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Glass Collecting: 8 Tools to Help You Survive Happy Hour.

The Exchange Hotel, Brisbane, Australia.

The Exchange Hotel, Brisbane, Australia.

Traveling the East Coast of Australia? Looking for work to fund onward travel? Enjoy cleaning up after drunk, drugged and dumb hipsters?

If you answered yes to all three of these questions, I have just the job for you!

Whilst living in Brisbane I worked at a night club, mostly as a waiter during sociable hours. To bump up my wage, I asked to do extra hours at the weekends, picking up glasses after my shift until the very small hours. As you can imagine, this kind of work is monotonous, soul-destroying and incredibly aggravating at times. But hey, it pays and if you need the cash, this can be a good little earner. Based purely on my experience, here are some tips to get you through happy hour. From sick to semen, I have it covered (figuratively of course.)

The Mop

Your induction will consist of a brief introduction of the tools you will need before going into battle. The first of which is the mop –  a 153classic time waster. Some girl has spewed all over the walls in the toilet? Take a break and go for a cigarette, as you’re going to need the fresh air before entering the stench pit. You know what awaits you and the only thing that will change between now and then, is the colour of her shoes and her level of dignity – yours diminished as soon as you signed up for the job. When you finally do arrive, usher drunks out of the cubicle like it’s a crime scene. Do not by any means interact with the culprit. She will have no remorse for her actions and tell you to leave  – which will anger you to no end – and she may be full of disease. Best form of action? Remind yourself at that moment why you need the money and get the cleaning over with as quickly as humanly possible.

Beside practical use, the mop can be used as a deterrent when cornered by jocks and hipsters. You will need to master two skills: The jab and the swing. When asked “Which part of Ireland are you from?” for the 10th time that evening, swing for his thick rimmed shades – he’s inside, it’s dark outside and they look fucking stupid anyway. Then follow-up with a straight jab to the voice box. That will protect your ears from his horribly bad accent.

The Sweeper

The sweeper consists of two items: a long-handled brush and a long-handled pan, both of which are designed to collect everything from cigarette butts to used condoms. At peak times, the sweeper may also be accompanied by a radio. This is to inform you of any breakages on the dance floor, (glass that is not noses) however at times you may feel somewhat patronized by the radio. The sign of a good ‘glassy’, (yes, this is what you will be called) is the ability to hear the sound of glass smashing from anywhere in the club, even over the load obnoxious reggaeton and electro. With practice, you will make it there in time to see some 18-year-old with skinny jeans and a vest, get tackled to the ground by the door staff for not doing much of anything. The entertainment value here is high, so it pays to be alert. Once you have followed the ruckus out the door, go for another cigarette before sweeping up the glass. By this point, nobody cares what you are doing, and neither do you.

Later, try heading out side to sweep. This will give you the opportunity to chat to the attractive door girl, tell the security about how much you hate your job and waste a good twenty minutes.

Top tip when actually sweeping: try using the side of the brush to knock in some butts. It creates more of a challenge and at times the odd butt will jump into the pan satisfyingly.

The Damp Cloth

138Similar to the mop, however the risk of coming in contact with bodily fluids is greater. If for any reason your cloth becomes dry during the evening, you may go behind the bar to damp it. This will give you the chance to engage in two second conversations to whomever is working, but be warned – there is a high chance no one will know your name. You could also use this time to grab a glass of water, marvel at the talent standing at the bar and act like you should  be serving. Be as nonchalant as possible. You’re not serving, but they don’t have to know that. Soon enough money will be shoved in your face and you’ll get screamed at. Walk out and carry on with your shift.

Damp cloth top tip: try wiping tables clockwise. Then anti clockwise. Mix it up and get creative!

The Tray

A classic tool used to stack glasses and the only part of your job that requires any sort of skill level. There is only one practical way to carry the tray and that is above your head, using one hand. There are two reasons for this.

  • In a packed club, absolutely no one will get out-of-the-way for you. Trying to maneuver around with a heavy tray by your side is near impossible. Plus you will end up slamming into people (which can be justified at times.)
  • People will try to add glasses to your tray. Keeping it balanced over your head will prevent this. Your tray is like a game of Jenga: perfectly poised, balanced and only fun if  drink is involved.

Add to your collection and go wild. Stack them; Place them side to side. The fun to be had is endless!

The will to live

Not a physical tool but just as important. You are going to need this. The shifts are long and boring and everyone around you is unbearable, but try to look at the bigger picture. Remember, you too are an obnoxious idiot when you are out. Remember, you won’t be doing this for long. Remember, that you probably will have to wait in McDonald’s for an hour with the same people after your shift as the first bus home hasn’t started yet. Remember, even with the extra shifts, you still can’t afford a taxi to the suburbs.

Becoming a  struggle? Try these games during your next shift to kill some time.

  • The 60 second game: When doing a lap around the club keep an eye on the clock. Feel the momentary satisfaction when you start a lap on the minute and get back to the same spot exactly a minute later. Challenging and there are many factors that could hold you up. Example: Guy comes up and asks you where the nearest cash machine is. You have ten seconds to spare. What do you do? Personally, I would ignore him. I have better things to do such as  beating my personal best. Girl asks the same question? Take as long as you need.
  • Guess the next song game: A stab in the dark but since the club only plays the same four songs, your chances for success is reasonably high.
  • The cock block game: Occasionally, girls will talk to you to escape the clutches of the rapey guy on the dance floor. You’re sober and he’s an asshole. Make her laugh, and watch him stress. Leave before he beats you up. Challenging but dangerous.

If you are heading over to Australia on a working visa my advice to you is to not be too picky. Take what comes your way and have fun with it. An experience – good or bad – is an experience none the less, to which you’ll learn from regard less. If you are willing to work all night and looking for a short term cash fix, glass collecting is at least an option, that – given the right club – could pay a decent wage.

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For All The Cows – One Step Forward.

Although the last few years have been beyond my expectations, It wasn’t until I opened up a little – to myself and to others – about where my life was going, that it began to finally sink in that I needed to readjust my focus. Travel has and will be a big part of my life from here on end, as long as I am fortunate enough to do so. But coming home from being on such a roll, to slowly jolting to a complete stop, wasn’t easy to get my head around – I enjoyed my freedom and I never wanted it to end. However, as the old cliché goes, all good things must come to an end and I can now officially say, with a heavy heart, that this stint of travel is now behind me but someday, I will be back for more. For now, I’m here to stay and, in truth, I’m okay with it.

Give or take a few months, I have been working in hospitality for ten years, most of which has been full-time. For someone in their thirties this is quite long, but for someone at the age of twenty Seven, this is far too long. Through a string of broken promises to myself, I have stalled on getting out for a long time. But to be fair, I can’t knock it: through hell and high water, minimum wage boosted with jars of coins, ‘DARREN’ marked tip bags and the money saved by getting my hands on as much free food I could handle, has gotten me round the world and back: fact. But since coming home, I’ve never been so cynical and dissatisfied with what I do and to some extent, what I don’t do. As the months have passed, I’ve found myself going backwards and to be honest, I have become somewhat unhappy. Alas, here I still am, serving tables, wasting time and becoming more and more impatient day by day, as the constant demand of tourists chops me down, down, down. This is not where I want to be.

As for my own personal development? I wish I could tell you the answer. I desperately need to do something different with my life, and I have to push that forward in the New Year as opposed to just crossing my fingers and hoping for the best. It’s only a matter of time for me. However now, more than ever, it’s important I use that time wisely – December, 2012.

I spent the majority of January getting increasingly frustrated with myself. I ploughed through job sites for ten minutes then got lost in923 You-tube watching videos of drunk racists on public transport for the remainder of the hour. Add in wrestling, Gumtree and a thousand and one articles on ‘career changes’ and you can begin to build a picture of what 2013 had met me with. It wasn’t until the tail end of January that enough was enough: Petra had been carefully nudging me along but I was still somewhat hesitant. It wasn’t until we went out for dinner with my mother one evening that I received that final nudge that would help me progress forward. I mentioned at dinner that I thought about going into support work. I explained that I needed a job that would still involve working with people but wouldn’t be so thankless. Like a moth to a flame she zoned in, as herself and Petra began systematically breaking me down and building me back up with encouragement, praise and approval as I played with my sachet of brown sugar and listened intently as I stared into my coffee cup.

The following morning, I applied for a position as an ‘Assistant Support Worker’ at a local unit in Leith. The job would involve working with adults with difficulties ranging from homelessness to depression – every tenant is different in terms of their circumstances. This would be the first job out with hospitality that I’d have applied for in quite some time. I held out little hope, however  I was open and honest in my application, just as my company was at dinner the night before. Perhaps support work would be my calling. I didn’t know. But at least now I knew it was time to find out. I was finally ready.

Around a week or two later on a break from work, I came home for lunch and found myself standing in the usual scatter of mail. Amid the take away menus and bills, I found a brown envelope marked in my name. It was stamped from the job I applied for. I promptly opened it there and then and began to skim read. I was invited for an interview. Excitedly, I confirmed my attendance and looked forward to the day.

The interview soon came and went and all things considered, (lack of experience, the high amount of applicants and little knowledge of the line of work) I felt like it went well. In fact, I don’t think I could have done any better if I was to do it again today. A positive, encouraging experience but I didn’t hold out hope in getting the job.

I was setting up the restaurant on a Monday morning – as I do every Monday – when I got the call. I had gotten the job that I was so sure I didn’t get. I was overwhelmed by the news and unashamedly cried when I got off the phone. I felt flattered, shocked and grateful that someone had faith and was willing to take a punt on me. I’m a somewhat emotional and personal person (no shit I hear you saying…) and that phone call, really did mean the world to me. This would be the start of a potential career, the start of something new and the end of an era.

As I carried on half-heartedly aligning place mats with cutlery, I instantly felt like a huge weight was off my shoulders. I wanted a change so badly and I guess my reaction reaffirmed that. I was struggling with the idea of not traveling again for a while and although for now I may be grounded, in a strange way I felt like I was on the move. This was one step forward and the beginning of a whole new journey. A journey that was completely unexpected.


The First: Qantas Strike Action; A Tale Of One City – Part 3.

Picture courtesy of Parsons.com

Picture courtesy of Parsons.com

For all different reasons, people were scrambling to get to where they wanted to be,  be it work, family engagements, whatever. So in that respect I was quite surprised I got the phone call. In truth, we weren’t really that bothered if the phone rang or not. We were told to be downstairs for 8pm but to be on the safe side we made the decision to go down for 7pm. We packed our bags with a sense of dread but also looked forward to finally getting to Melbourne.

Bags packed, loose plane clothing on and with a semi-premature feeling of finality, we headed downstairs to the lobby for six thirty – you know, just to be sure. Using the last of our food tokens, – the posh Marriott kind – we pulled up chairs centre circle, dug into some pizza and pasta and maintained a watchful eye over the hotel lobby. We had confirmation that we were on our way out of The States, but I was to remain slightly on edge: I had lost faith in Qantas and worried that there may be more mishaps to come. A few slices in, Petra had spotted familiar faces across the lobby, dragging their bags behind them:

They must have gotten on the flight tonight as well” she said.

Hmm…Yeah…I guess…Hold on.”

A gulp of water and some laboured chewing later, I went over to check what the gossip was:

The Qantas representative – the useless one we had been stuck with – was in the midst of getting a grilling from a very angry passenger. It seemed she was upset because people were leaving to the airport, to which she wasn’t told about. She was sporting shades, (tucked into her top) sandals and had a book clutched in her hand. Key point being, she wasn’t ready to leave, and this situation – in comparison – would act as her final boarding call at the airport. I was confused. It was barely past seven. Didn’t she have an hour to spare? As I continued to listen in – looking for my opportunity to get involved – the whole picture began to unravel, and it wasn’t to appeal to everyone’s tastes. Then, the Qantas representative dropped a clanger, heard all over the hotel lobby: She explained that if you happened to have been in your room at the time of the phone call, you were on the flight; If you happened to be by the pool, out of the building, taking a shit or anything else that involved not being by the telephone? Well you would have missed out. And as a consequence, not be flying out of Los Angeles. Never having dawned a Qantas uniform, even I felt qualified enough to realize that this was poor judgement on her behalf. The angry, sandal shuffling woman was now infuriated: She, personally, had been told prior that she would have priority because she was first class. Suddenly, I found it hard to sympathize. Unceremoniously, I piped up:

Sorry to interrupt, Can I just want to confirm some information with you? We are still leaving at 8pm, right?…”

No” She said.

We leave now. If you want to go to the airport tonight, be outside in five minutes.”

I bounded back over to the table, leaving the angry passenger and the representative behind. I told Petra we were leaving. Bewildered again, she finished her slice and shook her head. We were right to come down early.

 News had spread and more and more people began filling the lobby. Some with luggage; Some without. We slid past the gathering crowd, made our way outside and scrambled into a mini-van. Within minutes we were joined by others, and we were on our way to the airport.

 Upon arrival, we were greeted with the same check-in desk we fondly remember from those long and stressful hours from a few nights before. Not much had changed: There were still hoards of people, albeit, now in single file; Smiles upon faces and a lightness in the air. We joined in in the back, waiting patiently, ready to move forward and begin zigzagging our way closer to the check-in desk. However, there was one noticeable similarity from the last encounter: The staff.: They looked somewhat nervous; Like they had something to hide; Like they knew something we didn’t; Like they did the night before.The anxiety I felt at the hotel began to creep back in. I couldn’t help but feel that there may be more drama to come.

DSCF3579

A few twists and turns later we found ourselves obstructed only by a couple with their young family. The father had been talking to the sheepish looking check-in guy for quite some time. Scanning the horizon, I began to notice more sheepish faces, cowering behind the desks, including our troubled representative from the hotel. There was clearly something up. The man – with his family it toe – turned around and headed right, away from the line. We were up next. I stepped forward, lay my passport on the counter and peered at the man behind the check in desk pleadingly: Within seconds and to no absolutely no surprise, I was to be told that there would be no seats left on the plane. Here we go again, I thought. Despite our early arrival, we were still too late. On the flip side, it wasn’t the end of the world: He offered us a flight to Melbourne, connecting with Sydney. But before he could do so, I had gotten frustrated again and as did Petra. Not with him; Not with the situation; But with the woman from our hotel for – once again – giving out terrible information. As much as I wanted to sympathise with her, I simply couldn’t. It wasn’t mine nor Petra’s finest moment.; flaring out, speaking up and adding nothing but more stress. But, thankfully, it would be the last we seen of her: Cowering; Behind her desk; Well over her head.

As the queue became longer and longer and more and more people streamed into LAX, we began feeling fortunate that we were on a flight at all. There was a good chance that people in our hotel were going to be at the airport later expecting flights out, as well as many others. As the terminal filled up, I predicted a lot of unhappy people. Many will have made a wasted journey and could expect another trip back to the hotel: Too many people, not enough aircraft and a terrible breakdown of communication: This, yet again, was a mess.

 We had been told at check in that due to short notice, the plane hadn’t been able to be stocked on time, there for, there would be limited food and drink on board. We were then handed a voucher worth the equivalent of one hundred dollars for us to spend in the terminal: Well, this was different. I had never heard of such a thing. Naturally, my first question was:“Can I spend this in duty free?” He didn’t know. And neither did the guy behind me; Or the woman with too much make up;Or the guy with the tacky phone cover.;In fact no one quite knew what to do with the voucher, including Qantas themselves. But I guess we had time to figure it out. We headed upstairs, voucher in hand, feeling menacing.

Upon further probing we understood that the voucher came with restrictions: The main being that it could only be spent in one place within the terminal; Not a variety of. So with a little deliberation, naturally, we decided we would head to the bar, grab some sandwiches or the like to take away and spend the rest on whisky, cocktails and pints. Naturally.

The bar was dotted with normal passengers but laden with voucher waving Qantas nuisances. We had found a table in the corner and as we looked down on the ever increasingly busy terminal, we had time to reflect a little on the whole situation. I felt sorry for the staff: Not only Qantas, but for the ground staff, the baggage handlers, the taxi and the bus drivers; The catering staff at all the hotels; The maids, the cleaners, the cabin crew and those who had lost out on whatever plans, work or appointments they had waiting for them at the other side of the ocean. We had it easy: an extended holiday with a sprinkle of stress thrown in to keep things exciting, but others may have been effected in terrible ways: Missing a funeral is what came to my mind… As I enjoyed my pint, at Café El Qantas, I also felt sorry for our waitress: She was stressed – big time – and incredibly stretched, trying to deal with the floor on her own. Being a waiter myself for many years, I knew exactly how she felt and tend to sympathise with people I can relate to. I managed to catch a word with her: The consensus she put across on behalf of the terminal, was of the frustration with Qantas, and how chaotic it’s been for everyone involved:This mirrored my thoughts. Everyone had something to moan about or a story to tell. I wished her well and let her get on.

As we settled in at the bar, we began chatting to people around us, most of which were on our flight: A community of disgruntled passengers, becoming happier by the second, gripping onto a pint of lager and looking somewhat more upbeat then their downstairs counterparts

Do you mind if I sit here?” we were asked, by a man we briefly met in the cue.

Picture courtesy of Nikki Smith

Picture courtesy of Nikki Smith

His name was Andy: A thirty something year old from Melbourne who was in LA for business. He too had been caught up in the strike but he didn’t seem to mind, despite having a family to get home to. We began talking light-heartedly which came as a welcome contrast to the bull-dozing negativity that was circulating LAX. Even better, he was up for a couple of drinks, so before long we were on the whisky; Petra drank a cocktail. We shared a story or two as we waited on our food (club sandwiches) and he seemed to genuinely enjoy our travelling tales: His eyes lit up when I told him about upcoming plans and how my time was in Australia, Germany and Asia. He had travelled also – And I sensed he somewhat missed those days… We drank at the bar for an hour or two, taking full advantage of our 100 dollar vouchers. I was drunk.

It was time to stream through security and make our way to the gate. On the way we passed a news team, filming people holding up their vouchers to the camera: Would I have done the same if asked? Yeah, probably…We also passed some absolute fool in a Costa type chain, buying everything he could possibly get his hands on; Shortbread, muffins, cakes, crisps – you name it. I felt this was incredibly foolish as you CAN NOT take this into Australia with you: He would either have to eat it all on the plane or declare his loot to customs: So unless he would like to argue/ be fined over a half eaten chocolate muffin, a near empty tube of Pringle’s and a pocket full of crumbs it really wasn’t worth his while. All I was taking into Australia was a belly full of beer, and I was all the happier for it.

We had left it a bit tight to get through to the security checks as we capitalized on every single moment spent at the bar. As a result, we ended up rushing through – Andy included – and made a speedy beeline for the gate. Upon arrival, we were greeted with gloomy expressions, slumped over teenagers engaged with their smart phones and scattered crowds dotted over the carpet. I had seen this before. I knew exactly what lay ahead. Our flight had been delayed: Delayed for another three hours.

Due to the voucher restrictions, their would be no more freebies at the bar. What was becoming a relatively great night, turned into a shit one. I wanted to carry on boozing and fully intended on abusing the drink cart on the plane. But until then, we would have to cough up some dollars. In stepped Andy who kindly offered to buy us another round. Sharing stories had become sharing laughs with him. Another drink was in order. One became two; Two became three; Three became too many, and we danced our way back to the gate. Andy went on to explain how great it was to talk to us, as it brought back so many memories of when he was backpacking: Memories, he said, he hadn’t recalled in years. Genuinely friendly and incredibly kind with his words and time. The drinks we had came courtesy of Andy; The fun we had was priceless.

Again, it was the early hours of the morning and again, we were at the gate waiting to fly. We had made in time to join another queue, waiting to board. The staff had that look about them again: A look that can only be described as unsettling. However the flight had been called, so I couldn’t see what could possibly go wrong. We made our way forward and stepped up to the desk. Ready to board, I handed over my passport and boarding pass:

Sir I’m sorry but you are not on this flight. You will be on the next, which flies out in a couple of hours.”

Our tickets were right. We weren’t in the wrong. But it seemed things had been shuffled around last minute. As expected, I blew up, but somehow managed to keep it inside, swallow it and get over it within a matter of seconds. There was nothing to be done, and the good natured drunk in me prevailed. We grabbed our bags, shuffled back the way we came and found a place to park our bodies. The bar was now closed. For the next couple of hours, I’d be sobering up on the patch of carpet I chose.

As we settled, Petra and Andy struck up another conversation. I became quickly bored of my chosen tile. I pulled myself up, stretched out and decided to go for a walk. I enjoy being in airports: I love the excitement, the bustle and the people that flock to them. I find being on a plane restricting (for obvious reasons) but at the airport I’m free to roam, wonder and daydream; I’m free to celebrity spot, eat sushi and and read smutty magazines; I’m free to eat peanut M&M’s, try on fourteen different after shaves and play on the escalators; I’m free to stare, peer and watch; I’m free to go where I’ve been waiting to go for months; And I’m free to fantasize about being there, turning my dreams into reality.

As I roamed, I recognized someone that I had fond memories of the last time I was at the airport: There was no second guessing and no mistaking. There she was with her short grey hair and her baggy fleece, with her eyes set deep into a book. It was the woman that I had felt so bad for: The woman that I should have checked on that first night at LAX but didn’t. The same woman that would haunt me all the way to the hotel. I wanted to make things right. I had to talk to her. I approached her and opened with a simple ‘hello.’ She was nothing like I had imagined her being: Very well educated, charming and full of character. Canadian and going to Melbourne on vacation. I explained to her how I felt that night and how it was important for me to clear the air. On an emotional level, situations such as this one – leaving her on the side of the street without so much as a word of concern – can effect me horribly: I tend to dwell over the little things in life. She was lovely. And I was so glad I spoke to her. She to, was full of kind words and she very much appreciated my concern. Her name was Janice. She was crying due to being swept up by the stressful nature of the whole situation and – like everyone else – had no idea what was going on that evening. She got to a hotel shortly after we did. A little bit of thoughtfulness that night may have went far in a sea of people that were only out for themselves. That thought, has stuck with me ever since.

Two hours had past, and I was back at he gate with Petra and Andy. We were met with another hour delay. Still, in high spirits metaphorically and physically, I approached the boarding desk and talked with Qantas:

I know you are under a great deal of stress but all I want is a truthful answer. Will we be flying out tonight or not?”

We would be. Shortly after our flight was called. It was time to say goodbye to LAX. The ordeal was over. And we were not the worse for it.

Half a dozen gin and tonics later, we touched down in Sydney and were soon on our way to Melbourne: four days late. As we collected our bags we said goodbye to Andy. It was a pleasure to meet him. We swapped contact details and I vowed to write about the strike and send him the link. We waved goodbye to Andy and said hello to Melbourne. We had touched down and the next leg of our trip was upon us. But surely nothing could top what we had just been through. Could it?…

Writers note:

It comes with the territory that things can do and generally do go wrong at some point on a big trip such as that: You take the good with the bad and if you can make something good out of a bad situation, then an ‘ordeal’ doesn’t necessarily have to be that.

Being ‘stuck’ in LA for another few days wasn’t a disaster. I would even go as far as saying that it was a highlight of the trip – Certainly one of the more memorable experiences that I will ever have in my lifetime. We/I were apart of something global and it was truly exciting. Saying that, I’m no stranger to this kind of thing; I was also caught up in the Icelandic volcano eruption, that grounded most of the flights in Europe for a short time. I ended up getting to Germany by bus, train and boat: Yeah, karma certainly isn’t on my side when it comes to travel. For those of you that no me well, I do love a good story, and although I may embellish facts from time to time, the base of this story is 100 percent true.

Life if full of mundane things: Whether that be sitting on the bus on the way to work in the morning, making ‘spag bol’ for dinner for the eighth time this month or wasting six hours straight on the internet looking at absolute garbage on you-tube. To be taken out of the realm of normality and to be placed into something so surreal and out of sort, is a true exercise of the mind. And I – for one – relish this kind of rush as often as I can get it. Would I choose to put myself through that inconvenience again? Of course not. However could I and would I get a kick out of being inconvenienced? Absolutely. Life is full of inconveniences. And there will never be a convenient time.

Merry Christmas and all the best for 2013.

Take it easy folks.

Darren.


For All The Cows – An Update To The Update…

In case you’re still remotely interested in the revolving door that is my life, I’m back on the scene with blog number 100. Okay, so it’s not going to be the special entry I had planned but I’ve been away a long time! So folks this is simply a blog to say hello and a little catch up. I did say in my last entry that there is more writing to come from me and there will be; mostly spanning from my recent travels. But for now I’ll just fill you in on the news, trying not to make this too painful of a read.

Onwards…

For those of you that have lost track of exactly what I’m doing:

Firstly – I’m not in the slightest surprised.

And secondly – I have no fucking idea either.

Things haven’t changed that much since my last entry. I may not be in Germany any more but I knew then what I know now and everything is still going as planned. But Without wanting to add another week onto the months, I’ll crack on.

Much like opening the door to a cupboard that’s been used as storage for far too long; I have no fucking idea what’s going to come pouring out.

So where the hell am I now and how long am I here for?

Jesus Christ; Even I can’t conjure up interest any more…

Well I’m in Scotland! Edinburgh to be more specific. Literally with nowhere to live and no job. But I do smell relatively good and judging by the bounce of my beer gut when I stride down the stairs I still eat well.

I’ve been back in Scotland for two weeks and down at the capital for one of those looking for a place to live and shortly a job as I am very near to being out of money. Looking at flats has been a mixed bag of frustration, disappointment and time wasting. I’m living at a hostel at the moment, abusing the free morning coffee and killing time by feeling sorry for myself and willing for the phone to ring. My ‘refresh page’ finger is getting a good work out though and who says you can’t eat chips twice in a day?

Basically this is what my life has come down to; Talking to strange men in 8 bedroom dorms and listening to couples fucking in the shower. But it’s only temporary and it’s nothing I’m not used to. I have no doubt my life will come together but It could take weeks rather than days. I’m in dire need of some structure in my life and I’m not talking waiting in line for the shower.

Is this going the way of a ramble? Better get it out the way then…

These past three years have been the best of my life; Seeing the world and having experiences that I couldn’t of imagined before leaving Scotland. It’s hard to really put into words how much travel has done for me as a person. To put it simply: I’m a different person now then when I was before I left.

When I was on the road I was tested in so many different ways I hadn’t experienced back home that I soon developed a mental toughness in which I could call upon when needed. I began to realize that nothing is too hard to achieve with a bit of persistence, patience and drive. However I was also aware that all three of these things didn’t stick around with me for long. I secretly developed anxieties and fears about how I would adapt upon returning.I knew that the lifestyle I was living had to end somewhere and at sometime. But you know, I wouldn’t change that much of what I’ve done over the last three years and I’m happy with the majority of choices I made. But in a sense I’ve only been killing time and delaying the inevitable. I was happy with that for a long time but lately I have started to think of the future; something to which I’ve been so dismissive with in the past.

I’m putting some serious thought into career goals and earning real money. Money has never been that big of an issue for me. I have seen the world on minimum wage and had the most amazing of experiences. Experiences that people with double the income, of all ages and from all walks of life shared with me.

Fit's ah this shite for? JUST DEE IT!

Leaving was about getting the best out of myself and seeing where my strengths lied. And although It was a pretty unorthodox way of learning life lessons, I wouldn’t change it for anything.

I have met some of my favourite people whilst being away and learned things I wouldn’t have If I had stayed in Aberdeen.

But it all boils down to this: I’m home and it’s now time to move forward in a completely different way to which I am used to.

I can still fuck up and I still have plenty of time, but I now have to make some important decisions.

For the third time in three years I am back to the very beginning. I may not have anything to show for it in the traditional sense. No career, no money, no further education, not even possessions apart from this laptop I’m typing on but I’ve still achieved.

I’ve worked hard at something you can’t touch, feel or see but Inside I have a lot to show for it. I feel personal achievement in that I know where my strengths lie. It’s just about using them.

You know, before I left I didn’t believe in myself or push myself hard enough. I was jealous of my friends for studying and hated students based purely on not being one.

I’m back to square one in another city but have I ever really been further? At this moment in time, this could quite possibly be the best place to be. Square one isn’t that scary. I can go in any direction.


How was your trip?

Great and went surprisingly well. As I said I’ll be writing all about over the coming months so I’ll just touch on it briefly. One of the reasons I’ve not been updating is because I didn’t have my laptop on the road. These thing’s tend to fall off of boats, go missing from trains and end up as 21st century coffee tables in a flat in Bangkok.

On the grand scale of things the trip was a success with only minor hiccups (not counting the Qantas strike fiasco we got stuck in the middle of) and even on the tight budget we had, we had a great and balanced experience.

I had always wondered how couples managed to get through spending 24 hours attached to each other whilst traveling and I still don’t have the answer. A lot of couples have fallen a part on the road but others have been brought closer together. I prepared for both scenarios by learning how to share my toys and studying how to cover up a murder. Fortunately I didn’t need the latter and we both came out of it unscaved.  The whole experience  can be quite intense and at times can really put a strain on your relationship. But to be honest I was fairly confident Petra and I would get on well otherwise I wouldn’t have even suggested the trip. I was concerned about us driving each other mental though. I can’t stand my own company most of the time so how was I going to deal with hers 24/7 and how the fuck could anyone put up with me for that long? But I needed not worry as it was perfectly fine and we got on great. Couple of minor tiffs due to the stresses of travel and what not but we are stronger now than we were before. Just to make you sick in your mouth a little here’s a picture of the annoying happy couple looking like a couple dildos from Ann Summers:

Proper Condom Use

Future Plans?

Well after some real thought and consideration, I have my heart set on studying. I just can’t do hospitality for much longer. My heart isn’t in it anymore. The reality is this: If you want to make real money you will have to become a qualified chef or own your own business and I want to do neither. You can get great tips though if you’re in the right place. I’ve made plenty over the years. But I can’t work like that forever. Hopping from place to place is incredibly tedious for me now but I will probably have to do it until I start studying. At the moment, I can’t afford to be picky. Based on my experiences, there is little reward in this business for a job you work very hard at. The bottom line is I can’t see my future involving hospitality even though I know I’d be damn good at it. It’s looked after me well but it’s time to move on.

I have to try my hand at something else.

I still want to be a writer in some shape or form but this is where I really need the help. I can’t be any more specific than the sentence I’ve just typed. Also I’m pretty naïve to the business and where I can fit in. I need all the advice I can get.

Hence why this morning I took a visit to the Careers advisor to assess my situation. And realistically, I’m going to end up doing either open university, an access course via the University Of Edinburgh or higher education at college with the option of Uni on completion. The woman was friendly and helpful enough for someone that must of seen all sorts of creatures sat in front of her desk. She tried to get me to partake in online personality tests and career assessments. I declined. I already know my strengths and weaknesses; For me it comes down to motivation and desire and not lack of ability. I just need to pin point what I want to learn.

Do you know what you’ll be doing ten years from now? Do any of us? I might even be back in Germany in a year or two so that blurs the lines even more.

You know what? Fuck it. I’ll just dig up dinosaurs like I said I’d do when Jurassic Park came out…

Dig up baby dinosaurs. That's my ten year plan.

Anyway folks I’m sorry for the ramblings but that’s all I can muster at the moment? As I said there will be some creative writing pieces coming up in the next few months as well as a travel blog. Keep an eye out.

A Sincere Thank You.

 Since I’m back in the country for the foreseeable future I’d like to thank a few people for their continued support over the past three years. It’s nice to know that I’m appreciated as a friend and a family member and I want to show my appreciation back.

Thank you to my parents for always thinking of me and being proud of whatever decision I’ve made.

My grandparents and especially my grandmother for her constant kind words and encouragement.

Petra for the way you are and continue to be. I love you.

My sister and the rest of my family for being proud of a brother/nephew they never see. We will spend some time together soon!

Holly for giving me a place to live when It was important I lived alone. Thank you for the room.

Paul for never changing, always keeping in touch and making time for me. Best buds min!

Stew for the constant laughs.

Andy and Wilson. You will always be my friends despite not seeing much of one another lately.

Josh for constantly being positive and a pleasure to be around. Thanks for the place to live and for always being a selfless friend.

The rest of the James family (and Merlin!) for your kindness and hospitality.

Rob for letting me crash on your couch when I literally had nowhere to go and no money. Nothing is ever a problem for you.

Scotty for keeping me company on the bench! 😉

Reno and the rest of Annerley football club for making me feel like a star when I can’t play football for shit. One of the greatest times of my life and I’ll never forget the club.

Mitch and Ainsley for helping me settle into Brisbane and being the reason I came there in the first place. Get off crutches mate!

Adam for giving me a job in Germany when I really needed it badly. I wasn’t going to go away otherwise!

And to everyone else I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, traveling and working with over the past three years.

The adventure ends now but another is about to begin.

Thank you all.

Darren.

Serious stuff? Time for the silly face.