My first BLOG post. Glad you've made it. It has been an incredible journey so far, coming from there to here. Counting my stars, blessings and adventures and everything in between. To say that I am lucky, would be to imply that I am the only one in this world that is favoured by God, knowing the term is merely an Englishman's attempt to decipher something that existed beyond time, space, freedom, pain, pleasure, painting, singing and dancing. I accept you might choose to label it differently, but at the end of the day, much like the colour of your hair, that defines who you believe you are, doesn't really make light of who you really are. I believe we are all connected by something that moves us deeper than any judgement, justice, prejudice or for that matter ANY kind of perception ever can. So, Welcome to the three part blog about my adventures in Aotearoa, or as the commonwealth calls it New Zealand.
Here you will find stories of incredible feats of fate, journeying deep into the heart of creation, faith, miracles, defeating/meeting death and moving beyond scarcity to arrive on the other side of a journey that has enriched my soul in so many ways. Ways that I will attempt to describe in words and paint with a canvas of letters, but without being me and seeing it through my eyes, I acknowledge some of this may sound fictitious and without a doubt, I have been known to be creative, but before you consider this to be nothing more than clever ramblings attempt for one second to comprehend how it is that you are here watching this screen... The evolution that this universe had to undergo to convert simple matter, molecules and elements to offer you the freedom and opportunity to be breathing deeply and staring at a screen made up of imaginary 0's and 1's which dance together to create meaning, form and function inside a living vessel. The fact that you are transcribing all those billions of years of creative and as some might say logically opportunistic events into a format convenient for us to be together, even if only for the time it takes to read these words.
What I am trying to ask is - don't you think it's a miracle that you're able to be where you are and connect with a human somewhere completely different to where you are, when only 1000 years ago people were excited about the miracle of irrigation, or the fact that they had their own private toilet, bed, or clean sheets to sleep in, and not that far further down the line we used to gaze at the stars believing a giant turtle was covering us with it's star splattered interior wallpaper. Life is constantly evolving, changing and growing, so to is our understanding of what is and isn't miraculous. I Warn you, some things I will share here, will seem to make no sense. Because I am still trying to understand them my self and I am the only who has seen them first hand. Things appearing out of nowhere, people, appearing out of nowhere and the details of both of those a little deeper, mean you will likely have to figure out for your self if you believe me or not... but why would I ask you this question and share these stories, If I didn't want you to for a second, realise that you are a part of something much bigger and more significant than perhaps the perception you have had of your self, or your life before, just as I perhaps did...
This story began with a gut call. A Feeling of adventure and a Yearning for something new and unexplored, a Thirst for knowledge of the unknown and an unwillingness to settle for anything less than miraculous. Before we proceed, I encourage you to ponder Quantum Physics for a second, two words that seem to describe something indescribable, but as we all individually interpret our reality and other peoples stories, so to does Quantum Physics and the miracle of Observation impact us on a deeply individual and personal level. Look it up at your own merit, or peril, or perhaps even expansion.
And so we begin...
“Don't give in to your fears. If you do, you won't be able to talk to your heart.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
The journey began at a casual performance with my then girlfriend, singing away on a Sunday, reminscining of all the possibilities entangled within the etchings of my memory, thinking of the many times I was greeted by Maoris at my performances and given a snippet, a curiosity of this wondrous place their spirit calls home. Aotearoa. What a challenging place, specially if you are a rugby player, from another country, New Zealand seems to be a country that has kept its true connection to the wilderness of nature, the untamed spirit of the heart of the earth, as she percolates and blossoms across that wild terrain. What if? I thought... What if I was to set sail on this journey with no security, just like the many people before me have done. Thinking of the likes of the man who had created the "Venus Project" a sustainable community based system of living that thrives of technology and cooperation with nature, new housing designs that defeat the problems and flaws of modern housing to offer such "silly" things as hurricane resistance, EXTREME eco efficiency and resource distribution and otherworld capacity to build, replenish or repair parts of communities that might be fractured by events, or simply expanding the reaches of a city- Jaque Fresco, is a seemingly athiest genius, who's work not only impacted the armed forces with their recognition of his talents and engineering divinity from an early age, but who also had uninhibitedly travelled the US continent in his mid war youth and learned a great deal about it. "Give me a sign" I prayed, a Synronicity, Serendipity, something out of the ordinary. Events which I have grown accustomed to love as a signal that I am on the right train of thought and acting in a manner that is true to my highest calling...
Nothing spectacular... Three hours later, a performance filled with applause, unique conversations, relatable story telling and a few scattered laughs coming from that place deep within when something resonates with who you are... had failed to bring me any sign of a definitive "Yes or "No", perhaps I was being impatient? I was definitely becoming a little despondent with the absence of a miraculous "appearance" of something that was to decide, whether I should invest the money from this performance into preparing my self for journey, into a country I have not been to before... Until...
A few days earlier, I had agreed with the accountant of the establishment to meet personally and exchange the necessary paperwork to expedite the payment for my performance, due to the urgent need for the finances as I juggled the trip in my mind and it was THEN when I saw who it was and the message she had for me that I began to realise, life is FULL of miracles and the journey of a lifetime, begins with a single step of faith and curiosity.
The person was a beautiful soulful Maori lady, who had JUST came back from New Zeland and the stories she told me, along with the memory of a previous encounter I had with a man from Christchurch who had taken his wife and children to Australia were enough to give me the final AOK from the heart of creation - God, Universe, Creator, flying Spaghetti monster, whatever you choose to call it, it was the first domino that fell...
So lets recap:
1. Maoris greet me when I perform, in an uncanny way
2. I have a gut feeling to travel to New Zeland and do so with little preparation, or personal security, a constant yearning that arrives without prompting
3. I need verification after the many signs that have preceded before
4. When nothing seems to be there the most obvious sign arrives, a woman who has been to New Zealand recently who is in-charge of the transaction that is perhaps most vital in my ability to travel there at that point and time!
Skip two weeks into the future. I am at the airport only a passport, a backpack and my guitar, a heart full of bravery, a mind full of questions diluted with some doubt and an absolute conviction against the odds of a probability of getting a ticket that day. I made my way to the in-terminal travel agent and discussed my desire and destination. The gaze I was met with was certainly less inviting than I had hoped, after telling me about the costs and other information I needed to know, he shared that it is seldom that people get through to NZ on those "terms" even from Aus, even though you don't need a visa. I'm sure he felt I was crazy, high, or needed some healthy doubt to reconsider, but he did tell me it would be up-to the woman at the Jetstar customer service to decide. In way that suggested he knew something words and body language couldn't describe about the way she makes her decisions. Sure, it seemed I was passing some sort of unwritten test. After all, the mana - the spirit that moves us all does have its own means of deciding wether someone is ready for what I was to embark on. Had I have known I would be spending time with everyone from the homeless, to people that have known and seen death, to wealthy travellers, musicians, tourists, miracle workers and everything in between, I would have felt easier about the conversation that was about to ensue.
Cautiously I approached the counter and was greeted by a test of patience as I watched two men get denied entry to stay in Australia due to their passports expiring, men who looked like they had very little need for altitude other than the altitude they already soared to with whatever it was that made their eyes extremely red and their gaze extremely hungry. Luckily, there isn't a shortage of food at the Melbourne international Airport... Finally, it was my turn to speak to the lovely woman whom exuded something much stronger and pure than confidence. She looked at me, not only physically, but in that kind of way that makes a human bare their soul to be read, she smiled, asked me where I am going and effortlessly guided the conversation on the best possible flight for me, the time, departure date, arrival, all the minutes and other stuff that seems far less relevant than the way I felt when she had connected with me. It was EASY. Too easy maybe, but it certainly confirmed I was guided by something stronger than any doubt my mind could have conjured up...
A three hour flight seemed not long enough as I watched the horizon disappear letting go of the memories, fears and experiences in what felt like in that moment a distant past and reappear again whilst seeing the wonderful lights of Auckland city and a gorgeous conversation with a girl next to me that made me freakishly feel like I was cascading a sequel of 'the Alchemist' the synchronicity was a lovely insight into how intune I was with the calling of the "Now" which further pacified any remaining fear. Until I was to think about what was left in my wallet.
A smooth landing and a dishevelled mindset. I looked around me at the terminal, looking for a sign of whats next. IMMEDIATELY I felt the Maori spirit, it felt as though the heart of the land had made it self visible to my soul for however brief, but intrinsically powerful 10 or so minutes. A strength beyond strength, a power that DEMANDED respect and caution, yet, a safe glow and a warm embrace that was laced through out and within. My eyes curiously dashed around the terminal resting to witness a man I had paid extra attention to at the Melbourne airport before the flight, a Portuguese/Spanish looking individual that definitely looked familiar in that kind of Extra familiar way. He approached me and started a conversation.
(Sweet Spanish accent) "Haven't I seen you before"
The memories started to collate
"Sure, Melbourne Airport, I actually paid attention to you"
"Are you hungry, I've got some nuts"
Thank God I thought, I was starving and the $10.25 AUD in my walled didn't create much opportunity for me to feel connected to my stomachs urges, other than the more than overjoyed staff at the McDonalds right before they were shutting, which I had visited earlier. Again this seemed a little too easy.
Me: "Yeah man, you play music?"
"A little guitar, wanna jam"
This started a friendship that would last a week or so and support one another as we both discovered we were here by literally Faith! We made our way outside I had opened up the guitar and started playing, to find a small crowd gathering around to spend some time with us, buying us more food and getting a gig offer at the end of it. My guitar was
an Ovation, an instrument that was to become my faithful companion on this journey of freedom and adventure that I embarked on. Acquainting me with dozens of locals, sharing perhaps a hundred songs and having perhaps the most memorable experiences I've had travelling to date...
From serenading people at an airport in Auckland to make enough money for a plane ticket, to meeting extravagant locals that know about deep underground caves with glowworms and rapid waters, one of whom happened to have an incredible time in China with no real plan and at his lowest point whilst living in nature, survived by the kindness of a family that came across him and welcomed him into his home.
From tasting the cold chills of death at the hands of someone who's mindset was a lot less rooted in the true Maori spirit than the woman who probably saved my life, to finding refuge with local Church folk and finding out about wonders of creating an irresistibly powerful magnetic field around you from a local who would take him self and his "vibe" to anywhere he felt drawn, including behind strip clubs to cheer up the "church" goers there and often find him self rewarded for the joy he would bring.
From meeting a fellow travelling Canadian who told me some of the best ways to travel here and abroad, hearing her stories of backpacking throughout the north island and being welcomed by most hospitable families.
From discovering my life purpose to meeting a "medicine/magic" woman who had performed some incredible miracles that propelled me to perhaps the weirdest part of my journey. From being taken on an adventure by a lovely local with extreme wealth of knowledge about his environment and country - living in his van with him and his partner as he took me an a literal tour of perhaps the more beautiful part of the southern New Zealand landscape.
From meeting folk who literally dwell in the forest and forage with the earth and other connected individuals, to seeing the miracles of healing and faith and having my life saved by a friendly stranger - model and yogi turned lover, even though briefly, the experience and journey inspiring a song and having a story of its own, as my heart found it self a little in love with the magnificence and beauty of this being causing my mind to do things I probably wouldn't normally do, in order for us to reconnect again in Australia. Perhaps a mild Romeo and Juliette moment, proving Huey Lewis right with his song "Power of Love"... and many many more experiences, which will inevitably find them selves here on my future blog posts and stories in my Album!
I'll leave you with this...
What would life be, if we didn't have something to live for? What would YOUR life be like if you knew exactly why you are here and what you were meant to give? I guess the point of my journey was to realise that money can only buy us so much, or so little, but some things we have the opportunity to experience are truly priceless and endlessly precious. Connecting with my true purpose was one of those. The way New Zealand connected me with music is something that I couldn't write for my self, even if I was scripting a movie, a kind of movie that touches you, surprises you, excites you, pleases you, makes you gasp and makes you think. Life is much much more magical than I would have ever believed, for those who dare to take the step into the unknown, FAITHFULLY! These memories that I will share with you I hope will touch and inspire anyone who is lucky and grateful enough to understand. Perhaps things you are unlikely to find in your average travel brochure, but nonetheless my attempt at transcribing the mystery of Aotearoa.