The key to happiness is when you have gotten really good at being you

grey The key to happiness is when you have gotten really good at being you
The Jade Willow Chinese restaurant in Ulverstone is abandoned apart from two beer bellied men gorging on fried rice and Boags Draught in a corner, not somewhere you would expect to find the key to happiness. They scoff and swill frantically like prison inmates at the bottom of the pecking order. Occasional sounds from outside waft in from the main street; cars with oversized mufflers rev over the sound of “Party Rock Anthem” played on expensive twelve volt stereos, rattling the aged boots (trucks in American). Young people yell extroverted greetings to each other to hide their shyness. I am home and I really do like it here, mostly.

I sit across from a mate who I have not seen for over two years. Sascha and I worked together in an Italian restaurant throughout our studies, using the term ‘study’ generously. Nowadays Sascha is a very successful business man and a deep thinker, he wears a neat shirt and looks well pressed, most impressively he wears a shroud of self confidence comfortably, I envy him this coat. I wear a crumpled bright orange top bought in Kathmandu for $2 (when I couldn’t be bothered washing clothes), my messy Hasselhoff-from-nightrider hair is somewhat contained by a bandana. Outside appearances suggest that Sascha has evolved significantly over the years whilst I’ve been regressing, soon to crawl back into the swamp. Impressively though Sascha seems very excited and somewhat awed by my recent adventuring.

“You really went into the Andes with a donkey?”


“I respect that mate, I could do a day walk but I like staying clean”

“Yeah well, horses for courses”

“And you did that paintball paragliding thing?”

“Yeah man I loved that, happy days”

About thirty-seconds of quiet contemplation follows, I busy myself with my spring rolls as Sascha studies me, a changed creature sits in front of him, one which he used to understand. Sascha dislikes not understanding things.

“So mate, with all this trekking, climbing, diving, jumping, bussing, flying and exploring you have done in these last two years, do you think it has changed you as a person? Or are you the same person and this is just something you like to do?”

“Well…that’s a hard one, let me think for a while”

Both of us eat crispy spring rolls in contemplative silence.

“Dunno, really”

“Go on, have you changed?”

“Well I am more relaxed, I can now sit on a rock for hours without squirming. Have always loved mountains, and…stuff, God that’s a hard one mate”

This conversation really gets me thinking, have I changed? Am I the same person? Later that night after I have put out the dog and crawled into bed with a book, (written by my best mates grandfather about his time as a prisoner of war, The Long Way Home, look it up) the answer hits me like a falling roof beam;


Two years ago I was living with a girl and her daughter, I had numerous loans, internet bills, water bills, electricity bills, a car, obligations, nursing homes to medicate, work, responsibility, thing to buy and pay for. I did not give credit to the options I had in my life and did not admit that – at that stage – I was not ready for all this grown up behaviour. However, I envied how this life seemed to be working so well for my friends and blithely forged on. I thought that this was going to be the Ben-story, the end.

Now I have more options and less stuff, this is the main difference, I now realise just how many options are available to me. I could keep traveling, work a bit, write or live very cheaply in my tent on a grassy hill talking to mountains. So many people just numbly go through the motions, like I was, without sitting back and truly realising that they have options, this makes me sad.

Everyone has many, many options but only one crack at life, think about it.

Now kids, if that is all too philosophical for you on a school night I am going to throw in some weird sex facts to tone down the hugging-around-a-camp-fire kind of mood I have set here:

500 Americans die from self asphyxiation annually.

1 out of 17 people worldwide have sex on any given day, what are the other 16 up to?

A dork is the actual name of a whales penis, the biggest dorks in the world are the ten foot long members of the blue whale.

The dragonfly has a shovel shaped penis which scoops out the semen of previous suitors.

Australian echidnas have four headed penises but only ejaculate from two at a time, they save the other two for next time.

Female monkeys raise their asses into the air, complete with dilated blood vessels causing a flushed cheek effect, and waft female hormones around the place as a sign that they are ready to mate. The males stop throwing poo at each other and pause to note the plumpness of the bum cheeks. A plump bottom shows that the female is well fed and able to support an infant. If the girl-monkey is sufficiently plump they will mate, if not, the male goes back to his poo slinging. (Type 1 fun for the thrower, type 3 for the recipient)

Now, some monkeys started standing on two legs and ass raising was no longer viable. Evolution sorted this problem by increasing fatty deposits around the mammary glands to mimic a plump bum attached to a healthy specimen.

Basically what I am saying is that bum-men are less evolved than boob-men.

Oh, and girls think about what you are mimicking when you put rouge on your cheeks and perfume on your neck…

4 Responses to The key to happiness is when you have gotten really good at being you

  • Gregg Love says:

    seems like the writing is treating you well …great book “The Long Way Home” that’s the thing about travel you have time to read ,meet folk & just take life in .. …p.s. like your blog …I’m of to Burma / China in a month ….happy trails to all the travellers …G.L.

    • Ben says:

      Cool mate, enjoy Burma and China, ‘The long way home’ was written by Ray Denney who is my best mate’s late pop (my adopt-a-pop)

  • “Basically what I am saying is that bum-men are less evolved than boob-men.”

    many men would beg to differ ;)

    - Maria Alexandra

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