Allow me to set the scene:
You enter a darkened study—the kind where the only light is coming from some impossibly massive fireplace, glowing around some impossibly massive, bad-lipstick-red velour armchair.
Those are velour, right? …K, mine is.
The armchair also has wheels, which you realize because I wheel around, which seems kind of out of place, but it’s fine, it’s Ikea. I’m wearing a robe [also velour, also chair-colored] and I’m smoking a pipe. No. I’m eating a Push Pop. Chair-colored Push Pop.
Also, somehow, I have a mustache.
Great. We can begin.
Oh! Hah! Didn’t see ya there! I was just… Alright, drop it, #aintnobodygottimeforthat. For the four of you who read this blog, you’ve probably seen my obnoxious round-the-world social mediatry and said to yourself, “(Unfriend).” In the hopes of winning you back, may I quickly explain to you what the hell’s going on?
What The Hell’s Going On
I have had the irritatingly good fortune of joining ProjectExplorer.org as their newest Assistant Producer. Think of ProjectExplorer.org as a Travel Channel for kids – free online videos and lesson plans about, literally, any educational topic ever, filmed all over the world.
Starting Sept. 30th, we’ve embarked on a 4-week filming blitz through Sydney, Singapore, Malaysia, Mumbai and London. And by “we,” I mean our tiny all-women crew consisting of our Creator/Director, our on-camera host, and moi! Tiny detail: One of our sponsors is the Four Seasons, so we’re stayin’ at the Four Seasons Hotels/Resorts throughout. What?
How The Hell Did You…
I know. I know.
I don’t even know.
But more on all of that as we go along here. I’ve revived #EatPlayLunge for this very trip, and I’d like to use my lungetry to tell you a lil’ sum’n ’bout each destination from here on out (pending wifi and if we haven’t decided to drink wine watch Bridesmaids in bed, as we have most bedtimes). Shall we?
Five Reasons Sydney, Australia Is Doin It Rite
1. They YOLO Harder Than Anyone
One of the first things we filmed was the Sydney Bridge Climb. Correct. We literally climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge. THAT’S A THING. It was transforming, but also hilarious, mainly due to our “climb leader”: A 65-year-old Aussie bro named Richard who had been leading climbs for years, and, oh—drop the mic—was also asthmatic and deathly afraid of heights. (He told us this after bringing us down from 400+ feet in the air.) But that doesn’t goddamn stop him from doing what he goddamn loves—in fact, he still gets a thrill from the raw fear he experiences climbing up, every single time. “Why not?” he said simply.
Good on ya, Richard. You make that fear your beach.
2. They’re Eager To Help, And/or Really Sorry They Can’t
As producer, yours truly is responsible for organizing the team, manning our schedule and procuring whatever paperwork & passes necessary for filming, by any means necessary.
By any. Means. Necessary.
Luckily for me, every single person in Sydney I needed to bother for things & stuff were (1) Overjoyed I was asking, (2) Maternal/paternally concerned, (3) Owners of dazzling and deeply comforting accents [#duh] and then, if they couldn’t help, were (4) So, truly, madly bummed. By a series of miracles and egregiously kind Aussies, I was able to score media passes to Sydney’s International Fleet Week Fireworks Show – a hugangous Disneyland-show-like event celebrating the 100th year of Sydney’s navy kickin’ arze. And again, EVERY expert we dealt with was ridonkulously chill, flexible and genuinely engaged in us as humans. What’s in the gatdamn water here, and how can I procure some to sell on the black market in ‘Murka?
3. No One Drop-Kicked Me
One of the coolest parts about this job is that my boss, our creator/director, lets me shoot stills, direct entire segments, and generally trusts my artistic eye to stick the camera wherever I waunt. Luckily, as I discovered at the world-famous Sydney Fish Market, the Aussies I met there couldn’t care less about me shoving our camera rig into their face as they stuffed various sea-corpses into baggies. Some even held things up so I could get a better shot. I got the general sense that they don’t violently hate tourists like me, even if I give them every right to, with my camera and my fanny pack. I woulda punched me. But the Aussies only lurved me.
Meet m’new mate, Andrew Barkham, a Michelin-starred chef who heads up a ridonkulously good restaurant in Sydney named Selah. Through some miraculous Twitteraction, he invited us over during off-hours and let me shove the camera all up in his grill, too (PUN INTENDED) while giving us a rockin’ cooking lesson. He had zero-point-zero qualms when I asked him to lunge with me. He did not drop kick me, as he might’ve been justified to do. He just went with it.
4. They Hail From Badassery
For reasons mostly being “duh,” we got to head out towards the Australian bush and film a boomerang throwing lesson with m’boy Anthony, here, from the Muru Mittigar Cultural Centre. Turns out I’d learn a freakin’ ton more than boomeranging that day—we ended up throwing off our whole schedule, staying longer to learn all about the Aboriginal culture. FOR EXAMPLE: Some Aboriginal tribes have certain initiation rituals for boys, but Anthony wouldn’t tell me about them. Sure, you could Google them, but he wouldn’t say them. According to his tribe’s tradition, some things—rituals, certain activities—are for men and men only; same story for the women. He said if an Aboriginal woman came in and began telling me about Aboriginal womens’ initiation rituals, he’d leave the room. And the way he’s posing, with the open hand, arm extended? It’s his tribe’s way of saying, roughtly, “I’m giving my soul to you” — a sign of respect, warmth and welcoming. If an Aboriginal was crossing his arms, to put it politely, you in trouuuuble.
Don’t even. Get. Me started. On how each Aboriginal receives a spiritual totem—a representative animal or symbol—at some point throughout their lives. So cool I couldn’t stand it. (I think mine would be a dolphin. …Or Spam.)
5. They Basically Invented #LovingLife
Alright, fine. That’s a generalization. Honestly though, maybe it was the sun, maybe it was the overabundance of Bundaberg—but there was an unmistakable warmth in almost every interaction we had with every Aussie we worked with (except for the one odd cab driver; bless yo’ heart, Grumpface). I just couldn’t get over how much lighter life felt down unda. Everyone just seemed overjoyed to be alive. Everyone seemed nonplussed by any minor roadblock. Every exchange seemed to have the overall tone of, “Let’s just figure out a way to harmonize our needs here, so we can get past this already and grab a beer.” Everyone just seemed to have what I think is the ideal mindset: Screw the nonsense; let’s just have a good freakin’ time.
Ur Doin It Rite.