Archive | May, 2010

A post for mum

23 May

Ooooohhhh isn’t this sweet, a blog post for mum and it isn’t even mother’s day……………………………is it? When is Mothers day? I really have to start paying attention to the real world now that I’m living in it, well at least for a year.

Anyway, mum here is the video I promised you of our apartment in Melbourne that we moved into a month ago. It’s a bit of a mess, in a clean kind of way with washing hanging up etc.




I think Mums in general love all this kind of house/apartment stuff, and I suppose when your son hasn’t really had a fixed address of his own to send his credit card statements, birthday presents (I’ll be expecting a big present this year now I have an address), and those bloody PADI (SCUBA diving company that bombards you with dive community stuff) newsletters she must get kind of excited. Especially when my address is an actual house and not the passenger seat of my car, or a coffin sized Antarctic crew cabin, or a couch, or an Indians basement, or a room with metal bars for a window or a 3 bedroom house with 12 people living in it (It was actually a 4 bedroom place if you count the wardrobe that Ferret slept in) etc.

It has been quite enjoyable buying furniture and scrounging kerbside and utilising milk crates and plywood and which by the way if you are looking for a coffee table two milk crates with a piece of plywood and a table cloth thrown over top is gold. I even purchased a printer, wow, a purchase that can’t fit in my backpack!

I keep talking about living in Melbourne but the reality is that I spend more time working in Tasmania. I actually experienced sunshine down here on the West Coast of Tasmania, it is bloody beautiful, check out the photos below of my neighbourhood. What’s my blog come to, photos of IKEA furniture and beautiful landscape shots, next thing you know I’m going to change my profile photo to my cat! (I don’t actually have a cat, but shit I’ve just bought a printer and a duvet, so who knows maybe a cats on the cards – maybe it could be the Africa expedition mascot, or is that “mascat”?

My home away from home away from home. The house I live in, Tullah, West Coast of Tasmania


View from the deck, blue skies do exist.


Our quiet street, well there are only 250 residents in Tullah so all the streets are quiet and not too mention friendly – when you actually see someone.


The shopping mega mall Tullah style – café, hair dresser, real estate, post office.


What is my blog coming to! A picture of a cow, anyway, this is taken from beside the shed where I work, and like a lot of the Tasmanian landscape it reminds me of home.


Not too sure what I’m up to here, or why I even put it in this post – and no I haven’t shat myself. Oh and if you think I’m looking buff, it is only because I’m wearing 6 merino wool layers underneath (I’m serious too), and what makes this even worse is when my Tasmanian work mate turns up to work in a t-shirt! Maybe in my next life I will come back as a sheep (and not because of what the NZ farmers do to them, but because they have a wool coat)

Somewhere near Tapachula

17 May

Last night I had tears in my eyes……………..well I suppose that’s called crying.

No it wasn’t because I finally realised that puberty has passed me by and I will never be able to grow side burns, it was because I was watching the documentary, “Somewhere near Tapachula”.

It’s a documentary on the orphanage I worked at in early 2007 in the town of Tapachula on the Mexican Guatemalan boarder. It tells the amazing story of Pam and Alan, a retired Australian couple that run the orphanage and how they now have 54 Mexican orphans that call them Mum and Dad. I won’t go into detail, but it’s inspirational and is a real tear jerker, even for Mandy who didn’t know the kids had tears in her eyes. It’s a movie for everyone, it focuses on the kids, and is categorised as a surf documentary as surfing is at the heart of the orphanage life. I remember going out there on the crazy Tapachula beach break with mad rips and having the 10 year old boys dropping into waves that had me adding to the brown colour of the Tapachula muddy water (not to mention getting absolutely smashed). But surfing acts as an escape for the kids from their harrowing and haunting pasts which are filled with abuse, neglect, drugs, torture etc, and the documentary goes into a few of the stories.

It was especially special for me, I have fallen out of contact with the kids, when I left I used to keep in contact with a couple of the older boys that had access to computer and who I was close to, but time slowly reduced the number of emails as with most travelling relationships. But I have kept up-to-date and always look forward to reading the monthly newsletter.

But watching the smiling faces that I used to spend every day with, seeing the little Sammy who I helped toilet train and little Ruben and Alex who I use to bath resembling children, Bruno who I use take to basketball leaving the orphanage, Merril who I gave my surfboard to ripping it up and wanting to be a pro surfer and the list goes on.

It was also a marker for me, to see what I have achieved and the path I have taken since my time there. When I turned up at the orphanage in Tapachula I was dirt broke, barefoot (someone had takenmy jandals whilst I slept on the beach) holding a battered surfboard wrapped in a mouldy dirty duvet that I used to sleep on, and I hadn’t showered for 5 weeks (I’m not that much of a hippy, I was in the ocean everyday surfing – trying to surf).

The reason I was in this state was because 5 weeks previously I had received the news that my Canadian sponsored work visa that I had come to Mexico to wait on had been denied due to the downturn in the Canadian Oil Industry. Therefore I wouldn’t be going back to my job on the Canadian Oil Rigs, therefore I was stuck in Mexico with a credit card debt and all my belongings in my Canadian room that I was still renting. I decided to make the most of a bad situation and live on the beach in paradise and learnt to surf. 

The one thing I learnt from the orphanage was that although I thought I had nothing, I actually had everything. I had a loving supportive family and came from a country where I have running water, a grassy field to play sport on, a first world health and education system, the ability to earn money and travel freely etc.

And to look back at my journey since the orphanage is rather amusing. At that time Mandy was the American girl I had met for 6 days during her Christmas holiday in Sayulita, Mexico who I was emailing on the Orphanage computer.  Lttle did I know at that time that I would move from the orphanage and go land live with her in her 1 bedroom apartment in Colorado, USA after only knowing her for only those 6 days and now we are living together in our own 1 bedroom apartment in Melbourne, Australia 3 years down the track.

And everything that has happened in between;travelling through Colombia, being put in Atlanta city jail and being deported from the states with a 10 year ban, having the scariest moment of my life falling 5 metres from the rope swing fracturing my spine and temporarily losing my vision, working in the Australian Outback with the flies and camels in mine exploration, being a dive master in Thailand, living in Argentina and Paraguay learning Spanish, hitting rock bottom in South America in my search for Antarctic work and then getting to the ice as a 6-star waiter and now settling down in Melbourne (working in Tasmania) for a year while planning my human powered expedition for Africa.

Anyway, enough of me, the orphanage is trying to raise $100,000, and all proceeds from the $25 DVD go to the orphanage, so do your part, buy this AMAZING documentary for $25 and support the orphanage. I can honestly tell you that what Pam and Alan are doing is nothing short of inspirational, they went from being retired to working 24/7 as parents to 54 kids, they get no help from the Mexican government; they have the constant battle of trying to look after the kids and trying to raise money. I have seen their lifestyle first hand and I do not envy them in the slightest, but I admire them to the mightiest (not sure if that is proper English but you get the picture), so if you are looking for a worthwhile cause, this is the one.

Visit the Somewhere Near Tapachula website, amptly named and you can buy the documentary here (free shipping), and once again if you want you can check out the teaser by clicking here.

I know I’m turning into a Melbourne city boy when…………

7 May
  • I’m standing around at a party talking about what kind of push-bike I ride instead of how big my Holden Commodore engine is!
  • I go to a used clothing store and buy an oldskool adidas woollen sweatshirt and pay $70 because apparently it’s not a used clothing store but a “vintage” clothing store!
  • Building something involves constructing my IKEA furniture (and yes when they say to put something under the metal bit your hammering it is because if you think you know better and don’t do it you end up cutting chunks out of your rental apartment carpet – at least I know I’m still man as I don’t follow instructions – photo taken after I cut the carpet)
  • I use a beard trimmer instead of a razor.
  • I wear a man bag instead of a back pack (guilty, I have been using a man bag for many years now, but it’s made in India so doesn’t that make it more of a spiritual accessory?)
  • I cross my legs when I’m sitting at the café drinking my skinny flat white (sorry I got that wrong, I’m the skinny flat white guy drinking my coffee). I think crossing my legs makes me feel profound and I need all the help I can get with that.

“Building” my own furniture with my $2 store hammer (and yes I am posing for the photo)


With my bi-polar lifestyle I also get my fix of man time as I spend 2 out of every 3 weeks working in Tasmania’s mining industry – you don’t get much more manly than that, maybe if I worked as a Holden mechanic in a dark greasy workshop with calendars of half naked ladies on the walls would be a bit more manlier. For my 2 weeks of work in Tassie I leave my beard trimmer at home in my IKEA bathroom rack, I enjoy the freedom of farting and burping with pride, ordering a big juicy steak with greasy chips and a pint of James Boags at the local pub (the only pub in my town of 400), driving a V6 pick-up truck and smashing rocks and carrying heavy things like the cave men of yesteryear.


I think I used this photo in a previous post, but hey it shows me earning major man points, using a power saw to cut rocks and most probably whilst burping and farting!



But I must say, I arrived in Melbourne a month ago (2 weeks of which spent in Tassie) and I love this city. My first bullet point I mentioned guys talking about their bikes, this is because Melbourne is riddled with interlinked bike paths which allows you to bike everywhere, it’s perfect training for my Africa expedition.


Me in the “used” bookstore (holding the cycling expedition book I’m currently reading) modelling my “vintage” sweatshirt with my spiritual Indian made man bag and freshly MANicured beard.



Melbourne is a city that has it’s finger (not it’s thumb as the thumb also has a pulse so you should always check the pulse using your index finger to get and accurate reading – I just completed my first aid refresher course last week) on the trendy arty, music scene. Heaps of cool chilled out cafes and bars where I can cross my legs and drink my coffee. Walking down the city street you aren’t overwhelmed by the suits and ties but rather a mixture of people, and a lot of people that my grandfather would of categorised as “weirdos or dickheads”. So far Melbourne is meeting all of my extremely high expectations I had for it and I’m looking forward to the following year of being here while I organise my Africa expedition and hopefully save money to fund it. Two thumbs up Melbourne!