Goodbye English Winter

So here it is, the day before hopping onto a plane to fly ( one way ) to the other side of the planet. Back to the very spot on the planet that I started from to be exact. What many people would describe as returning ‘home’. I’m not sure I know how to feel about that. The past two months have been spent working away as a Live-In Carer in Hampshire, England. Planned to be a easy cash grab, it turned out to be a challenging and draining stint of work. Sitting in here in the kitchen, on my last night shift is somewhat surreal. Everything will be different tomorrow. I may never return to this place. My future is largely unplanned, the only real plans being those outlined in this blog. I want to explore the world, and I want to explore myself through martial arts. Of course, I have a thousand other goals, plans and aspirations but they are all being molded around those two commandments.
Step one: Stay awesome
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Next stop Australia, away from the English Winter and back to my hometown of Wollongong. There I will find old friends, cherished family & my much loved MMA gym; the place where I took the first hesitant, clumsy steps of my passionate journey. But what else will I find when I return ‘home’? How much will have changed? How will people have changed? And what about those who have not? What old paradigms and Demons of the past will return to haunt me? How will I fit into the puzzle now? Who knows?
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Only time will answer these questions dear friends. I am excited to see, but strangely hesitant also. I have so much to do, so many adventures half formed in my mind. Everytime I set out into the unknown, I get another glimpse as to how vast, strange and impossibly wonderful this planet is. Whenever I show up in a new place, friendless and alone it seems so alien; but a short time later I have been welcomed and loved upon by some unexpected and incredible humans. Wherever I find exotic differences in human behaviour I glimpse the similarities too. Like the same story told a thousand different ways, with a million different tongues. And I so long to hear those stories! To join in the telling and add my own flavor to the delightful dishes of the world. I have not yet even arrived back home & a part of me is already restless! What an awesome problem to have…too much awesomeness.

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No doubt this time away will allow me to view my home with a fresh appreciation. I will be able to examine familiar sights & see them anew. Perhaps also with old friends? Perhaps even with you? Oh how exciting.
So what is my point? I’m not sure I have a point today, I just wanted to express where I am at right now. It’s a unique moment in time, I am excited about the future. And I promise you this gentle readers, glorious and fantastical things are afoot. Next year will be magical and adventurous in ways I have not yet even fathomed, with characters I have yet to meet. Action, adventure, romance….and a quest! Yes, I can feel it! More on that as it comes in, for now I must finish my packing. Good luck to you today human. I hope you discover something wonderful, it’s a fantastic day outside.

Peace. Love. Triangles

From a rather exhausted and dishevelled

Scotty

Social isolation & too much coffee

OK OK OK,
It’s been some time since my last update….I don’t have an excuse for that. Excuses are lame anyway. I won’t try to fill you in on all that has happened between now & then, too much life has gone by to be contained in one little blog post. Instead, we shall focus upon the here & now.
HERE is Farnborough England, specifically in a tiny little cafe drinking a giant Mocha. Yep, I am being that guy working on his blog in public space.
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I have returned to my old post working as a Live-In Carer 7 days per week. Once again experiencing the grind of working without days off & the enduring the challenges of social isolation. The plus side being I am once again earning currency & have no real expenses. Also, I have a lot of time to pursue personal development. Or not. The purpose of this stint it to merely refill the coffers before heading home to Australia to spend time with family over Christmas. Because it’s all well and good being kick ass at life & gallivanting off into the sunset- but maintaining the relationships that are meaningful is a super important part of life. For me, I am due to spend some quality face-time with loved ones, not just for my own enjoyment but to actively invest in those relationships. I have such beautiful people waiting for me back home & I am eager to sow into those from whom I have reaped such rich harvests. And no doubt will do again.

But fear not gentle readers! This is not a post about me hanging up my gloves & settling down into normality. Far from it! When I return I will be headed to one of my favourite MMA gyms on the planet to train with the fearsome creatures at Windang Fight Gym, where my MMA journey truly began. I am beyond excited to roll with all my old training partners & hear my coach’s voice again over the din of training.
gym-black-300x225As for settling down…well I have a thousand and one ideas, aspirations & adventures rattling around my mind. All of which should be given life if possible, it is simply a matter of putting them into order. I say ‘all’ because I think taking an idea out of the ephemeral world of thoughts & bringing it into some form of tangible existence, that’s a sacred thing. It’s great to accomplish large, worthy goals, of course, but I also place great value on the little things. The little ideas. Little things often turn out to be big things, don’t they say? Hug your cat. Lick a puppy. Choke your training partners. Live those wacky little side plots & bring those tiny ideas into life. It’ll help programme that big powerful brain of yours to remember that you can do cool shit. Good to remind yourself of that one.  
hal-jordanWhich brings us to the NOW. Other than training & socialising, I don’t exactly know what I will do when I return home. I do not know which direction to take my life once Christmas is done. I do not know which adventure to pursue. And that is totally fine. It is 100% OK. Planning future adventures, scheming world domination, & pondering future possibilites are some of my favorite things to think about. However, as my recent Thailand adventures & complications have firmly demonstrated, life’s twisty & strange. Plans fail. Plots change in an instant. That’s OK too. You don’t need to know all the time. You don’t even need a plan all the time. Sometimes you just need to do. Or not do. So, for now, I’m just a guy doing the work thing. I train. I sleep. I eat good. And I am happy in the now. I feel pretty confident I’ll be happy in the future too. And sad. And all the other things. That’s part of the ride my lovely friends. Hope you’re enjoying the ride today, if not….well just remember we’re talking monkeys on a chunk of dirt flying through nothingness, & that one day this chunk of dirt will be engulfed by a giant fireball as the sun explodes. And on the Universe will roll. So enjoy the ride my monkey friends.

Until next time,
Peace, Love & Triangles

Scotty (has-had-too-much-coffee)

2015 BJJ Globetrotters Summer Camp Review

BJJ Globetrotters Leuven Summer Camp

6 days of training, over 200 grapplers from all around the planet & a wide selection of Belgian beers. It certainly was one hell of a week. For me, getting to finally meet and greet the BJJ Globetrotters was a victory in itself after my earlier failure to do so in Copenhagen. Naturally, with all the dramatic build up, I had pretty high expectations. I had read the book, followed along on social media & was more than a little bit excited. I was not to be disappointed. Over the course of the week, I was choked out by people of different sizes, ages and personalities from all over the world. The variety of experience and styles was incredible. I rolled with belts of every color, Division One wrestlers, Lutra Livre specialists, UFC fighters, I even met a teenager who was having his very first day of BJJ (that’s parenting done right!). I spent a lot of time on the bottom…
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For me it was a combination of many of my passions; getting to share that & see it mirrored in such a huge group of (initially) complete strangers was incredible. I mean, I am a people person; for me interacting with new and unexpected humanoids is one of the best parts about traveling. And ordinarily, when by some twist of fate you happen to meet a new person & they also do BJJ, there’s always this kind of mini-celebration. You don’t have to awkwardly explain that you enjoy rolling around on the floor with people in strange positions trying to strangle each other. At this camp, everyone was there for the love of BJJ. Upon check in, we were given a camp shirt, which became the visual signal throughout the town for meeting a new friend. I met so many interesting and combatively terrifying people in such a short space of time, my head nearly exploded from all the awesomeness.

tinypeacesignsglobeThe only other times I have seen such a large gathering of BJJ folk is during competition; and as much as I have had great experiences and made new friends at comps, the vibe in the air is totally different. People are always tense before their matches & constantly searching for people of similar size. This was nothing like that.
Free hugs for everybody! And enjoy my example of how not to do side control defence.

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Everyone was just here to roll, learn things & make friends. The instructors included. Spending time with the higher belts, on & off the mats, realizing that even the Godlike Black Belts are people too…I learned a lot at this camp. Seeing people living the kind of life I long for, having BJJ as a intrinsic part of their lifestyle, & getting to know them as real people. Not some kind of genetic superheroes or rich playboys. But just normal people doing really cool shit with their lives. Attending the camp would have been worth it just for the social aspect alone…which is a pretty crazy thing to say about a sporting event.
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Training several hours everyday, trying to memorize dozens of names, a head full of crazy new techniques, and then nights of socialising on top was utterly exhausting. Classes ran from 10am to 7pm most days, even training mainly with no-gi, I was overwhelmed. So many interesting classes and instructors, that getting to do them all was just physically impossible. Especially with the effects of last nights tasty Belgian beers. My muscles and internal organs took an absolute beating that week. But it was so, so worth it. I was on such a euphoric high for those 6 days that I actually fell into a little depression post camp. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. It seems like such a short period of time, but there was so much incredible shit crammed in. My own personal highlight reel of BJJ & life brilliance. I want my life to be more like those 6 days. More training, more human interaction, more love. Maybe less beer? There was an awful lot of beer, seriously, one night I only drank varieties of beer exclusively brewed by monks…
globecowboyIn short, if you ever get a chance to attend a BJJ Globetrotter camp, do it. Don’t hesitate. Don’t panic. Don’t rush. Just crush. I’ll explain that some other time, my point is; Just fucking do it. I will be going again the very next chance I get, doesn’t matter where it is, I’m going. My expectations were unreasonably high coming in and they were exceeded by everything that happened at the camp. Hopefully you take my advice & we can choke each other in some exotic place somewhere in the near future.

Until then, stay awesome boys & girls.

Peace, Love & Triangles.

Scotty

First step stumble

Today, is my last weekend of paid work before setting off on my global combative adventures. Exciting times. I have worked the past 6 months solidly as a Live-in-Carer to finance my venture. All the while eagerly anticipating my emancipation. So eagerly in fact, that I planned ahead much more thoroughly than usual. I booked a week in Copenhagen, Denmark on the way to SE Asia. This Danish week was plotted to be my week of glory. Joining the BJJ Globetrotters for a 6 day camp of martial arts and awesome. I have been eagerly anticipating this week for months now. Ticking another day off my calendar every night, watching the slow yet steady march of time bringing me closer to my objective.
Training as much as possible to hone my limited skills to be ready for the camp. Carefully monitoring my diet; even eating as a Vegetarian & Vegan for a month each of the year. Vegan was bloody challenging. Daily stretching to increase my flexibility. It became my mission every day to prepare myself.

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But, life does not always go to plan. Today I sent an email in which I regretfully announced I could not participate in the camp. Due to Ringworm. Gross and debilitating, Ringworm.

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I picked it up from a sparring partner & had been desperately hopeful of healing in time for Denmark. But it was not so. The first step in my traveling martial arts odyssey has been a stumble. Not only was I unable to train for the whole month of May, but now am unable to attend the BJJ Globetrotters event. My Thailand camp might even be in jeopardy. It is not ideal. It’s not great. My carefully laid plans gone askew by circumstances outside my control.
And that’s life right? The story we have in our head about how things will go, is often just that. A story we tell ourselves. Just thoughts.
Being involved in another person’s life these past months, I have glimpsed a entirely different way of living. I have been entwined in the life of a person, who due to circumstances outside their control, simply has less options than most people. A hell of a lot less. He doesn’t have the option of scratching his own nose. It’s just not in the cards. And yet somehow this man still remains a decent and thoughtful human being. The whole thing is mind-boggling. How often have we heard the saying ‘ at least you have your health’? I can remember thinking that to be one of the most unhelpful statements ever. I understand it a little better now. The ability to use my fingers to type this (somewhat whiny) post, is a great and fantastic thing. Being able to scratch your own nose, is a greatly underrated ability.
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I am not happy to have Ringworm. It’s itchy and unsightly. I feel like something of a modern day leper, not my sexiest moment. But it will pass. It is temporary. Just like everything else.
Life is dynamic, it’s constantly changing. And even though that fact is biting me in the ass right now, I love it. The unpredictable nature of the human experience is one of the most fascinating parts. And trying to live a peaceful, meaningful life within that swirling, unknowable chaos is all part of the fun.
So enjoy the moments as they pass. Focus on the good bits. Grow the things you love, don’t sweat the other stuff. Life is grand boys & girls.
Hope your today is a glorious one, full of nose scratching and other fun stuff.

Peace.Love.Triangles (& ringworm)
Scotty

Helpful resources

It’s good to have friends. I am (so!) proud to have friends in different countries all over the world. Meeting people is one of the best things about travelling and I am incredibly eager to discover new humans as my adventures continue.
It’s also good to have options and ideas.
In this post I wanted to create a list of some of the people and resources that have helped me in my attempts to explore myself and the planet. Some of these are people I have met on my travels, others are just great sites. But they have all helped me along the way, one way or another. Many have paid options but most are free and all have at least some free content.

Travellers
If exploring the world is your cup of tea, you might be interested in checking out these gentlemen. Both have shiny websites loaded with great content about travel and life.

greatbigscaryworld
This fantastic character I met in Norway whilst volunteering. His incredible adventures and insightful thoughts are well documented, focusing on dealing with fear and inexperience whilst living a kick-ass life. Awesome guy, awesome site.

giveliveexplore
One of the first travel blogs I ever read, I stumbled across Matt whilst spinning my wheels financially and day-dreaming about exploring the world. I emailed him after reading a particularly inspiring post and was happily shocked one random day when he mailed me a postcard from Iceland. Although I have never met him, he has nonetheless helped me on my journey.

Exploring self
Changing the world starts with changing yourself, right? If you agree or even if you don’t, these sites kick serious ass.

 

artofmanliness
One of my all time favourite websites, it has inspired my countless times. Focuses on how to be a better man, without being a douche-bag about it. Worthy cause.

Liveyourlegend
A site focused upon finding meaningful work and doing a job you love. A idea I think is pretty awesome. Good resources and thought provoking content.

Escapethecity
Another of my early inspiration sites, this caters more to providing skilled professionals with alternate career opportunities. Although I largely didn’t posses the skills required, I still really enjoyed the spirit of the site and found links to other projects through it.

nerdfitness
As a nerd at heart, this fitness oriented site appeals to me greatly. Lots of free content conveyed in a fun and genuine fashion.

TedX
Ideas worth spreading indeed. TedX also has a channel on Youtube, great ideas over countless different topics. If you are going to procrastinate, use this instead of pictures of cats.

BJJ
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, ‘the gentle art’ of grown men rolling around on the ground for fun. Do you love pyjama parties? Are you into choking people? Want to become better at being a human? Then this sport might be your next favourite activity. Below are links to highly passionate practitioners with awesome style at living.

 

Bjjglobetrotters
Home to mat-surfing: an ingenious blend of couch-surfing style hosting with training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the perfect resource for the BJJ traveller.

grapplearts
Stephan is both hilarious and highly informative. His articles cover all things BJJ ,(and I do mean ALL things; everything from Ringworm treatment to BJJ techniques for the zombie apocalypse) are extremely useful and written with a genuine and well communicated style. He also has dozens of videos on Youtube and tonnes of free content.

Languages
Ever wanted to learn another tongue? Even just a few words can go along way in connecting with people in a foreign country.

 

Duolingo
The most user friendly  FREE site/app for languages I have found yet, I am super excited for the Russian for English speakers due in August.

Memrise

Another good FREE languages site/ app, I found it particularly helpful for learning Cyrillic script in Russian, also available as a free app.

 

Travel resources
It can be pretty overwhelming out there in a unknown land. Having a few ‘go-to’ sites is rather handy, here are some of mine.

(getting around)

Wiki-hitch
Hitch-hiking is a incredibly fun and cost efficient way of getting around. This wiki is great for tips, general information and specific hitching locations.

Rio2rome
Helpful for planning how to get from ‘A’ to ‘B’ in strange places all over the world. The estimated journey costs are not always 100% accurate but are great for a general guide.

Couchsurfing
Not only an alternate means of accommodation, but also a great way to meet fellow travellers and locals. Couchsurfing hosts many events all over the world, which you can attend to network, even if you don’t sleep on anyone’s couch.

Tinder
Wait, what now? A dating app? I will not pretend to be a huge fan of online dating, but travelling often means being versatile and open-minded. Tinder doesn’t have to be sleazy or overtly sexual Like everything else in life, the experience you have will be largely influenced by YOU. It CAN be a great tool for meeting fellow travellers or getting to know locals. Or it can be a medium to convey pictures of your genitals to complete strangers. Your call, no judgement here.

(Volunteering)

Workaway
I am a huge, huge fan. Absolutely life-changing website. Volunteer and cultural exchange all around the world, with a incredible verity of projects. The site does charge a fee to sign up (approx. 30£ for 2 years, some of the best money I have ever spent) but is free to browse, I highly recommend that you do.

HelpX
Very similar idea to Workaway, hosts all over the world looking to exchange food/lodgings in return for unpaid work. Also free to browse but requires sign up to contact hosts, similar cost to Workaway. Many hosts will appear on both sites as it is free to be a host. I personally enjoy the Workaway site more, but this is mainly aesthetic.

 

It sounds basic and obvious, but don’t forget when faced with a random problem or when in doubt; ‘Google-that-shit’. The internet is your friend, between Youtube and Google, there are countless strangers waiting to help you solve your problem. Don’t panic, just type in the problem and let the world help.

I should point out, that none of these sites or people pay me to put them here. These are simply all people and resources I have found helpful. I hope you do too.

Peace. Love. Triangles.
Scotty