I was traveling for two months. Thanks to my friends being such huge legends… I managed to avoid staying in any hotels. From Indonesia to Europe I was welcomed with so much hospitality that it blew my mind.
Traveling on your own can be hard. Sure, I love spending my days aimlessly exploring new cities, being able to follow any whim that takes me, but come night-time there’s often a sense of longing for a good friend to share your adventures with. On this trip I had the best of both worlds. While my buddies went to work I could wander exotic streets or do some work of my own, and come evening times there was always a home to come back to.
More often than not there were nights out and wine and debauchery, parties and dinners, but also, and just as good, were the quiet nights spent on the couch talking about travel, about home and about the world.
It all started in Indo…
In March Anna showed me the fresh face of Seminyak in Bali. She welcomed me into her cosmopolitan life where work and commercial creativity were balanced by surfing, partying and so many sunsets all over that tiny island.
From the tropics I flew into London where my long-lost family members, Dave and Hilary and the kids, helped me deal with the chill of an English summer. By night Rory was my guide, I didn’t manage to see his band play but we made up for it with bar crawls and underground folk gigs. I saw the finer side of academia and had radical chats with Jess. I drank English beer with Jacqui and Jana in English pubs. And I re-kindled my obsession with David Bowie with Caitlin B.
The train ride North to Edinburgh was a treat, but arriving into this amazing city to be re-united with a whole team of legends was super special. I knew nothing of this city but after only four days of indulgence I was in love. There was aimless walking and eating and drinking and so much laughing. The good times just kept on giving and there was even cake, it was excellent.
My hot-tip for Edinburgh: eat and drink for a few hours at Timberyard then walk up to the castle with a bag of Red-Stripes and a couple of good friends, the city will look after the rest.
Paris, ahhhh Paris. She’s beautiful but she’s not gentle. Her elegance and classic style is beyond the reach of a wide-eyed Aussie, I could do little but wander in a daze, in awe of a city that they got right. A rare treat made even more outrageous by my stunning hosts, Jacquelyn and Sanda. These two are creative heavyweights and they drink rosé. They work hard and they party hard and I was lucky to be taken along for the ride.
I flew to Norway with Ryan-air, NEVER AGAIN. So many taxis and buses and tiny planes. The ticket was cheap but the over-time wasn’t worth it.
In Oslo I stayed with Trine and Katarina. These two girls have hearts of gold and they are studying to make the world a better place. I was super fortunate to have friends to stay with in Oslo, it’s the most expensive city in the world and I had my own tour guides. We cooked a lot of killer meals, we drank wine at dinner parties, I wangled an invite to a Peace Awards conference and we wandered around a lake under grey skies.
In Copenhagen shit got real. Tobias runs a bar and he has a lot of friends but on my first night there he didn’t yet have a house to live in. We busied ourselves with beer in the sunshine. We lounged by the bridge with the beautiful people, with beers and with our heads thrown back laughing at the rare pleasures of a Scandinavian summer. I’m not sure where we ended up that night but with a hangover I helped Tobias move into a new house. He showed me undergound night clubs and excellent jeans stores, Tobias loves shopping.
Jamie met us in Copenhagen. He had been living in Malmo, Sweden for some years now and it seemed the slower pace of Swedish life had rubbed off on him, he had to flee back over the border before midnight. Come morning I found a few hours sleep before I followed his tracks, taking the short train ride into Sweden.
Jamie and Johanna were the best hosts. They gave me a key to their house and while they worked I rode my bike around the beautiful town of Malmo. I drank coffee and did some work at the library and by night we cooked dinners and drank gin. We went to some amazing restaurants and a bar where you can play Boule, it’s the hip new thing and every body was really, really good looking.
It was almost time to go home and as luck had it the boys in Edinburgh were celebrating a couple of birthdays. I would be flying home from the UK anyway so it was back to Scotland for a last hurrah.
Jo and Niall are brothers, not biologically but they are closer than many siblings. They’re more like twins, they’re birthdays are only a day apart. They all work hard and so when they take a weekend off to celebrate there weren’t going to be any half measures. A crowd of 15 squeezed into their flat before we got on a train headed for Glascow. We went to a mini-festival called Techno Frog. We danced all night long and laughed more than I thought possible, we screamed and stamped our feet and the lights were bright despite it being so dark. At 3am we got on our private mini-bus. The ride home was like a dream, hazey and unreal, just like the rest of the night.
It was soon the next day and we moved onto the pub. We ate burgers and drank pints and told stories and laughed, my throat was hoarse from so much laughing and shouting.
I was tired when I got on the plane to head home. It felt like bliss. My mind reeled at all the people I’d met but i was just so stoked at having so many amazing friends all over the world.
There ‘aint much in this world more valuable than good friends – I learned a lot on this trip… but that was the most important lesson.
I’m back in Byron now and the main aim is to get some cash so that I can live in a big house with ocean views and a spare room for friends, I have a lot of favours to repay!
Hunter S. Thompson put it best…
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
So many legends, I love you all.