Seafarers and Lovers

What do Seafarers and Lovers have in common?

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Standing up here on the rocky platforms of the Gods, high above the sounds of crashing waves and squawking gulls, it’s hard not to see the similarities between the greatest seafarers and seasoned lovers.


For over a thousand years, Europeans looked at the vast Atlantic and saw a dangerous beast too overwhelming to conquer. They saw rogue waves and brewing storms ready to dash their tiny ships on jagged rocks. They saw nothing but a sapphire abyss waiting to swallow them whole.

Simply put, most of them were like, “there’s no fucking way I’m crossing that shit.” It was so much easier to sit on the beach, drink mead or watered down wine, and enjoy the view.

And then someone did. Some dude 1 landed in the God-damned Bahamas. After over a month of sailing with a broken compass through dangerous waters on a disease-ridden ship full of hungry and tired sailors, he and his crew had found a paradise. A little slice of heaven, perfect for colourful cocktails with little straw umbrellas in them.

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“With this sword, oh merciful lord, we shall cut thou lime, place it in thou coconut, and drinkith up.”

I know what you’re thinking though. How does this relate to lovers?

So many of us are fond of the idea of having real love in our lives. Not one night love. Not high-school-bullshit love. Not drugged up or shitfaced love.

Somewhere deep inside of us is thrilled by the idea of meeting that person who we instantly know is different from the rest. The one we can trust will never do us wrong. The one who will never abandon us. The one who gets us. Who smiles when we say something we think might be weird or strange. Who can always deal with our shittier moments and laugh about them with us later.2But how many of us are actually ready for that kind of love?


I think part of being young and naive is looking PAST the journey when we decide we want that kind of love in our life. We call in our soul mate not really understanding what conscious love entails. We’re thinking of going from that great view on the beach in Spain straight to The Bahamas, without realizing that there’s a whole bunch of shit to trudge through in between; a bumpy ocean journey that not many who came before us had been willing to take a real crack at.

Like the sea was to Columbus, that special person we manifest into our lives will be our greatest test and our most difficult journey. The mirror they provide for us will force us to look into the deepest and murkiest waters of our soul. It will seem overwhelming at times. It will be full of endless love and laughter and fulfillment, but it’s also the hardest trip we’ll ever take in our life.

Unfortunately, a lot can happen after the honeymoon phase wears off. There will be an abundance of excuses, reasons why it’s easier to turn the ship around than it is to weather the storms, the hunger and the thirst, the disease carrying rats, and the crashing waves.

It’s easier to look for excuses than it is to put in the work in to figure things out. Especially now, with humans disposed of and replaced with the swipe of a finger, it’s so easy to stay safe with our feet (and our heads) in the sand. It’s much easier on the beach. It’s easier to shut down parts of ourselves to our lovers and throw away the key.

But the seasoned lover knows its not about easy. She knows that her soul mate isn’t here to give her cushy. She knows he’s here to challenge her. To shine a light on her wounds, her bullshit, and her baggage. Their many struggles as a couple will show her the things she needs to learn. He’ll reveal her triggers, defense mechanisms, and fears – all while being the rock she needs to lean on to work through them all.

He’s here to set her on fire and watch her rise from the ashes. Shit, deep down the last thing she fucking wants is easy. She’s willing to pay the price of pain so that she may shed her skin and her baggage. She’s ready to dance on the belly of the creator and the destroyer of the universe. Somewhere inside of herself, she knows the only way to paradise is to sail through an ocean of her own bullshit.

It’s why I can’t help but see a comparison between lovers and those crazy mother fuckers who once sailed the deep, dark, uncharted Atlantic Ocean. They both wanted paradise, not easy.

Or, maybe, you are here for easy. Personally, I’ll take paradise every single chance I get. Imagine if Columbus would have stayed on the beach in Spain?

Be good to each other,

~MG.

1   This dude is better known as Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer, navigator, and colonizer.

2 You might not think that such a person exists. You might see everyone as equally loveable or equally disposable. Or maybe you’re legitimately such a perfect human specimen that you’re everyone’s type, and you’re miraculously compatible with every personality. You carry with you absolutely no emotional wounding or baggage and every person on this earth would stand by you until the very end. That’s awesome. Either way, to each his own, my friend. But I wouldn’t suggest reading any further.

Columbus photo courtesy of: http://teacher.scholastic.com

Ocean

“I am that.”

What is it, exactly, about the ocean that calls to us? What is it about her waves whispering in our ears that fill us with the excitement of a child and the calm of a sage instantaneously?

Our ears wiggle to a music that seems to speak to somewhere deep inside of us. We close our eyes and listen to the singing seagulls and the chorus of crashing waves with smiles on our faces.

It’s a song that forces us to stop thinking with our rational brain. Instead, we let our bodies tell us what to feel.

Watching her waving waters as they dance to the steady beat of a lunar drum that we cannot hear, we begin to realise there is intention in nature. We feel a magical impulse, a divine will, a call to action, a collective soul.


We witness the energies of the universe as they swirl all around us. No one knows where they came from. No one knows exactly what they are. But now, in the overwhelming presence of the source of all life, we can feel them. Life’s energy.

It’s in this moment, gazing at her colossal strength and infinite beauty, that we realise that these are the same energies that ebb and flow within us. We look at life in motion and we say, “Ah, that’s who I am. I am that.”

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“I am that.”


Even if it’s just for a moment, we transcend our consciousness.

In this transcendental experience, we realise that we already live in the kingdom of heaven. We remember the promised land has nothing to do with real estate, titles, or deeds. We understand that nirvana is inside of us, exactly where we stand. We may even laugh at the all too curious realisation that we ARE the mystery which we are seeking to know.


The Gods didn’t kick us out of the Garden of Eden. We banished ourselves, and we continue to do so every time we lose sight of these simple truths. The ocean reminds us to come back into Eden and eat the tasty fruit of who we really are.

That’s why the ocean calls to us.

Or, maybe, you just like to surf and sun tan.

Be good to each other.

~MG.

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Cover Photo Courtesy of: http://bighugelabs.com/

Adventure of the Soul

We each have our own path to walk. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a true adventure of the soul.

It is said that while on the quest for the Holy Grail, King Arthur and the knights of his round table each entered the forest of adventure in different places. They chose the points in the forest that were the darkest, that scared them the most, and that didn’t have a previous path for them to follow.

They didn’t do this as a misplaced show of machismo, or as a competition of manliness. They didn’t do it to prove something to themselves, or to the other knights.

They did this because they knew. They knew that even though they were on a quest in search of the same prize, and they were on that quest together, they still had to walk their own paths. They each had their own lessons to learn.


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The same applies to us. We’re all searching for the same thing, and we must all enter the dark forest of the psyche to find it. Some of us are going to take that journey together, some of us will take it alone, and some won’t take it at all. We each have our own path to walk. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a true adventure of the soul.

As we relentlessly swing our machetes to carve a path through the forest, we’ll uncover fears and experience hardships. We’ll face death and demons, and we’ll gaze into the darkest parts of ourselves. But in the deepest and most terrifying part of that journey, we’ll find the treasure that we seek.

So choose that dark and scary place to start your quest, and I’ll meet you in the woods.

Be good to each other,

~MG

Featured image courtesy of 123hdwallpapers.com

A Letter to My Father:

My last Echoes post is for Father’s Day! A Letter to my dad.

Dear Dad,

I’m in my late twenties. I’m not even done with school yet. I have absolutely no idea about so many things in my life. Like where I might be living in a year from now. Hell, I’m not even sure about the continent I’ll be on. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing or who I’ll be doing it with. I’m still learning about myself and how I relate to this world. In many ways, I’m still a kid.

And then I think about the fact that at my age, you already had three young kids to raise. One of them was your only son, a crazy little bastard named Michael, who had the same amount of energy and caused the same amount trouble as an entire classroom of children his age.

I’ve realized how scary that must have been for you. You were still trying to find a career, and trying to find yourself. You were still trying to figure out who you were as a man, as a husband, and how you were gonna make things work financially for you and mom. Then, all of sudden, you were trying to figure out who you were as a parent to three young babies who relied on you.

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Just a couple guys trying to figure out if neon and/or pastel colours worked with our skin tone.


Today, I think it’s become almost common for kids to grow up blaming and criticizing their parents. I know I was one of those children and, at some point, I think all of us are. But now I realize how absolutely ridiculous that is.

Imagine if when people were learning a new sport, or musical instrument, or how to cook, we judged them in the same way as some of us judge our parents.

It doesn’t matter how many online videos someone has watched on the technique of skating, we expect them to fall many times the first time they lace up those skates and hit the frozen pond.

It doesn’t matter how many books someone reads on playing the piano, none of us would realistically expect someone to jump behind those keys and start playing Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor. So why do we expect perfection, or anything close to it, from our parents?

No matter what it is that you’re doing in life, nothing will ever prepare you for the actual learning experience. You’re going to stumble along the way. Mistakes are essential to learning. We’re all just learning as we go. We’re all doing the best we can with what we have.

Every parent is at a different place in his or her life, and every parent has a different capacity for parenting.


Trying to stand in the shoes you were wearing at my age has shown me just how special you are. I know you beat yourself up sometimes about your early days as a dad, but today I want to acknowledge you for just how amazing you actually are, and how great you were for me as my father.

You supported me in every conceivable way. I never went without anything I ever needed. Even if you had a complaint or two about the price of something I asked for, I honestly don’t have a single memory of anything you didn’t give me that I truly wanted. You never let me down.

You worked some insane hours to support your family and still always made it to the important moments in my life. You were at every big game, graduation, departing flight, birthday, and religious event that I experienced. You have no idea how much that meant to me, even if I didn’t really understand it then. I definitely understand and appreciate it now.

I have absolutely no idea how you did it. You might not of been ready. You probably weren’t ready. But you pulled your boots up and you chose to be a father. Because, at the end of the day, parenthood is a choice. I think it’s time I acknowledge the choice you made to be in my life. The amount of bravery, love, and kindness that it took is beyond words.



I think relationships between parents and children would vastly improve if we all just acknowledged our parents for that
simple choice they make to be our parents. They didn’t need to choose us. They didn’t have to stay, or to keep us. But they did. Even though they weren’t truly ready for it.

If we acknowledge that, in the same way it was our first experience being someone’s child, it was our parent’s first experience being someone’s mom or dad, we might start seeing things a little differently. 

We made mistakes as we grew older and wiser, why would we expect anything less from our parents?


You are an amazing man. Even now, at my age, I still know you won’t let me down. We’re gonna have our fights. Sometimes we’re gonna bump our thick Italian heads. You’re still learning what it means to be a dad and I’m still learning what it means to grow up.

But I know you’re in my corner, and you know what? You’ll always be the guy I want in my corner. If I ever find myself in the 12th round taking a beating from life, you’re the voice I want to hear yelling over my shoulder to keep fighting

You didn’t quit on me, or my sisters. You didn’t quit on your family. There’s no one else in the universe I would rather call dad, and I have a strange feeling there’s no one else out there who was supposed to be my father.

I love you, and I miss you!

Your crazy little bastard,

~ Michael

Stop Holding Yourself Back:

There are two painfully self-restricting words we humans have a habit of using too much. I hear them all of the time.

“I should.”


Anytime we use those words, there is some form of self restriction at play. We’re applying a sense of duty, of honour, of what’s expected of us, of guilt, of shame, of caution, or a lack of confidence to our decisions. We think we should study medicine because our parents have high hopes for us. We don’t think we should quit our job because we’re not sure if we can make our dreams work. We should push away loved ones because we don’t feel deserving or worthy of it. We shouldn’t take a chance because it might not work out.

Every time we use the word should, a story is being repeated to ourselves. Ones we learned from teachers, parents, mentors, friends, and celebrities. Stories of the status quo. Stories that were meant to keep you safe, but actually keep you feeling small and afraid.

Don’t get me wrong, I think everyone should have a code. Everyone should know and keep their own boundaries. But there is a difference between healthy boundaries and self imprisonment.

But the word “should” is one that is much better used to free yourself of your own prison, rather than keep yourself in chains.

You should open your heart to love, because you deserve that special someone who loves and cherishes you. You should chase than dream, because you were born to do just that. You should quit that job sucking the life out of you, because you deserve happiness in this life.

Be good to each other,

~MG.

Cover photo courtesy of bahaiteachings.org.

On Women:

Men think. A lot. Sometimes, thinking too much doesn’t allow much room for feeling.

When we’re sick or something is broken, we try to figure out the problem. We look at the issue systematically. What’s broken? What can we use as a replacement? How do we fix it? Finally, after identifying the cause of the issue, we decide on a solution.

Eventually, depending on the problem, we buy new brake pads, take some antibiotics, or smash twelve shots of whiskey and put an irresponsible bet on the number six horse. Just like that, the problem is solved. The brakes aren’t screeching anymore, our head cold is gone, or we blew off the steam we needed to blow off – even if we lost our rent money for the week in the process.

When we relate to women, our problems start when we try to approach issues in the same way. When we try to force our way of doing things onto the women we love.


Picture this;

We have plans with her in the evening. When we arrive at her house, we’re instantly aware that she’s in a shitty mood. She’s wearing a permanent frown and won’t speak to us. We watch as the storm brews inside of her. The room goes dark with her anger. We’re a bit put off by the entire situation. There’s something repulsive about her wrath. An ancient piece of ourselves is a little afraid at the dreadful power of our wild woman.


What’s HER problem? We think as we immediately go into problem fixing mode. Like virtually every other problem in our lives, we assume there is a single problem we can find and fix to make this situation better.

We think and think and think, but can’t come up with anything. We don’t know what we said, or did, or didn’t say, or didn’t do that caused this issue. What’s worse is, no matter how much we ask her what’s the matter, she constantly tells us it’s nothing.

Why does she have to be so COMPLICATED, we ask ourselves.

Eventually we become sick of asking what’s wrong, so we simply sit next to her without speaking. Maybe she breaks the silence by lashing out at us for not knowing what’s really going on. Maybe we make the very dumb mistake of saying “calm down.” The storm finally breaks, and we feel as though we’re forced to duck for cover.

We walk out, telling her to call us when she’s willing to talk about things calmly. At this point we’ve not only failed our woman, but we’ve failed ourselves as men.

We’ve wrongly assumed our woman’s situation is the same as a bike with a broken chain. We’ve wrongly assumed it’s as simple as finding the piece we need to fix. We’ve wrongly assumed – like all other problems in our lives – that it’s our time as men to TAKE CONTROL of the situation. Like a ship’s captain that finds his vessel has strayed off course, we attempt to change her direction.

We’ve tried to steer her, but our woman is not our ship. She’s the ocean that we’re sailing in. Vast and mighty, if we try to wrestle her immense waves we will lose every time. We will drown. She might not even know she’s doing it, but she will swallow us.

Our job is not to be the captain, or a ship. Our job is to be the rock, standing strong off the coast of the ocean that we love. Our job is to be there, and to be there for no reason other than our love for her waters.

Like any body of water, there will be days when she crashes against us. Wave after wave, it might feel like the ocean will never again be calm. When her tide is high we may feel like we’re close to drowning. Sometimes she hits us so hard we think we might crack. But if we remain full and abundant in our love for her, and constantly present in our masculinity, it will pass.

Her waters will quiet. She will once again lovingly caress us, her waves gently lapping at our ankles. She will completely open her heart in response to our stubborn love. She will trust in our strength, and feel safe in showing us the depths of her dark and healing waters. She’ll let us dive into her completely and we will taste her salty kiss. She’ll show us just how much we have to learn from the mysterious gifts she has to give us.

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Will you only swim in her when the waters are calm and the scenery is peaceful?

Until, of course, another storm shows itself on the horizon. But our job as the rock never ends.

So, if you cannot love her sunrise as much as you love her stormy weather, she isn’t the woman for you.

If you cannot find humour in the situation and need to lash out or walk away, you’re not the man for her.

If you cannot give unconditional love to her when her waters get rough, you’re treading in waters too deep and powerful for your abilities. It is better for you both if you find a smaller pool to dip your timid feet in, and for her to find a man willing to embrace her inherently wild and endlessly passionate nature.

Be good to each other,

~MG

Featured Photo Courtesy of http://www.wildwomanjourney.com.

Do You Know Your 6ix?

We know where, and what, the 6ix is.

Thanks to Drake, we even know what the views from the 6ix are like.

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But do you know who your 6ix are?


I’m talking about the six men or women who will stand on each side of your corpse and carry your casket. Can you think of them now? Can you even think of six people you want to carry you from this world until the next?

If you can, are they the same six that you’re going out for drinks with after work on Friday? Or are those drink mates just people you’re passing the time with? The people that happen to be interested in the same thing as you? Will any of those drinking buddies keep in touch after they take a better job offer in a different city?

If you can name your six, are they the same six you ate lunch with in high school? Or were they just the other people who arbitrarily fell into the same “group” you did?

Is the last person you were intimate with one of your six, who will be there by your side even after you’re gone? Did they know your all of your hopes and dreams, and want to support you however they could in chasing them? Or were they just a one night dance, a single serving dose of validation and a few hours escape from loneliness?

What about the last person you dressed to impress? Or who you last sacrificed your time, energy, or integrity for? Were they in your six? Will their love-filled tears splatter on the cold concrete as they say goodbye to you in this life?


When was the last time you told one of your six that you loved them, appreciated them, and acknowledged them for all the light they bring into your life? When was the last time you sent them a text, instead of worrying about all the people who have nothing but self-serving interests when it comes to you?

Know your 6ix.

Prioritize your 6ix.

Love your 6ix.

And let them know who they are to you.

Be good to each other,

~MG

Featured Photo Courtesy of http://www.worldspaceweek.org

Get Excited!

We’ve all heard it before. We’ve heard it from our friends, our parents, our siblings, and our teachers.

Don’t get TOO excited.”

It doesn’t even seem to matter what the scenario is;

Trying out for a team and you made the first cut? Don’t get too excited.
Applying for a job and got an interview? Don’t get too excited.
Had the most amazing day with the person you love? Don’t get too excited.
Finished the second year of a three year degree? Don’t get too excited.
Lost a couple pounds of body fat? Don’t get too excited.

The excitement police is ever vigilant. But my question is this: When, exactly, are we supposed to get excited? The “don’t get too excited” warning – in my opinion – has two negative suggestions that accompany it.


The first is the suggestion that something may yet go wrong. You could still be cut from the team, you could still be passed over for the job, your loved one could leave you, or you could still fail out of your degree. You might slip up and eat some cake, putting those pounds back on. “Don’t get too excited” suggests we shouldn’t be excited about these things because they can still be taken from us – as though there is anything in this life that is permanent.

The problem is, the “may yet go wrong” mentality never ends. Once you make the team, you can still be benched, released, or break your femur in a thousand places and never play again. Once you get that job, you can still be fired. Once you get married, or start a family, you can still lose that loved one to death, or divorce, or circumstance. Once you get that degree, you can still be jobless or considered under qualified. A lack of permanence is in no way related to your ability to enjoy and be excited about a moment.

If you’re waiting to celebrate something permanent, you’ll be waiting a very long time. Laying on your deathbed, many years from now, you’ll realize nothing can be truly grasped in this life. So, no matter how fleeting or small the moment, get excited about it. It is these tiny moments of success, progress, and joy that – when their tiny parts are finally collected and assembled – we look back on and remember the life we created for ourselves. You’ll never get a second chance to get excited along the way, so do it now and do it every chance you can.


The second suggestion that comes with the “don’t get too excited” warning is that you somehow haven’t finished yet. You’re not at your goal or your destination. It carries the dastardly assumption that there IS a destination in the first place. But what if, at the end of all of your days, you realize there never really was a destination. What if you looked back on all the little steps you made along the way, and realized life was about the journey? Would you wish you got excited about and celebrated the little moments a little more?

Thinking about life as the destination leads to false regrets. You’ll always focus on the places you didn’t reach rather than the joys and growth you were lucky enough to experience. You’ll see yourself as never have making it to the big leagues, rather than seeing all the friends and mentors you met along the way, and the positive experiences you shared with them. Even if you do eventually reach that destination, you’ll replace it with a new one.

I’m not saying having goals or dreams is a bad thing. I think we’re all born with dreams and we should all let that call of our soul guide us.

What I am saying is this life is inherently exciting. The good, the bad, and the ugly. The small moments and the grand ones. It’s all part of this journey we call life. The journey naturally excites us – so allow yourself to get excited about it.

Get TOO excited about it, even.

Be good to each other,

~MG.

Featured photo courteousy of forums.marvelheroes.com

Celebrating the Individual:

It is time to celebrate who we are.

There’s always something about the first words you type onto a blank page. It’s like splashing paint onto a crisp-white canvas. I believe we all have words pent up inside of ourselves. Those first ones break the pressure. You kind of just let the words fall onto the paper as they naturally would. Your soul is the bursting cloud, allowing droplets of inner wisdom to sprinkle the land underneath it.

It seems much too rare these days that we allow our soul the ability to speak its truth. Too often we are stifled by social and cultural concerns. I think its a pretty sad notion that our individuality is being suffocated by the very people that should be celebrating it: ourselves.

We’ve seen the unique nature of each human being oppressed in many different ways by many different tyrants.

We saw it masterfully done by the Catholic church after the dark ages. We were told we were all beautiful children of God who loved us infinitely. God would love us until the end of our days, unless we looked upon the stars with our own eyes and suggested, perhaps, that our solar system wasn’t exactly structured as the church had taught us it was. That, maybe, we weren’t the centre of it all. Then we were heretics; we were blasphemous, spoiled spawns of darkness.

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This isn’t just our solar system, it’s our entire universe. If you disagree, then you’re going to burn in hell, you God damned heretic.

We were loved by God so long as we accepted our fate as peasants, farming for dukes and bishops we would never see. Don’t worry, we were told, if we allowed ourselves to be powerless and impoverished in this life, the next one would have rainbows and beds made of clouds. Our sons were loved by God as long as they didn’t love other men. Our daughters were loved by God as long as they didn’t stay connected to their feminine nature or the earth. As long as they didn’t embrace their sexual power and remained subservient to men, our daughters were wonderful indeed.

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How dare this woman worship the earth she came from and the rivers that gave her life. I heard she also sex with Satan, doesn’t she know she is the property of her husband and of God?

We saw it done by Hitler and the Nazis, who told us we were perfect specimens of greatness. Unless, of course, our hair and eyes were too dark or our skin produced a higher amount of pigmentation. Then we were somehow sullied; we were somehow corrupt. Capitalism told us we were successful and smart, as long as our car was new and we had the latest smart phone. We were always perfect as long as we fulfilled someone else’s definition of it.

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What a perfect little Nazi. Now why can’t your brunette sister be more like you?! She would be perfect too, if she was.

You would think after all of the great individuals, the great men and women who stood in defiance of the oppression of the uniqueness of humanity, that we would learn to celebrate the diversity of one another and of ourselves.

We are shape shifters by nature. We are flexible and bendy. We can wear many different hats. We are water.

Our ability to bend and twist and move and flow is proof enough that none of us were made to be packed into rigid little boxes of conformity.

And yet still we act as our own corrupter. We still restrict our own freedom to be individuals. We are still barbarically behind in a deeper understanding of who we are as individuals and as a species. From the very time we are school children, we speak and act harshly toward those who stand out, instead of celebrating them.

Celebrate who you are, and support others who do the same.

Because you’re all pretty fucking awesome.

Be good to each other,

~MG.

Photos:

Featured Image: inesperkovic.com
Geocentric Solar System: pics-about-space.com
Witch Hunt: hiduth.com
Hitler Youth: spartacus-educational.com

On The Stories We Tell Ourselves:

We waited outside of our bungalow. Our drivers pulled up fifteen minutes late. The van – formerly white but now the colour of a frozen cheesecake – was loud and leaking a curious brown fluid everywhere. The van carried a wonderfully blended smell of a gas station and burnt toast. The exhaust pipe was choking out ink-black fumes.

Isn’t the story already writing itself for you? Something bad is about to happen, right?


The driver stayed in his seat while his compatriot jumped out to greet us. His English was the best I had heard from a Balinese person since I landed on the island. He had a bright smile. I liked that he was going to be our guide for the day.

But I couldn’t stop looking at the driver. The ash from his cigarette was longer than the actual cigarette. The smoke rising from it danced into his bloodshot eyes. He had an Iron Maiden shirt on, which one could presume he wore to the bar the night before. His bed-head hair might have been evidence that he was the reason why they were late to pick us up.

Like Tom Cruise about to jump into a Grumman F-14 Tomcat, he coolly slid sunglasses over his sleepless eyes. Go time, we must have both thought at the exact same time. Danger Zone was playing in my mind.

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An artist’s rendition of my driver.

We took our seats and I reached for my seat belt, except (of course) there wasn’t one.

Perfect, I thought. We were about to drive up the side of Mount Doom on an island which has little in terms of road rules. We would be attempting this task in a death-trap built in the 1980’s, driven by the Balinese version of Otto from The Simpsons. No seat belts. One might assume this is how it would all end for me.

The kicker? We still had to stop and pick up eight more people. To, you know, make sure death bus was full so we could all burn together.

Fast forward; miraculously, we had all survived.


But now I was mountain biking down the side of the volcano. I was doing this on roads without dividing lines, and without enough space for more than one car. I was accompanied by a group of inexperienced cyclists that were a far greater threat to my health than the speeding scooters or farm trucks I was attempting to share the road with. In the villages rabid dogs barked as I passed by, and the streets were even more congested than in the countryside.

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Catching the view from the side of a mountain rainforest that day.

Fast forward a second time; we made it. Sure, I had a couple bruises and cuts from some of the girls slamming their bikes into my leg. And yeah, it was hot enough to cook an egg on my bike helmet (I wondered how my driver – the hungover Balinese Maverick – was feeling in this heat). But all of us were just fine.


The thing is, we were always going to be okay. We didn’t put ourselves at some great risk that day. It’s only the stories we hear in our own society that make us feel fear in new experiences.

We see an old van and our consumerist conditioning tells us it’s not safe because it isn’t new and sparkling. We see the Balinese Iceman in his heavy medal t-shirt and remember what we’ve been told about a man who looks and dresses like that. That he is somehow more reckless and dangerous than a man in a suit. In reality it was probably his van, and his eyes were bloodshot because he probably stayed up late making sure it was running well for our trip. Maybe not.

The point is, the stories we tell ourselves will often be the only difference between a truly enjoyable and memorable experience in Bali, or being terrified the entire time and never getting to enjoy it. The entire experience that day, from the van ride to the bike down the side of the mountain, was one of my favourite Bali experiences.

But I certainly could have ruined it by telling myself fearful stories about not being safe.

Be good to each other,

~MG.