Flight JQ216

I’ve been up since 5am. I’ve had four cups of tea, I’m wearing a one piece body suit, have huge bags under my eyes, my face is all puffy, and I look like absolute shit.

It still hasn’t quite sunk in that I’m on my way to Melbourne. Four days catching up with long lost loves, old friends, new friends and hopefully doing a spot of busking.

Then too Vietnam; where I’ve been instructed to drink bottled water only, keep careful watch of ALL of my belongings at ALL times and hope like hell that I don’t get done over by the locals. At least I don’t look particularly rich – especially since I’m neither white, nor male. I’m just super excited to be able to learn about a COMPLETELY different part of the world, really.

Los Angeles; where I’ll be picked up by my great uncle, before engaging with two sides of a family I barely know, and barely know anything about. Then again, that’s what this whole moving-to-the-States thing is all about – getting to know my family, and, in turn, myself. Challenging my ideas on the world, and what exactly it means to be me. I take some sort of strange pride in telling people where my family are from – what my whakapapa is. I guess I learned that from my years working at Te Wananga o Aotearoa – you can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’re from. But while I smile as I run off the list of countries; America, Iran, Norway, Fiji, and – of course – New Zealand, I don’t actually know much about those countries at all.

Last year, I visited my dad, step mother, brothers (three), sisters (two), new niece, grandmother and extended family (everyone’s your family over there) in Fiji. It was my ninth or tenth time to Fiji, but it was the first time I’d ever left Fiji feeling a sense of ACTUAL connection to the country or the culture. To signify this connection, I inked my skin for the fifth time with a shark on my forearm. In Fiji, each dialect has a representative tree, bird and fish; my village has a shark as their fish – it’s pretty bad ass.
Boston: where I’ll be hanging out for a while before I start my new job at Camp Chimney Corners as Trips Director for American youth. The more I read of Amanda Palmer’s “The Art of Asking”; the more excited I am about Boston (that’s where she’s from), and the more excited I am about being completely vulnerable, carefree, creative, giving, and adventurous as I undergo this job, and music.

So I’m on this plane ready to get to know more about my family tree, and do a bit of exploration and living outside of my comfort zone – WAY outside of my comfort zone. I think I’ve been way too comfortable for the last few years. I’ve worked my ass off, sure, but that doesn’t mean I’ve overly challenged myself. Well, that might not be totally correct. I’ve lost over 20kg, completed Tough Mudder and Tough Guy & Gal, recorded two EP’s and an album (holy shit! Still trying to come to terms with that), filmed and released music videos, took part in protests, helped Chris with his election campaign last year, took part in X Factor, gigged my ass off every week whilst also working two part time jobs (teaching and youth work), won awards for youth work and being a New Zealander of the Year Local Hero, hit PB’s, supported various people through dealing with their depression… there’ve been a few things I’ve done outside of my comfort zone.

But not nearly to the extent of packing my life into a couple of bags, and heading off to the middle of somewhere-I’ve-not-really-been-before with only myself to rely on, and hoping like fuck that the universe (and the people of the universe) will come to the party and help. I’m learning to let go of this control freakishness I seem to have developed (I think that comes with part of my comfort – I NEED to know what’s going on at all times. Doing ALL the things can be a bitch like that) and trust in the world a bit more. At least I hope I’m learning. I want to be able to let go sometimes; open myself up to new experiences, new cultures, new food, new music, and new interactions. I want to talk less and learn more. I want to be a bit reckless and end up somewhere unplanned and have the time of my life. I want to start saying “yes” more – not necessarily “yes” to others (I have a habit of doing that already), but “yes” to myself.

I’m going through a few emotions at the moment. Exhaustion. Trepidation. Excitement. Bewilderment. Determination. Fear. Nostalgia (which I’m sure will get worse before it gets better). Adventurousness. Stubbornness (to succeed, that is). Feeling overwhelmed. A bit out of control. What the fuck am I doing? Am I doing the right thing?

Except I know I am. I know that this is a journey that I have to take – otherwise it wouldn’t have fallen so perfectly into place. I know I’m going to meet amazing people, I’m going to experience crazy things, I’m going to have enlightening and beautiful conversations with people, write HEAPS of new songs (for solo projects, collaborations with whatever musicians I chance to meet, and Static Era), and learn a shit load about the world – and myself – that I will struggle to put it all into words.

It’s go time, guys! I can’t wait to take you on this journey with me! It all starts HERE!!

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