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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Bracing for the Jump (Take Two)

The quickening of Capricorn continues, and quite surprisingly I find myself working at a steady job, saving cash, and rolling to a 9-5 routine (but let's call it a 09-22 roulette instead). The Hard Native nightmare is coming to a close, and a Soft International morning is rousing all around me, radiant gold and fringed with birdsong. For the first time in years I feel like I am back in the saddle, finally able to spur my stallions into speed. Shangri-La is looming, and while it might seem a lonely place from this angle, it is nonetheless lightyears more agreeable than the limbo I have been locked inside for so long, that Cold Buddhist Hell of Immobility. Hell is warming up, and as the ice thaws, the contradictions of the Lake Haven Age emerge in their sordid gore, mammoths marooned in the muck, samskaras scorched into the sediment. It just goes to show that I was indeed in a Yin phase back then, a Shiva stage if you must... now Yin is yielding to Yang, Shiva shifting to Shakti, and suddenly the future is not just a futile fantasy, but a reality which must soon be lived. To quote an old song: the time to hesitate is through. But have I been mired in the mud so long that my wings refuse to fly? I know from experience that freedom is a habit, and muscles can waste from underuse...

On May 26 the Travel Fund passed the magic milestone of $4000. In former times this would have been reason enough to trigger a migration movement, a Jump into a brand new life. My original plan, fleshed out in 2011, was to fly to Cambodia, which I'd discovered was the cheapest nation in the region, and then just glide around for a while, propelled by affiliate advertising. Smoke some ganja perhaps aloft the ruins of Angkor Wat, shoot pool with beer gals and gangstas, strafe the straits of Vang Vieng. Play the Indochinese dating game. That was the plan, but then I lost my AdSense, and then my world collapsed. Even if I had the money for an airline ticket, I would not have been able to board the plane. I wouldn't have even made it to the bloody airport! Confined to a box, I decided to find freedom within that box, chasing the macrocosm in the microcosm. It worked, almost too well: I regained my sanity within that straitjacket, but in the process, alas, I misplaced my wanderlust. Since that time, I have spent every single day at my parents' house, on the shore of Budgewoi Lake, on the NSW Central Coast. Every day, and every single night, held captive... well, every single night, captive, except one. And that night is the subject of this account.

Rear shot of the Bridge View Motel, at Gorokan (Australia, 2015)
The Grand Algorithm contends: when one has been in the same place too long, inertia develops. Inertia is to vagabondism, of course, what rust is to iron, or fear is to Mind... it is the Mind Killer. Right now, inertia is the habit I need to break, the momentum I must quickly reverse. Indochina is out of the question this year, I get that; Sydney is too hard, too; but soon I will have the funds and the fortitude to conquer them both, and it is vital for me to get back into shape. For this reason on June 10 I packed my tiny rucksack with pills and a Samsung tablet and leaving my Mum and Dad watching murder mysteries at their home, walked up to the Bridge View Motel situated at the end of the street. My goal was to spend the night in that motel, monitoring my anxiety, and getting a taste for the Vagabondist voyage which will presently commence. You might call it a dress rehearsal, a trial run. I was feeling kind of weird as I made my way up Malvina Parade, suffering mild separation anxiety. Contrary to expectations, this wasn't typical agoraphobia that I was down with, just run-of-the-mill scepticism. I was doubtful, in other words, about the wisdom of this whole experiment, and worried that I had made a mistake by heading out here. The ground was soggy as I walked, and grassseeds clung to my trouser legs.  At reception I purchased a room with my credit card, and was presented the key to my door. The friendly owners had assigned me a downstairs room, right on the main road, positioned just behind the swimming pool. I was a little concerned about the location, and what isolation hid behind that door. As soon as I opened the door and inhaled that classic hotel aroma, my fears faded. All of a sudden I knew that I was on a holiday, 2km from home. And I thought to myself, rejoicingly: Why have I left it so long?

Plenty of room to stretch out in my cosy space (Australia, 2015)
There was a Bible by the bedside, little bars of soap in the bathroom, and soft pillows on the bed.

Too cold for a swim just yet, but the view looks nice (Australia, 2015)
There was a dead cockroach in the corner but, hey, that was better than a live one.

Freedom in the box: Stan Grant interviews Dr Cornel West, famous dissident, on Awaken, NITV (Australia, 2015)
After settling myself in and taking a short nap, I strolled over the road to drink a few beers at Wallarah Bay Recreation Club, our local establishment. I had some overpriced carbonara, then retreated "home", to consume a few beers more, in the freedom of my hotel room. I pumped up the aircon, and flicked through the channels on the TV. It felt refreshingly cool to be in control, setting the agenda, instead of being hostage to my Mum and Dad's viewing habits. Sadly, the cable library promised at the Bridge View did not prove to be as extensive as I had expected. It basically consisted of two sports channels featuring badminton and the like, and two lame movie channels. Free-to-air NITV turned out to be the best thing on. I watched some program about land rights in South Australia, an Aboriginal graveyard being excavated to make way for the railway. Observing this documentary, I felt distressingly aware of the size of this land, the huge continent I am fated soon to cross.

But do I have the guts to actually cross it?

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