Updated: Oct 25, 2019
When I was about ten, my family and I went to Seal Rocks to surf and enjoy a day by the beach. My siblings, stronger and more confident in the ocean took the rip beside the rocks and seamlessly shot out the back before the incoming sets rolled in. I knew it wouldn’t be as easy for me as I wasn’t as strong of a paddler and decided to launch myself off the rocks and paddle parallel to the break. Of course the execution was not nearly as well thought out, the tide was high and the waves were relentlessly hitting against the rocks. Nervously I etched closer to the break, my toes clinging to what I could of the slippery rocks beneath my feet. I had seen more experienced surfers doing it and it seemed cinch. As I was about to jump I head my fathers voice scream my name behind me, he grabbed my arm and led me back to the beach giving me an absolute ear-full. “What in the hell do you think you were doing? Those waves would have swept you across those rocks!” Perhaps seeing his younger self in my actions, my father identified that day I was a risk taker and told me it would be something I should be aware of in life, and he was absolutely right.
When travelling in particular, there have been too many times where my careless actions should have landed me in a worse situation than I ended up in. The first time I got lucky I was 18 and had lost all my friends after a night clubbing in Barcelona, unfortunately this wasn’t a red flag for my friends as I was notorious for smoke bombing. I found myself outside of the club alone, drunk and lost with no Spanish to speak of and no phone. A taxi pulled up beside me and I asked him where the hostel was, he pointed to a nearby alleyway and said it was a ten minute walk. I didn’t want to walk down there by myself and asked if there was another route as I had no money for a taxi. He replied “no,” and drove off leaving me to my own devices. I stared down the dimly lit alley way and felt sick in my gut, knowing it was dumb courage prevailed as I put one foot in front of the other. After a few minutes I realised I’d made a terrible mistake as the sites of prostitutes and junkies shooting to euphoria looked at me as if I was their dinner.
Just as I decided to turn back I began to hear foot steps behind me, “hey!” the man shouted. I kept walking, “hey, where you going tonight?” he pressed. My pace quickened as I could hear him approaching “hey, I’m talking to you!” Reaching me finally he grabbed my arm and pulled me to him, with all my strength I broke his hold just as my father taught me when I was young. Then mustering all the adrenaline I could harness I looked him dead in the eyes with a look that could kill and told him to “fuck off!” His expression turned to one of surprise, I wasn't planning on waiting to see how he would react and without hesitation I ran as hard as I could back to the hostel. Once inside I slid to the floor and caught my breath, when the adrenaline left me I couldn’t help but recall that day I was almost swept away by the rocks and my father caught me.