Life 2.0

grey Life 2.0Jet lag is a bitch. Jet lag halves your intellect and reasoning abilities and has an amazing ability to make you mess up words. The first half a day or night or so is not so bad, adrenaline and fresh sights put jet lag in the background. When the adrenaline wears off however fatigue descends like a heavy coat and you find yourself waking at 2:30am wanting lunch or dozing off at midday in a cafe after ordering a flat white chair, one peanut.

For few weeks now I have been working on a devious scheme to beat combat this nasty ailment. Back home in Tasmania I have been staying awake until around 4am then waking at 11am, this was possible as all I needed to do at home was pack, work on my book and help Dad wade through his collection of fine scotches… Sorry how rude, for those who don’t know, my name is Ben. Fourteen months ago I liquidated my blue collar life and threw all my cards in the air, and I mean all of them. While waiting for them to land with a new direction for me I busied myself by running around the place having a few adventures while meeting some wonderful people.

The most wonderful person I met goes by the name of Jette (‘Yeh-teh’, not Yeti or Jetty). Jette is Danish, she comes from Denmark, that small flat country on the other side of the world where people eat prawns in mayonnaise and pickled herring for breakfast. At first this distance seemed inconvenient, Denmark is as far as you can travel from Tasmania without dodging polar bears. Thankfully, after we met during my last walkabout (while cruising the Galapagos islands, I know, I know!), we managed to cross paths a few more times and stay in regular contact thanks to the wonder that is the internet. During my travels I unearthed a latent love for writing, it had been lying dormant since I suffered that teenage phase of penning dark, forlorn musings and burying them in the backyard for later. I needed to be with Jette and wanted to explore writing, the problem was how to combine the two? Obvious solution; move to Denmark, study writing online.

Day one

I mentioned before that Denmark is a long way from my native Tasmania. My move to Aarhus cost me 31 hours and 40 minutes in transit, 63 episodes of Masterchef for you couch warriors. Continuing my little scheme to beat jet lag I set my clock to Denmark time when I got on the plane in Melbourne, I would now sleep according to Denmark time. This meant staying awake until a stop over in Hong Kong, 7am in Australia. This presented little problem as a) I was excited and b) the Chinese lady next to me promptly fell asleep and attacked my nostrils with a barrage of flatulence that would continue for the 10 hour flight. I sat down in my seat, removed my heavy boots (avoiding excess luggage fees by wearing all my heavy clothes), put on my ugg slippers (no comment please) and started watching a bad movie about a strange boy and his mother, a nurse who raped an unconscious soldier to get pregnant. Three movies later, convinced I would be having an image free nightmare involving only the sense of smell, we were let off the plane in Hong Kong. I did not want to hold up proceedings so went straight to the new gate, paced up and down the travelators then discovered the free wifi and sent a few emails before getting back on the plane.

The farting Chinese individual had thankfully been replaced with a very agreeable miner from Perth who had missed his flight to the Greek isles and was flight hopping in an effort to catch his girlfriend. Chris didn’t fart. After a brief chat he fell deeply asleep and hardly stirred for the remaining 12 hours. Soon bored with focussing on the little screen in front of me I struck up a conversation with the older chap across the aisle. He and his wife were off on a ten day cruise starting in Amsterdam. We shared the shallow conversation of two complete strangers thrown into contact, soon out of surface layer banter we went back to work. Him squinting at Sudoku, me being restless and needing to stretch. Towards the back of the plane I looked out over Siberia while trying to unknot my back and legs when I struck up a conversation with a tall long haired chap. He was on his way to the UK to work on a documentary on crop circles, now this was more like it. Before long I had moved to the vacant seat next to him and we were sharing travel tales and photos, him drinking beers, me on the water. This guy has lived! Throughout his life Greg had been a maths teacher, a musician, traveler, in the 80’s he crashed the party that Alan Bond threw in Europe after winning the Americas Cup. Greg showed me his documentary in progress and explained some of the more wild theories thrown up by the drum banging types who are invariably found around crop circles. Two hours later the beers which Greg was drinking were making him louder and louder so I decided it was time for me to return to my position, seat 70G.

One salt laden, ankle swelling meal later I was in London, Heathrow airport, the fourth busiest in the world and easily the most multicultural. Feeling like Will Smith in Men in Black when he was shown the alien departure lounge with time to kill I perched myself near a window, attacked a salt free fruit salad and started counting planes. One took off every 30 seconds from the one runway in sight, amazing. I was really too tired to care. Next leg, London to Copenhagen. Jette assured me that if I got off the plane quickly in Copenhagen I would be able to run and catch the direct train to Aarhus avoiding the following train that stops at every station along the length of the country. We landed ten minutes early and, being seated near the front of the plane, I was looking good for a quick getaway. After five minutes of standing with my head against the overhead locker with my bag in my hand ready to fly the captain came over the intercom. “Ladies and Gentlemen, sorry for the delay, we have had a warning alarm come on with the sky-corridor, it would be best if you took your seats while we get an engineer to asses the problem.

Thirty five minutes of sitting right near the quick train passed before we were let off. I unashamedly ran around cramped up old people, nearly trampled a few tired kids, was the first through immigration, stood right near where the bags come out of the conveyor, grabbed my bags, didn’t declare my massive cache of antibiotics (for later in the year), ran to the train and promptly missed it.

When Albert Einstein wrote his most famous work he was right that time slows down as you increase in speed. He missed mentioning that time also slows down the closer you get to your destination. The train paused at each stop for about one and a half lifetimes. Trees, wind farms and houses passed by at a glacial speed, I feel asleep. I woke when the train pulled into Aarhus station. I ran off the train with my new porta-life strapped on my back and found Jette. Jette had been waiting on the platform also suffering an Einstein time bend for the last two hours.

Life 2.0

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