I am essentially existential.
I turned fifty-four in the process of writing this intro. I have been meaning to do it for a while, a little worm of an idea burrowing into my unconscious.
The idea for this site came about through a combination of factors that have, and continue to have, an effect on my life decisions. One of the defining factors of my adventurous life can be traced to losing my father when I was thirteen. I remember at the time, people would comment that he was so young – he was forty-one – and I thought that was old.
In his forty-one years, he had been a successful businessman, a present and loving father, and apparently a pretty good husband to my mother. In what I now recognise as a short time, he set our family up to be well off, and then left before he could reap the rewards for himself. In the way that these things affect our growing minds, I had only pencilled myself in to live for forty-one years, I determined to get a lot of things done (and yes, I celebrated going past forty one, although it did then remove the model of what I was supposed to do next). Although there is no comparing general health with the lottery of cancer, his parents lived well into their nineties and travelled the world. There might be something in that.
What I find interesting, and somewhat distressing, is the diminishing number of my peers willing to step into the abyss of seeing something new, whether it is by travel (or even methods of travel – don’t get me started on cruises), trying something, or generally getting out of their comfort zone. The classic example is the number of people I know that refuse to drive anywhere new, or even to places they have been and yet are now considered too far away, the traffic too busy, or the navigation confusing. Another peeve is the swarm of oldies going to concerts of old bands from their youth – there is amazing music being made today, and the greatest ever hasn’t been written yet.
I am not immune. This book is my reaction to a more nostalgic me, a lazier one that is used to getting into my car because it is a bit of a walk to the bus, or the one undecided whether to be bothered to go out. I often don’t.
Many years ago (nearly thirty years), a very clever man whom I was working for building aeroplanes, and teaching people how to fly them, introduced to me a quote from Jack Davey, an Australian radio personality from the forties. It has become my credo:
“Bite off more than you can chew, then chew like shit”
To me this epitomises adventure. Adventure requires the desire to bite off more than you can chew, along with accepting the risks to achieve something that you can’t get by doing the ordinary. I have bitten off starting this site, as I have when I have done for any of the more memorable things in my life. The fact that you are reading this makes all the chewing worth while.
As many of you will understand, my wife Jayne and I are at a crossroad. Before we had our two children, we moved a lot, following work and travelling, which all abruptly stopped once they arrived. We sold the boat we were living on, moved to the country’s capital briefly while our oldest was still a baby, moved again, then settled in the house we are still in while the kids went through twelve years of school, got jobs and became adults with their own lives.
So now we have a choice. Piss or get off the pot.
I had a milestone to aim for growing old – living past my father’s paltry forty-one years. Once there, and once the shock had worn off as each day I awoke still alive, I looked to what was next. Could I possibly make it to fifty? I am now fifty four.
Last year after thirty years, we finally had our wedding video digitised. This needed to be done for two reasons: the most obvious being to be able to watch it (it was on VHS); and the second was to be able to make it watchable. We hadn’t seen it since the afterglow of our wedding when we were handed it by my brother who had kindly videoed it for us. It was 90-minutes of uncut footage, and a lot of it (I would estimate about seventy five percent) was of jagged floors, feet, knees and the occasional lap – with detached voices providing the narration. Apparently the record button was a little sticky, so having mishit once, all we got was the recording of the in-between parts, and when the camera was up to the eye, focused on us, it wasn’t recording.
This isn’t to poke fun at my brother, I tell this story for a reason. The bits that did synchronise with the button-pushing contained a time capsule of my misperceptions about ageing, and being unwatchable meant that we hadn’t watched in thirty years. My little old mother as I saw her then, wasn’t old – in fact she was fifty-two, a couple of years younger than we are now. Mind blown.
From that point, she remarried, travelled around the country and overseas – having yet another life within a life (she’s had several). She is an adventurer.
Well, that’s me, welcome to my site
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