Road Trip Narrative

Many people might say that long road trips are the worst.  That is quite the opposite for me.  I mean sure there are some bad things that happen, but the longest road trip I went on, was by far the greatest one ever.  We drove for 3 weeks up the Gold Coast of Australia, from Sydney to just North of Brisbane.  We rented a motor home and hit the road.

We landed in Sydney after a long 14-hour flight. We went from -35c and the middle of winter to 45c and summer sun scorching our bodies.  The first thing we did was buy a minivan, toured Sydney and saw our first koala bear sitting in a tree eating some leaves.  The next day, we rented a motor home and hit the road.  The heat in mid-summer was unbearable.  Kent was puking as soon as we left.  We weren’t off to a great start.  We had a kid puking all day and our motor home smelled horrible.

The trip was very weird for us, everything was very different from our lives back in Canada.  We stopped at every beach and each one seemed more beautiful than the last.  When we weren’t in the water, we were playing baseball on the beach, but because we didn’t have a real bat, we used a plastic shovel to hit the ball.  It was also weird because every single beach we went to had a massive BBQ, picnic tables, and fire pits.  Even the campgrounds were amazing.  They had laundry rooms, outdoor pools, playgrounds, and even outdoor movie theatres.  Everything seemed to be so perfect.

Speaking of perfect, I had my 7th birthday while we were on the road and it was fabulous.  We bought an ice cream cake from 7-11 and we had a small party in the motor home.  For presents, I got lego and some toys to play in the water.  As a big surprise, we got to go to Sea World for the day.  We watched dolphins, shows with sea lions, and guys jumping sea doos.  I bought a stuffed dolphin to remember that day.

When we were driving from beach to beach and town to town, we would play cards and board games.  Khye, who was 5 at the time, had a little notebook and he would spend lots of time just counting up from 1.  I think by the time he was finished he got somewhere into 4000. Aside from playing games and counting, we would just stare out the windows for hours because this land was so beautiful and breathtaking.

I would have to say that even though we were having the time of our lives swimming in the ocean and playing on the beach, we all missed hockey.  Fortunately, we found out that in a town that we were stopping at had a skating rink.  Well, of course, we had to stop in and go for a skate.  What we soon found was that the skates they had were basically ski boots with blades on the bottom and they had never been sharpened before.  Once we got on the ice, we had to skate in a circle and the announcer that was playing the music kept telling us to slow down because he thought we were going to run into people.  It was nice to skate because we all missed it.

Back in the motor home we went and onto the next stop.  We were fortunate enough to stop at Australia Zoo.  We got to pet kangaroos, koalas, penguins, and wallabies.  Charlie the Crocodile put on quite the show for us in the Crocoseum.  He smashed and thrashed a dead pig.  We toured the whole place and saw all the animals.

From the zoo, we traveled to Byron Bay.  There, we toasted with a coke to our friend Trent for his birthday.  That couldn’t have been a better place to do it.  The beach there was so amazing and the water was so clear.

This was near the end of our trip and we high tailed it from Brisbane back to Sydney where we picked up our minivan and drove to our far to end the amazing road trip.

Hero’s Journey

The Hero’s Journey is a form of writing that is very popular in many books and movies.  Its stages allow us to follow the wild journey of the character easily.  A movie that I admire is Finding Nemo.  I realize now that the reason this movie is so good, is because it uses the Hero’s Journey stages to connect you with the character.  In the movie, Nemo is abducted by divers and his dad sets out on a quest to save his son.

Nemo is just a young fish who loves to hang out with his friends and go to school.  His dad, Marlin, is overprotective of his son and is always warning him about the dangers of the ocean.  Nemo is curious about the open waters and wants to explore.  In the stages of the Hero’s Journey, this is the first stage called The Ordinary World.   It introduces the character and says a little bit about the normal life.

Nemo disobeys his dad and swims off into the ocean.  He soon discovers that he doesn’t like the deep water and tries to head back to the reef.  All of a sudden, Nemo finds himself in a net then on a boat to Sydney Australia.  When his dad sees this happen, he tries to get to Nemo, but he’s too late.  He then makes the decision to try to track down the boat.  When Marlin decides to go after Nemo, this is The Call To Adventure.

Nemo gets taken back to a dentist’s office in Sydney, where he is put into a fish tank with several other fish.  These fish plot an escape plan to get them all back to the ocean.  Meanwhile, Marlin finds a friendly fish named Dory, who suffers from short term memory loss.  They team up together to get Nemo back.  For Marlin, it’s very much outside of his comfort zone to be traveling through the ocean.  This is called Crossing The Threshold.  Nemo and Marlin both accept their journey into, what is called the new world.

Both, the father and the son, have many obstacles to face.  Nemo has a crazy little girl that is going to take him home.  Marlin runs into a mean shark that wants to eat him and Dory.  Marlin and Dory outsmart the shark and escape, but they are knocked unconscious when they set off an old mine.  This is The Tests, Allies, and Enemies.   It’s the fourth stage and often the character has obstacles to face, friends they meet, or enemies they face.

The plan that Nemo and the gang set up, doesn’t work and Nemo gets hurt.  They plan again and come up with another plan.  Marlin and Dory get directions from a school of fish, but Marlin thinks he knows a safer way, leading them into a school of jellyfish that sting them unconscious.  When they face the hardest challenge yet, it’s called The Ordeal.

Dory and Marlin catch a ride with a group of turtles with the current all the way to Sydney’s harbor.  The dentist is about to give Nemo to the little girl, but Nemo plays dead.  Wen one of the fish from the tank makes a distraction and freaks out everyone in the office, Nemo escapes through the drains to the ocean.  The last challenge in Hero’s Journey, The Supreme Ordeal, is usually the hardest one for the character to overcome.

Marlin and Nemo reunite.  Everyone back at the reef is very excited to see them.  Marlin invites Dory to stay at the reef with them and she happily excepts.  Back at the Dentist’s office, the fish tank gets broken and the gang gets put into bags.  They use the bags to roll out the window and into the ocean.  Not sure how to get out of the bags, they wait to see what will happen next.  When the Hero overcomes all the obstacles, they usually get a reward and this is called The Reward and The Journey Home.  In this case, It’s Nemo and his father reuniting.  I love this movie and a big reason for that would be The Hero’s Journey.

Dream House

I’m quite an outdoorsman.  I love spending time in the wilderness camping, fishing, and hunting.  I’ve always dreamed of having a little log cabin by a river or lake in the mountains of Alaska.  The house would be quite small, about 200 square feet, just enough room for me to live.  I’d get my water from the lake or river and I’d get my food from hunting or trapping animals and gathering berries and such.  I’d be all by myself.  To me, this is the greatest way to live.

I wouldn’t have to rely on anyone else.  Everything I do would be for me.  I would have my cabin on the shore.  I would build the whole house and all the furniture inside.  It would have a bed that folds into the wall.  A wood stove would keep me warm and cook my food.  There’d be a small, removable sink for washing.  During the summer I’ll dig a pit into the ground so that in the spring I can put ice chunks into it to keep my food cool during the warmer months.  I’d have a small loft to store all my gear and act as a second bed if I had a visitor.  There’d be windows on three sides of the cabin so I can see almost everything.  The blankets and carpets would be made of animal hides that I harvested.  I’d be living completely off the land.

I’d have no technology.  That means no TVs, PlayStations, computers, Xboxes, etc.  I’d have a satellite phone in case of emergencies.   I’d spend my time reading informational books, drinking coffee on the porch, cooking hiking, fishing, trapping, hunting, and gathering, etc.  If I got an animal while doing one of these activities, I’d hang the meat on a 20-foot high meat rack, so that predators can’t get to it.

The reason I want to have such a small house in such a remote location is that I want to be self-sufficient and self-reliant.  I’d spend lots of time relaxing in the cabin and lots of time enjoying the fresh air and the sound of wild animals living their peaceful lives.  This would be very relaxing for me.

Living in a small house is exactly what I want.  Living off the land has always been a dream of mine.  I would get to hunt for my own food and I’d love every moment of it.  I wouldn’t need all the gadgets and million-dollar houses to be happy.  I just need my house in the mountains of the Alaskan range.

The Car of My Dreams

The ’70s where full of many magical things, like rollerskates and 5c candies, but the only thing that I would ever need from the ’70s is a 1970 Dodge Charger R/T.  This is one of the greatest looking, sounding and performing cars ever made.  Not only was it a great car in the ’70s, but it is a star in the very popular Fast and Furious movies.  These movies played a big role in my love for cars.  They are the reason I love cars, especially the 1970 Charger.  This car, if I could build it, would have big block 440, pushing 900hp plus a 250 shot of nitrous.  That’s a lot of raw power.  I would try to build the car the exact same as the movie because I love it so much.

The Charger is an icon of American Muscle cars.  The first time I saw it, I fell in love with it.  When it roared, it sent a chill down my spine.  The look of the sleek, black curves of the car says everything.  In the movies, the Charger smokes any car it faces and it’s always the best looking.  The star of the movies, Vin Diesel, drives the Charger.  He’s this big muscular man that fights anyone who tries to hurt his family.  He’s one of the reasons I love the car.

With a big block 440 and nitrous, this car would beat anything in a race.  Even though it would beat any car in a race, I would be too scared to race it, in fear that I would wreck or crash it. I would mainly show the car and use it as my most valuable treasure.  Though, in some cases, I would drive it to hear the sheer aggression of the powerful engine because you can’t just leave such a beautiful car sitting in a garage collecting dust.

I would say, the blower on the hood of the car is one of the best pieces of “eye candy”.  Along with the blower, the car would have Catherine wheels, a stainless steel mesh grille, and a full roll cage.  To make this car sound as good as it looks, I would put on the biggest and loudest exhaust.  If I was driving this car down the road, it would be screaming 1970s and I would happy.

This car is an icon to me.  I would do just about anything to lay eyes on it, better yet own it.  It has been a big part of my childhood and it has always been the car of my dreams.  I can see myself rolling down the highway in the summer sun catching everyone’s eye.  I love everything about this car. 

Rosiness or Gloomy Grey: On Viewing the World

I would consider myself to be an optimist for, the most part.  I like what Martin Seligman meant when he said, “Each of us carries a word in his heart, a “no” or a “yes.”  This means that people are either optimists or pessimists.  I like this quote because it reminds me of a few people I know.  My brother Cody is a “no” person.  He likes to criticize people on everything they do and he focuses on why things won’t work out.  My mom, on the other hand, is a “yes” person, or an optimist.  She likes to take something good from everything she does.  She also sees the endless amount of possibilities in the things she does.  Now, me on the other hand, I’m kind of in the middle.  I try to be optimistic about things, but sometimes it’s really easy to become a pessimist.  Everyone has their own thoughts and ideas on this particular subject.

A pessimist seems to be very negative and just trudges through life.  They rarely see the good in people.  Cody, though he can be kind and nice, is sometimes rude and mean.  He’s very much a “you can’t do it” person.  An example of this is would be when my other brother Khye was practicing his slapshot on our rink.  He isn’t very strong, so his slapshot is quite wimpy.  Instead of helping Khye, Cody was on the rink criticizing him.  That is a time where he stood out as a “no” person.

The opposite of a “no” person would be my mom.  She seems to find the good in everything and everyone.  When I come to her with a problem, she always tells me that there’s something that I can do to make it better.  If I’m frustrated or being negative at something or someone, she always tries to make me find something positive in it.  When I was sad our hockey team was done for the season, she explained to me how lucky I was to have a team with good teammates and coaches.  That’s one time when I remembered how much of a “yes” person my mom is.

These two people are quite different and quite similar at the same time.  I believe that I’m kind of a mix of a “no” person and a “yes” person.  You could possibly call me a “maybe” person.  The reason you could call me this is because I tend to be very much a “yes” person, but at the same time I tend to be a “no” person.  There are times where I’m very positive, helpful and joyful.  There are also moments when I can very grumpy and negative.  I don’t know why this happens.  Maybe it happens to everyone, as it does to me.

Everyone is different.  Some people are strictly “no” people and others are “yes” people.  We all look at things differently and we all have our own opinions.  I know two people that are quite exclussive to these two cateories, and they both view things differently.  Sometimes it’s for best and sometimes for the worst.

Identify a Good Read

I hate poaching, I love fishing, and I love police investigations.  If you’re looking for a read about all 3 of these things, I would suggest you read The Caviar Con by David Gauvey Herbert.  Undercover agents are working at the docks, bait and tackle shops, and as tour guides, to catch caviar crazed Russians who are poaching a vulnerable species of fish from the lakes of Warsaw, Missouri.  The American paddlefish is the 7 foot long, 160 pound fish that they’re after.  The eggs from this fish taste very similar to Russian sevruga caviar.  This Russian caviar is very expensive due to the restriction of commercial harvesting after the fall of the Soviet Union.  Now the Russians come to Missouri to poach for caviar that they will label as Russian caviar and sell it for an inequitable price on the black market.

In the early 2000s, the poaching of the American paddlefish in Missouri was at its peak.  The town of Warsaw would almost double in population during the fishing season.  When the population of the town doubled, the population of the fish depleted rapidly.  The fish that the Russian poachers were after were the large pregnant females.  Because it was the females that were getting killed, there weren’t as many fish left that could reproduce.  The paddlefish were getting hit hard by poachers and there wasn’t much that could stop it until federal agents went undercover to blow apart the illegal operation.

The feds were after a man named Baravik.  He had been poaching eggs from the paddlefish for years now and has been making hundreds of thousands of dollars from it.  The agents were his guides on fishing trips and were watching him personally catch lots of fish over the limit.  They had loads of evidence against him.  They were waiting for the right time to bust him for his actions until he led them to the Russian Mafia.  That’s right, the Mafia was smuggling caviar back to Russia to turn a big profit by miss labeling the caviar as their own.

When the feds found out about the mafia exporting illegal caviar, they decided not to bust Baravik yet, and try to “catch the bigger fish”.  On March 13, 2013, 125 state and federal agents descended across 4 time zones to make arrests.  During interrogations, some poachers said they sold the eggs to make a big profit, while others explained that they keep the eggs to serve to their guests.  The ones who were planning on selling the caviar were looking at high demand and high cost for the delicate eggs.

Conservation officers consider this operation to be a huge success.  112 poachers were tagged with state or federal violations.  Paddlefish poaching is way down.  This operation had a big part to do with it.  This story has many things that interest me, which is why I enjoyed it.  

Time Travel

In my lifetime and in others, there were many great times in history.  If I could choose where and when I could travel, I would definitely be fur trapping in the Mountains in the late 1800s.  I love this time of the so-called mountain men and the men who lived off the land hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering.  It would have been a hard lifestyle but I think I could do it.  I love the wilderness and everything in it.  I would love to be able to hunt, fish and trap every day.  I also would love the freedom that comes with it.  Just your horse, your dog and yourself.

My mom always says I was born at the wrong time.  What she meant was, I always loved doing things that seemed old like hunting, fishing and spending most of my time outdoors.  I would kind of agree with her on that.  I love doing things that I guess seem old and I’m kind of a traditionalist.  I like things to stay the same.  One thing I wish lived on forever was the tradition of the mountain men.  Their lifestyle was one of the best.

The freedom that the mountain men had was awesome.  They didn’t have someone telling them what to do and how to do it.  Sometimes in the trapping season, they didn’t see people for 11 months of the year.  The isolation they got from doing this job is something I find appealing.  They set up a little campsite while they were trapping in the mountains and they mostly had to live off the land for the 11 months of isolation because there were no stores or shops in the mountains.

The isolation they had was caused by the landscape.  Every way they looked, there were trees, mountains, lakes, and large rivers.  Where they worked and lived, was the definition of the wild.  The animals roamed free through their forested home.  The lakes and rivers ran far and deep and were chalked full of fish.  Everything around them was purely untouched.

I love their lifestyle and the old things they did.  The wilderness around caused isolation.  I would’ve loved to be a mountain man and I would love to time travel there.

Teleportation

The world has millions of beautiful places to see and activities to do.  In those millions of places to see, there’s only one place I want to be.  That amazing place is Australia.  When I was 6 years old, my family and I moved to Australia for a year.  That was the greatest year of my life.  The first 2 weeks were some of the best, we traveled and saw the most beautiful places, made life long friendships, and explored the house that we were going to be living in for the rest of the year. I would do anything to go back there to see the stuff we already saw and see new things too.  If I could teleport, then that would be the first place I would go.

The Great Ocean Road was like no other place in this world.  Everything there seemed like it was brought down from the heavens.  While venturing down that road, we stopped at every beach and every lookout spot because we just couldn’t get enough of the beautiful weather and even more, the beautiful scenery.  We celebrated my 7th birthday with a cake from 7-11 and a picnic on the beach.  One of our favorite places we got to see on the Great Ocean Road, was the 12 Apostles.  The 12 Apostles are 12 massive chunks of land that have been carved out by the ocean.  While they’re called the 12 Apostles, there’s only 8 left standing because Mother Nature, time and salty waters have caused the others to fall.  They were still amazing to see and I would, without a doubt, go there again.  Though we did travel and see many other places, this was one of my favorites and I would definitely teleport there if I could.

Along our travels, we made a few friends, but we never really got to see them again.  Once we made it to the town we lived in, that’s when the friendships locked together.  We made friends at school, at sports and many other places.  Those friends were so amazing and tauaght me so many things that I would to anything to teleport to them right now.

Our friends are the ones that showed us how to get to our farm.  It was an amazing place.  There was a shop for my dad to work in, a pool in the backyard with lots of green grass to play in, sheds for animals, and the house was great.  It was big enough for all of us to live comfortably.  It didn’t have a basement, but we soon found out that almost no houses in Australia had basements.  One of my best memories of the house is the fort that Khye and I built in the trees and how we used to spend hours playing out there in it.  I would love to teleport there.

I know that teleportation isn’t a real thing and probably won’t be for a while, but Australia really would be the first place I would teleport to so that I could chase my memories.

Three Songs

For me, music tells a story.  Each song tells a different story.  I listen to lots of music, but I always have three songs that I never get sick of hearing: Rumor by Lee Brice, One Thing by One Direction, and The Chair by George Strait.  These songs always make me happy, and I know each of them word-for-word, especially The Chair because I first heard the song when I was little and I’ve loved it ever since.

Lee Brice has many amazing songs and even though Rumor only came out not long ago, I still know it perfectly.  I think th

de.  I love lots of songs, but this is one is definitely in my top 3.

I would have to say that One Thing is my favorite song of all time because whenever I hear it, I feel a connection with my family’s time in Australia.  If I hear this song come on, doesn’t matter where I am, I feel like I’m back at the Bennett’s backyard in Griffith, swimming in their pool with all of our friends on Christmas Day.  After that, we had a feist and played cricket on their lawn.  This song first came out when we were in Australia and it was a big hit, so every radio station was playing that song all year long.  It’s now trapped in my mind that when that song comes on, Australia comes straight behind.

This song is one I heard and knew before Australia.  George Strait ever since I can remember has been my Grandma’s and my Mom’s favorite singer and frankly, he’s mine too.  When any George Strait song comes on, It reminds me of when my Mom, brother, and I would drive to Irma for baseball, we would play George Strait to “pump us up”.  Whenever The Chair came on, I would try to go in a deep voice and sing the first line, “Well excuse me, but I think you’ve got my chair”.  It always came out bad because I was a 10-year-old trying to sing like a 40-year-old.  It’s one of my happiest memories though.

All three of these songs bring up memories, good and bad.  I think I like them the most because they connect with me in many unusual ways.  If someone else heard these songs, they might think nothing of it, but for me, they’re memories in my mind and I can listen to my memories on repeat.