I’ve seen the Taj Mahal. I’ve stood in the ancient city of Ephesus. I’ve walked in the eroding trenches of Gallipoli and crawled through the Cu Chi tunnels in Vietnam.
I’ve looked-up at Big-Ben and walked around Stonehenge. I’ve been to the city of Troy. I’ve had drinks on top of the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. I’ve taken a slow boat down the Mekong River. I’ve wandered in the dystopic streets of Yangon. I’ve climbed Mt Fuji and been lost in the streets of Tokyo. I’ve taken the train to the top of the Jungfrau in Switzerland. I’ve eaten salmon by the sea in Norway. I’ve looked over the Golden Gate Bridge from Alcatraz. I’ve been to Uluru and Coober Pedy.
I’ve seen my Grandpa’s ashes buried in an Aboriginal ceremony on Elcho Island and travelled through the centre of Arnhem land. I’ve trekked through Cappadocia in Turkey and the vineyards above Cinque Terra in Italy. I’ve white water rafted on the shotover river in New Zealand. I’ve snorkelled in Vanuatu. Posed for photos “pushing” over the leaning tower of Pisa. I’ve Watched Hindu cremations on the side of the holy Ganges River and seen a baby floating dead in the same river.
I’ve ridden a camel into a Gypsy camp, bathed with elephants and stood on a stingray. I’ve held my Pop’s hand as he died. I’ve been caught in the middle of a stand off between a shooter and police in Mexico. I’ve kayaked in Luang Prabang in Laos, Ha Long Bay in Vietnam and the crystal clear water off the coast of Turkey. I’ve Visited a sponsor child in Thailand and an orphanage in Myanmar.
I’ve raced my push bike in Italy, Mexico, China, the Philippines, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Poland, Taiwan and Japan.
I’ve got a Bachelor of Education, an Engineering – Mechanical Trade, a Graduate Diploma of Arts and am studying a Graduate Diploma of Psychology.
Yet – my mind has been plagued by mental illness and in the vast majority of my experiences, I’ve felt empty, alone and unsure of my place in the world.
I’ve felt bitterness. I’ve hated my myself. I’ve felt distant from life and afraid of it.
What kind of a man can’t feel, even when amongst some of the greatest wonders of the world? It can hurt like hell to be that man.
“You only get one life, make the most of it”, “follow your dreams”, “live life to the full”, “as long as you love it”, “as long as you’re happy.” Simplistic and unrealistic. Sometimes, you can’t “make the most of it.” Sometimes, your frozen in fear and surviving is living. Sometimes, the darkness chases you like a dog chases it’s tail. Sometimes, doubt niggles like a rat gnawing cheese.
The search for happiness, to find “what I love” only drove me closer to the edge. My life is not about finding happiness or fulfilling dreams.
It’s about learning to accept the fear, the loneliness and the doubt and learning to live despite it. To find value, not in the pursuit of happiness, but in entering the forest at it’s darkest and then taking another step.