Australian Traveller Magazine are silver sponsors of the MyPOWER Team, four lads who are cycling around Australia to raise awareness for a sustainable future in this country.
Halfway Home for MyPOWER Team
I used to walk all alone, the opposite side of the road,
and made others get out of my way.
I used to think that I could just sit and wait for the times,
but they won’t come til I meet them halfway.
I’m halfway home and I’m on, I’m on my own,
I’m halfway there and I don’t care, I don’t mind.
I plan to leave here after supper time that’s when traffic is light,
all I need is a sign and I’ll be alright, I’ll be fine.
I used to think that I could just sleep and then I’d dream,
everything, it would just come to me.
Until I woke one day without anything to eat,
lying on the opposite side of the street.
– ‘Halfway Home’ by Jason Mraz
It’s been a while since I’ve picked away at a piece of writing. Read it, reached behind me and pulled out a coherent analysis. It feels like I’m back in highschool English, except this time I’m actually enjoying spending my spare time writing.
Before the trip I had a pretty sweet life. We all did. I had my set of priorities, I had my set of morals. In your early 20s you know it all. Don’t know the answer to a question? Doesn’t matter. Put on your most confident voice and jump in that well-known creek. Don’t have a paddle? Doesn’t matter. The world generally revolves around you, or at least the life that you’ve carved for yourself. I convinced myself I knew what hardship was as I toiled through 14hr shifts out Sydney airport, throwing heavy boxes of shampoo into the awaiting arms of Meri or Coggo. I thought hardship was sweat and fatigue. And for what? Because I had a passion for making sure a plane was loaded up well before the expected departure? No. Because I knew if I wanted to own my van and fly to tropical islands on surf trips I needed moolah, green, coin, cold hard Johnny CASH!
When times are good, you get complacent. Trained in the fine art of subconscious expectation. The false knowledge that the world and all those around you will always conspire in your favour. I’ve spilt my sweat and felt fatigue, now where’s my imported coffee and delicious salad sandwich?
I have to agree wholeheartedly with Mr Mraz. Having now cycled halfway home. 8000kms to those out there counting. We can’t sit and wait for good things to happen to us. You earn your good luck and I can say now, I never really knew what hardship was. Pure physical labour seems nearly obsolete when you’re riding a bike at 2am under a full moon in the middle of the Pilbara with nothing but that age-old terrible thought to keep you company. What am I doing here? Are we making a difference? When the cameras are switched off, the reporters’ pens finish leaking their black ink, the school kids go back to class and the friends and family close the webpage, are we making a difference? Are people making changes to their lives to live more sustainably? Do they see what we see? Are they willing to do something about it?
The pain you feel through your legs and that tender area we use to sit on is minimal when you’re into your 240th kilometre in less than 24hrs with those big questions running through your head. And I still don’t believe this is hardship. That’s just my brain and my bum I’m dealing with. I’m not searching for food or fighting for life. I’ve got a huge orange moon, silhouetted kangaroos, Bedouin Soundclash in my ear and the prospect of a chocolate bar, a box of fortune cookies, a fruitcake and some un-cookable popcorn to celebrate being halfway home in the middle of nowhere. If nothing else, I’m grateful for the gift of perspective at my ripe old age. Two quacking ducks. 22.
We did leave Coral Bay after suppertime when the traffic was very light. On purpose. If anyone reading this ever makes it to Ningaloo Reef you’ll see why we had no qualms about starting 145km of pedalling as the sun was setting. Check out the photos of what we pedalled away from this afternoon. A sky on fire.
We spent the first half of the ride discussing this hilariously puzzling idea: if they ever made a Hollywood movie out of the MyPOWER journey, who would they cast as us boys? I claimed Edward Norton straight off the bat. The boy’s got skills. Meri was instantly cast as Dolph Lundgren from Rocky IV, despite requesting Johnny Depp. Anthony was too easy; those unmistakable curls, the ability to look good in a turtleneck sweater – it had to be Tom Hanks. And Matt? Well, all I can say is that when I brought up the idea of that main actor from Capote, I almost crashed from my drastically impaired, teary-eyed vision.
The night dragged on and on. But we were more than halfway home. And although we had plenty to eat, I did wake up in a red, dusty, fly infested truck stop, well and truly on the other side of the street. – Tom Gray, email@example.com