There are times around the Christmas period when I start to feel a little down. Now this is not because I am a sad sack who has no family or mates to pass the festive season with. Its more to do with the weather. Whilst you Northeners are passing the days in blissful conditions, sub zero, dry hands, sticky rock type stuff, it starts to get really hot down here in the So Hem. It's not unusual to have a Christmas where the mercury peaks at around 40degrees. In other words, it's terrible conditions for climbing. Now, it's bad enough that its fucking hot already, but to make matters worse, this year, for the first time in 7 or 8 years, I have to work all summer. So, not only do I miss out on climbing, I can't go travelling, I can't hang on the beach all day and party all night, Well I guess I can party all night, but fronting up to work hung over in your own restaurant all summer is probably not a great look, not to mention a shitty way to pass the days. So, yeah, I'm feeling a little low, well I was until I started thinking about trips for this year, the trips I have taken in the last 12 months and all of the other amazing opportunities and experiences that climbing has afforded me.
I think as a group, climbers often forget just how blessed we are. We live in a sub section of society that is barely governed by rules. We travel extensively, we meet incredible people, we stay in incredible places, we skive, we chill, we discover, we live... I look at people who 9 to 5 their lives away and I genuinely feel sorry for them. No matter how much money they have, no matter how big their houses or nice their cars are, I wouldn't trade them a single day of the outlaw lifestyle. For over 20 years I have been gifted with the opportunities to climb and travel, I have met people from all facets of life who will remain friends until my last day. All of these thoughts will keep me going for the next few months as I slave the days away over a hot stove (always wanted to say that) churning out paella, linguine and snapper for the masses, or swallow the fierce retort (for which I am infamous) as I deal with some unpleasant little shit sack from Melbourne in overtight jeans who doesn't think that the milk is hot enough in his half strength decaf soy mocha.
For this summer I will have to content myself with living vicariously through others. I will have to make the fingerboard my best friend. I will up my jiu jitsu training to everyday, because I can't sit still, but through all of that I will be dreaming of the next time that I grasp cold rock, the feeling of tension that passes through my body as I desperately cling on through the outward force at the end of a deadpoint, the laughter that will be shared as I fall off a delicate slab move, (much to my friends mirth) and the unspoken love and camaraderie that is an omnipresent companion wherever I go in the climbing world.
So, where will it be in 2014? Do I head to an old favourite, such as Switzerland, check out Magic Wood and all that it has to offer? Or maybe this trip it will be Norway and Sweden, taking in the fjords from a boat and scoping out new lines. Perhaps we will join the masses and head to the wilds of South Africa. Then there's always the Grampians, my playground. I could always just pass a couple of months there, putting up new problems, walking, brushing and crushing. Who knows? Whatever happens, my enthusiasm for climbing, travelling and meeting new people and experiencing new cultures remains undiminished. And as always, it is with a huge thanks to all of my sponsors for all the help that they provide me in continuing to live the dream, always nice to know that someone understands you...