Australia: Working, Hitchiking, Romance

Submitted by ReidMR on Thu, 04/25/2013 - 21:20

Personal Experience in Australia

Australia promised massive earning potential and little else. I became completely debt free. Before leaving it surprised me by introducing someone I opened up to and who showed another way to view the world. Oh, the Great Barrier Reef was beautiful.

If you want the abridged version, here are some highlights from this trip. Two horny roommates. Masturbating in the shower. Feeding birds from my hand. My first hitchhiking experience as well as everything with "Ben" until the end.

Thursday 21 June 2012 - Landed in Melbourne

Australian locals felt very cold after arriving from friendly and hospitable Asian countries. Maybe I was feeling depressed and they reflected my feelings. The focus here seems to shift from customers to business convenience.

Hostels in Asia were far superior. I mean, this was a high C - low B grade hostel. Many in Asia were A class. Other guests in Melbourne were shocked I considered this average. They had uncomfortable beds that creak and shake when people get in and out; drawers that jam; a somewhat unclean interior; use of carpet instead of concrete, wood, or tile; limited internet; and restroom maintenance issues. Asian countries are blowing past the Western world in many ways. Asian hostels often: expect guests to remove shoes at the door; use solid beds; offer unlimited internet; have well-maintained facilities; were clean; and were well-designed and purpose built. Western countries no longer set standards. The rest of the world has not only caught up, but they have cruised past and set the bar.

Thursday 9 August 2012 - Melbourne

I have been feeling de-energized and down since arriving. I now realize how important loved ones are. I am ready for a travel partner. My travel horizon is closer to setting. I will start thinking of settling down and starting the next thing.

I am becoming more assertive and confident. I feel very happy with where I am at and the progress made. At times I see I resemble my dad; traits I don't want to share scare me, others I feel comfortable with. I feel more managerial and like I could lead people. I can see how much I have grown and matured, and wonder how much more I will in five years. I have been discovering the truth in that we set the bar for how we are treated. I call people out when they are disrespectful and they usually adjust their behavior and become more pleasant.

If people ask where I am from I tend to answer USA. Relations have improved with Obama in office because people in the international community seem to think more highly of him. If I sense that someone cannot separate government policies from individuals I cut the conversation instead of saying that I am from elsewhere.

Highlight: Two horny roommates.

I met some friends in the hostel. Two roommates took a liking for each other and shacked up for the night. His bed was not above mine, so I didn't mind. I took my earplugs out to listen. They were making out and going further. Soon I heard them stop and she whispered, "I'm having my period." There was a pause, and he replied, "I don't mind, do you." "No" she responded, "it's okay." They continued right on. He pulled her tampon out and dropped it from his upper bunk. It landed on his buddies sock leaving it red. I put my earplugs back in. I could still hear them, so when the third time started up again, I asked how what the score was, and how they both thought it was going. That effectively ruined the mood for them and I was able to sleep. In the morning he told me he had a lingering taste of iron in his mouth.

If you are reading the abridged version, you may skip to the next highlight.

Electrical device at the power substation that looks very spooky.
Melbourne feels like a warmer and coastal version of Minneapolis. I am working in a cafe for 17 AUD (~17 USD) an hour net. I also participated in an Open House Melbourne event. They opened up a power substation, library catacombs, an anatomy museum with real body parts, a science museum, the shipping port, and a hospital helipad. The photo above was used for DC power at the power substation. They left it running because nobody knows how to restart it.

Container with actual strawberry DNA visible in it.
I touched real plasticized body parts and saw actual clumped strawberry DNA (the cloudy area of the photo). I did not know DNA could be seen with the naked eye.

I finished a YouTube video. It took over 40 hours to make a 4 minute video. It was a great learning experience, although I became tired of it by the end. I knew it could be better, but didn't know how to improve it. An experienced person would know exactly what to do to make it better.

I would like to move into a house share and meet friends. After paying a girl at a bakery asked, "Are you all right?" As I took my items I replied, "Yes. (pause) Why did you ask if I am all right?" She gave my change and said, "You look down." That caught me off guard as that is the first time someone told me that. It was true. Maybe that is why people have been asking if I am well, I thought it was just a common salutation.

Saturday 11 August 2012 - Melbourne

Me marching in the marriage equality rally holding the sign.
Today I attended a marriage equality rally and march. I went to the front and asked one person holding the banner if they needed help. Holding it was more of a symbolic gesture to show my support for this and equality in general. I chanted right along. Rallies look organized on TV. On the ground it was impromptu, especially the chants. We had to move kids who unintentionally blocked the banner. Others accidentally stepped on my shoes. The police ensured it was peaceful and genuinely protected the protesters. It shows that the government has individuals that try their best. A Catholic priest lightheartedly officiated a mass illegal wedding. It was my first rally/protest I have participated in, and it was fun to be at the front.

Change, progress, and equality do not come on their own. I must also push for it. It was more about equality for me; people should be able to make their own personal choices without society hindering them. Society should not dictate peoples lives and should instead focus on their own, especially when actions realistically only impact the person directly doing something. "Society" is everyone, including myself. I choose to shape and push it when I remain quiet or speak for or against something. That occurred when I spoke to enforce a social rule, but said nothing after realizing I would be enforcing a norm, thereby being the part of society that arbitrarily enforces conformity instead of encouraging tolerance, acceptance, individuality, and uniqueness.

Some neat looking red flowers.
These are some neat flowers.

Highlight: Masturbating in the shower.

Thursday 11 October 2012 - Melbourne

Today I was masturbating in the shower. A guy entered the stall next to me. His wide stance revealed his light brown foot at the edge of the barrier. His foot came and went as he shifted positions. Shadows resembled a hand moving back and fourth. I figured he was also relieving himself. As his foot moved in and out of view, I suddenly noticed the reflecting water puddle. I could see everything! Yes, he WAS masturbating. As I kept glancing, in shock, I could see his size, comparable to mine, height, also about the same, his rigidity, now a bit limp, like mine, because he had finished as I had. As I stared in shock the realization struck that if I could see him, he could also see me! I realized I may have been caught staring!  

My brain raced. I tried looking away, but the curiosity and shock drew me back! Now it was very awkward! I started to shift positions so he could not see. But while shifting, I wondered if he saw me see him, so I tried to act natural so he was not suspicious! Further, I thought maybe that was what he got off on. Maybe he was watching me and liked it! Is this what it feels like to be a stalker?

Another realization hit. I had been showering, masturbating, and washing for months. And never knew someone may have watched. I thought I was doing my business in private. But no, it may have been very public!

I am a bit of an exhibitionist anyway. Over 100 people have seen me nude. But the thought of someone seeing me naked when I thought no one could was another thing. I thought I knew when someone was watching me and when they weren't. Am I ever in private? How often am I being watched when I have no idea or when I think I am enjoying privacy? 

Light brown masturbation guy, thanks for baring all for this insight. Hope you enjoyed the show. 

If you are reading the abridged version, you may skip to the next highlight.

Thursday 11 October 2012 - Melbourne

Last week in the work restroom I was going to wash my hands when a woman barged in. I asked her, "Are you looking for the women's restroom?" Her reply was a simple, “~I really have to pee.” as she proceeded to enter the first stall, pull down her pants, set down her purse, and start peeing. Without closing the door.

Meanwhile I was at the washbasin looking into a large mirror. She was directly behind me. If I moved I would be staring directly at a women peeing behind me in the mens room. I was speechless. I awkwardly tried to dispense soap to wash and dry my hands without seeing her in the mirror. After I finished washing I tried to walk out like nothing happened. But I was in a state of disbelief. My mouth stayed agape for a week!

My shock was based upon social norms in Australia and Western countries where bathrooms are traditionally gender segregated. In South Korea some restrooms were integrated. They would have thought nothing of it except that she didn't close the door. But since I am accustomed to segregation it surprised me. My reaction to it was based on the location and social norms of the country I was accustomed to. It wasn't right or wrong. The social faux pas here may have been acceptable elsewhere. Really, her behavior was simply strange. 

Friday 12 October 2012 - Melbourne

The last of my debt repayments cleared! It is nice to be debt free for the first time since mid 2007! Funding travel with student loans was one of the best decisions I made. It was worth the experiences.

Wednesday 7 November 2012 - Melbourne

A very opinionated co-worker can be difficult to work with. Now I know what I am like to deal with. We can both be difficult as we like to do things our own way and both KNOW we are right.

In Nepal many people abided by a concept called jutho, a religious rule to prevent contamination of things. Now I use it in the cafe to recognize where my hands were and prevent, for example, touching money and handling food afterwards.

I found out that the name "Travel Desk" is misleading. They should be called "Tour Desks" because they are only there to make money and take yours. If you want to save money or travel in the most inexpensive way, they will be of no help.

Living in a hostel has taught me to become more comfortable with my body and ailments. In the restroom I floss my teeth, pop zits, put on acne concealer, apply canker sore medicine, shave, and cut my hair all while people come, go, and notice me.

Friday 9 November 2012 - Melbourne

The guy in the bunk above me brought a girl in as I was going to sleep. They hopped in bed and started making out. After 15 minutes I turned the light on and said, "You are in the wrong bed, in the wrong room." I told them to use a restroom or her room for their business. They both arrogantly glared at me. The girl said nothing. The guy asked if I was pissed and claimed they were just talking. I didn't want to argue so simply said, "You have five minutes to leave, and if you don't, I will bring reception up here and they will probably kick you out. Turn the light off on your way out." They shut up and left immediately. He even turned the light off.

I know people need a release, but seriously, don't do it in occupied rooms. Go to the restroom, shower, a private room, or somewhere else. Or wait until the room is empty. Go anywhere but somewhere with roommates. People go in their rooms to relax, unwind, and sleep. Not to have someone disturbing them. He was a really polite and considerate guy so it surprised me when he did that. I was then worried about him stealing my stuff for revenge but he left the next day. 

Sunday 11 November 2012 - Melbourne

Us sailing with the boat at a fairly steep angle.
I went on a free sail from 2 to 3:20. It was great! David, his wife, daughter, and friend Gary took us. There were a dozen of us. One passengers hands turned white as she held tight the entire time. The other passengers seemed okay albeit wet. David shared right of way rules, basic theory behind sailing against the wind, and allowed me to steer the yacht. I could sign up for free in the yacht club to offer sailing assistance and learn more.

3 am Monday 12 November 2012 - Melbourne

I was watching a porno, was suddenly in it, going down on the woman, and having intercourse. Right before unloading I woke up and enjoyed it in the foggy transition. Moments later the realization hit that it was just a dream and I now had to shower and clean up the mess. This has been the second time I have had a wet dream after years. And it was in a hostel. In a shared room.

Highlight: Feeding birds from my hand.

Thursday 22 November 2012 - Melbourne

A seagull eating rice from my finger with it's beak gripping my finger.
An early memory is of my grandma feeding birds. They weren’t afraid of her. Dragonflies landed on her finger. I wanted to do the same.

Today a seagull started dining on my dropped rice when I was eating in the park. I extended my finger with rice on it and after 10 - 15 minutes it started to eat right from it. It was really cool. At first it cautiously pecked hard and fast causing slight pain. Then it became comfortable and pecked gently and slowly. Eventually it stood still and ate as soon as I put my finger out. One lady exclaimed "Oh Jesus!" as she walked by.

I have seen birds at a distance. I thought they were perfect creatures, without problems, and different from humans. Up close I saw disabilities like broken legs and wings. Sadly, one crow was busted up and unable to fly. Another crow with a broken leg gingerly tried to support itself while avoiding putting weight on it. It was aware of the pain. A finch had a crippled limb with one toe bent underneath its foot. They have medical issues as well.

Saturday 24 November 2012 - Apollo Bay

A rosella eating from my hand.
This is a rosella.

Two king parrots eating from someone's hand.
These are two king parrots.

I joined a two day Great Ocean Road tour. The scenery and waterfalls reminded me of Hawaii. We saw kangaroos from afar and koalas, cockatoos, rosellas, and king parrots up close.

Two cockatoos eating from my hand with a third behind.
The tour guide gave us bird seed to feed. Two cockatoos were friendly and ate it nicely from my hand. They disliked a third confrontational cockatoo and tried to chase it away. The pair ate nicely while the third bit me. They can live for decades to learn and remember things. Maybe it discovered biting causes people to drop the seeds to eat more easily.

If you are reading the abridged version, you may skip to the next highlight.

A koala sleeping up in the tree.
People climbed trees to pet a koala. It felt disrespectful and rude as it was clear the koala did not like it when it brushed their hand away and snarled. Then again, maybe I shouldn't have climbed the tree to take this photo.

Monday 26 November 2013 - Melbourne

A fern rolled up in a ball.
I never knew that ferns start rolled up like this and unfurl.

The London Bridge on the Great Ocean Road with me doing an elbow lever on a railing.
We returned to Melbourne yesterday after looking at the limestone rock formations. This formation is called the London Bridge. It was a nice second day and was much more scenic. The Twelve Apostles were unique. 

A bee on a yellow flower.
I like watching bees as they pollinate.

At one port a bunch of seagulls grouped together. When Oliver (another traveler) and I walked through them they parted. He joked that we were like Moses. Through the years and mistranslations the gulls of seagulls was truncated. The myth is not nearly as exciting after learning that it was seagulls that parted. I imagine it as a Far Side cartoon.

Today I uploaded my website after over a year of work. It feels wonderful. I have not felt this relieved and excited in a while. 

Saturday 1 December 2012 - Melbourne

After finishing the website upload it was not working properly. It took a couple days to learn how to resolve it. The elation felt suspended as the reality of web design hit, problems crop up that need to be fixed. There is always something to do.

My last rent was 210 AUD (~220 USD) a week, the highest I have ever paid! The last place I stayed at was right by the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne and within walking distance of the State Library of Victoria.

People frequently voiced concern about my sanity when I started traveling. Now that concern is either subsiding, or people don't bother telling me anymore. Many people are starting to see why I travel and are becoming supportive, and sometimes even say they wish they could do the same. It seems the siren song of car, career, money, and house is not as attractive as it appeared.

In September or October a man started talking to me on the pier. We had a normal conversation about electricity and government. Then he started talking about sex and what I think is normal. He told me people were having sex on the beach one night and he became aroused as he watched. He wondered if that was normal. He wondered how often I masturbate and if I think it is true that Asians have smaller penii. At first I hesitated answering, but then went for it. It was a strange conversation. I guess we both felt safe behind a shield of anonymity. It did not matter what he knew as I would not see him again. 

Tuesday 11 December 2012 - Bicheno

A puffer fish dead and upside down with hollow eyes on the beach.
Wineglass Bay was full of dead puffer fish like this one.

A wallaby on the side of the trail looking at me.
On the walk back from Wineglass Bay I saw this small wallaby foraging along the path.

An echidna foraging in the grass.
This echidna was foraging.

I walked along an ocean path with large reddish orange boulders. It felt like Koh Tao Thailand. In the evening I watched the penguins venture home. Before crossing the road they cautiously waited by the edge until one ran across and the others followed. They all hid when a car drove by or a light flashed. I was irritated by driving cars as it prolonged my wait.

The stars shined brightly. I pondered how somewhere out there is life we have not met. How long will it be until we meet life from another solar system? At some point external life will be an obvious and everyday fact. 

Friday 14 December 2012 - Walking along Dove Lake, Cradle Mountain

Humans resemble other animals in mannerism, habit, and instinct. Ants and numerous other creatures — including humans — follow the same path as a leader. Like birds flying in formation, we also constantly change our order. Maybe it is to save brainpower. The numerous calculations to move likely take a lot of energy which switching leaders helps conserve. On difficult areas we even tend to step in the same spots. We have to calculate where to place our feet, our minute muscle adjustments to move and balance, and how high to lift our feet to clear rocks. What we do subconsciously would take a tremendous amount of processing power for a robot. 

"Cradle Mountain" written with a light looking like a white neon sign.
We set Jared's camera to a long exposure and I wrote this by moving a small flashlight.

I camped with other travelers including Jared, the first person I couch surfed with. I felt bad because I was not prepared for camping and felt like a little kid that needed to be coddled. It was a cold night for me. Everyone was very gracious and helpful.

Cradle Mountain with a rocky terrain in the foreground.
On the second day we climbed along the valley of Cradle Mountain. I preferred relaxing in a hut while the others hiked to the top.

Highlight: My first hitchhiking experience as well as everything with "Ben" until the end.

Sunday 16 December 2012 - Hobart

I hitchhiked from Launceston to Hobart. Jared showed me where to start. Before hitching I went into McDonalds for a snack and to delay it. Then I slowly and hesitantly ventured onto the roadside. My heart was ready to burst. I fidgeted and paced with excitement. I made a sign reading HBT, and stuck my thumb up. The rush of nervousness continued. After a few minutes one person slowed down but passed. In ~10 minutes another hitcher started towards me. She introduced herself as Claire from France. We hitched together. It took 1.5 hours until a friendly French couple brought us to a nearby town. Another couple with their newborn picked us up after three minutes. The baby started crying so we stopped at a gas station. Claire and I went inside while Nadine fed and changed the baby. I was nervous about leaving my luggage in the car. We made it to Hobart and It was a great first hitching experience.

Saturday 22 December 2012 - Corryong

I am beginning to feel more comfortable asking people for help and accepting it without feeling guilty or like I need to return the favor. 

Why haven't I used this underworld transportation network? I have heard about it but never really thought about using it myself. The experience so far has been very positive! People have been friendly. I arrive before official means. Hitchhiking has been fabulous. 

Tuesday 1 January 2013 - Sydney

New Years fireworks from the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The immersive fireworks show was awesome. It was as if I sat in the sweet spot with a show just for me. Boats on the water launched fireworks in front of the Sydney Opera House, more exploded from the Sydney Harbor Bridge, and others erupted from different areas of the city. Phenomenal.

"Ben" (a pseudonym) invited me to couch surf with him. We grew a liking for each other. He enjoys asking questions. He read my blog so I felt like we already knew each other. It felt like I could be open with him. It feels okay and right being together. We watched a pre firework show together after which I put my arm around him while walking. On the path we started kissing, like many couples do. It felt right even with people watching. We heard a group of girls laughing and talking about it as they passed. While giving a hug before parting ways a guy said, "Fuck off, mate". I felt I understood a little about discrimination gays and others face.

I don't know if it is an experience, a release, attraction, or what. And I guess I don't care. I perceive Ben as a player but oddly feel comfortable and okay with it. Even though I am paranoid about STDs, I will continue. It feels like I understand why inexperienced people sleep with players — they know how to make someone feel comfortable and special. 

Another couch surfer was not able to comprehend or consider that there are gay people. They must simply not exist in his mind. His naivety was like mine towards being drunk. Growing up distanced from it I could not recognize it. Only after visiting South Africa and being around alcohol could I. This couch surfer saw the room we slept in together but still asked Ben about chicks he has been with. Maybe with time he will also be able to see things right in front of him.

Wednesday 3 January 2013 - Sydney

I am up at 5 am thinking. My sleep has been erratic, I am emotional, and crying as I listen to Jason Walker's song Down. I have felt like I am riding an emotional roller coaster with Ben. I have felt happiness, stress, love, jealousy, insecurity, and confidence. I am content. I felt jealous when I saw his resume. I had to remind myself that my decisions have been best for me. There is part of me that forgets goals and success are personal concepts. It feels like all of my idiosyncrasies come out and are amplified with him. 

He is the first guy I have dated; it feels right. Sex has been clumsy; like as if we are both virgins again. But we have been comfortable with the clumsiness. I never knew I could have these feelings for another guy. 

Saturday 5 January 2013 - Sydney

Yesterday Ben and I visited a nude beach near Sydney for my first time. The first beach had a family and couples. On the walk down it felt like people noticed us. We walked on the beach, stripped down, and swam. I felt a little self conscious, but comfortable and free; it felt normal. The people seemed decent. We then went to the gay beach. I did not want to be aroused so stopped holding Ben's hand. It felt like all the people checked us out and watched the whole time. One man stopped in the path to stare as we passed. I somewhat enjoyed being masturbation fodder for the pervy guys.

Ben and I posing together at the Blue Mountains.
Today Ben and I enjoyed a hike in the Blue Mountains. We returned exhausted. Relationships with sex and without attachment seem to work when both people don't talk or think about a future together. Once an imagined future comes, sex without attachment falls apart. 

Wednesday 9 January 2013 - Sydney

Yesterday I missed a flight for the first time. I thought it left later than it did. I missed boarding by 10 minutes. I was more bummed and irritated that I misread my time than anything. The assistant said she would reschedule me for the next flight on Thursday. It was not that big of a deal, so I accepted it and asked her if there was a Subway in the airport. She looked surprised, laughed, and said, "That was really random!" It looked like she expected me to become really upset and was relieved when I asked that. I worry less and have become genuinely less stressed after shifting my priorities and realizing that almost nothing matters. 

Yesterday Ben and I went to the Sydney Sexual Health Clinic. This was the first time visiting one. I felt relaxed the whole time. At one point the nurse looked concerned that I may have contracted HIV and would need PEP. I felt okay with it as I made a decision to be with Ben knowing the risks. We referred to each other as our partners, a first for me. It feels different, right, and comfortable.

Ben showed me his sentimental box. It reminded me of how mom excitedly shows baby pictures to sibling partners. I wonder if they would accept me hypothetically bringing him there.

Thursday 10 January 2013 - Sydney

Ben and I were becoming intimate and going to have sex. We attempted what usually takes months to years in less than two weeks. The sex has been extremely awkward. We have had disagreements about speed and the amount of lube to use. He feels I do not trust him. I have put the highest level of trust in the shortest amount of time with him. I think I am still uncomfortable with everything and would like things to go slower. It feels like he wants to go faster and pushes things. It is hard to relax and fully enjoy it like that. I really have no idea what will happen with him in the future. I have learned a lot and have really appreciated our time together, despite the awkward sex. My prior sex education has been nearly none. That may be a skeleton of my past haunting me today. I really do not know what I am becoming emotional about at the moment. Maybe with more introspection I will understand. Who knows, maybe there is something from the past haunting me. 

I am again listening to Jason Walkers song Down. Never have I heard a song that connects so emotionally. Every time I hear it tears form. Right now tears and snot are running down my face and nose. The lyrics are brilliant. This is the first song that can elicit this emotion from me. It feels really good to break down and cry. These past few days have been an extreme rush of emotions. I have become more comfortable showing emotion in the last few years and it feels really good to be open right now. I don't feel I have to be strong and stoic. It feels okay and safe to break down and be free. I have not cried this much in years. I really do not know what it is, but it feels good. 

Friday 11 January 2013 - Christchurch, NZ

I felt so free, happy, and content crying to Down. Ben thought I completely checked out. He kept telling me not to leave again. He said I sometimes retreat into myself and was doing it then. I wanted to simply be in my own world and recharge for a half hour. It was hard for him to understand what was going on. He was concerned and tried to comfort me. It really felt good and I simply wanted it to flow. When we were attempting sex I wondered if I was actually completely straight as it was not as enjoyable as I remembered.

Yesterday before leaving we went at it again. Ben said that I had to trust him and relax. I did and it went better and was more enjoyable. I still would like to use a ton more lube. I really do not know what will happen between Ben and I. I will remember our time together fondly no matter what. I still wonder if we were using each other and I was simply another release or if it was something deeper. Maybe I will find out later.

I went to New Zealand for a month. 

Sunday 10 February 2013 - Sydney

We returned to the nude beach with Ben's friend. A man surreptitiously sat down and started taking photos. We talked about it, started leaving, and decided that I would confront him. He vehemently denied it the whole time. I was respectful to him but pressed on that he must delete them. He said he hadn't taken any photos, and that even if he had, he would never post them online. He displayed all the typical characteristics of a liar. I pressed on and said my boyfriend saw and I would not press charges. I only wanted to confirm they were deleted and would walk away. A half hour later he deleted the photos, allowed me to look to verify, and I was done. He denied it even after he deleted them.

A couple at the nude beach near Mosman.
The straight beach was more relaxed. I asked a couple for permission to photograph from behind. They allowed it and asked to send it to them. They joked about using it on their Christmas cards. The man thought their family would LOVE that!

Ben pointed out that I brush things off by saying something is silly or nonsense. I am not as open minded as I would like to think. It's easier to brush things off that way, maybe, as Ben says, as a confirmation bias for my own ideas while rejecting new ones. 

Tonight the homeowner Ben lives with illuminated another side of art. She was not interested in how art made her feel or the state of mind the artist was in. Feelings made her uncomfortable and she asked me to stop asking about them. Rather, she was interested in the technical manner it was constructed as well as how artists change art for future generations. How art is connected by art before, and how new forms create a space necessary for future forms to exist. When I asked her what she thought about people saying that some "art" could be made by anyone, she responded, "~But they didn't do it." It does not matter who COULD do something, but rather who DOES do it.

Tuesday 12 February 2013 - Coffs Harbour

Ben on the side of the road looking unhappy with the hitchhiking sign.
Ben and I have been hitchhiking and traveling together. He was self conscious standing on the side and did not like it at all. I fulfilled two romantic fantasies today. Both were with Ben. First we walked along the beach hand in hand and second we ran along in the water. I have had this romantic fantasy since 2007 in South Africa. At the time I always visualized it with an unspecified female. It surprised me that it was with a male. It felt nice and comfortable. I am also becoming more comfortable with having a boyfriend, which he is my first, especially when walking around and feeling indifferent to what others think about it. 

Ben and I eating a sub sandwich in a weird way.
We hitched more. We tried to take a photo and this was the least weird one. It has been nice so far. We are going slowly but steadily. This morning I felt comfortable having sex with him. He slept with his roommate so I was worried about STDs. I realized my fear is irrational because they had cleared STD checks. It is nice feeling more comfortable and getting over my warped views of sex. Our sex, from my side, felt closer to how I would like it to be.

Thursday 14 February 2013 - Brisbane

It is my first Valentine's Day with a dude. It still feels right. We walked holding hands and had a quickie in an art gallery restroom. We had a disagreement and spent the evening on our own. At the moment, I appreciate traveling more with him than without him. I don't know if I missed him, but it felt close. I don't know if I am in love with him, but I love him. 

Brisbane is a really nice and lovely city. We used the bikes here. It was two dollars for the day, with each trip under a half hour being free. Brilliant. The city seems to have great leaders to ensure it is friendly. There are ample bike lanes, sidewalks, water fountains, free city wifi ports, and transportation options.

12:23 am 19 February 2013 - Cairns

During the day we visited a park and found a swimming hole to skinny dip in. In a half hour of swimming nobody caught us!

At night Ben and I were going to sleep in the car at a rest stop. I was purchasing a plane ticket and left the light on. He was about to pee and had his penis out. A yellow car with at least two guys passed, reversed, and indicated to roll the window down. I did, but put the car in gear ready to take off. I was worried about them shooting us or something. They asked us if we were taking pictures of them claiming they thought we were a speed camera. We left only to have them pull behind us. I saw a flash from the window, said we were being followed, and pulled the car to the side of the road. They swerved closer and I drove into the grass to prevent them from hitting us.

As we drove on they returned. I told Ben to call the cops, he was incredulous. Meanwhile my heart raced. The minute it took to transfer the call felt like ten. We talked to the police with the car following us. As we talked we pulled into a petrol station to throw them off. As soon as we left they tailed us again. This time they were close enough to jot down their registration number and call the police again. They noted it and promised to return our call. Waiting the minutes felt like hours. Finally we just made a red light and they stopped. The police returned our call moments after and said they had called the owner and that they would not be bothering us anymore. In all, they were pretty quick, from calling to resolving the issue took 25 minutes. It took a while for my shaking and chills to subside.

Ben thought it was a display of homophobia — young kids getting a kick out of harassing us. When they pulled up he initially thought they asked him why he was pulling up his zipper. I don't know why they did it. It may have looked like we were being intimate considering he had his cock out when they would have first drove by.

Yesterday we saw man on the side of the road. Ben and I had already decided that if we saw a hitcher, we would pick them up. We turned around and picked Roland up. He was a bit smelly but friendly.

Wednesday 20 February 2013 - Roadside to Townsville

Ben scuba diving right by a sea turtle.
This is Ben and a sea turtle we saw at the Great Barrier Reef.

Ben and I holding hands while scuba diving.
It was romantic holding hands underwater.

Ben and I on the boat near the Great Barrier Reef.
On the ride back we posed for this photo.

Ben and I are sleeping in the car again. Today we snorkeled and dived on the Great Barrier Reef! Swimming on the reef was even more spectacular than what I imagined from the advertisements. Life was bountiful and surrounded us. We swam by a turtle. I dived twice. We both really enjoyed it. It was romantic snorkeling, diving, and holding hands. Because of my inexperience, salt water drained from my sinuses for hours after. The day was amazing and exceeded my expectations. 

We talked about seeing each other after I leave. I decided we would not. I felt relieved and ecstatic knowing a decision had been made and finality was in sight. Ben verbally lashed out. He was extra abusive and manipulative through what felt like constant criticism. After I called him out he changed his personality to be very positive and complimentary. It amazes me how he can switch like that. I can experience extreme hatred, admiration, compliments, and neutrality from him in a day. He did say something about a game is easy to win when you make the rules, and after asking who won, he said it didn't matter anymore because it is no longer fun. 

I have really appreciated how he pushed me to consider and see things from a view I may have never visited otherwise. He will be remembered as my first boyfriend. It was real and honest for me. I would like to go to counseling now. I have trusted him to push me to places I otherwise would not have allowed myself to visit. I do not think I have allowed many people to do that, maybe nobody else.

Thursday 21 February 2013 - Townsville

A curtain fig tree Ben and I saw yesterday was spectacular.

Ben playing on the beach with a sheet.
This morning Ben and I slept on a beach. At least a dozen mosquitoes circled overhead. I thought the insect repellent must have confused them but that as soon as we were asleep they would attack. Suddenly a dragonfly sped in and started plucking them out of the air mid-flight. Sometimes it hovered momentarily to aim and dart again if it missed. In a couple minutes all of the mosquitoes were plucked out of the air. 

Today we are staying in a nice hotel that opened a couple months ago. It is nice to be in a wonderful private room.

When Ben and I were walking together today we passed a venue playing a new song. The song triggered a strange mood and mental place I have never experienced. It felt as if I was floating backwards while aware of and feeling the passage of time. I was conscious of how that song is a representation of the here and now. I was aware of how society and I are in a constant flux of change. Nothing is static. Change is inevitable and there is nothing we can do about it. I felt aware of how music around me has changed in my life. Music started religious and changed to oldies when milking cows — Breakfast at Tiffany's being a song I liked. In the years since it has always changed with something coming out rather frequently. I felt like Ben and I were there but not present — like we were on completely different wavelengths. We were disconnected and detached from each other. While talking it was as if we were trying to have a conversation with each other but rather talked to ourselves. 

Sunday 24 February 2013 - Townsville

Ben and I finally split. He thinks he was in love with me at one point. He talked about leaving and I did not have the energy to persuade him to stay or to wait it through. After leaving he still tried to be nice and we ate together. I cried when I thought about what hurt me most, his reaction to my rabbit hole. We walked to the beach and he started the blame and guilt. Finally we split after he talked for a while and I said we reached the time to go our separate ways. It is hard but necessary. His parting advice was to never settle. Mine was that with dedication we can overcome our obstacles so long as we are not psychotic. I appreciated it for what it was and am glad it is over. 

Thursday 27 February 2013 - Melbourne

I want to focus on myself. I have no idea what comes next and what I will do. It worries me slightly. I know the way I have been traveling is winding down. It is no longer exciting. I think about being done more than being on the move. That said, when I stop I become restless and yearn to travel. When I travel I yearn to stop. Maybe finding a travel partner would be nice. It’s been a good nearly four years. What now?

Happy Travels

Precluded by Singapore.
Followed by New Zealand.