So... a special treat for you today.. I am allowing Jason the Aussie to guest blog..I did not place any restrictions on him and let him write about anything he likes - thankfully he was sober during the writing of the blog, or I probably would have had to edit some content. Please note that all Aussies swear - it is a national sport in the outback - at least he managed to insert the stars and dashes..lol.. Depending on your reaction to his post, I may let him write whilst under the influence next time - that would surely be a learning curve for most of us...
So.. without further ado.. I give you Jason..
I guess a brief introduction is due here. My name is Jason (yes the previously mentioned one). I am a 37 year old Sparky from Adelaide, South Australia, who had never before left his home country. All that changed though, on January 23rd 2010 when I took off on the first leg of my world tour, destination....... Johannesburg.
For some, the destination of Johannesburg may seem unusual for a novice traveller (hell most people here questioned my sanity). At this point we need to hit the rewind button a bit.
June 2009 I had scheduled 6 weeks of Long Service Leave to relax and go on a holiday. As luck would have it, rather than holidaying, I was sulking at home after separating from my wife a month earlier. Rather than cancel my leave, I decided I would take the 6 weeks for myself to be miserable and stay home and paint the house.
The time off provided me with something I had not had in any great quantities in 12 years. It provided me with an opportunity to unwind, and to do some thinking. Things in my life had been pretty ordinary for a while, and I needed to turn things around, but these things are easier said than done.
Hours spent painting my living room gave me the opportunity to calm my mind, and silence the voices of doubt and negativity that had been plaguing me for some time. In this silence, I was able to re- evaluate what was going on in my life. It’s hard to quantify this in words, but it’s akin to being in a place of great peace and tranquillity, and hearing the wind call your name.
For me, it was like holding a mirror to my soul, an epiphany if you will, and enabled me to see things as they truly were for the first time in a long time. I adopted a mantra “Bite off more than you can chew, and then chew like hell!” Later, a variation of this (H.T.F.U.) became the catchcry of my time in South Africa (if you don’t know what H.T.F.U is ask Kerren, she used it enough lol).
Some travelling around Australia and some serious partying was the order of the day. I set out to build the life that I wanted. It was then I decided to buy a new Laptop Computer, and that was when the fun really started. I started to chat to people from all over the world on the net, an experience I had not had before. It was on one of these sojourns into cyberspace I happened to meet a young lady by the name of Mrs Kerren R.
We chatted regularly online, and struck up the kind of friendship which is rare even at the best of times, let alone with someone you haven’t physically met. But then one day the invitation, issued in the form of a challenge was uttered, “Come to Africa Jase”. Well the old me would have started compiling a list of reasons not to do it, the new Jason (after a short period of deliberation) decided to accept the challenge.
So with the kind donation of some Qantas Frequent Flyer points from my parents, I was off to South Africa (which formed the first leg of my World Tour). Then, on January 23rd, at about 4-30pm, I lobbed at Johannesburg International Airport, my first time on foreign soil. Kerren greeted me at the airport, hobbling on what was a pretty seriously sprained ankle (not from an alcohol related issue I am told).
I was whisked off to the R Residence, where Kerren’s husband Adam had a drink in my hand before my bum touched the ground. Then another drink.....and another.....and apparently a few more and a meal perhaps....my memory gets rather hazy at this point. The next morning I had the rather surreal experience of sitting next to Kerren on her couch, stirring up another online friend of ours back in Oz. It was hard to believe I was actually there.
My time in South Africa was without exception (well except for the odd hangover) amazing. At this point, I would like to thank Kerren and Adam from the bottom of my heart for looking after me during my stay. Thank you for giving me a place to stay, which was more like a home than I had experienced in quite some time. For a local, Kerren knew all the good tourist places (Lion Park, Elephant Park and Cape Town among a few). A trip to The Dam with the Rennies along with Sammy and Steve was a real eye opener, but as everybody knows, what happens at The Dam stays at The Dam.
One thing I am still trying to get my head around is how the hell did I end up going out with Kerren and Sammy for ladies night to Kampanas, which interestingly enough was on Karaoke night? Bad singing aside (my rendition of American Idiot was not for the faint hearted) the night was an absolute scream and close to the highlight of my time in South Africa.
I rounded out my time in South Africa with a few days cruising around the Kruger National Park and its surrounds (including getting bailed up by an enormous Rhino) and finally a night out on the town with The Awesome Foursome to thank them for their hospitality. On a happy note, Kerren got her wish of putting me on the plane to London hung-over, as she struggled to move off the couch all day while I was kicking on strong (not quite what she was hoping for methinks lol).
Upon reflection, it’s hard to believe that 12 months ago I had never even seriously considered travelling overseas and now I have done something most people only ever dream of. And I owe it all to one lady, thank you Kerren for giving me the inspiration I needed to get my life in order and the opportunity to see your beautiful country.
And if you think that you can’t do it, or its too expensive, or it is too hard, remember my catch cry.........”H.T.F.U. – Harden the F*^% Up!”
P.S. Please tell Caleb and Daniel Duck says G’day!