on the floor of my bedroom, about to move out, with a dismantled queen-size bed, three large black garbage bags, a suitcase, gym duffel, backpack and IKEA bag full of things.

Not to mention two book cases, a laundry basket, beanbag, rug…

The list goes on!

Over the next two months these things would become dispersed between two friends’ houses at opposites ends of Sydney with the essentials remaining in the boot of my car for all to see.

It was overwhelming.

And yet, in the middle of all of this, I went on a three week trip to America on which I took just one suitcase and a small backpack. 22kgs of checked luggage. 6kgs of carry-on. More than enough to last the three weeks – and perhaps even longer!

This sparked a realisation:

What is all this stress I have created for myself simply by having all of this unnecessary stuff?

This stressful possession filled life is certainly not one in which I intended to live and yet it is a life in which many of us fall into having. Oftentimes we do not realise until such times as we have to move house… And then it hits us.

Of course, for some this life is okay. Though for me it has come the time to reverse this wayward spiral.

It has come the time to simplify.

There is so little that I truly need. Simply, what I need is the freedom to travel, to connect, to write and to inspire. That is all. And that is what I am working towards.

Watch this space. (There’ll be a lot more of it!)

PJ.

Isn’t life meant for so much more?

I sit here uncomfortably; the house a hive of activity.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish I was more extroverted to feel comfortable joining in.

The challenge of couch surfing isn’t the couch but rather the lack of personal space at times like these. It’s nights like these that I remember just how valuable my own personal space is. A space to call mine.

It is however interesting to think of the culture and way of life they’re embracing. Weekend after weekend it remains the same. The young mentality. Quick wins. The high of the moment. Drug induced or otherwise.

Part of me would like to fit this mould to be able to genuinely enjoy such simple pleasures. And I do occasionally. But it leads me on a slippery slope. I cannot sustain such levels of enjoyment. I cannot help but feel we are missing the point…

Is not life meant for so much more than just one drunken, sleep depriving and financially crippling escapade across the dawn lit city skyline after another?

Perhaps I’m wrong. Maybe instead this is exactly what makes life the crazy adventure that it is? Raw uninhibited connection with our fellow human life-goers?

Maybe. Though I hope not. There’s a whole world to see and explore out there. And $16 vodka lime and sodas whilst trying to survive in Sydney’s eastern suburbs don’t help with such aspirations…

PJ.

[Originally written ~September 2016.]

The Six Month Sydney Summary

I didn’t think I’d like Sydney this much. It’s so beautiful. So diverse. Such wonder there is to discover around every turn. To finish work early and visit the beach for an afternoon swim. Or to start work late and begin the day with an early morning swim. Followed by breakfast and a coffee sat in cafes overlooking the glistening peaks of the waves crashing not fifty meters away.

I didn’t think I’d learn so much here. At least, I didn’t think I’d learn so much about the things I have. Many of which I’ve been forced to learn the hard way. Of course, these things are not easy to deal with. I’d be lying if I said a trip to the Emergency Department of the local hospital wasn’t a part of this learning process. Or the three days in a mental health ward that followed.

I knew this year was going to be a game changer for me. I guess I just saw the game changing in a different way. Six months in a relationship doomed from the start was one such hurdle to face. And the bi-weekly psychology appointments that have followed are another. And yet without these, certain revelation-ary breakthroughs would never have been made.

I’m twenty-three this year. It’s my favourite number. Inevitably my expectations for the year were high. My move to Sydney and step up and into my ‘dream job’ filled me with the idea that I was on the right path for an incredibly stable and exciting year. And yet the stability train derailed just weeks in.

It’s hard to believe six months have now passed. Beginning with three weeks sleeping on a couch and ending with another three weeks sleeping on a couch [before moving into my new flat]. Strange also to think that I began my time here managing my own gym only now to be working as a receptionist at another whilst earning the lowest hourly wage of my post-school working life.

And yet remarkably for the first time I feel free from the expectation of society as I pursue things outside of just a ‘career’ but instead things that I am genuinely interested in; things that I have always been eager to explore.

There was a poignant moment in recent weeks in which I declined a number of opportunities to further my career within the familiar surrounds of the fitness industry choosing instead to prioritise both my mental health and the pursuits of inner potential left largely untapped until now. I cannot accurately describe the sense of freedom I felt in these moments.

I am always drawn back to the thought that we always know what we would rather be doing; we always know the things we really want to be doing in life. We just create a shopping list of excuses as to why it’s not possible.

As children are are lead by instinctual desires. We know things and act on things not from fact but from instinct. At such an age it is all we have. And yet as we grow older we lose sight of this. It’s sad. And confusing.

I am learning now to go back to these roots of instinctual decision making. To trust and respect myself enough to act on these deeply rooted desires of my heart and of my soul. Not to doubt or to second guess. But to believe.

In a way it is faith. The courage to act on something not seen but felt. Might I reference the law of attraction? Or what others would call prayer? Sending out positive energies to a God or the universe. Such power there is in something even as small as a mustard seed.

I am beginning to understand the complexities of creation. I am beginning to grasp a more holistic understanding of humanity and what we all feel. The connection we all share to something greater; our united pursuit for an understanding of how and why we have come to reside on this planet.

Of course this blog began with the title, ‘Beaches, Bibles, Beers and Babes’. I was assured that I was embarking on a journey toward spiritual enlightenment. I saw that coming in a different form though early adventures to protestant congregations were short-lived. I could not remain a part of such a close minded family of ‘believers’. Surely there is more they don’t believe than that which they do.

As my mind has expanded through experience and connection my faith has not withered but flourished. And it will continue to do so. The prospect of further adventures abroad and escapades into the world of film, TV and theater continue to whet my appetite for exploration, both of myself and the world around me.

Herein lies my purpose with love both my means and my motive.

Excitement builds.

PJ.