The Homer Tunnel

There’s a tunnel in New Zealand which is 1.2 km long and connects Milford Sound to Te Anau and Queenstown.

It goes straight through a mountain and took 19-years to dig. Much of it began by hand.

Opening of the tunnel was delayed by World War II and several avalanches in the area which resulted in multiple men losing their lives.

Workers had to camp out in tents on the edge of the tunnel during construction. The camp areas were known not to receive sunlight for months at a time.

Inside the tunnel was cold, wet and dark. Up to 40,000 litres of water had to pumped out every hour.

In 1953, The Homer Tunnel was officially opened and named after the man who suggested the tunnel was possible, William H. Homer.

I went through the tunnel a few months ago. I’ve thought about it since. 19-years of digging through solid rock. Interrupted by a World War and avalanches.

Every time I think I’m pushing through something or get annoyed at being interrupted from my work, I remind myself of The Homer Tunnel.

Experience is relative but I know for sure, I’d rather be here working on what I’m working on than digging through solid rock with a pickaxe whilst a World War is going on.

At the end of the tunnel is one of the most beautiful jewels in the world. Milford Sound. It’s in the Fiordland region. A region in which a glacier carved its way through the mountains centuries ago but has since melted. What’s left is a collection of vast and nearly vertical cliff faces rising out of beautiful lakes.

The area is as beautiful as it is remote. One man fell so in love, he decided to live there on his own. Well, at least he was the only human, he brought his dog along too. Donald Sutherland originally came from the Scottish highlands but decided to travel the world and ended up calling Milford Sound home. His story is worth reading about.

After being there, I’m not sure which impressed me more. The tunnel or the cliff faces.

Nature is beautiful.

The beginning of Milford Sound from the top deck of a tour boat.

The beginning of Milford Sound from the top deck of a tour boat.

But so is hard work.

The beginning of The Homer Tunnel. Look at the surroundings of the opening. Imagine if someone said to you, “I think we can dig through here.” What would you say?

The beginning of The Homer Tunnel. Look at the surroundings of the opening. Imagine if someone said to you, “I think we can dig through here.” What would you say?

A smile can make everything

I walked into the cafe. Ordered.

Walked outside. Saw her. She smiled. Spoke.

Good morning.

Morning, how are you?

Good, thank you.

I smiled and kept walking. Sat down. Looked at the sun, soaked it in.

My coffee arrived and I sat there thinking. Thinking about the smile.

Everything in that moment was perfect.

You never know how much a small action can affect someone. One smile gave me energy for the whole day.

Now it's my turn to give it back.

The Phenix

The sign out front said Phenix. It meant to say Phoenix but the O was out.

Harry walked up.

The security guard spoke.

Got ID?

Harry pulled out his wallet. Gave the guard his ID.

What’s this?

It’s an Australian licence.

Harry was from out of town. The guard looked at the ID.

Where’s your birthday?

Harry leaned over, pointed at the ID.

The guard looked up.

Don’t worry about it. You over 21?

Yeah.

The guard reached out. Pass me your hand.

Harry stuck his hand out. Got the stamp. A red bird.

Inside was dark. A few people at the front, more down the back. Harry went to the back. Walked around. There were arcade games against the walls. Space Invaders, Ride the Red, Deer Hunting, Duck Hunting, Pinball, Mini-Bowling. Harry walked back to the front. Sat down at the bar.

Harry had never done this before. Go to a bar alone. Sat down alone. He’d been walking around all night alone. Travelling alone. Dinner alone. The bar was different. The seat to left is empty to your right empty. At a bar alone.

The bartender was walking up and down. Grabbing glasses, moving them to other parts of the bar, putting things in the fridge, taking them out. He had long hair tied back, a thin moustache, young, about the same age as Harry.

What are you after?

What’s good to get?

Where you from?

Australia.

Australia hey. We don’t get many of those here. How about one of the Green Irons?

Sure.

Seven dollars.

Harry handed over the money.

The bartender walked down, opened the register, dropped the coins in, closed it. Poured a Green Iron.

Where’d the name come from?

I’m not sure. All I know is it’s good.

Cheers.

Harry looked at it. It was golden full of bubbles all racing to the top. He lifted it to his face, could smell it before he tasted it, sipped.

What do you think?

It’s good.

Told you. How long you in town for?

Harry told him. A similar story to what he’d said before. A few more weeks, no plans, taking it as it comes, a few more nights here before going somewhere else.

Someone else came up to the counter, the bartender walked went over to them.

Harry sat and sipped. Looked down the back of the bar. There was a big crowd there, they were laughing really getting into it covered with purple lights from the roof. Harry was happy sitting with himself. He was at a bar alone for the first time. The seats left and right empty. Sitting alone.

The bartender came back.

Need another?

Please.

Harry handed over the cash, it went in the register.

Two girls walked in. They sat on the seat to the right and the one next to it. Harry kept looking forward. Didn’t break stare as they sat down, ordered.

The girls started talking. Something about how their night was going. Who’s birthday it was. Who they would meet out later. Where they would go after the Phoenix.

Harry turned towards them.

Where’s the best place to go around here?

The girl with brown hair started talking.

Oh, you’ve got plenty of places. The Rabbit Hole is good, Container Bar, Spicy Mikes.

Where are they?

Wait, where are you from?

Australia.

Really?

The girl turned to her friend.

Rebecca, he’s from Australia.

Rebecca joined in. Rebecca had dark tan skin, black hair.

What?

He’s from Australia!

Harry reached out.

My name’s Harry.

He shook Rebecca’s hand.

Rebecca.

And the other girl.

Sophie.

Sophie spoke.

What are you doing here?

Travelling around, exploring. I don’t have many plans.

Where have you been so far?

Harry told her.

They got to talking more. Another girl arrived. Rebecca turned to her.

Harry and Sophie kept talking.

Sophie was a writer. A reporter. She wrote stories wrote articles. Had a few things published in local magazines, online a few other places. Harry told her he was into writing too. Stories, poems, the like. Sophie worked at the local art museum, walked around making sure people didn’t touch the artwork. She was a student at the local college, a student reporter.

The bartender came over with the girls' orders.

Rebecca thanked him.

Harry held his glass out.

Cheers.

Everyone joined in. Cheers.

Harry made eye contact with the girl on the end. She started talking.

I’m Amber.

Hey Amber, I’m Harry.

Rebecca spoke.

It’s Ambers birthday.

Happy birthday Amber.

Thank you. I’ve never been wished happy birthday by an Australian before.

Harry smiled.

Amber was too far away to hold a conversation with. That was the problem with bars and music. Unless the person was right next to you, talking was difficult. Harry liked talking. He wasn’t alone anymore.

Rebecca started speaking. Let’s go and play the arcade!

Sophie spoke.

Wanna come?

Sure.

There were a few games at the other end of the bar, closer to the front, up a couple of stairs. Harry followed them.

They sat down. Rebecca looked through her purse, fumbled around, found one coin, put it in, kept looking no coins.

Here.

Harry put the other coin in.

The table lit up. The screen was built into it right underneath the glass, there were joysticks at each end. Harry grabbed one and Rebecca grabbed the other.

Rebecca spoke.

Okay, you’ve got to shoot my ship and I’ve got to shoot yours.

Okay.

The game started. Rebecca got off an early shot. Damaged Harry’s ship. She dodged his first shot, his second, his third, fired back, missed. Harry fired again, hit then again, hit.

What! Two in a row?

Harry smiled.

Rebecca took a shot, hit. Yes!

Harry fired three off, all hits. Rebecca fired back, missed, Harry sent three more back, two hit, one missed.

You’re good at this.

Harry laughed.

The game started making noises and flashing lights. A bonus sign came up on the screen.

Rebecca called out.

Oh! This is it! This is where we’ve got to team up and kill the boss!

Let’s do it.

Harry watched the screen. Rebecca watched the screen. Sophie looked at Harry then looked at the screen.

The boss appeared. A giant ship, it had small ships around it, green tentacles connecting them. It was on. The giant ship sent out a spray of shots, all missed except one, got Rebecca on the side. Harry took a shot, destroyed one of the small ships, Rebecca took the next, hit a small ship on the other side. Another spray of shots came, Harry got hit twice, Rebecca dodged them. Rebecca hit another ship, Harry missed. Come on Aussie, you’ve gotta help me here! Harry sent out two shots, two kills.

How’s that?

Nice!

The giant ship flashed white, sent out three shots, the shots were moving, not in a straight line, they were following Harry and Rebecca. Rebecca went to the left, the shot came with her, to the right, followed, to the left, same again. Harry went straight for the giant ship, the shots followed. Rebecca was being chased, couldn’t get away, turned left, turned right, got stuck on the edge of the screen, the big shot connected, her ship blew up. NO!

Harry was getting closer to the giant ship. Two shots following him. There were two ships in front. He fired three shots, one went off to the left, the other two hit, destroyed. Harry kept the joystick pressed forward. The shots were getting closer. All the small ships were gone. The path was clear. Harry pulled a sharp left, right up the side of the giant ship.

The shots kept going. Hit the side of the giant ship, exploded.

The screen flashed. WOOOO!

Harry looked up.

Rebecca was cheering.

You did it!

Harry laughed.

I’ve never beaten this one.

Sophie was smiling.

Harry did it. The hero. Killed the giant ship.

Everyone laughed. They all knew how lame it was. It didn’t matter. Lame was fun. Any kind of challenge can be fun. Even pixels on a screen.

Rebecca spoke.

All this action made me nervous. I’m going to the bathroom.

Harry looked at Sophie. Smiled.

She starts talking.

What?

I didn’t say anything.

Oh, I thought you did.

No the music is loud, let me come over there.

Harry got up and moved next to Sophie, sat down.

Where you going next?

I’m not sure. It’s Ambers birthday, so wherever she wants to go.

Where’s Amber?

I don’t know.

Harry laughed. Sophie smiled.

The talking stopped. But the energy was there. Harry had seen her eyes. She saw his. That was enough. They knew.

Rebecca came back.

Let’s go to a booth.

Alright.

They all sat down. Harry ordered more drinks. Two Green Irons and a Mojito. Rebecca wanted the Mojito.

Amber wasn’t anywhere to be seen. The girls didn’t mind. They knew she’d be with Sam.

Who’s Sam?

This guy she’s been seeing.

What’s he like?

The girls were silent. Looked at each other. Made a few sounds, a low giggle.

Sophie held back a laugh.

He’s okay.

Harry sipped at the Green Iron. He thought about the bartender. Wondered how many Green Irons he’d been through. Sipped again. It tasted even better with victory. Harry destroyed the giant ship. He was the hero.

Rebecca spoke.

I’m going to dance.

Harry spoke.

Okay.

Want to come?

I’m good. I’m gonna stay here and finish my drink.

Harry knew what he was doing. He was staying there for Sophie.

Sophie, you coming?

I’m gonna stay here too.

Oh, you two are boring!

Rebecca walked off.

Harry and Sophie looked at each other. The eyes were there. Locked on. Harry felt it. Sophie felt it. Sophie looked away. Broke it. Looked at her drink, moved it to her mouth, sipped, spoke.

These are good. Thank you.

Thank the bartender. I had no idea what to order.

Sophie smiled. Kept looking forward. Turned to Harry.

So what do you write about?

People.

What was your last story?

I gave a homeless guy eight dollars fifty the other day. He pulled me up. Said I looked nice. Said he wanted to get some fried chicken from down the street, pointed. Then he asked me for eight dollars fifty. I had eight dollars cash in my pocket I wanted to get rid of. So I gave it to him and went to keep walking. He stopped me again. Said the chicken was eights dollars fifty and he was so close. I pulled out my coin pouch and found fifty cents and gave it to him. He thanked me then asked for more. Said the chicken was nine dollars. I told him he already told me the chicken was eight dollars fifty. He goes oh yeah. He thanked me again. Said he was going to get a belly full of chicken and go sleep under the bridge. I said enjoy and walked into the restaurant and ordered.

What did you order?

Chicken wings.

Sophie laughed.

Did you write about it?

Yeah, that was my last one. Sales lessons from a homeless guy. He put the hard sell on me.

Eight dollars fifty is a lot.

Harry laughed. What was your last story?

A poem.

A poem?

Yeah, about my ex-boyfriend.

A good or bad poem?

A good one. We were still together.

How long ago was that?

Six weeks.

You haven’t written anything since?

Only for college, the boring stuff. News articles, interviews, sports results. The stuff that goes into the newspaper.

Do people read it?

I hope so! Sophie laughs. That’s what I tell myself.

Sophie turns her head. Looks at Harry. The eye contact is back. Stronger again. Every time it gets stronger. They know. Harry leans in. Puts his hand around the back of Sophie’s neck, Sophie closes her eyes. Harry presses his lips against hers.

Harry pulls away. Opens his eyes. Sophie opens hers.

They look at each other. Smile. Laugh. Lean back in, eyes close, kiss.

Rebecca comes back. Speaks.

Now I see why you two didn’t want to dance.

She pauses.

Harry and Sophie look up. Laugh.

Rebecca laughs. Having fun?

Sophie speaks.

Yeah.

Harry too.

Yeah.

Well, I’m tired. Amber isn’t answering her phone and I’ve got work tomorrow at 6 am.

Harry speaks.

6 am, that’s early.

Yeah. And I’m the only one on until 10.

Harry looks at Sophie.

What are you doing tomorrow?

I’ve got to write something for the school.

Rebecca looks at Sophie, speaks.

Are you still staying at mine?

Yeah.

Should I order an Uber?

Sophie looks at Harry.

Harry speaks. You guys go, I’ve got no plans tomorrow. I’m going to go and find Spicy Mikes.

They walk out front.

The guard is still there. Harry speaks.

Thank you.

No problem Aussie.

There’s a guy on the corner cooking. Hot dogs, onions, buns. There’s steam pouring off the hot plate. It’s cold outside. The food smells good. Harry’s mouth starts watering. He reads the sign. Three dollars for a hot dog, one dollar extra for onions, sauce is free. Harry checks his pocket. The eight dollars is gone. Two hotdogs worth. Gone to the belly of a homeless guy under a bridge.

The girls put their arms around each other. Harry puts his hands in his pockets.

People walking past have their arms crossed. Everyone is feeling the cold. It’s a deep cold. Even three Green Irons don’t numb it. Harry feels it. Smells the hotdogs again. The sweet hot steaming hotdogs.

The girls check Rebecca’s phone.

She speaks.

It’s one-minute away! Oh, come faster Mr Uber. I can’t wait to get into bed.

It arrives. Rebecca pulls away from Sophie. Runs to the door. Calls out.

It was nice to meet you Harry!

Harry smiles.

You too.

Sophie turns to Harry. Walks over.

They hug. Pull apart. Eyes. Kiss.

Sophie speaks.

It was nice to meet you.

Harry smiles.

You too.

Eyes. Eyes close. Kiss.

Harry pulls away. Smiles. Speaks.

You better go.

Sophie smiles.

It’s so cold!

Harry laughs.

Sophie speaks.

Are you going to write about me one day?

Probably.

Sophie laughs. Leans in, closes her eyes. Presses her lips against Harry’s.

Okay.

She turns around and gets in the Uber. Rebecca and Sophie wave as it pulls off. Harry waves back, walks across past the hotdogs, takes a big breath in through his nose. Looks at the chef.

They smell good.

Thanks man.

How to avoid mediocre

You go to the cafe in the morning. Sunday mornings are for writing. You’ve got to drive in a few hours.

Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday afternoons. That’s when you drive. Monday to Friday you study.

It’s midday and you’ve punched out 2000 words. 1200 are good. 400 are really good. You're biased. Every writer thinks they’re good.

You get in the car. Turn on the app. A ping appears. You know the sound. It’s the one you hear at 3 am Saturday morning.

Sunday’s are quiet. Plenty of time to sit around sitting round but on high alert. High alert waiting for a ping. Waiting for that ping. It’s coming. The ping.

The ping comes. You tap it. You follow the blue dot on the screen. That’s you. 6-minutes ‘til you get there.

You get there and stop out front. The people get in. You say your hellos. The questions come.

“How long have you been driving Uber for?”

You tell them. They nod and keep speaking.

“Is this a side gig or?”

You speak.

“Yeah, I drive on weekends and study during the week.”

“What are you studying?”

“Machine learning and artificial intelligence.”

“Woah, is that like aliens?”

“Not really, more like using computers to make sense of large amounts of information.”

“Wow, that’s cool.”

Cool sounds like a compliment, compliments feel good.

Next week happens. Study Monday to Friday, driving Friday, Saturday, not Sunday. Not Sunday because of Saturday.

Saturday night you got a fine and decided you weren’t going to drive Uber anymore.

It was the best job you’d ever had. Meeting new people every 10-minutes. Explaining your story. You thought you knew yourself thinking alone in your head. Explaining your story out loud to 1000 people made it rock solid.

Two weeks after leaving Uber you got a job. The universe works like that. Once you make a decision, things happen.

The job paid well. More than Uber. Now you were comfortable. You didn’t have to think about how much you’d spend on fuel and how many hours you had to drive this weekend. Grocery shopping wasn’t an issue anymore. The paycheque was good.

Now you can eat. Your work is slipping. That creative flair? Those words on a Sunday? 400 of them were good.

That story you wrote about the homeless guy. What happened to that?

Remember the Hero’s Journey?

The most interesting part was the hero versus the challenge. Not the happily-ever-after.

Want to avoid mediocre? Find your next challenge.

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Source: https://qr.ae/TWtMc8

Not wanting tomorrow

I hate the Full Moon. Especially the pool room. We were in there playing pool and the game was on. The game where everyone watches. Even the ones who aren’t fans. Even I was watching it. I didn’t watch the game any other time but I was watching it this time.

Should we meet at the Full Moon? Someone asked.

Yes. Someone else said.

I went along for the company. I hate the Full Moon. But the people were good. I don’t know whether I hate it because I hate it or I hate it because I was there and I knew what I had the next day.

Getting up was like getting out of a coffin. Summoning the energy in each cell one by one. I stayed up late. Had to wake up early. To get to West End. West End was a train and a bus ride away. I’d get in the shower. Then get out, still tired. Have breakfast, still tired. Drive to the train, almost miss it. Get on the train, still tired. Walk to the bus, almost miss it. The bus would drive there and I pushed the button and got off. Then I’d walk down the street, look at the cafe’s. I didn’t drink coffee then. I should’ve.

I’d get in, check the emails. They were there. There was one I liked to read. Someone put the effort in to put together a few interesting things about the area. I read it. The others were worthless.

What would you like me to do today? I asked.

We’d like you to help Eliza and scan the records.

I picked up a box of records and took them to my desk. I’d open the program and plug in the scanner and start scanning. It was easy. One record, one scan, one down arrow press, repeat. I got so good I could watch YouTube whilst doing it. Scan, YouTube, arrow, record, scan, YouTube, arrow. That was it. Hundreds of times until the box was empty. Then I grabbed another box. Scan, YouTube, arrow. Records Officer, that was me.

You did this one wrong. She said.

How so?

She showed me. 

Okay, I said, I’ll fix the next one.

I fixed the next one. And did the same for the next.

You did these two wrong. She said.

How so?

She showed me.

She wanted it the way I was originally doing it. The way she showed me was wrong.

Okay, I said, I’ll fix the next ones.

I grabbed another box. YouTube, scan, arrow. I watched videos on Physics, videos on health, videos on weightlifting, videos on how to talk to girls. I loved the ones with Michio Kaku. He’s a Japanese physicist who knows how to tell a story.

The end of the day came. I’d been through 10 boxes, maybe 11. Everyone said their goodbyes and walked out.

See you tomorrow!

I went back to the bus. I had a physics quiz due at 5:30 pm. I went to the campus. It was the other direction from home. I got there at 5:15, did the quiz, passed, Michio Kaku helped. Back on the bus. The bus went to the train and then the train went to my car. My car was bogged. It rained heavily and I was parked on grass. I called my friend to help me out and we got out.

On the way home I drove past the Full Moon, still tired. I looked in the top floor window. I was there last night. Never again.

My alarm was set for the next morning. It went off and I summoned energy in every cell. Showered, still tired, drove to the train, still tired, got the train, got the bus, walked in.

Eliza started speaking.

You got these wrong.

Okay.

The power of a good conversation

George and I were walking along the pier. I started speaking.

Walking along the water is very nostalgic to me. I remember family trips with the water lapping up.

We kept walking. Talking and walking. His business is growing. He’s taking it step by step. He’s going to Greece soon. Time away to think about the long-term.

We went and got coffee and spoke about taxes. When you become a business there’s some rule about paying 30% of taxes. I don’t know much about taxes so I asked a lot of questions. Then it was time to go.

On Tuesday I was sitting at the coffee shop. A girl with blonde hair was to my left and a girl with brown hair and an English accent was sitting opposite. They were talking about their travels about dates they’d been on. There was this one guy, she’d known him for ages but it wasn’t like that. I was writing a great blog post by hand. The words were really happening.

The girl with the brown hair was cute. We made eye contact here and there. I kept writing. Maybe she’ll see me writing and ask me what I’m writing. Please ask me what I’m writing. I’d tell her. A blog post. I’m writing a great blog post.

I was thinking about a costume to wear to the gold theme party on Friday. Thinking and writing. I could go as Goldmember, the one from Austin Powers. Then the girl with the brown hair started talking about Goldmember. Did she read my mind? Please ask me what I’m writing.

She didn’t ask.

I finished my blog post. I typed it up and edited it. Then I packed away my notebook. It was time to go. But those eyes. The tan skin. The accent. I had no other option. The blonde girl started talking about my university. I joined in.

Yeah, but the sandstone is great.

She spoke.

Did you go there?

Yeah, for five years, I failed the first two.

What do you do now?

I have my own business, I write articles and make things online.

Oh cool, good to see things turn out.

Are you deciding to go to university?

Yeah, I’m thinking about it, I’ve got a few different options.

Where?

The conversation went on, not much.

I turned to the brown haired girl and spoke. What are you doing here?

She spoke.

What do you mean?

Are you travelling or studying or?

I’ve got dual citizenship so I can stay here but I’m really doing things day by day.

I smiled. In my head I smiled too. Dual citizenship means she can stay here. She’s cute. Please ask me what I’m writing.

We talked for a bit more. About 5-year plans, about 10-year plans. What a waste of time. I wouldn’t let my 15-year-old self make decisions for me now. I’m way smarter than him.

It was time for me to go. I slipped my arm through my bag and did the same with the other one and got up.

I’m Daniel. I reached my hand out.

The brown haired girl grabbed my hand and spoke.

Tatum.

Tatum? That’s a pretty name.

Yeah, it’s my actual name. She smiled. I felt it.

Nice to meet you too.

The blonde haired girl grabbed my hand.

Marissa.

I walked out, almost. Forgot to pay. I turned around and paid. Then walked out. I felt good. Tatum. That’s a pretty name.

She didn’t ask.

Some people get energy from talking. Some people avoid it.

When you have a conversation with the right person you feel it. You feel the energy. You’re sharing it. They’re sharing it.

It becomes more than the sum of its parts.

I felt it. With George. With Tatum. I could get by for a week on a good conversation. This week I’ve had two.

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Tell your people you love them

It's hard to imagine things 20-years from now. What will the world look like? What will we look like?

Will our family members still be here?

What will stay the same?

Humans are bad at planning for the long-term. It's no wonder, most of our history has required us to take things day by day. The times where food today was good but we might not have any tomorrow.

There's a photo in my Mum's room of a lady who used to live across the street. Margaret was a sweet lady, I remember talking to her when I was young. The photo is of Margaret in the hospital. I remember her family coming to visit several times whilst she was in the care unit. But even after living across the road from her for 10-years, I don't remember them ever making a single visit.

So why so much effort in the last moments of her life?

I'm not going to pretend to know but my best guess is, they were living their own lives.

Is this a bad thing? No. But what if the same amount of effort was sustained throughout the other years of their life?

It's because planning for the long-term is hard. It's only once things become a problem do we realise they're a problem.

A loved one falling ill seems so far away until it happens.

Life happens quick. Enjoy the short-term but don't forget the long-term.

Tell your people you love them.

I love you.

Horizon, ground, altimeter

The body shudders, the engine takes up half the plane

We’re sitting close, all of us, ass to back

We make a turn,

Now we’re on the runway

The trees start moving faster, the ground even more

Seatbelts! People fumble around their legs, reaching back, finding buckles

Out the window is a blur, we’re really moving

Wings cutting the air

You can’t see it but you know it’s there

Close the door!

It’s quieter inside but talking is still a shout

The wheels stop rolling, they’re not on the ground anymore

It’s smoother than I thought, big yellow cuts through the air

We head over the road, over the fields, over the ponds, you can see all of it,

My altitude meter goes out of the red, 1000 ft 2000, 3000

How’s the storm?

I’ll go around it the pilot says

I go over the steps in my head,

Horizon, ground, altitude, horizon, ground, altitude, horizon, ground, altitude

7000 ft is lock on time, keep your eyes on the meter

6000 ft is pull time

After 10-seconds we’ll be falling at 1000 ft every 5-seconds, just over a minute until creaming in John says

We pass through the clouds, we’re above them, 12,000 ft

Everyone starts checking each other one last time

My altimeter hits 14, time to jump.

The light comes on,

Open the door!

No one hears it

Open the door!

The door comes open

Out go the first two

Then the next one and a few more

We shuffle forward, Doily is strapped to my back, there isn’t room to stand so we keep shuffling

It’s our turn

My right foot goes against the door frame, my left foot goes on the edge, my hands are holding the side of the plane my hair’s in the wind and I can see the wing of the plane, except there’s no window this time

I do the checks, check in, okay, check out, okay, I look forward

Horizon, pause, up, my head goes up, I look over the wing, pause

Down, out!

We leave the plane, I get into the position and hold it, hips forward, arms out, legs bent and pointing

There’s no stomach feeling, just wind,

We’re floating, floating above a cloud

I do the checks again, horizon, ground, altimeter, horizon, ground, altimeter

The arrow turns to the left, 12, 11, 10, 9

We hit the cloud, terminal velocity through a cloud, it’s cold and wet

We come out,

Horizon, ground, altimeter, horizon, ground, altimeter, 8, 7, lock on!

I watch the altimeter closely, 6 is coming, the needle keeps moving, halfway, three quarters,

6 hits and I wave my hands, it’s pull time

Doily pulls it and the canopy comes out

The air rushes into it, fills it up like a deep breath to lungs

We’re floating still but the wind isn’t as harsh,

I grab on to the toggles, we guide it in

The ground comes to meet us, I pull my legs up and we slide in

Back on the ground.

We check the video, I didn’t have my legs in the right place

Doily speaks,

Don’t move your head so much, look at the ground with your eyes not your head

The ground’s boring, look at the air

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The sun came through the trees

We didn’t have to pedal much because the wind was against us. On the way there it was a battle. Two men on bikes against the wind. Two pedals equals one when the wind is that strong. The kite surfers were out and their kites were full of it. I kept peddling.

As you go along you can see the entire shore. All the water and the rocks. There’s a footpath the whole way along. Someone built this I thought. Someone made the right choice to build this. It couldn’t have been natural. A group of people put together and laid the foundations to make a path the whole way along. It goes for miles. Rocks upon rocks upon rocks. Now we were riding along it. You don’t notice these things but then you do and you can’t stop.

There’s a bend toward the end. The wind gets blocked by the cliff but then you hit the bend. You come around the corner and the wind isn’t blocked by the cliff anymore. You’re back to battling. We were battling. It was stronger than ever. The waves were washed with white. Once you hit the end of the bend you’re at the pier. We ride over the blue sign. No bikes on the pier it says. Someone told us once. Beautiful boys, there’s no bikes on the pier. She was a nice lady. We kept riding.

The pier used to be shorter. They wanted to knock it down but the community said no. Good choice. The rebuilt pier is 100 metres longer. You don’t notice it when you’re on it because it keeps going and you go with it. Then you get to the end and the sign shows the old pier and the new pier side by side and you can see it.

We get to the end of the pier and look out. It’s cloudy and the rainbow is over there. The sun is behind us falling fast. You can see Tangalooma from the end of the pier. My favourite island. Seeing it reminds me of all the times we’ve been there. It’s a good place. The ocean wind keeps playing with the ocean. I keep looking out as the island. It wasn’t there. The clouds were covering it. But I know where it is.

I turn to Sam.

Better go, let’s get dinner ready when we get home.

Moon in the sky

I walk outside, toothbrush buzzing

It's electric so it runs out every few days or so

Then I charge it and brush my teeth

The grass is a little wet from the evening dew

There's been rain lately so it's soft under foot

It feels good

real good

My teeth feel cleaner too

If you've got an electric toothbrush

You've got nothing to complain about

I look up at the moon and keep brushing

It's bright and full

Looking back down at me

only me

It's not only me but it seems like it

I want my teeth to be bright and clean like the moon

The sky is clear but my mind is full

Full of the buzzing of the toothbrush

My eyes dissolve into the sound

I adjust my pants and look into the yard

The timer will go off soon

I look back up and the moon is still there

One of those sights you could never get tired of

That girl you see from time to time

Beauty, real beauty

Just like the moon

The timer goes off

I rinse my mouth out and go to bed

Moon on my mind

The wrong metric of success

Dear Pauly, 

Many a man have drove themselves into the ground trying to chase after the wrong thing. Including me. 

More money than what covers basic needs.

The love of an evasive woman. 

Popularity amongst others. 

Stacy was a good girl, just not into me. I realised and got out of her house, slammed the door of the Sub and sped down the road. The speed didn’t make anything better.

A man needs to experience his first heartbreak. I don’t trust anyone whose never felt a wrench in their gut at the sound of someone’s name. 

Anyway, I tell you these these things because I somehow think it’ll help.

But in my experience, most of the best lessons have to happen first hand, then you can join the dots. 

Don’t confuse chasing after the wrong thing as success.

A man only needs a few things to get by. Some food, a mission, a deep love for himself, a place to sleep. Anything else is a bonus.

Keep creating Pauly. 

Talk soon,

Charlie

The most precious thing you can give someone

She was screaming.

You don’t know what’s happening Gregory!

You just wait Greg, I know what you’re up to!

More screaming.

There isn’t anything I don’t know Gregory!

I walked across the street. What was happening? Why didn’t Greg know? What did she know about Greg? There wasn’t anything she didn’t know. Was she an oracle?

I should’ve talked to her. I could’ve asked her about life. She could’ve help me figure it all out.

I pretended like I did.

Can I ask you something?

There isn’t anything I don’t know Daniel!

What’s the most precious thing you can give to someone else?

Give them a feeling!

What?

Something that penetrates their soul! Get deep! Really deep! Make it bubble up!

Make what bubble up?

You want it to be there in a year! In 5-years! When they’re in a cafe reading a newspaper and they look up and get nauseous thinking of the feeling! You want it to be so good it comes back! It always comes back!

I get it but why are you screaming?

Why do you think! Do you not listen! You’re just like Gregory! You don’t know what’s happening!

Imagining is almost as good as the real thing. Sometimes it’s better. Sometimes worse. Far worse.

She made me feel something. Unintentional or intentional? Who knows. She was talking to Gregory. Gregory didn’t know what was happening.

Her purple top left her stomach uncovered. And the pants she had on were dirty. Maybe she was crazy. Maybe I was crazy for taking lessons imaginary lessons from a screaming lady on the street. Gregory wasn’t. Gregory didn’t know what was happening.

Financial freedom has two extremes. One where you can buy whatever you want. The other where you don’t care about anything. She was financially free. Rich. Rich with the most valuable currency there is. Rich with effect. Effect on others. Effect on me. She had an audience. Everyone crossing the street was in awe. What was Greg up to?

Effect is precious. It can last an instant but be remembered for a lifetime. It can happen once and then again 1000 more times.

You could be sitting in a cafe in 5-years reading the newspaper. Look up for a second. Your stomach does a backflip. And it comes back, the feeling all over again.

How she smiled at you.

Or how she screamed from across the street.

Once you give a feeling to someone, it’s there. Always there.

Source: https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-most-pre...

Milk or water?

There are two cups. One of milk, one of water. Drink the milk and you get wealth beyond your dreams. Drink the water and you get knowledge.

Which do you choose?

I’d choose the milk.

‘Look Dad, a bird!’

‘Do you know which one it is?’

‘No…’

‘That’s a lark.’

‘There’s lots of them!’

‘Do you want to know what a group of larks is called?’

‘What?’

‘An ascension.’

‘What does asksenchen mean?’

‘Asension means to go up higher.’

‘Dad! Look how high the bird is!’

Acquiring wealth is fun but it’s nothing compared to the pleasure of finding things out.

Source: https://qr.ae/TUy4cd