Scatterbrain

My ideas on topics are constantly changing. I can never settle on one position for any substantial amount of time for a majority of things. It’s a continuous battle in my mind between both extremes and in the end neither position wins.

Jobs: I can never decide what I plan to do as a “career”. So many different things seem interesting. There are so many options it is overwhelming. One day I will want to be incredibly productive and pursue a career with passion. The next I will come to the conclusion I would be fine being lazy the rest of my life.

Money: First things first, I do agree with the statement money won’t make you happy. Truth be told it won’t make me sad either though. I don’t think money itself can make you happy, but it can enhance your freedom to do as you please – which could very easily lead to happiness. Again, one day money is important and deserves attention. Another day I will question what money even is, why it exists, and why it is even important to begin with.

Life decisions: For me it really comes down to two separate options. To travel or to settle down. I believe travel is the best way to grow as an individual, learn about yourself, other cultures, and have an appreciation for the world. On the other hand, starting to settle down at a younger age could have its own benefits as time goes on. Mortgages could be finished earlier, I could be younger when kids come along so I can keep up with them, and beginning a career early (If I can even choose one – see above…) gives more time to advance into higher positions.

Although these are main concerns, I have an issues making permanent decisions on just about anything. I’m sure I’m not the only one that has questioned at least the things listed above. Maybe a decision is never actually made, but the mindset we are in at specific times helps lead us blindly down a path we are unaware we are on – hopefully a good one.

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Body vs. Mind

Why is it that humans seem to enjoy doing things that don’t make us feel better?

I know drinking won’t make me feel better, I know eating like shit won’t make me feel better, and I know spending money won’t make me feel better. I know that working out, eating healthy, and saving/investing in things that will improve the future will make for a better lifestyle.

Yet, it is soo much easier to let myself drink, eat like shit, and spend money instead of doing the things that will be improvements. I know I’ll feel better once I get a workout in or have a good meal, but have you ever tried getting out of bed to go to the gym? It’s fucking hard!

I can’t seem to wrap my head around it. It doesn’t make any sense. I know I’ll feel better. My body wants to be healthy, but at the same time wants to be as lazy and useless as possible. It even seems to encourage destroying itself. Although, maybe it’s a battle between the mind and the body.

The body wants to be healthy. The mind wants to destroy the body. Perhaps it’s the sign of a sick mind that needs a remedy. I suppose I’ll have to figure that one out. Time to fix the brain.

Guaranteed

This is going to sound a little crazy, but have you ever thought about death? I mean really thought about it. Not the casual acceptance of “Yeah, I’m going to die” then skip over it, but to really think about it in detail.

It fucks with your mind. I find it to be a good way of determining what to do in some situations. It can make stressful situations seem almost laughable in the bigger scheme of things. Obviously you are going to have to do certain things you don’t want to. You can’t just think about the bigger scheme of things and say “Well, paying rent doesn’t have a massive impact on my total life, why should I pay for this rent? Lets use it to go on an adventure that I’ll remember forever, but then will have nowhere to live!”

Personally it seems to help a bit when thinking about the question “what do I really want to do with my life?” It seems like everyone my age is starting to have big things happen; buying houses, new cars, getting married, having kids. Do I really want that right now? I can’t even seem to think of things I’m actually interested in, let alone decide what I’d like to do for money for the rest of my life.

So I like to imagine myself laying on my death bed in the hospital. (Here’s to hoping as many of us as possible actually die this way instead of in some freak accident.) As I’m laying there I’m thinking about all the things that mattered in my life. Was working all those extra hours worth the money? Should I have gone on that trip I always wanted? Should I have spent less time with my family and worked more to provide a better life? Should I have tried “that thing” I wanted?

If there’s something I think I would be proud to have done when I’m about to die, I want to make sure I do that. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do in my life. I don’t think everyone really knows everything that will make them happy about their life.

Although one thing is guaranteed… Everyone’s life comes to an end. It’s our job to make the most of it.

Friendship is the Key

People always mention different things when asked about what makes a relationship work. You see the quotes on Facebook and Instagram with a picture related to whatever they’re mentioning.

“Couples who work out together stay together.”

“Couples who smoke together stay together.”

“Couples who watch cat videos together stay together.”

Ok… I made the last one up, but I’m sure it’s out there. Either way they always make me laugh. I find it pretty obvious couples who have the same interests and do things together tend to have a better chance at staying together.

That’s why I mention friendship as the key to a strong relationship. Sure, there are other elements, but there is a lot more than romance in a relationship. A strong friendship is a major key *DJ Khaled voice* in a successful relationship.

Do things together. Find someone with the same interests as you. Chances are, couples who do – insert activity – together are more likely to stay together.

Fitness

You don’t have to be overweight to start working out and eating healthier.

You don’t have to be visibly out of shape to have the desire to build a stronger version of yourself.

It’s okay to want to be in better shape even though there are many others that could be considered in worse shape than you.

Other people will make excuses for you to stop taking action simply because it makes them feel like they should be doing something too. “You don’t have to change your diet or work out. Do you think you’re fat? If you’re fat what does that make me?

It doesn’t make you fat, but it doesn’t make me feel like I’m developing myself either.

You don’t wait for a person to start smoking before telling them they shouldn’t be doing it. We’re told from a young age not to smoke because it’s bad for us.

Why isn’t it the same for fitness? Is it not worth looking into until you’ve reached a point that something must be done or the consequences are too severe?

Be proactive. Develop healthy eating and fitness habits. Yes, even if others don’t consider you out of shape. I’d rather start now than wait until there are consequences if I don’t. I want to feel better, inside and out.

Don’t you?

Simple, yet hard.

I’m currently reading the book “The Obstacle Is The Way” by Ryan Holiday. I’m only 37% of the way according to my e-reader, but right at the start an important topic comes up when dealing with anything in life. Simple and difficult are different than easy and hard. Something can be simple in theory, yet hard when it comes down to actually doing it. A perfect example that almost everyone has dealt with is trying to get into at least decent physical shape. The theory of succeeding is quite simple – don’t eat like shit and get some damn exercise – but actually implementing and following those steps prove to be harder than we thought.

Any obstacle in our lives can be tackled if we take the time to really look at it, make a plan of some sort, then put that plan into action. Identifying the proper plan to overcome the obstacle can be either simple or difficult/complex. Usually the solution itself is quite simple. It is the implementation or following through on the action that we have problems sticking with. Are you in debt? Well, the solution is quite simple really… make and save more money than you currently are. See – not that hard to find the solution. How do we make more money or cut down our spending? That’s a fair bit harder for people to determine.

Just because something is hard to do doesn’t mean it’s impossible either. If you are really serious about anything chances are you will find a way to make it happen regardless of how hard it is. The fact that it may be hard doesn’t matter. Although, finding a way to go about tackling those tasks and finding your solution can make life a whole lot easier. This book has really started to open my eyes to how easy something really is when in our minds it can seem almost impossible to overcome. I recommend anyone read this book to gain a new perspective on how to go about doing things. I haven’t finished the book yet as noted, but I’ve already learnt so much.

Step up to life. Learn how to tackle issues. Make your dreams a reality. Books will empower you with knowledge to take control.

 

 

 

Goodbye Kiss

 

Sometimes there happen to be events that make you appreciate things you took for granted. Things you never noticed you really cared about until you have a shift in your mindset. A friend recently had one of those major events that can change the way you think about anything. Someone this friend knew decided that they didn’t want to be here anymore. Mental illness won.

The passing of someone you know, especially related to mental illness, can have an effect on an incredibly large amount of people. Immediate family and friends would typically have the most to think about and the biggest shift in mindset. That shift then has an effect on those they interact with. It is a domino effect of shifting mindsets.

In my case these specific shifts normally make me realise how quickly anyone’s whole world can change.When it isn’t directly related to you suddenly sunny days seem much nicer, the grass seems greener, and normal everyday things mean the world to you. This time it’s a new found appreciation for the goodbye kiss. Every day whenever Hayley and I are leaving each other for work we always make sure to kiss each other goodbye. Or at least I make sure (I get mad at her if she doesn’t wake me up to give me a kiss goodbye at 6am).

Because in the end… you never know if that goodbye kiss will be the last one.

 

 

Coming Home: The most confusing part of travel

So, what are you going to do now?

You’ve been travelling the world for more than a short period of time – more than 2 weeks. Not your “I’m going down south to drink until I black out every day and have a total of 2 sober hours” for a whole week type of trip. You had your fun and the experience of a lifetime. Coming back home could quite possibly be the most stressful time from the time you left.

While you’re out travelling no one really questions the details of your life. All that really matters is that you have enough money to live somewhere, eat, and see the things you want to see. Typical questions: What is the next place you plan on going to? Where do you want to go to eat? Do you want to go drink? Hey, want to go to the beach? Not exactly thought provoking questions.

On the other hand, once you get home the questions do a complete 180. What do you plan on doing career wise? When do you plan on getting a house? Are you guys getting married soon? Are you staying here for a while or do you plan on travelling again soon? I mean, Jesus Christ guys we just got home. Let us breathe a little bit. We’ve just been travelling for a year without even remotely thinking about these questions, let alone the answers to them. Although we don’t want to have to answer these questions typically we are fighting for the answer in our heads regardless.

Everything at home is the same… but different. I personally got back into the same job – same job, different people. Everybody is doing the same things, but at different places. People are following the typical steps; getting married, buying houses, or they’re going out every weekend just like before you left, and now… running around catching Pokemon. That doesn’t make us any different though. We come back home and fall right back into the routine of “everyday life”.

This routine is the hardest part for someone who has done a bit of travelling. You’re used to living day to day, deciding what you should do for that day or week, but definitely nothing longer. The plans change to much to even develop a plan- the true life of spontaneity. The problem becomes either trying to get back into the normal routine and be at peace with it or to just leave and travel again because it seems easier to leave.

Everybody battles internally with doubts of if we’re doing the right things. Is this the right job for me? Do I really want to be doing this? What do I like doing? Should I be going to travel and have fun or pursue a career to get ahead? I’m grateful that I’ve been able to experience what its like to travel and develop a sense of what else is possible in the world…

But to be completely honest, now that I’ve seen what the other options are… it makes the decision much harder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dunsborough – Western Australia’s Paradise

Dunsborough – our new home for the next 6 months. It’s a hidden paradise about 3 hours south of Perth, Western Australia. It’s so nice that it consists mostly of holiday homes for the executives from Perth. Yet here we are as a couple of broke (compared to the actual residents of the town) backpackers.

We end up staying at the Dunsborough Beachouse YHA. One of only two hostels in the town. We fell completely in love with the place within a day. Here are my top 3 reasons this hostel as well as any other hostel can be considered great:

  • Other Backpackers: First and foremost, the main reason a hostel will be great is because of the people staying there. The best part of staying in a hostel is the different types of people you meet. The main reason you will end up falling in love with a certain hostel is because of how the people staying there welcome you. At some hostels you will not click with the people staying, which can cause you to dislike the hostel, but not by the hostel’s fault. The only difficult part about this is that since everyone is traveling the once amazing hostel begins to lose its touch once people start hitting the road again.
  • Staff: Having a welcoming, social, and helpful hostel staff will be that much appreciated extra touch that can convince you to stay at a hostel longer. The last thing you want is to walk into a hostel to be greeted by a staff member that acts as if you don’t matter instead of being treated like a valued customer. When the staff organizes events and spends time with the guests it gives off a family feel and makes it easier to ask questions. Lastly, the staff should have some knowledge of the area in regards to sightseeing, tours, places to eat, and if you’re lucky employment opportunities.
  • Cleanliness: I put cleanliness last because you could have the cleanest hostel in the world, but if the other backpackers and staff are rude, unwelcoming, and don’t give you a sense of family it is only a matter of time before you feel it is time to leave. Cleanliness has a bit of leniency if the other two points are present. Obviously if there are bed bugs, roaches, and other little critters all over the rooms there is a problem. I’m just saying maybe the hostel isn’t completely up to date or there’s a few areas that could use some attention, but not enough to put you off from the place. Cleanliness is important, but not as important as who you are around day in and day out.

Once we found the greatest hostel we stayed at in Australia it was time to explore the area. Let me tell you, Dunsborough has a lot to offer. Hayley and I (as well as many people in this area) love spending their time outdoors. So the first thing we looked for was any interesting points to spend our time outdoors. Naturally we love laying around on beaches.

My top 3 local beaches:

1. Point Piquet Beach

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Me holding the football at Point Piquet Beach with friends.

This may be one of the smallest beaches in the area, but it was my favourite. The size of the beach only let a limited amount of people spend their time there comfortably so if you got there early enough most people would drive by and look for another spot (We weren’t so early in this picture haha). Not to mention there are so many beaches in the area you can drive about 5 minutes in each direction and be at a completely different spot. The shallow and clear waters made it fun to place water sports with no worries.

2. Meelup Beach

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Meelup Beach from the top on the walking track.
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Meelup Beach from the grass area near the parking lot.

Meelup beach is a nice family beach tucked into a bay. There aren’t many waves that make their way into this beach so little kids can swim without worry. There is a grass bit when you first enter the beach parking where you can sit/lay in the shade. There is more space at this beach than Point Piquet and since it has an actual parking lot it attracts more people. Like every other beach in the area the water is clear and the sand is near white.

 

3. Yallingup Beach

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Hannah, Simon, Hayley and I enjoying the sunset at Yallingup Beach in early August 2015.

Yallingup was a very popular beach for everyone. The vast amount of space and spectacular surf attracted everyone from families to surf enthusiasts. Not to mention the incredible sunsets you could see from all around the beach was amazing. There was normally a food truck in the area as well to grab a bite to eat.

The last part I’ll touch on for the fantastic Dunsborough is the most popular spots we ate at as a hostel. Since we were a family at the hostel we loved to go out as a group (At least 6 up to 30+ people) and since we were/are all backpackers… we love deals. If the restaurant had a meal deal, chances are we loved it.

  • Occy’s: Occy’s special was on Wednesday nights. Occy’s amazing chili burger with a pint for $20. For those who think this might be a lot, keep in mind the burger alone is $22 regularly and a pint is at least $7 regularly. Almost $10 in savings? Backpacker delight. You got to choose your burger’s heat level on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being no heat at all and 10 normally only being done as a challenge rather than an actual appreciation for heat. Whichever heat you got to serve your needs, their burgers are to die for they’re so good. The beers on offer came from just about every range you could think of. Everyone could find a beer to their preference at this amazing spot.
  • Pourhouse: Pourhouse’s special was also on Wednesday nights. This cause a bit of competition between the two. The hostel normally split into two groups going to each restaurant on Wednesday’s, but normally all ended up at Pourhouse because of their deal. Pizza and a Pitcher for $25. Not only was the pizza amazing, but most backpackers are also borderline alcoholics. More booze means more reason to go. If you wanted a burger and still wanted to get drunk chances are you ended up at Pourhouse getting your drunken pizza with more beer. The vibe inside this restaurant was amazing as it was quite small and they regularly had live music. A nice little hangout spot with a majority of the people being between 18-30.
  • Clancy’s Fish Pub: Put simply, Clancy’s had good food at a fair price with normal live music. Clancy’s was the biggest restaurant space wise… and they need it. The place is normally packed with people unwinding from work with their family and friends. With a normal up beat and live music you couldn’t go wrong.

 

This is just a small little look into the paradise of Dunsborough. I recommend everyone find their way there if they can. You won’t want to leave. The community is close and they all look out for each other. Before long you will start being like the locals and dislike when the schoolies (vacation from high school or uni) make their way down. TRAFFIC IN DUNSBOROUGH? WHAT IS THIS. If you also arrive in their winter (December) you are basically considered part of this group as a backpacker. They don’t like you at first, but once they see your face around more often they will lighten up. Just don’t cause any problems. Work hard and respect others in this town and you won’t have any issues whatsoever.

Try Something New: Hitchhiking

So there we were in the middle of the Outback with a van that can’t run for any longer than 2 minutes without overheating. Fortunately for us when we got towed into Tennant Creek we were brought to the one campsite, which resembled a death row for vehicles on road trips. The campsite itself had nothing wrong with it, but the back row of the grounds was filled side by side with broken down vehicles… Mostly old vans. Some people were lucky enough to have vans that could and would be fixed in the coming days. Our van being unfix-able ended up being mostly positive and barely negative.

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Loaded up onto the tow truck to be brought to the campground.

The Negatives

There were essentially two things that we considered to be negatives. One was the inevitable amount of stress trying to figure out what to do not only with the van, but everything inside the van we accumulated. The other one was that we were left about $5000 out of pocket with the value of the van and the extras we purchased. In the end the negatives didn’t have an incredible impact on our experience. Sure we lost some money and were stressed for a couple days, but the memories from it were incredible.

The Positives

In this sort of situation, you have to stay positive to keep yourself sane. We were able to help many campers with their costs by giving away everything inside the van. This included fishing gear, motor oil, coolant, pillows and sleeping gear, maps of Australia to tour around, and our cooking equipment. Everyone was very appreciative of us giving our things away and it was a good way to let everyone know about our situation. You’d be surprised at the amount of people that wanted to help us and it was very encouraging. We met some amazing couples who were traveling in retirement and loved that we were experiencing life on the road at a young age. We also ended up meeting the couple that would eventually give us a lift 500km south to Alice Springs to catch a flight to the west coast.

In this post I’m considering “hitchhiking” to be getting a ride with complete strangers. This can also be done online depending on which city your in through ride share posts on Kijiji, Gumtree, Craigslist, and any other online marketplace where people are looking to help one another. As we were giving our things away we ended up telling people that we had to find a way to ditch the van (the scrapyard wanted $200 to trash it and we were already $5000 out so we decided against that) and find a way to Alice Springs because it had the nearest airport. We told people that we were going to head to the main road and just try to hitchhike down to the 500km destination. Lucky for us most of the people camping were in their 50’s and ended up having children about our age. This caused them to be concerned about the idea of us trying to find a ride with people just driving by and word got around the campsite pretty quickly.

That’s when we were surprised by everyone’s efforts to look out for our best interest. Within a couple hours there was a couple that came forward and said they could give us a lift all the way there. They didn’t want anything bad to happen to us along the way. They didn’t even want us to help out with money for gas even though we offered. This was just the type of people we were surrounded by and is the true personality of most Australians. They typically just want to help in whichever way they can.

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Where we ended up leaving the van.

The ride ended up being quite interesting and the 5 hours went by like it was nothing. We talked about what our adventure entailed so far, what we planned on doing the rest of our year in the country, what they did for work, their religious beliefs, and about their story and family life in general. I will never forget that drive and their willingness to help us. Although, there will always be one line from that trip that will stick in my head. At one point we were talking about riddles and he started the “which came first, the chicken or the egg?”. We go along with it not knowing where this was going and say “I don’t know… which one?”

“You know, I really worked myself up about this riddle before and one day the answer just came to me. One didn’t come before the other. God put them both there and there is no reason to look any further than that. It was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders once I solved that riddle. All you have to do to be relaxed is trust in God and that he put everything there for a reason.”

We are not very religious people. Hayley and I looked at each other in the back seat and I was trying my hardest not to laugh. I didn’t want to be rude and make it seem that I disrespected his views on life. It was just one of those things you don’t hear very often and it took every ounce of my energy not to let my giggles out. Regardless, I will be forever thankful for their help getting us to Alice Springs.

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A picture while we were getting a ride. A sign stating there is no speed limit, just drive to the road conditions/as fast as you feel is safe.

They dropped us off after giving us their contact details so if we were ever in their area of Australia we could stay with them. We left with a new appreciation for people’s willingness to help and not to rule out hitchhiking or taking a ride with others. Please listen to your gut instincts when looking for a ride with strangers and take proper precautions to ensure you don’t end up in a bad situation. Stay aware of your surroundings and if you sense any danger get out as soon as possible and any way you can.

We checked into our hostel and only stayed for the one night. The next morning, we were on a plane to Perth. Within 24 hours we went from having a van and planning to live out of it for another month while driving north to without a van and on our way to a little town called Dunsborough just 3 hours south of Perth.

Little did we know it would end up being our home for the next 6 months…