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Where have you traveled & why? How long are you planning on staying?
I arrived in Sydney on February 10th and am in Australia until March 30th. I’ve travelled as far north as Noosa, which is a long trek in a car that barely runs and has no air conditioning. Along the way Tory and I stopped in the majority of well known surf towns including: Port Macquarie, Ballina, Lennox, Byron Bay, Coolangatta, and many others I can’t remember the names of. We stopped in all of these places mostly to surf because what else do you do in Australia?
How many days have you surfed since you arrived? What has the surf been like?
I’ve probably only surfed a little more than half of the days that I’ve been here. The first part of the trip there wasn’t much surf other than the week I arrived. In the week Tory and I spent in Coolangatta, parked at the top of Kirra Hill, we only surfed once. That experience was miserable, sleeping in a hot car with mosquitos every night just to surf one foot D’bah. There were blue bottle jellyfish everywhere and Mick Fanning took the only rideable waves. He would put his hand up to signal that the only wave in twenty minutes was his and everyone in the water would back off. That was a bit frustrating but if you express any disdain for the righteous Mick the locals are soon to bash bottles of Cooper’s over your head. I kept my mouth shut and battled for scraps with little girls and Japanese tourists. The best surf I’ve scored has probably been at Lennox Head, and Crescent Head. They’re both right hand points and were tons of fun on my asym, but if you’ve ever surfed Swami’s on a sunday that’s how big the crowd is everyday. Surfing Crescent Head was more slalom surfing than anything. There would be beautiful glass walls and I would have to highline over the best sections in order to avoid primarily old men ditching their longboards in front of me. The inside crowd at Lennox was manageable but I’ll tell you about surfing there another time. Byron bay had fun beachbreaks but a guy who may have been Harrison Roach burned me on half of my waves. The crowds here are nuts and if the locals hear your accent you might as well get out of the water because you’re going to get back-paddled relentlessly. I don’t mean to sound like such a bummer, I’m still having fun surfing, but it’s a bit more competitive.
What have you been doing after you surf?
After I surf I usually go get a meat pie from a bakery or drink a VB and read on the beach. Reading on the beach with a beer next to me is probably the most relaxing thing I can think of. It helps with the ladies too. It says that you’re an intellectual but also like to have a little fun. So far I’ve finished two books and am on my third. One Vonnegut, one Coelho, and now some William S. Burroughs.
What has been your favorite experience so far? why?
It’s hard to say which has been my favorite experience so far, but one of them has to be seeing Wash at The Northern in Byron Bay. Wash is Creed McTaggart, Beau Foster, and Ellis Ericson’s band (they’re pro surfers for those of you who don’t know). I only got to watch them for about half an hour because Tory was upset that he couldn’t get back in after the bouncers kicked him out. Before we got kicked out the first time we were hanging out with all of our favorite pros in the bar. There was a bit of confusion and we got blamed for something that we didn’t do and got dragged out right before the show started. We tried saying we were part of the band and had to get back in but needless to say that didn’t work. So in order to see the band I had to jump in through a window at the opportune moment and run into the crowd (Tory missed the opportune moment). It took them enough time to find me to see most of the show. Meanwhile they were writing Tory some sort of informal restraining order and once they found me they put me in an arm bar, even though I wasn’t resisting, and they tossed me on the curb next to him. We weren’t allowed back in the next night, of all nights, it was Tory’s birthday. The Northern deserves a bad Yelp review for the way we were treated but on the other hand it was an exhilarating night!
Can you tell us about the people, Culture, food?
For the most part people are really nice and are eager to help a couple clueless Americans. Although It does get a bit tiring when all they want to talk about is American politics. If you think you’re uninformed they live on the other side of the planet and have no clue what is going on. They’re shocked when I tell them that Trump does not hold absolute power and that we have a series of checks and balances in order to keep it that way. The culture is for the most part the same as back home except for a few small differences which I believe stems from their own form of government. It’s much easier to get a life started over here. Wages are high and university is cheap in comparison to back home and if that’s not for you it’s very easy to pick up a trade. If you need help financially it’s easy to find and healthcare is not a problem. Since things are easier people are more laid back and seem to be happier, but they don’t seem to express the same drive and motivation as most Americans. If somebody works in a bakery back home and you ask them if they want more than just that they will likely say yes and begin to express a dream they once had. If you ask the same question to somebody working in a bakery here they’re likely to say that they’re content and even though they would like to drive fancy cars and live in a big house they are still happy. I don’t see this as a bad thing but for somebody as unmotivated and apathetic as myself it’s alarming because of the way it makes me feel. You may not believe this but I actually want to work hard and better myself when I get home. The American dream is something that may seem dead when you are in the U.S. but being removed from it for a short while I am beginning to believe that the lack of aid is something that should not be despised. I’ve spent a lot of time on the road here and have seen hundreds of road workers, but I’ve only seen a handful of them actually working. They know they get paid at the end of the day so the motivation just isn’t there. I’m not trying to be political; I didn’t even vote, but this is just what I’ve noticed. On a side note I’d like to think the Angelini family for housing and feeding Tory and I in beautiful Copacabana, NSW.