Thoughts from Banda Aceh (or why I am a legendary traveller and definitely not a tourist)
Hi, so I am Danny Salfield (the really thoughtful looking character in picture above). I am currently on a short trip to a place I have been a few times before and am now feeling rather bonded to called Longkha Village in North Sumatra (I'm having a nice time thanks for asking). I say a short trip because I am most definitely not on 'holidays' as all evolved spiritual beings like myself know. Only moronic, spoiled, fat, white western slaves to the system go on 'holidays'. legends like me 'travel' or go on 'short trips'. When we go we post photos of things in there natural element (cows crossing a road) rather than obvious tourist sites (well known buildings) and if so only do so ironically and perhaps with a carefully placed prop like a Coca Cola bottle to represent the inevitable encroachment of the capitalist world, of which we have nothing to do with despite only being able to go where we are due to the fortunate situation of capitalism working a lot better in the country we are from than the 'untouched' Country we are consequently spreading it too with the inevitable temptation of our tourist dollars (not that I am a tourist remember).
As you can see in the photo above I am looking very deep in thought, which proves I am a traveler, definitely not a tourist. Tourists smile in photos, us evolved explorers of the world think about things and definitely do NOT smile in our continuously posted to social media examples of us enjoying solitude and not being distracted by social media obviously prove. The more posts, the more evidence you are definitely not thinking about the world you left behind and the people in it and you are definitely not trying to create FOMO as revenge for the FOMO these imagined people created at the orgie you imagined they had, at the party you didn't get invited too, because you are not really friends with them anyway but forgot that because you see so much of there lives on social media you might as well be.
Anyway it is a serious business being a patronising hypocrite in the world, discussing the solutions to third world problems over a few bintangs, while you have your meals cooked for you in a restaurant serving the sort of authentic cuisine that would cost an authentic local a weeks wages to afford.
So how do you know if your a traveler not a tourist? Well for a start if the distinction is bothering you there is a good chance you are just enough of a wanker to have missed the point entirely, which is we are all just people existing in different places at different times, in different circumstances and the fact we have the wealth to go different places in our lifetime is a great privilege and not an entitlement so treat everyone you meet equally wherever you are and stop labelling people you insufferable spoilt trust funded hypocrite (if you are white and have dreadlocks, there is a good chance I am talking too you).
I do however highly recommend, if you are reading this and have been stuck in a bit of a rut at your job or in your relationship and are a little discombobulated and wondering if you are on the right path etc etc to take a little leap of faith, throw a dart at an atlas and break out of your bubble. Even if it is for a short time (don't worry we won't accuse you of going on holidays). If it is to go somewhere with some creature comforts we won't accuse you of cheating. The whole idea is, forget any misplaced desire to create meaningful change in the world (lets face it, it is unlikely you are doing any real good for the people who live where you are going) it is to learn a little more about yourself and hopefully the parts you are learning about are good and useful parts. By learning these lessons, their is a chance (pretty small chance) that you can affect some change on the world, through a shift in perspective and a change in the course your life is on. The fact is we all CAN make a difference, for sure this is true but at the same time lets be honest with ourselves, when we book a flight to a place with sick waves and a comfortable bed, we are going for selfish reasons. Nothing wrong with that. bettering yourself can better others, if it can't at least your are getting a good nights sleep and some decent tube time.
Moral of the story, break free every now and then. I have found 100 percent of the time I am having a shitty time at home I have a better time when I go away and when I return the shitty time has faded into the obvious #firstworldproblem dilemma reality. Our problems perspective wise can even become the source for some amusement us when we see the forest for the trees. So you lucky spoilt fat white tourist, roll the dice and go eat some rice.
Today is 11.11 day. For some a day of rememberance. Of a war ending. For me it is I suppose the closest I have to a religious day. At some point in my life I am not sure when I started having some weird connection with 11.11. Seeing that particular time constantly, looking at a screen, receiving a phone call, glancing up a clock. It is not so much the coincidence of this happening and by all means the logical part of me knows you can rationalise it away the way dejavu and any kind of mysticism can be torn down and stamped on by the ruthless boot of science. But for me, for about a year I felt something there, some sort of energy about the occurrences and then started realising that is was an actual thing for a lot of people. So all of a sudden I felt a little community grow around me. Now in this cynical day and age it can be quite confronting to admit to having a belief in a higher power or in a system of communication with the universe that involves a particular time of day, but I truly Believe that is what it is. It is communicating with your higher self. Seeing 11.11 frequently I think is a sign you are on the right path in life. Having beliefs is important, because if it is something you feel and it is real to you then to deny it, is to deny a part of yourself and restrict your potential. so today it is 11.11 day and in about an hour I tend to spend a minute offering a prayer to the universe asking for guidance and allowing myself to surrender to the energy that is always there that we are constantly running from, knowing full well that to allow a real belief in this crazy world allows a glimmer of hope that we are truly greater than the sum of our parts and that maybe there is a path have overshot just a little and need to be redirected back onto...
SEX AND SURFING. That is the name of this blog. I know how it looks. on face value, pretty shallow right. Surfing, thats ok. Surfing is innocent, spiritual, a little bit hipster, its also a sport! Surfing is a natural pursuit that will create no controversy, it leaves no splashes when you drop it into a sentence. Want to go for a surf this weekend? Hows the surf been? I love surfing. Want me to teach you how to surf?
Now replace the word 'surfing' with the word 'sex'. Big splashes. Sex is manipluative, dirty, stolen after late nights at night clubs, held hostage in long term relationships, the runiner of friendships, the cause of many a sleepless night thinking of an ex lover in another lovers arms. Sex. I still love it though. I feel it would be betraying myself to allow it be a taboo word, to admit defeat and resign myself to the accepted convention of pretending that sex isn't important. It is. it gives life. It bonds love, it ignites the soul, it bring two people together. There is nothing wrong with being good at 'sex'. Sex is only a dirty word when it comes from a dirty mind. Be honest with people it is that simple. If you want to have sex with them, don't pretend that you want to be just friends. There is nothing wrong with how you feel. your lust is not wrong. Be proud to be a hot blooded man or woman. Sex and surfing. For me they are connected to my very being, I love them both.
That September 11 moment...
Yesterday I was with my two friends Loudon and Patrick. We were at the pub. The vibe in the air was buzzing. In a surf town, watching your heroes in good waves on a big screen and filling yourself with beer is a very pleasant thing. The final is about to paddle out in the water. Patrick leans in to me and enters that little bit further into my personal space than one would while sober "I fucking love this man, watching surfing with my bros. I am going to miss you". Patrick is going to Asia on a training excercise with the army. "lets make babies when you come back" I reply to him. A slightly faceatious but nonetheless tender moment with a close friend. His response is hard to translate but the underlying essence was emotion. The practicality of us having children and the reponsibiltiy of raising children as two straight men with no sexual attraction is difficult to comprehend. Patrick is a good man though. We are all having a good time is the scene I am trying to set. All oblivious of the sudden dramatic twist, that will rattle us all to our cores.
The contest starts, the siren sounds and quickly Julian catches a wave, continuing in the same grain of form that has got him this far in the contest. It is a mid range score, he slices and dices and sets the scene for what we all are sure will be a worthy battle of two aquatic swordsmen. The attention is now on Mick. A guy who is surfing like a cat on acid. The camera centres on him, nothing is happening. He is sitting on his board contemplating his next move. As it is the start of the final of J Bay competition everyones attention is on the screen awaiting Micks first parry, his answer back to Julians opening score. What happens next is now recorded in the history books, a moment not only in surf history but that of live sport. A defenseless human put in that most fragile of situations with an apex predator. At first to most of us it was hard to absorb what we were seeing. there is a disturbance in the water. Is it a school fish trying to forge a path through where Mick is sitting. Is Mick having an epeleptic fit? There is thrashing, Mick is off his board. Something bumps into him and then he disapears. The whole pub holds its collective breathe. Is the next image to be broadcast to our screens a pool of blood and one of surfing most loved and decorated stars bleeding to death with his whole family watching, totally helpless to his plight?
"No fucking way" Patrick grabs my shoulder. I can't talk. Is this really happening? Mick gets on the back of a wave runner apparently unscathed, He is holding his severed legrope in one hand, everyone is looking for blood, expecting the worst. the legrope is a reminder of how close the razer sharp teeth were to his femoral artery, an almost guaranteed ticket off this mortal plane. "Lets go to my place we have to hear what is going on" Loudon is halfway out the door, in action mode. His life saving side kicking into gear. I am not sure what he is hoping to be able to do, but i can tell he wants to do something. We all need to go sit together and focus in on what is happening. We all feel like we know Mick, to see that happen was a very real reminder of the unpredictability of all our lives. Mick just won the lottery. not a scratch on him and the replay fills the screen of every surfer from Rio to Sydney. how close Mick had come to checking out is very apparent.
Much like September 11 attack there is that instant feeling that everything has just changed somehow. That the world has shifted and as we are all a part of the scheme of things we have changed to. Much like September 11 I will always remember where I was on the day Michael Eugine Fanning was given a very sobering life lesson, while the world watched.
Don't kill sharks but please respect your life. respect this impermant mortal coil. Hold your loved ones tight. Take a deep breathe in unison with Mick and ponder what he is pondering right now. How close for him. How close for all of us.
For more of Danny's work.
Checkout his author spotlight page at lulu.com
Below is some insight into his first novel.
"...A Feast of foreign destinations, sensuality and raging hormones, Salfield delves into the inner machinations of a young man looking for answers in the curve of a wave or a womans hips, fresh engaging and original..."
Kim Falconer, Author of the Quantum Enchantment series.
About the book
'Sex and Surfing' is a novel inspired by a series of experiences I had whilst travelling the world as a newly single man in 2008. I had just turned 30 and been crudely deposited into the bachelor jungle after seven years of domestic bliss. With nothing to hold me back and the niggling sensation that there was more to life than wallowing in misery I decided to set off to search for the 'one'. The 'one' however became many and what began as noble quest for true love quickly deteriorated into a hedonistic montage of Sex and Surfing. I self published this book as a precursor to my second novel which I have now finished work on and am hoping to have published by a mainstream publishing house. I truly appreciate your support and by purchasing a copy of my book you are helping me to develop my art. Best regards, Danny Salfield.
About the author
Danny was raised in Byron Bay on the North Coast of NSW on a diet of surfing and tofu steaks. Upon graduating from salt water high he went on to a university degree in Media Studies at the local university. After being socially outcast by his peers for having no interest in naturopathy or caring for dunes he turned his back on Byron and went to work as DJ for a commerical radio station on the Cold Ghost. After realising his soul while mostly worthless was not totally ready to be sold he then spent a number of years trying to give it more substance whilst surfing around the world. Most recently he was on air on Lismore based radio station Triple Zed Fm and on stage at various (two) monthly open mic stages in the local area performing stand up comedy. He hopes to keep writing and trying to convince himself and various family members (all of them) that because you do something enough it can be called a 'career'
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