road rules

i'm about 75% done writing giants. it has been interesting, to say the least. i've mined a lot of personal experiences and feelings for the book, and i have to say it is a bit draining. is it worthwhile? i don't know. i certainly hope it is.

as i have been going through the motions of finishing up giants, i have been looking back to some of the more pivotal moments and times in my life. one of those times was when i went over to europe because i basically had too much money and too much time on my hands. long story short, i ended up in a 1978 bedford rv with four other complete strangers (that sexy beast in the picture is the rv we travelled in). we had all answered an advertisement by the rv's owner to go on a four week road trip through europe. none of us knew each other before we left london. ever see the mtv challenge show, road rules? (i'm actually a huge fan of that show, and i'm glad that mtv brought it back after a two and a half year hiatus.) well, it was exactly like that, except no challenges, and a heck of a lot more drugs and drinking and nudity. no tv, no cell phone, no radio, nothing but the five of us and for some, rock bottom. the isolation of it was an intense experience. imagine my amusement when the first bit of television i see in weeks is arnold schwarzenegger winning the election!

and just who was this rogue group of travellers? you had the ladies man from new zealand who would disappear in the middle of the night only to return in the early morning still wearing the clothes from the night before, positively glowing from the previous night's sexual conquest. there's the little jewish girl who spoke three languages and knew so much of the world, yet had no national identity due to having moved around from australia to pretty much every western country in europe. then there's the free thinking, free spirited auzzie who prided himself on his nomadic lifestyle, but as time went by, you got the feeling that he was putting up a front, perhaps even lying to uphold an image that he'd created for himself that was the far cry from who he used to be just six months earlier: a white collar worker. and then there was the youngest of the group, an american girl who didn't know her limits and seemed mortified when finally confronted with how out of control she can be when under the influence. and of course yours truly, who at the time was completely lost and annoyed with pretty much everything: my friends, my family, my station in life and this issue called "failure" that seemed to follow me around like a bad smell.

now, i might be wrong, but that's a dream cast if i ever saw one. you can't script a better story. there's definitely a novel in there somewhere. the things we did and saw were just life changing. i grew and developed more in those four weeks in that cramped, smelly rv that would break down every day, than i have in my whole life. and the drama. there was so much drama, which is the essential thing to any good plot. we're talking about breaking and entering, nearly getting arrested by the police in prague, raves and neo-nazis and strip blackjack for starters.

so as i come to the end of giants, i can't help but look back on this period in my life and wonder what is next? i think enough time has passed from when i did my very own road rules that i can look past the nostalgia of it and think a little more clearly on what it was that i did and endured. the funny thing is, at the time i thought i was having a once in a lifetime experience that was completely unique to me. but in truth, it wasn't so unique, because in the middle of the trip we met a "van tour" in germany, with dozens of other vans full of young kids doing their own once in a lifetime experiences.

regardless, while i no longer keep in touch with any of the four i travelled with, it's a safe bet that they will be a part of me until i die. there are things, confessions, that i made to them that i have never told anyone else, not even my closest friends. it's very interesting how sometimes confiding in a perfect stranger is easier than your own loved ones.

anyhow, i don't know if this will be my next project, but it would be a good one i think. it would be a nice change from the heavy political ideas in giants. it would also mean that it would be the closest thing to an autobiography that i will have done. perhaps a memoir? can a person write a memoir at 28 years of age? perhaps i can call it a million little parts. what do you think?