poetry

~ Runaway Soul ~


~ Runaway Soul ~

My first trip was when I was nineteen
I spent a summer in Ghana
working at a local newspaper
for an internship related to my studies
(that would at least please the parents)

But really, I just needed to get out
throw myself into some foreign field
and let my mind be blown to pieces
by things I had not seen before
and would not see again

That was granted
and one year later
I was on a plane to Australia
where I spent a year wandering around
working odd jobs
staring out at sunsets
drinking with strangers
writing poetry under the stars

And then one year after coming home
I was back on a plane
this time: South America
six months of total madness
a twenty-two-year-old high on life
and drugs and women
and anything else I could get my hands on

It was my youth, my time
and I was going to take it by the balls
and have my way with it.

I had thought about other things worth doing in life
but to me, it was all about the experience
and I wanted as much as it
as my blood and brain and liver
could handle.

Seven years on nothing has really changed
I’m still planning that next trip
still running off into that sunset
still trying to find that magic something

I don’t suppose I’ll ever find it
at this stage I’m not sure I even want to

I just want to keep running
sprinting into that sunset
drinking with those strangers
staring up at those stars
another hopeless dreamer
lost in space and time
drifting in the cosmic ocean
and just falling in love
with this strange
thing called

life.

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short stories

~ The Hidden Treasure ~

~ The Hidden Treasure ~

“The day had come and gone, and there we sat at the end of the jetty, facing out into the sunset lake. We had only met just a few hours ago and now she was telling me things she had probably never told anyone. She told me deepest secrets, her fears, her hopes, her pains, her joys, her struggles. All of this to me: a random stranger from the bar. Back home people had their defences up; we were all standing upon society’s stage and playing whatever role it was we were supposed to play to be accepted. But there was a certain magic when you crossed paths with a stranger out on the road. Having just met and safe in the knowledge that you were probably never going to see each other again, there was no pretence or image to keep up. The masks were off and everything could be laid bare.

As the sun set below the horizon and the secrets spilled out upon the water, it made me think about how different the world would be if we all just shared what was really going on beneath the surface. So many people have undoubtedly carried the contents of their souls into the abyss without letting them ever see the light of life. One could despair for all the things that were never done and said because we were too afraid to deviate from the social script and say what we really felt. All the adventures that were never pursued, all the works of art that were never realised, all the friendships and loves that never blossomed – all because of the fear of exposing our true selves to the world. Even for the people closest to you, it would often take years and decades to unlock the vault of the soul; but get a random stranger alone for a few isolated moments in a foreign country and suddenly the secret combination is found.

As we both carried on talking about life into the night, I realised that there was something incredibly valuable about these brief and bittersweet encounters on the road. Most of us have treasure inside our chests that we want to show the world, it’s only when we feel free that the locks slip loose and the gold inside shimmers bright and brilliant under the stars.”

(Taken from my book The Thoughts from The Wild – available worldwide via Amazon)

thoughts

~ The Wanderers ~

~ The Wanderers ~

“Everything in this culture is designed around ushering us all toward the life of schedule and routine. First comes school, then comes career, then marriage, then kids, home-ownership, and – eventually – retirement. Make no mistake about it, the system is set up meticulously to usher everyone into this one formulaic mould. But what if your fingers fidget for something else? What if your heart longs for freedom? What if – for some reason you struggle to articulate to friends and family – you find that every ounce of your body rejects this conventional way of life? If this is the case and you find yourself out of odds with absolutely everything, then don’t worry – you are not alone and you are not crazy. Maybe the coworkers and relatives will never understand, but we sure as hell do. So keep a look out for us, and we’ll look out for you too.

Wherever you go, whatever you do: look out for the ones looking wistfully into the skies, for the ones embracing the touch of the rain, for the ones delighting in the sound of silence and dancing out of place. We are out there and we are the wanderers; we are the misfits and outcasts; the adventurers and dreamers. You will not find us in immaculately groomed houses, or in trendy shopping malls, or expensive bars and restaurants. In fact, you will not find us in one place for too long at all actually. No, we are the ones you find beyond the borders, the ones you find away from the crowds – the ones you find on the sunset beaches and mountain paths and peaceful forests. Our nature is awkward and unpredictable; our spirit is rough and uncombed. We are slightly deranged and a mystery to ourselves, but we are sure of some things. We are sure that we do not seek status and security, but freedom and adventure. We are sure that we don’t live life to others’ expectations, but to the flow of our hearts and passions. We are sure that we do not wish to possess, but to cultivate and appreciate. Such a state of being means we usually walk alone, but if you keep an eye out you will be sure to see us occasionally. From the mountain peaks to the concrete jungles: we are out there roaming; we are out there exploring. And we’re destined never to belong to one place. Because we are haunted by the horizons; we are bewitched by the stars. We are rugged and restless, wild and reckless, lost and found.

We are the wanderers.”

short stories

~ Undefined ~


~ Undefined ~

It had been a day of chaotic adventure and now we were back in the hostel, drinking beers and wine around a table in the courtyard. The drinks and good times were flowing along as the air was filled with the sound of Latin music and hearty laughing. We spoke of the day’s exploits; we spoke of travelling and adventure; we spoke of Wim Hof and Zen Buddhism. Suddenly came the question I despised so much. “So what is it that you Do?” one girl asked another across the table. The other girl looked up at her. “You know for work and that back home? What do you do?” I sat back in my chair and swallowed a sip of my beer. Immediately I felt the atmosphere change. The ‘do’ question was out there and I knew it was time to categorise ourselves – to justify ourselves as functioning members of human society.

The girl answered how she was a marketing executive back in Sydney. She explained a little about her role then sat back and smiled. Her box had been ticked off: she was an accepted member of the human race. The girl carried on asking the others on the table. One guy was an accountant, another was a nurse, another a public relations manager. Tick, tick, tick. As the question crept around a table, I breathed an internal sigh of frustration. I knew I was about to be judged. I didn’t have a box to place myself in or label to slap onto myself. I was twenty-four years old and had never held a job for more than a year. I had spent the last few years post education going from job to job; from adventurer to adventure. I was officially unlabeled – a wanderer or vagabond in their civilised eyes.

The question went around the table until finally the spotlight shone down on me. They asked me and I began explaining about my life. I explained how I had worked about twenty different jobs for short periods to fund my adventures – of how I took part in medical research trials to afford those plane tickets. They all stared at me strangely. “But what is it you DO?” the girl said again. “Or what is it you want to DO?…” Their steely eyes fixated on me as they internally dissected me with a calculating look. It was a look I had experienced many times back home, but one I thought I was safe from when out on the road amongst apparent free spirits.

I took a deep breath and tried to explain how I didn’t want a career. I explained that my only aims and ambitions were to see the world, to climb the mountains, to try and create art through my writing. I tried to explain that I wanted to delve down into the depths of the human psyche and explore what it is to exist as conscious creature in the universe. But as I rambled on I realised it was of no use. The looks of dismissal shown my cover was blown; I wasn’t a functioning member of the human race like the rest of them. I didn’t have a box of economic employment to place myself in and for that I was the weird one. My label of seclusion had been slapped on me. I was an outcast, an outsider, an alien.

“Oh well that’s cool” one person said half-heartedly after a few seconds of silence. I sat back and sipped my beer as the question awkwardly skipped onto the next person. The conversation carried on flowing; I tried to join back in but I felt that something had changed in the dynamic of it. As everyone bickered away, I suddenly noticed that I was segregated from the group. I couldn’t get a foothold in the conversation, so I just sat there listening in, dwelling in my own exclusion. Eventually I got tired of it and walked off to go drink my beer alone down by the beach (at least solitude was a reliable old friend who understood me).

I sat there on the shoreline and reflected on what had just happened. The more I continued through life, the more it became clear what was required to be an accepted member of the human race. One had to fulfil some sort of title; to fit themselves into an easy-to-distinguish role. It seemed that the fate of a person was to ‘grow up’ and become an ‘accountant’, a ‘teacher’, a ‘project manager’, a ‘marketing executive’. Integrated into society, it was hard to avoid becoming defined in a box of some sort. Whenever people met each other for the first time, one of the first questions asked was always that merciless ‘what do you DO?’ It was a question that saddened me greatly. The context of it being the go-to question when you first met somebody implied that a human-being’s identity was primarily a job role. What made it worse was that when you answered the other person categorised and judged you on what sort of person you were, how much money you likely had, what sort of car you drove, and even what politics you followed.

Unlike the others, there wasn’t a singular job role out there that interested me. All I ever wanted to do was go on adventures and write here and there. People said: “oh you like writing: why don’t you be a journalist?” I did follow my passion of writing into the profession of journalism, but my introduction to that world only left me disinterested and disenfranchised. I wanted to WRITE, not be sat behind a desk in an office typing up some press release or news story I had no interest in.

As I sat there drinking my beer and staring out into the sunset sky, I decided that I just had to accept that I was an undefined being. I was a man without a label; a citizen without a box. I was a person who belonged to tribe or had no particular trade. As I rode down the highway of life, I was destined to continue being undefined – a wanderer with no role other than to rescue my own truth and bliss from the wilderness. I wasn’t compatible with society, so instead I roamed the earth, I stared up into the skies – I drank beers alone and waited for words of wisdom to pour down onto the page. In all the madness of human existence, I was a solitary gypsy spirit doomed to forever wander with the wind. That – it turns out – is what I did. That is what I do. And that – I guessed as I sat alone scribbling on a piece of paper for the rest of the evening – is what I would always do.”

(Taken from my book The Thoughts From The Wild – available worldwide via Amazon)

 

thoughts

~ Another Happily Scarred Dreamer ~

“Still going crazy. Still running after whatever sets my heart on fire. Still answering the call of the soul, no matter where it takes me to. It’s a sickness I guess, but one that I am happy to suffer from. We are all sick with something. Sick with love; sick with regret; sick with fear. I have chosen to be sick with abandoning myself to whatever speaks to my soul. There’s no middle ground for me, and by now I am that there is something incredibly real inside of me. I have been asked to ignore or suppress it – even to kill it. But the blatant truth is that this thing inside has caused me all the good in my life. Each year I follow my heart, the happier I am facing that mirror. In that reflection stands a man who had the courage to give life a real shot. Who had the courage to allow himself to feel the pain so he could feel the joy. To know the lows so he could know the highs. To experience the horror so he could experience the ecstasy. Life is a crazy ride, and for me the only way to live it is to put the pedal to the metal and drive fast into its wilderness. To get lost in new lands. To get your heart broken into a million pieces. To dive deep into the darkness, thinking that you had finally met your end, only to emerge into the light and stand stronger than ever – the ruler of your own heart and the maker of your own destiny. It’s a path that is not straight-forward, and one that will leave you with marks, but I stand here now – another happily scarred dreamer – telling you that, yes, the journey of following the heart is undeniably the only way to truly live.”

thoughts

~ The Greatest Treasure of All ~

~ The Greatest Treasure of All ~

“Kid,” he said. “It’s not all about finding yourself. Some of the greatest advice one can receive at a young age is to go and get lost. Get lost and lose yourself in love and in life. Lose yourself in adventure and music. Lose yourself dancing under a starry sky, or running through a foreign field. Lose yourself in a dream or a moment or an idea. Those who know their surroundings too well become idle; their minds lose their sense of childlike awe and wonder. Inspiration is discovered when your eyes are open in new worlds. That is why sometimes you have to run headfirst into the unknown. Like a river running into the ocean, like a bird flying south. Abandon yourself to something that calls you. Leave behind all you thought you knew. Pack your bags and wander with the wild-eyed; drink with the brokenhearted; dance with the insane. Follow your heart through life’s wilderness and your road shall be an epic adventure to treasure, with your soul enriched with the essence of everything that is wild and beautiful. You’ll be the person who got lost out in the world and found the greatest treasure of all: life itself.”

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thoughts

~ A Crazy Little Idea ~

~ A Crazy Little Idea ~

I have this idea in my head that some may call a little crazy. I believe that my time alive here is precious, and I am not ashamed to say that I do not want my life to be one with a predetermined path, a generic job and the sort of life that makes your parents’ heads nod with approval. In my heart, I know I will not find satisfaction with the things that are expected of me, and I guess I am choosing to sacrifice the comfort of normality for the thrill of living a life defined by my own rules. The truth is that I’ve always felt that I am a little at odds with this world; whether it has been in school or in jobs – in crowds or alone – I have felt that my spirit is from another realm than the one I find myself in. The life of blindly following established traditions fills me with dread, and it is with the burning passion inside of me that I must go out into the world and forge my own path. These feet of mine will not allow me to be bound to a place of silent heartache for the sake of social acceptance and security. Instead, they will know the movement of adventure, tread the ground of the unknown, and carry the weight of a man whose every step takes him further toward the shores of his own destiny. This is the way I am and the way I always will be. Another dreamer on the run, chasing my bliss and living every day of life as if it were a rebellion against death itself.

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short stories

~ A World Not Made for Lovers ~

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~ A World Not Made for Lovers ~

Her hazel eyes dimmed with a sadness. There was a heaviness in them which pulled them down to the ground. There was the light of love still in there somewhere, but it had been suppressed down to the tiniest flicker in the vast darkness that enveloped every horizon of her inner universe. Like most lovers in this tortured world, she sat alone in silence and stared emptily into space, confused at the situation of existence before her. She knew deep down a sensitive soul like hers didn’t belong in this society of cruelty and trickery. She wanted affection but got rejection; she wanted passion but got apathy; she wanted to fly but was tethered down by the concrete gravity of reality. In her heart, she felt betrayed that the gods had left her stranded in this foreign environment. Her cards had been dealt and now, like a little bird in a cage, she flapped around hopelessly within her confines, aching inside to return to the place where her spirit belonged soaring free.

We had met recently out on the road and now by circumstance, I found myself with her in the Netherlands. A Spanish girl in Amsterdam, Sara, away from home, trying to get by and make her way out in foreign lands, but stuck in a struggle I knew all too well. “The people are cold here,” she told me. “They are like robots. The men just fuck you and then stop speaking to you. I can’t make any friends. People put up barriers if they don’t know you already. Honestly, I have no idea what the hell I am doing here.” She carried on spilling her pain and frustration, talking about her ex and her past failures in relationships. “I am broken but everyone is broken after a while, you just have to keep looking and find the person who is less broken than you are.”

Her words struck a chord with me and naturally it felt good to be around a fellow scratched and scarred soul also stumbling through life. We continued sharing our thoughts as we roamed around Amsterdam, spending our time drinking in the cafes and bars, strolling down the canals and checking out the sights of the capital. At one point we walked around a museum and talked about life and travel and relationships. We looked at Van Gogh’s paintings – another lover driven to madness and isolation by the weight of the world. In his self-portraits, you could sense his simultaneous love and despair for the human condition. Speaking to Sara while viewing the paintings, I stared into her eyes and saw that same tortured look. I saw that little bird inside longing to be free, to be loved and to belong to someone or something. I had seen it before in the most beautiful souls I had come across out there on the road. It seemed that if you walked this world with an open heart, you were sure to suffer more than the average person. If you truly loved without a filter than people didn’t know what to do; often the other sex saw it as a weakness and inevitably you were left heartbroken and dejected. I thought of Van Gogh cutting off his ear giving it to a woman to show his love for her. Admittedly cutting off body parts was perhaps a little extreme but, like Van and Sara, whenever I fell for someone, I went in with all my heart and was inevitably left shunned. Ironically, I was here with her but had recently fallen for another girl who had rejected me, and now I had only added to her misery by misleading her. I was also part of the problem. But I had my own problems too. We were both drowning in our own way.

When I really thought about it, it seemed that it wasn’t just relationships where the ones who loved without a filter suffered. It was life and society in general. The more open-hearted you were, the more you were beaten and broken down by the nature of humanity. I couldn’t make sense of it. I looked out at the world around me and saw a brutal and backwards system. It was a place where the cruel and cold-hearted flourished. It was a place where sociopaths and narcissists rose to the top while the most caring and thoughtful were trampled underfoot. A strange game was being played and the winners were usually the ones with the fake smiles, the smooth lies and a cold, calculating nature. It seemed that to be sensitive and caring was considered a weakness in this society. It wasn’t good for the economy. It wasn’t good for survival. It wasn’t good for business or strategy. The best rewards were reserved for the merciless and uncompromising. Dog eat dog, as they said. Every man and woman and child for themselves.

Meanwhile, those who loved with reckless abandon didn’t make it. They lingered in the solitary shadows and sidelines. The lovers. The dreamers. The idealists. Often this world didn’t know what to do with them. So many of them were cast out, shunned, misunderstood or neglected. In the worst cases, they were gunned down by the fear and hatred of humanity. John Lennon. Martin Luther King. Gandhi. Malcolm X. JFK. Abraham Lincoln. Aside from them you also had the sensitive and artistic souls driven to suicide or early death by the crushing weight of it all. Kurt Cobain. Hemingway. Winehouse. Kerouac. Ledger. Sylvia Path. Robin Williams. For such people to survive in this world, they needed to put up walls and toughen themselves up, but so many of them were clearly unable to do that, and consequently they were left burdened by feeling too much in an uncaring and hostile world, slowly being driven to death and destruction and alcohol and madness.

Yeah, no matter how you looked at it, it was a world not made for lovers and I guess, like Sara, I knew opening my heart up to it would also leave me sitting alone and staring into space, hopelessly confused at the situation of existence before me. But I didn’t really know what else to do. I was a man ruled mercilessly by his own heart. With child-like curiosity, I explored the world around me. I tenaciously followed my passions. I lived fiercely according to my ideals. I loved without a filter. I expressed myself from my heart and soul. I thought these things would be good qualities in life, but so far it had only made my existence extremely difficult. People abused my kind nature. My authenticity didn’t give me acceptance. My ideals and passions were not compatible with society. Speaking from my heart often caused people to distance themselves from me. I guess I had the ability to stop being this way, but a part of me refused to let the essence of myself be diluted down by the hostile environment I had found myself in.

  “You need to stop being so sensitive and ruled by your emotions.”

  “Man up.”

  “Learn to play the game like everyone else.”

I’d heard it all before just like the others had, but by now I knew I wasn’t going to change. Speaking to Sara as we strolled around the streets and canals of Amsterdam, I was reminded how much better the world was when you had those sorts of people around you. Just a day or two in her company and suddenly my faith in humanity returned. Suddenly the grey streets of society didn’t all seem to be doom and gloom with people like her somewhere out there. As long as you just came across a few of those pure-hearted people every year, it restored something in you; it relinquished the dread and fear of your own species. No matter where I went in the world, I knew I would always look out for them. Normally those people were the most troubled souls, but in my eyes, they were the most courageous, the most beautiful. They were the ones who reminded you that there was still some hope left. The ones who reminded you that humanity wasn’t totally doomed. The ones who reminded you that there was still a chance to find some gentleness in the craziness of this world.

To the lovers out there fighting on in this world where so many cold-hearted creatures and demons run amok, don’t let yourself be swallowed up by the storm. Keep the flowers growing in your heart; keep the doves flying in your mind; keep the sun shining in your soul. Sara, little bird, if you are reading this, I hope you find your happiness and learn to smile a little more. Don’t let the weight of this concrete world grind you down. Don’t let yourself be broken down by those hollow-hearted and empty-eyed creatures. Keep your heart kind; keep your soul pure; keep loving fearlessly without a filter. When all is said and done, it’s the people like you that keep the soul of humanity alive.

thoughts

~ The Call of the Wild ~

~ The Call Of The Wild ~

You’ve felt it sometimes in your heart. You’ve heard it whisper your name in the wind. Every time you stare into space, sitting behind that desk and dreaming of something distant and out of reach. There is something calling you away into the wilderness. Out there a world of adventure and exploration waits to welcome your journey. Mountain pathways wait to be tread; foreign airs wait to be breathed; the eyes of strangers wait to be stared into. You know it won’t be plain sailing. You know your path will be a little turbulent and your skin a little scarred, but there is something out there you know you can’t obtain in the realm of everyday life. That everyday life has given you comfort and security, but deep down you know the limits of such a safe and secure existence. The human spirit soars best when in the realm of the unknown. And now that unknown calls as your toes twitch for a little walk in the woods, a little run through the fields, a little dance with the wilderness. Don’t wait any longer. Answer the call. Jump the fence. Go forth into that wild with thunder in your heart. It’s time for the normal to end and the adventure to begin.”

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thoughts

~ A Familiar Feeling ~

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~ A Familiar Feeling ~

“I had been back almost a year, living the normal life. At times I thought I had gotten rid of the itch; that my life might finally begin to settle down into some sort of steady routine. Maybe it was tiredness but a part of me even wanted that at times. But no matter what happened, it was always there in my heart, like a ghost that would never grant me peace. The desire for the open road. It called my name back into the unknown. It left me staring up at ceilings in the middle of the night. I knew it would never go away: that need to throw my things into a backpack and go get lost on a new journey. It was a feeling that left me looking out at the world around me: the comfort, the security, the familiarity. It was an easy life and a safe life. It was a life many people around the world would have killed for, but I just couldn’t be happy with it. No matter how much I tried to follow the script and settle in, at all times a great force possessed me to abandon it all for the thrill of adventure. Gradually I realised that there was no way around it. Some of us just can’t be permanently adjusted to systems and societies. We cannot fit into forms or fashions. We are wild at heart, explorative in spirit. We have those eyes that look to the horizon, those feet that itch for adventure, that heart that aches for freedom. And no matter where we go or what we do, there will always be a piece of us longing to go to a place where we do not know what will happen but the rising and setting of the sun. That wilderness is our home, and it is the home that will make us wanderers until the end of our days.”