Sitting in a hostel in downtown Copenhagen, the past few weeks are somewhat surreal. Whirling from Australia to Greenland to Europe in a few short weeks. Exhausting. Exhilarating. Expensive. And only possible due to the wondrous technology of the 21st century, which I so often take for granted and even ridicule. Probably because I’m basically a glorified talking monkey going about this complex world in a near-constant state of confusion. I often find myself longing for simpler times, where my caveman-like brain could concern itself fully with simple matters: like what to eat, or who to hang out with; instead of trying to understand how my keyboard works or why we do the things we do…
For me, those ‘things’ have been whirling through Greenland, exploring, and practicing martial arts with strangers all over the world. And then swimming with them in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Or spending 8hrs hiking to a glacier….
….just so we could eat some of it. Huzzah.
But the story goes on, on to the glorious Copenhagen! Capital of Denmark. City of Vikings. Home to a whole bunch of fantastic, warm, smoking-hot Danish people. Ohhhh boy…. I do love Scandinavia. Copenhagen has been a fantastic place to spend a week, continuing my exploration of self & humans, on & off the mats.
On the mats found me heading to CSA , the original birthplace of the BJJ Globetrotters, which seemed a fitting place to drop into and roll. For anyone looking for a place to train in Copenhagen, either short or long term; I could not recommend this place more highly. I turned up with a friend who trained Muay Thai, & both of us were given ONE WEEK of free training. One fucking week?! I’ve been to gyms in London who wanted 30£ for a trial lesson. Crazy. But at CSA the mat space is amazing, the people were incredibly welcoming (making the effort to be kind to the new guy, & speak his language) and very well trained. I got my ass kicked & made a whole bunch of new friends. Just the way it should be.
In less than a month I have met people/rolled with people from Greenland, Denmark, America, Canada, Latvia, Australia, Iceland, Sweden, Ireland, Scotland, Germany & probably a whole bunch of other places. They all had lots of things in common. Probably much more than any of us really think about on a regular basis. But one of my favourite common points is a curiosity & love for other human beings. I know ‘love’ is a big word to throw about for some, but it’s fitting. That desire to see the people around us energized and happy; I think everyone possess that. We might express it in a whole gamut of different ways, or even be nervous about putting it out there sometimes, but I truly believe it’s in all of us. In some form or another.
And lately I have been fortunate to experience the excitement & enthusiasm of being alive through a host of different muses, heroes, heroines, & apertures through which the wonders of human experience have flowed. A little too hippy? Well, maybe. But give me a break, I have been spending a lot of time in Christiania recently…mostly giggling happily in the sunshine.
But today I fly for Frankfurt to re-unite with friends & investigate the open mats of ze Germans. Stay tuned for more ponderings & poorly formed sentences.
Until next time
With happy, floaty thoughts & mental images of rainbows & pretty butterflies…
Peace. Love & Triangles
Greenland BJJ Globetrotters ‘Karma’ Camp
For the past week or so I have lived in Nuuk, the Capital of Greenland. I am being (very kindly) hosted by a local family and experiencing life here first-hand, amongst real people. I say ‘real’ people because the experience of befriending and interacting with locals is much different to navigating hotels & tourist traps. No one here is interested in me because of money or to be a dutiful employee. I am not handing over cash to a stranger with the expectation of gaining a certain experience. There is a time & place for touristic pleasures, but generally I strongly prefer to mix in with the locals (like this babe & her sweet pet Polar bear).
In this case, I was invited to do so; which is pretty unusual. It’s not everyday you get a message from someone inviting you to Greenland. Let alone inviting you to Greenland to train BJJ, (in what would turn out to be the country’s first gathering of international BJJ artists) with hosts providing you lodgings. The invitation was completely unexpected, and it found me sitting idly in a small coastal town in Australia. About as far away as one could possibly get from Greenland. I would love to tell you that I seized this opportunity immediately without fear, the way every motivation speech ever suggests you should. I’d love to say that. To tell you that life is filled with opportunities, for those bold enough to take them. Opportunities & ice-cream. Or something.
But to be honest, the first thing I did upon reading this invitation in disbelief, was absolutely shit myself. Some quick researched showed me flights to Greenland are spectacularly expensive. In my case, I would also require a flight from Australia to Copenhagen. Not cheap either. And totalling over 30hrs in travel just to arrive. Closer to 40 including stopovers in airports. I knew nothing of the culture or language. The other people going were strangers & much, much better at BJJ than me. I didn’t know why I was even invited, if I could really afford it or what I could possibly contribute on such a voyage ( which included 4 international BJJ Black belts, gym owners, hell… even people taller and more Australian than me!). So it certainly was not a comfortable decision. But it was a tremendously exciting one. And one of my best to date. Whilst here I have made friends with Greenlanders & fellow martial artists from all over the world. Invitations to visit other exotic locations/gyms were made, and are now potential adventurous chapters to be lived. Just like every other BJJ Globetrotters camp; the networking and socialising aspect has been absolutely ridiculous.
I was lucky enough to witness the very first Greenlandic BJJ belt promotion; and then be the first person to roll with him as a blue belt. We even ‘braved’ (I use the term lightly, some of us screamed more than others) the cold & swam in the freezing waters off Nuuk on a windy -0.6 degree day. Together we explored local Fjords & saw a whale off the coast of Nuuk. I even got myself a free haircut from my kindly host’s daughter, who works in a local salon. I will go into all the glorious details in another post.
But the point I wanted to make today was that none of this would have happened if not for the one decision a few months ago, alone with my computer on the other side of the planet. That moment was the catalyst that allowed all of this awesomeness to unfold. And it would have been so easy not to do it. I had a thousand reasons not to go. It was not the safe route. Or the practical choice. The responsible decision. And if am totally honest, a part of me was afraid to go because of so many unknown variables. That’s coming from someone who delights in the unknown. But the more I pondered the choice, the more I felt my initial gut reaction being reinforced; not the fear part. But the adventurous spirit underneath that was screaming ‘fuck yes!’ Sometimes that scream is so covered by nonsense it might just be a whisper. But I think whenever we have an option that resonates with our deepest desires, some part of us always sings. Even if it’s softly.
So for you, maybe it isn’t an invitation to Greenland. Maybe it’s starting a up a new Cafe. Or accepting a promotion in a new town. Or quitting a job which grinds your soul. Or telling that attractive human about your messy human feelings. Or deciding to start showing people your creative work. Whatever choices lay before, just do me & yourself one favour. Be honest. And be brave, even if you shit yourself in the process. I guess that’s two things…but hopefully you catch my meaning. Go out there & shit yourselves in the interest of living a life in accordance with your inner mojo. Shit yourself in service to becoming a better version of yourself. And on that strange note, I shall leave you.
Until next time,
Peace. Love. Triangles
Much has happened since my last writing. Months have passed. Love, disaster, summer, laughter, weddings, heartbreak, sweat, more laughter, tears and lots of other things. Like Belt promotions….
(check out those sexy kneepads…..)
It doesn’t matter now, it’s in the past. Let us concern ourselves for now with the present. And the near future.
The present moment finds me jet-lagged and hungry in a terminal of Copenhagen airport, awaiting a flight to Greenland. I’m having trouble concentrating my foggy brain on anything in particular, so this probably won’t be my most eloquent post of all time. But it’s a exciting one nonetheless. I am heading to Greenland to meet up once more with The BJJ Globetrotters, for Greenland’s first ever Brazilian Jiu Jitsu camp. History in the making! Glorious, sweaty, pyjama party history- featuring (for better or worse) yours truly.
I arrived yesterday from Sydney & still have hours ahead of travel, so I’ll keep this brief & poorly written. But stay tuned fellow campers, fantastic once in a lifetime moments are coming soon. Until then, I’m going to try not to fall asleep & miss my flight. Pretty sure there is a awesome metaphor about life in there somewhere….
Until next time friends, be kind to children & enjoy flowers. Stroke a kitten. Call your mother. You know, the good things.
Peace. Love. Triangles.
from a very tired