Monday, 9 January 2017


Before I left New Zealand, I was interviewed for a podcast, a bit of insight into things I did

Just click the link Mum and make sure you have the speakers on. Unless you don't want to hear the sound of my voice, in which case just click the link and watch the little bar go across for an hour.

Thursday, 5 January 2017


My flight to Los Angeles was relatively non-descript, if you can get past the fact there's over 10,000km of open ocean between you and your destination and any fault will surely mean a long swim to oblivion, you'll be fine. There's not much to sea.

The stopover in L.A. was 2 hours, a chance to stretch the legs, get a drink, use a less fearful toilet and take in the surroundings of a place I'd not been before, airport or no.

I was in transit and having completed my transit visa (I did complete it in time let's remember) I was expecting to hop off and on my plane after it refuelled with little bother. How wrong I was.

Americans love two things, yelling at you and yelling at each other. The ground staff had both bases covered as the cascade of travellers from my flight were met off the plane. Thick Latino accents filled the air and at least one "you don't know me", I was handed a large teal transit pass and ushered onwards.

Downstairs was bedlam, the mayhem of the chaos causing me to run out of adjectives.

We were funnelled into queues whether we liked it or not, there was very little decision making on anyone's part.

The QueueMaster Retractable Barriers are functional yet affordable retractable belt barriers, which come with a 3 year manufacturer's warranty and key safety features such as belt lock and a slow retract braking system. An ideal low cost solution for forming customer queues and the Americans couldn't get enough of them.

No sooner would we be in line, than a belt would be removed here, replaced there, the entire flow of traffic splintering and wavering in a cacophony of uncertain groans and dismay. My teal transit pass could only buy me so many shortcuts, others were not so lucky. You felt like you were saying goodbye to family for the last time, would you see them again? You didn't know.

I was pointed to one of the American paranoia machines, despite only being in transit it would glean as much information as it could from me including pictures and fingerprints. The interface was cumbersome, the fine print detailed and the constant critiquing of the fact I hadn't finished in record time only added to the anxiety.

I reluctantly placed my fingers on the fingerprint scanner, rejected. A slip falls out of the machine and I'm told to move on. I didn't know it at the time, but the reason I was rejected was because my little fingers were too short.. yup.

Another queue, more tension, more yelling, more whiz bang opening and closing of QueueMaster Retractable Barriers than you have ever seen. You'd be in front of someone, then ages behind them, crossing in zig zags everyone exchanging looks of total disbelief, the how's and why's beyond any of us.

I was to be processed by a human being and the clock was ticking. My thoughts of a drink and a go on the toilet long since dissipated, the only thing on my mind was my travel insurance and whether it would cover this. I reached my man, no chit chat, what was my business here, I was grilled, fingerprinted, re-photographed, glared at and sent on my way.

Holy shisskebabs Batman, America is a ridiculous place.

Oh but if this ordeal was over, ushered through more doorways, narrow hallways, escalators and wouldn't you know it, QueueMaster Retractable Barriers. It was time to strip down, unpack all of your belongings and stand in a x-ray machine listening to the female staff have a good laugh. They laughed the whole time, for everyone, at least someone was enjoying this.

Suddenly in the midst of a grand hall full of food and beverages, all I could do was hustle past them, smacking my lips, staring longingly at the drinks on display. It felt like slow motion, but this was a race. My mind, body and soul still reeling from the effort to even get this far over the previous days, the world seemed surreal and cartoon like, but this was America.

My flight was a long way through boarding as I ran up to the gate, I handed over my boarding pass as the violation of the USA hit me. 2 hours I'd never get back from a nation I hope I don't see again soon.

Monday, 2 January 2017


I made my connecting flight.. just. JUST.

Sitting amongst the suits on the plane I became aware of how gross I actually was. Pret-ty gross.

I forgave myself and decided they had it coming because I can't buy a house. The sort of sound resolution of thoughts one might expect from someone so close to breaking.

We landed in Auckland, I picked up my bags and half ran with them from the domestic to international terminal.. because in New Zealand these things are seperated by an open air maze of carparks, wire mesh, prefab huts and wheelie bins which stretch on for roughly a kilometre.

I had made it in time to check in for my flight, the relief was immense! Until I tried to check in anyway.

Despite numerous paranoid queries to the airline and friends about what paperwork might be required for passing through the United States, no-one mentioned a transit visa. But the woman at check-in did!

I was boned.

Off to the service desk I trolloped, giddy, vision blurred, smell.. apparent, and so so embarrassed about the visa. I could see the attendent behind the desk's face droop, just as the woman at check-in's had when my lack of a visa become the topic of conversation. "I can give you options.." here we go "We charge $50 to do it plus US$14 for the visa.. or you can do it yourself on your phone and just pay the $14." Now that's what I call options volume eleven. "I'll take the latter."

With time running out, I probed through the ridiculous American forms and how well they displayed on a phone. "How many hairs do you have on your right arm?" - "What was your Grandmother's dog's favourite colour?" - "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck was a terrorist?"

Finished. Paid. Sent. "You have not qualified for automatic passage" which I show to the ground staff "That never happens." Of course it doesn't. "Your application will be assessed and you will hear back from us within 72 hours" - US Government. Well that's handy as my flight closes in 17 minutes.

A sort of slow imposing dread finally starts to creep over me as the woman at the counter types in one thing and another "No." she says to herself "No." again.. she pats the keys and squints into the screen "This never happens." I'm half listening, mostly clock watching, my thoughts have turned to who I can ask to pick me up from Auckland airport and what people will think of me when it comes to light that I haven't left the country. I feel sick.

I'll never know who my hero was, their name, their age.. but they knew mine and somewhere in America they hit the green button. With two minutes before my flight closed, I popped up "Approved."

With a total air of disbelief and visibly emotional I shunt myself through the automatic doors and onwards..


I'd been on the phone with the airline earlier in the day for reasons unrelated to my departure, however they'd picked up that I wouldn't make my international flight on my current connection.

Their quick thinking and attention to detail was appreciated, though the time I would lose in the run up to leaving my house forever was about as welcome as a slap with a wet haddock. The woman from the service team assured me she would sort it out and placed me on hold..

"Good gawd fuck" I thought to myself, just as I'm now thinking "I hope my Grandparents have the ability to censor swearwords in their minds". But swearing was required at the time and not relaying that now would be dishonest, which is surely the lessor of two evils..right?

The service team is back with options.. "We can change it for you for $280 or you can book a new flight for $299". Now that's what I call options volume ten!

I sat for a moment, I was too worn down, if I looked at that bit of floor a bit longer, maybe it would swallow me up? "Sir?" "Yes, right, well, the $280 option I guess" I said with as little conviction as is possible to convey a decision of that nature, it's like "you can eat this dog sick or cat shit".. "I'll have the shit thanks."

I'd lost time, I'd lost money and I'd lost self respect from eating all that shit. Not that I really ate any shit, that's not a past-time of mine, but I really want to rub in how bitter I was and it certainly felt like I had anyway.

Feeling not very well, I doubled down the effort, which was exactly like when you're already running, tell yourself to go faster and fall down in a heap. I did not get everything sorted before I left and I really can't apologise to my flatmates enough for that, at least I didn't leave piles of cat shit flavoured vomit anywhere.

I haphazardly packed my bags, got them downstairs and they were placed in a taxi on my behalf.. where I also eventually ended up. I'd frantically staggered there, soaked in sweat, twitchy and miserable, completely out of touch with my surroundings, we were off to the airport.


I've been working towards getting to Britain for the last 3 years, chasing my crazy dream like the two foxes I just saw chasing each other outside my window (they have foxes! OMG! squeee!)


The last few months especially have been hard yakka, working two jobs, paying double rent, trying to sell my business, getting rid of my other worldly possessions.. did I mention 'trying'?

I wasn't able to sell my business before I left and the upshot was a lot of running around to make sure it could continue operating in my absence, like the squirrels frantically running around the garden (Squirrels! holy fucking shit! SQUIRRELS! errrmmmeerrggeerrhhdddd)


It meant the run up to my leaving really did become a sprint. In the last few days I regularly stayed up past 4am trying to dot t's and cross i's.. which was part of the problem, I could no longer tell my arse from my elbow.

I chose to stay home for Christmas rather than spending it with the family, not because I wanted to, but because I simply wouldn't make the finish line if I lost two days to be with them. I had fights with friends and family alike in those last couple of weeks, I was emotionally drained, mentally fatigued and incredibly unfit (that's not news to anyone) and I hit the wall.

I spent a lot of time staring at two things like any decision I made was life and death and would alter the future of the world. I churlishly goaded myself whenever I stood still unaccepting of any time spent on my elbows.

It was a hard farcical grind and if there had been judges present I wouldn't have made it to the second round. I was a mess on that last day, a sweaty, exhausted, emotional, quixotic mess. For those I wasn't able to see on that last day, you're lucky, that would have been the grossest hug you've ever had.