I took this photo a year or two ago, and while scrolling through my old galleries of the things I’ve done, the people I’ve met and the places I’ve been to, I had some time to think.
I’m 30 and as you know at this age, everyone is getting engaged, married, having kids, settling down and just getting on with day to day life, generally moving between home and work and that breakfast spot they love on the weekend.
I’ve always wanted the freedom to do whatever it is that I want to do, and settling down as society says so would mean that I would never get to experience some of the things that I have.
I’ve drunk tequila and shared cake with real life gypsies in Muizenberg. I’ve sat shoeless with a beer in hand on the beach in the morning at J-Bay shooting the likes of Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning. I’ve seen the sunrise on New Years on the beach, with my feet in the water. I’ve woken up countless times in other peoples houses, sharing stories of the previous night and making new friends. I’ve had dinner in the middle of the bush, while drinking wine and having a braai surrounded by hyenas. I’ve worked on the ABSA Cape Epic and been fortunate enough with media access to see the greatest riders in the world cross the finish line. I’ve met the top photographers in the world there, and been fortunate enough to photograph them. I’ve stayed in a tent for a week while working on the race, and after a week that tent felt more like home than a real home.
I’ve lay down on a bench on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean, just looking up at the night sky realising how strange life is. How humans can fly over oceans, then float on them while drinking beer and dancing on an outdoor deck around a pool under the moonlight, surrounded by other humans from across the globe.
I’ve driven to Hermanus for New Year’s with my best friend, with no accommodation planned and we’ve smoked cigars and drunk champagne in the car and slept in the parking lot.
I’ve seen Biffy Clyro play live in the most spectacular setting in the Western Cape, while the rain fell on us
Through never becoming attached to anything, it’s shaped me into someone who doesn’t ever want or need any material objects. The only thing I want, is to travel and meet new people. Even if that means travelling in my own country, I want to do that. I never want to be so fearful of the world, and so comfortable in my life that I never experience anything outside of my small life.
I still look up at the night sky with it’s millions of stars, and wonder what’s out there, and why.
I still want to meet new people and find out what they’ve done to get to this point in their life, and ask them what they wanted to become before society told them what to become. I want to meet people who are stuck in their jobs and ask them about that side project they’re working on to get out of their job, and I want to see that side project turn into their career.
All my life I’ve loved stories, and having freedom in life allows you to experience new things and meet new people constantly, and in turn you get to hear stories. That’s what’s at the core of me…stories. New stories, all the time.
I don’t always know what I’m doing, and there are days where I don’t feel like I’m good at anything and I compare myself to other people and think I’ve done something wrong. But when I look back on the experiences I’ve had, there is no amount of money or stability that could replace those. We really only do have time in life, nothing else. The best way I know how to spend time, is to spend it having all of the fun, all the time, and meeting new people along the way.
I look at others my age and realise they’ve accomplished more, and yet all they can talk about is work. They’ve spent their time so busy at work that they’ve never had the time or energy to question society or how it works, how flawed it is. They’ve never drunk beer and lay on a patio looking up at the night sky and discussed the universe.
They’ve never spontaneously jumped into a car to head somewhere they’ve never been before. They’ve never done work where you’re covered in dirt all day, sweating, to have the best experience of your life.
They’ve never experienced the absolute true freedom that comes from a road trip, where no one expects anything of you and you don’t have to be anyone. You’re just a speck of dust travelling across the planet in pursuit of absolute pleasure.
Maybe that life isn’t for everyone, but I wonder if they’ve ever seen the other side? Once you’ve seen the other side, it’s hard to go back.
You’ll spend the rest of your life fighting to stay on the free side, as difficult as that may be in a society that wants to impose it’s rules on you.
Fight the good fight, and I’ll see you somewhere on that road that is life, wherever I may be.
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