In the end, I spent five months in Northern Queensland: four months working as a jillaroo for Mellish Park, and one month working as a ‘resort assistant’ (I had to come up with a title for ‘vagabond that lends a hand with the kitchen/housekeeping/meteorology stuff’ for my CV. That is what I went with) at Sweers fishing resort in the Gulf of Carpentaria. It has been six years and 30 countries since I first left Canada to ‘see the world’ and I would rate my time in Queensland among my richest travel (hell, life) experiences to date. I have learned more about myself these past five months than ever before.
I have also learned about things not myself, which is exciting. Physical, concrete things like how to operate a loader, shoe a horse, repair a barbed wire fence, and milk a goat. But my time north was also educational in a more abstract sense – some preconceptions I have held, in some instances for a very long time, have been turned on their head, while others were enforced. Some things I hadn’t before realized have been brought to my attention and I have met people WAY outside my typical social sphere which, to be fair, was already fairly wide to begin with. I feel like this whole big section of reality that was once a massive question mark to me is now. . .slightly less of a question mark.
To put it another way: I invite you to imagine my knowledge of THE WORLD as a pie chart, where one section represents everything I ‘know’ (‘know’ of course being defined as something I recognize as truth because my personal experience, to date, supports it) and the other represents everything I am aware of but don’t know shit about (let’s not even worry about the infinite section of pie that represents ‘shit I’m not even aware of’). Previously, the former section was this tiny not even recognizable wedge. If you worked out the percentage of the pie it represented it was probably 0.0000000000004385762398756%. Something like that. Because it’s easier math, let’s round (way) up, and say that percent was previously 0.01%. I feel like it is now, after my Queensland experience, 0.015%. Which, when you think about the fact that it took me 30+ years to get that first chunk, is a pretty significant achievement for five months time.
Right, ridiculous imaginary math aside, this has left me with a sort of not quite dilemma: I have ALL THESE THINGS I want to write about – all these stories and ideas and hypotheses I want to share and discuss. But some of them aren’t done yet. They’re just. . .idea fetuses. Some of them, to run with the metaphor (likely further than is politically acceptable), are homed in wombs belonging to someone who’s decided to focus on their career at the moment, while others have teenage parents that just aren’t ready for the responsibility. What I’m saying is: they might not make it.
And the ones that are surviving the harsh light of day are getting connected to others. The ideas are like, hanging out with each other and forming clubs and shit. They’re becoming really protective of one another and won’t part ways.
To put this in a not insane way: I have a lot of things I want to write. Things that are deeply important to me. That I want to write RIGHT – cohesively. Eloquently. With wit, and poetry and rhythm.
But it’s too big. I’ve tried to write an article like. . . I don’t know, ten times. Something like that. I keep starting, thinking ‘oh yeah, this is super clear’. But when I go to write it, it becomes apparent that it’s not as clear as I initially thought it was. Yeah, there are words and they make sense but, as a cohesive piece with a clear message and purpose, it fails. It deviates from topic or starts into something that seems like it belongs to a different article, maybe the one I tried to write a couple days back. I now have 7 different files for seven different (but connected) blog posts and it just. Keeps. GROWING. It’s already totaling 30,000 words. And that’s not even counting the brain vomit I’ve already deleted.
I don’t want to share brain vomit. There’s enough of it already (all) over the internet. I think this can be something really cool and I want to do it right and that means working on it where I can, in private, and sharing it when it’s ready. Otherwise, I’m just sharing cookie dough (alright, bad example. I would way rather eat cookie dough than actually bother baking cookies. It’s more like. . .cold soup. Raw potato bake. Deep fried ice cream, not yet deep fried.)
And (unfortunately) life doesn’t pause while you figure that shit out. It just keeps going, inconsiderately. Like existence doesn’t revolve around you or something.
And I have just returned to Melbourne and will soon be moving into a new place and starting a new job and getting back into training (once this fucking cold allows me to do so) and I simply cannot spend any more time on trying to unclusterfuck these thoughts. At least, not right now.
I think there’s something really good at this heart of this. I can see the threads of connectivity, the underlying message. I just need to translate it from the free form mental diarrhea it currently exists as to the polished, informed prose I know it can be.
Every time I upload a blog to WordPress it says ‘congrats!’ (oh WordPress, you’re so positive) and gives me a little quote about writing. My favourite to date has been from Blaise Pascal:
“I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.”
But I have the time. Or will. Likely. Sort of. I’m making this my side project. I’m going to let this brain defecation unfurl to be as long as it needs be and then, in the words of Stephen King (via William Faulkner) attempt to ‘kill my darlings’ and whittle it down to the good stuff. Find the gems in the mess, polish em up all purdy and then decide how best to share them with the world.
It may take some time. That’s cool.
I suppose I felt I needed to share all that because it seems odd to upload all these photos (more sets are upcoming) and have had all these experiences yet, seemingly, not have anything really substantial to derive from it all.
I have gained many substantial things from the experience. Those things have seen me get to a good place, perhaps the best place I’ve ever been in. I am returning to Melbourne happy, healthy (in a larger, more general sense. One that has nothing to do with my shitty immune system and sick people on planes) and optimistic. When the idea things are ready, I would like to share them with you, if you’d like to see them.
But, for now, they’re just too fragile, and thus will be staying, at least for the moment, in the (relative) safety of my mental womb.
And digital files.