Saturday, 20 January 2018

Keeping content, missing ya mum and a year away from home

It's been a year now since I sold all my shit, left my family and friends and said goodbye to everything I've ever known. Which you probably realised from the title of this post. Unless you're a bit slow.

And am I now a man of the world full of wisdom and wonder?  Am I fuck.

When I first got on that plane I had this whole vision of my reinvention. The new and improved me. I'd swap my love of Harry Styles for history and shit, I'd learn a different language, learn about things that matter and meet people I'd never have mingled with before. I'd grow my hair, broaden my horizons and help make the world a better place. I'd play the hero in the movie of my brand new life.

Spoiler: That was really fucking exhausting. 

I tried to pretend my biggest passion wasn't popular culture and focus on more serious things. I tried to converse with people I had nothing in common with and form friendships with foreigners I didn't find interesting. I even tried to learn Italian. But it just wasn't me. None of it.

The new Josh was about just about as fun as a gluten free dinner party and I spent a while being disappointed at this. Sad that I had more interest in what's in Kylie Jenner's womb than what old Trumpy has been tweeting. Frustrated that I'd rather binge something on Netflix in bed than go meet new people and "do brunch."

Then I stopped for a moment and realised what a dick head I was being. No amount of midmorning overpriced eggs, basic pleasantries and empty conversations were ever going to keep me content. 

Don't ever try be something you're not, neglect what actually makes you happy or live a life you dislike because you think it makes you look more appealing to other people. Follow whatever the fuck you wanna, no matter how small or insignificant some may see it and sack everything else.

By all means better yourself but that doesn't mean you have to change yourself in the process.

I left everything behind to start a new life that'd be happier that the one I had in England but kinda lost the things that actually made me happy for a while along the way. So to all you people still chasing that "new year, new me" thing or thinking of embarking on your own adventure, take note. The old you may not have been that bad after all.

Unless you were like a pedophile or something.


But, yeah, I didn't really realise how long I'd been away until Christmas came round. That wonderful time of the year where we celebrate the birth of a magical carpenter none of us particularly believe in. And for the first time in my life, I found myself without any of my family to fake my seasonal Christianity with.

Thankfully my boyfriend William and his nearest and dearest took their place as we sailed up to join all my future in-laws at their beach house for the big day. I also had three dear friends from Britain that have since relocated here too to hang with, but fuck, sometimes a girl just misses her momma.

The scheduled FaceTimed home was as chaotic as expected. A load of family members squeezed onto the front camera live from a North Manchester council estate. Talking over each other, not sure where to look and Corrie blazing in the background.

"What's the weather like?'
"What time is it over there?"
"Where's your tan?"
"Is the food nice?"  

All the usual questions. 

"Nicole Kidman is staying round here too," I explained to my mother while showing off the scenic surroundings we were in. Mainly just cause a set of pictures of the Aussie actress holidaying in the same area hit the Mail Online before I made the call and I was praying for a paddleboard encounter. "Josh is having Christmas with Nicole Kidman," she then shouted to an uncle that had walked into the room over on her end. "He's had Christmas dinner with that actress from that film," I then heard my uncle say to someone else that had now arrived.

One year later, thousands of miles away and some things never change. Like a mother's ability to twist the truth to make up a far more exciting ending to a story about her children.

PS: Sadly I didn't see Nicole
PPS: The only Italian I learnt was how to say "hello sexy daddy"
PPPS: I'm yet to use it on an actual Italian in every day conversation 

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Human rights, online fights and the Simple Life in Sydney

If you're wondering what's happened since my last update on here, I've accidentally become the poster boy of unregulated farm work across Australia, partied with pop stars and struggled to take a poo. There's never a dull moment, eh?

I'm blaming my new protein heavy diet for that last one.

The most concerning aspect of my newfound, unexpected, infamy is the fact that I'm wearing a fluorescent orange hi-visibility hoody from K-Mart in the lead picture chosen by newspaper editors. Admittedly not my best look.

Confused? So, after enduring four months of fuck ups, fear and frightful conditions to secure a second year visa in this lovely land, which I've briefly mentioned in previous posts here, I published the diary of my '88 days' on Buzzfeed after moving back to Sydney and into a new pad with my dearest boyfriend William. And it managed to break the internet.

Well, the backpacking and agricultural parts of this world wide web. And all without flashing my fanny. See, it is possible, Kimmy K. 

Thousands of comments have flooded Facebook groups, angry farmers have inundated me with hate for daring to share my experience of exploitation and it's become the talking point of several small towns. Quite literally. Thanks to prominent pick up in the media. Many other concerned Aussie's have called for action. Which, hopefully, will eventually happen.

Before I hit publish I met with a professor who is in the middle of a research grant to present to the gov on all of this and there's even talks of documentaries being pitched to major networks. Great news all round.

As I said in the piece, and I'll say again here, I think that the 88 day scheme is genius. Unfortunately, it's just sad to see that a system with such promise, is plagued by so many people actively taking advantage.

I was raised to speak up on the things I feel passionate about, which is why I shared my account. Change will never come unless enough people are calling for it. No matter what the issue you're speaking up on. I urge you all to go execute your right to freedom of speech while speaking is still free. Even if it's for something as simple as a Jonas Brothers reunion tour, for example. Which I'm totally here for.

Following my farming ordeal, it was back to Sydney where my boyfriend and I moved into a brand new place together. Potted plants, family pet and the ultimate gay dream.

"I don't think I can sleep tonight," my dearest announced, after arriving home late one evening to the sight of me and his dog cuddled together on the sofa under the gentle glow of fairy lights. "Because all my dreams have come true."

Unfortunately, before I could even mock him for such a cute yet cringe message of affection that would actually melt my heart, he added: "Oh no, not because of you. My offer has just been accepted on the boat I went to view this morning."  And there I was feeling special.

Swapping fruit picking on farms for legitimate employment, I've also now accepted a role at Australia's top magazine. They actually won that award the other week, btw. I'm not just hyping it up to try sound all cool and edgy.

My first day was the morning after the Harry Styles show, which, well, was a Sign Of The Times for things to come. See what I did there? And if you didn't, please close this page and never return.

My first week in the office has been a mixture of being relieved that everyone is so wonderful and welcoming, writing words about things and covering parties with people like Paris Hilton, Lorde and Shawn Mendy Mendes. Brb while I just pick them names up that I've dropped.

Nah, but I do feel incredibly lucky to be back doing the type of work I love and spent the past decade dabbling with. Minus the few (unforgettable) months farming, obviously.

Before I now fuck off and leave you for another month or so, here's my current mantra: Don't stay silent on things just because it's easier than speaking up. Go shout, scream and stir some shit up if you see something that isn't okay. Be a dick, put pressure on people in power and make your voice heard.

Start a whole fucking movement if ya have too. 

Sunday, 8 October 2017

A big birthday, embracing my misery and why it's okay to say no

I recently turned 26 and celebrated the death of my youth by hosting my own funeral. An evening of mourning, misery and an impromptu obituary by a girl named Naomi that I met a couple of months back.

You meet a lot of people while backpacking and some really do become close friends. And some are just fucking weird. I imagine I'm the latter for most.

When I was a little kid I thought I'd be a self-made millionaire and living my best life by this age. Instead I'm unemployed and living in a hostel in Australia.

During a moment of madness I purchased my first car shortly after the big day. I can't drive and don't have a license but that didn't stop me doing a deal in a McDonalds car park with a dodgy lass off the internet. “It's recently been serviced,” she explained. Wonderful.

The following day when we realised all the tyres needed changing, the battery was dead, the light is smashed and there's no hand brake we probably should have enquired how recent that service was. My guess is 1993.

In fact, we probably should have knocked it on the head after noticing the custom sprayed lime green interior. You live and learn. It was a split purchase between a couple of boys that now act as my exclusive chauffeurs as we complete our 88 days of government imposed regional farm work to extend our visas. This time we're picking blueberries.

I'm like the rural Paris Hilton of the poor in New South Wales and these are my minions.

In my last blog I mentioned I was on the move from Batlow with my freshly formed family of travellers to start work on another farm. Since then we drove 1,000KM and arrived in a town called Woolgoolga and half of these people have now left me. Just like my real family.

That's the issue with this whole travelling thing. You grow close to someone and then they move on or you do. My heart is constantly broken and my abandonment issues are crying out for some stability. It's like a daily breakup. Just without the angry bum sex and bickering that usually follows.

I'd also like to clarify that comparison to my own family was indeed a joke. Sorry, mum.

Also since our last chat I've wrote some stuff on Buzzfeed you can check out here and slumped into a slight depression. The two aren't related, I promise. The exploitation, lack of regulation and brutal reality of this farm work thing has inevitably become beyond detrimental. Article coming soon on all that.

If I had to describe myself during these past months it'd be: present with no presence. A bit like Bruce on Keeping Up With The Kardashians up before he went all Call Me Caitlyn and cut his cock off. I've simply had nothing to say, kept my head down and felt a little void and vacant.

I've also got into pretentious podcasts which hasn't helped with the self-imposed isolation.

“What's his problem?” people have asked the few friends I have left in this town. Which, to me, is a problem itself. Unless you're beaming a smile, bursting with banter or engaging with anyone and everyone - you're apparently seen as suspicious. “How dare someone in this shared accommodation keep themselves to themselves,” is a mutual mentality I've noticed.

So, my dearest of readers, here are some words of wisdom: It's okay to do your own thing, be the quiet one and embrace your misery for a little while. I'd say it's a lot healthier than forcing a smile. You do you, hun. And by that, I mean you do whatever the fuck makes you happy in that current moment.

“Do you want to go to the pub?” No thanks.
“I'm having a party.. wanna come?" Not at all.
“Fancy hanging out at the beach?” I would, but I really don't want too.
“How about a quick blowjob?” Yeah, go on then.

Side note: you may be miserable but you still have urges.

Some knob once said you should never say no things. That bloke is presumably dead now so he can piss off. Uttering them two bold letters just makes everything so much more genuine. Don't try to be such a people pleaser and say it to most things.

Especially if you're being asked the question: “Is this the most inspirational travel blog you've ever read?”

Trust me: it's liberating AF.