How to avoid getting sweaty and sticky in Saigon

I used to hate how hot and sweaty and sticky and disgusting I’d get every day in Saigon merely by walking outside for more than 5 minutes. Now I don’t experience this very often at all, despite the weather perhaps being even worse now.

These are my secrets for avoiding feeling sweaty and sticky in Saigon

Secret #1: Baby Powder

You want to put baby powder everywhere, and by everywhere I mean EVERYWHERE, and by EVERYWHERE I mean your balls, buttcrack, lower back, armpits and anywhere else that collects sweat.

You can buy baby powder at any convenience store and you can easily test it’s effectiveness by putting baby powder on only one armpit one day and seeing what the difference in sweat is by the end of it.

I don’t go outside for more than 5 minutes without putting baby powder on.

Secret #2: Proper clothing

Black denim is about the dumbest possible thing you can wear in Saigon, and I would know, since that’s what I used to wear all the time.

Denim is one of the thickest fabrics, you want cotton instead which is far cooler and lets the air come through. Chinos are generally made from cotton. If you don’t own any non-denim pants then get your life together. Go down to a tailor and get them to make you the best fitting pair of pants you own for less than you’d pay for the cheapest trousers at Target.

Same goes with shirts, cotton is your best bet.

In terms of colours, what do you think?

Yep, black is the worst, you’ll want lighter colours instead. White is the best, but how on earth anyone keeps white clothes white is beyond me, so if you’re a rookie like me, just go any lighter colour.

For shoes, the more surface area it covers, the worse. With a motorcycling boot being about the worst you could do, and something like loafers or boat shoes or volleys being the best.

If you want to wear the Vietnamese rice farmer’s hat too to provide yourself some shade, go ahead, set a trend.

Secret #3: Shower 3+ times a day

Because why the hell not.

Secret #4: Be a snob about where you go

If it’s not in District 1, do you really need to go there? Really? It seems highly suspect that anything important is outside the District in which I live.

And if the restaurant or bar a friend invites you to doesn’t have air conditioning, simply refuse to go. That friend clearly doesn’t like you much and it was about time you ditched the toxic relationship anyway.

Your next actions:

– Go to your nearest Circle K or Family Mart and buy baby powder and apply it under one armpit just to see how big of a difference it makes (huge)
– Start showering 3+ times a day
– Put all your black clothes, denim clothes and other thick-fabric-terribly-hot clothing in a bag, if after a month you don’t use any of it, burn it.
– Message your friends asking which tailor they’d recommend and go down to get yourself some stylish cotton clothes then take photos to add to your tinder profile
– Block all your friends on Facebook who have ever recommended you go somewhere that didn’t have air conditioning

Becoming Super-focused with Modafinil in Ho Chi Minh City

 

 

MY EXPERIENCE WITH MODAFINIL

One morning I woke up and decided if I was serious about increasing my productivity then I should at least experiment with one of the smart drugs I’d heard entrepreneurs talk about.

Figuring that I wouldn’t be able to import any of the popular smart drugs into Vietnam, where I was living, I messaged my Vietnamese friends asking what drugs the students here use to stay focused.

One of the responses was “meth”

Another of the responses was “Modafinil”

I first heard about the wonder-drug “Modafinil” (also called Modalert) from this blog: “How I Became Mighty With Modafinil”

In the blog he likens Modafinil to the NZT drug in the movie: “Limitless”, increasing focus, motivation, energy and productivity to achieve your goals. Having watched Limitless at least twelve times, I was very keen to try it out.

The only experience with nootropics or “smart drugs” I’d had prior to this was by experimenting with Piracetam, a drug that did literally nothing for me. Like, even taking four times the recommended dosage had no noticeable effect at all.

My Vietnamese friend, who I met through doing standup comedy together, said not only did he know where I could buy Modafinil, but he actually had some that he could sell me and would even offer me two pills for free just to try it out.

Most standup comedians take drugs, but not to increase their productivity.

And so at our next comedy show, whilst the other comedians were smoking weed and swapping notes on where to get real ecstasy and the benefits of Valium vs Xanax, I got Modafinil from my friend and discussed the finer points of increasing your productivity through it’s usage.

At 11am the next day, on an empty stomach, I took 100mg of Modafinil (half a pill)

My expectations were… that it wouldn’t work. That it’d be like Piracetam and every other “Amazing” life hack you hear of: total bullshit.

But about half an hour later I figured it had probably kicked in as I gradually felt more alert and more motivated to get stuff done today.

Five hours later I still felt alert and still felt motivated to get stuff done.

It was that feeling you get on some mornings where you just really want to dig in and you’re itching to work on some project… but instead the feeling lasts for hours.

I raced through project plans for creating a blog, set it all up, filmed and edited some great videos and went through my to-do list ticking off stuff I’d been putting off for ages.

It was probably the most productive day I’ve ever had in my entire life. And this was in spite of having slept terribly the night before, as I was up until 2am, which would ordinarily have totally destroyed any chance of being productive. And shit, even if I had slept well, the likelihood of me getting anything important done after lunch is incredibly low. I’ve perpetually been confused by people who say they work for 8 hours a day, I don’t think I’ve ever actually worked for that long before, even when I worked 9 to 5, as at least half that time is spent reading emails you don’t really have to read, having meetings you don’t really need to have, editing documents that don’t really need editing and just chatting to colleagues.

After Modafinil wore off… nothing, there was no come-down, I just felt like I’d have felt ordinarily at that time of day.

I decided that I would take Modafinil every time I woke up feeling like shit, which was once or twice a week at the point, and would otherwise probably get nothing done anyway.

I soon amended this to just taking Modafinil basically every day.

I don’t know how I lived before this.

The long-term side effects of taking Modafinil regularly… aren’t known. I don’t think there have been any scientific studies on the long-term effects of using Modafinil because it’s still so new and from internet land the only people reporting particularly bad side-effects are from those who took 200mg or 400mg or mixed it with other drugs. Everyone taking 50mg or 100mg like I had been just reported minor stuff like headaches when they first took it and being disinterested in sex for the next several hours but it otherwise largely just working as advertised. So far I haven’t had any bad experiences, and as of writing this blog I’ve been taking 100mg daily for about two weeks.

The canary in the coal mine is everyone else taking Modafinil regularly for years who still aren’t reporting negative effects despite a blog post on the subject being likely to go viral amongst the smart drug user community.

I intend to continue using Modafinil daily and I’m in love with the results so far.

WHERE TO GET MODAFINIL IN HO CHI MINH CITY

I get Modafinil from my friend, who gets it from… somewhere, presumably. I recommend you also ask your friends if they know anyone who can set you up and maybe even give you a free sample. I can’t vouch for any of these other places personally, so I suggest you do your own research.

Modafinil Viet Nam: When I posted on their Facebook page they said their prices were:

– 50,000 VND per pill for forty 200mg pills, 2,000,000 VND total
– 100,000 VND per pill for ten 200mg pills, 1,000,000 VND total

After I posted on their page a random guy offered to halves with me on the 40 pill order so we could get a cheaper price, so that could be a way. But I just opted to get them from my friend instead.

https://www.afinilexpress.com is another website a friend told me about, but I haven’t looked into it, you can check it out.

GUIDE TO TAKING MODAFINIL

First time you do it, just take 50mg (quarter of a pill) and if you don’t feel anything an hour later, take another 50mg, but for the love of God don’t take the whole pill.

Take it first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach to feel the full effects

Take regular breaks to eat and drink water, as otherwise you’ll literally forget to. (Happened to me)

Also take regular breaks to look away from your screen, as otherwise you’ll find yourself with really sore eyes four hours in as you realise you’ve been staring intently at your macbook this entire time. (Happened to me)

Don’t take it less than 12 hours before you plan to sleep, as otherwise you won’t be able to.

Don’t take it less than 12 hours before you think you might end up having sex with someone, as some people have reported it decreases their sex drive whilst they’re on it.

If, like me, your body often doesn’t respond well to coffee, don’t drink coffee on it as you’ll experience that antsy, agitated feeling for hours. But if your body does respond well to coffee, I’ve heard that it amplifies the Modafinil even further, so you can experiment with that.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Do your own research, get a sample, and conduct your own little experiment with 50mg of it to see how you respond. It might just seriously improve your life.

Driving drunk in Saigon… regularly

“Yeah I would just drive at a hundred K’s an hour down Nguyen Thi Minh Khai without my helmet on. Loved it”
“What the fuck? How could you go that fast on Nguyen Thi Minh Khai?”
“It was late at night, no one on the streets, I’d be coming back from Bui Vien drunk off my tits”
“On your motorbike?”
“Yeah man”
“What the fuck is wrong with you? If you crashed you’d definitely have died”
“I just didn’t care back then”

This was the conversation I had with one of the standup comedians in Ho Chi Minh City in 2016.

It’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard someone describe, but I too would drive drunk on my scooter from time to time.

What was my excuse?

I wasn’t suicidal like that guy clearly had been.

And in Australia I would never even dream of driving drunk.

I recall being at a party in Australia where one guy who had been drinking declared that he was going to drive the ten blocks to the university campus where he heard some chicks were at and asked if anyone wanted a lift. There was a fucking uproar of protestations. One girl demanded that he didn’t drive. Another guy tried to take the guy’s keys from him. A third person suggested that he just walk and a fourth guy even offered to pay for his taxi so he didn’t drive. When he declared that he didn’t give a shit and definitely wanted to drive I said to him “Well, if you’re gonna drive anyway, I wouldn’t mind a lift” and with the rest of the party yelling at us, he got in the car, pulled out and got one block before a police car pulled us over and arrested him.

During university I was at another party and I took a hit off of a joint that was being passed around. I wasn’t drinking, just enjoying the conversation. Then a couple of hours passed and I decided it was time to drive home. Everyone assumed I’d been drinking along with them and so at least three people asked me: “You sure dude? You can just crash here.” and I waved them away, got in my car, drove ten metres, realised that I must still be high because driving was proving very difficult, then just turned the car around and came back to sleep on a very shit couch.

After most standup comedy shows in Ho Chi Minh, the comedians will gather at a bar to drink, occasionally until four in the morning, and wouldn’t even murmur a protest when each and every member of that drinking marathon would get on a scooter to drive home.

Why is the culture regarding drink driving so different in Vietnam to Australia

Perhaps this is because when you’re driving a scooter you’re unlikely to kill anyone but yourself.

Perhaps this is because a lot of expats in Vietnam just don’t give a fuck.

After this conversation with the comedian I decided I should probably stop driving home on a scooter after 2-6 beers.

When I explained my plan to my friends, they didn’t seem to understand the concern.

Next time I went out, I got tipsy and drove home anyway.

The time after, I promised myself I wouldn’t drink, then I got tipsy and drove home, again

Next time I told my friend not to let me drink, and that I was trying not to drive after drinking. Nope.

I created plans for how I would confidently order a coke as soon as I got in and deny all requests to drink. Didn’t work either, I’d just cave to peer pressure every time.

After several more fails I eventually I concluded that the fear of merely dying from a very preventable motorbike accident wasn’t sufficient motivation to get me to drink in moderation, and so when I thought i might be tempted to even drink at all after going out, I’d just take an uber instead.

And huzzah, my problem was solved permanently with the addition of about $6 a night for my Uber fares.

Eventually, the guy who was the main instigator of my binge drinking, a hilarious guy, but a hilarious guy who absolutely insisted you drink as much as he drank, left the country for four months.

I barely drank at all for four months, having one beer and then just drinking water.

It was fine, and after he came back I was tired of his shit and extracted myself from that circle.

When the herd are drunk driving motorbikes off a cliff, consider doing something else instead.

Masculine Fashion

Is there such a thing as a “masculine style”? And when I say masculine I don’t mean the bullshit feminised reimagining of masculinity, where real men hold hands to cry and wash the dishes as foreplay, I mean traditional masculinity, you know, the one that actually has something to do with being a man instead of a woman. After following the Man in Demand conference recently, I found a guy who has an answer to this question, and I learned a lot from him.

“I am an intentional man. I live my life deliberately in all areas and this attitude is apparent in my dress and appearance. I understand that my image communicates how much respect I have for myself and how much I expect others to have for me.” – Tanner Guzy

I would like to be an intentional man who lives his life deliberately in all areas… But this attitude is not at all apparent in my dress and appearance. I wear whatever isn’t dirty (and often I even let that standard slip) and give basically no thought to the image I present to the world. I don’t even really look like a traveller, because my clothes aren’t particularly functional either. As I discovered Tanner Guzy’s website and read more, it dawned on me that I could and should seriously improve in this area.

Fashion seems like just…. such a gay endeavour. Women froth over it, clamouring to buy the clothes in the latest trend a designer has fabricated to sell new clothes which still look awful so that they can feel superior to other women who spend their money on… more important shit. It felt uncomfortable and certainly unmasculine to think too hard about what I wear.

“If you’re looking to simply be told what to wear to look good, this isn’t the site for you. In order to truly master any skill, it’s important to understand the history, the fundamentals, the implications, and the rituals. Dressing well is a skill and I believe so many men fail to get good at it because they don’t really move beyond simply trying to wear the same clothes as the men whose style they admire.” – Tanner Guzy

This was huge for me as yeah, I had no idea what made an outfit look good, beyond them fitting and something to do with colour consistency (which I didn’t understand anyway). The utterly worthless men’s magazines who discuss fashion simply tell you that you NEED to buy this $10,000 pair of jeans which we totally aren’t getting paid by the manufacturer to recommend to you. That and just a bunch of snobby shitheads explaining the superiority of some clothing over another in terms that don’t make any fucking sense. Men I relate to in no way whatsoever and who i’d probably be enthusiastic to not meet at a party.

“A man’s style is his first means of communication with the world around him. Before he even opens his mouth, he tells you what kind of man he is by the way he dresses: What he does for a living, what his habits are, how much money he makes, how much he respects himself.” – Tanner Guzy

Respect was a key paradigm shift. I certainly felt better when I put on a suit, even if it was just to go to a cafe to to get work done. One of the key differences he talks about is the priority of “aesthetics”. Simply looking pretty… Is way less important for men than it is for women. Things like social status rank much higher. One of the other key paradigm shifts I had was that the “fashion vs function” debate is stupid. All clothes are functional, even if the function is to attract a mate or to make a favourable impression by looking groomed. Social function is a thing.

I have read a lot of this guy’s material and have since completely changed how i think about clothing and my wardrobe has been completely overhauled.

To learn more check out these links

Wisdom tooth out in Vietnam

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Medical tourism is where people fly to other countries to get cheaper/better medical treatment, and often also use that cost saving to fund a whole holiday. If getting your three kid’s braces and vaccines etc. done in your home country will cost $7k but only say $2k in some country abroad… You spend the extra $5k doing whatever the fuck you want over there on an awesome holiday.

Some of the more obvious examples of people doing this are women going to Thailand to get a much cheaper boob-job. Many men might be doing the same thing to get their penises enlarged, but I don’t suppose they’re incline to tell anyone.

The main problem is… How do you know it won’t be dodgy?

I needed to get my wisdom tooth out because it was ruining my fucking life for the past few days and did some research to see what Vietnam had to offer. One of the experiences I read about described the participant going into the surgery area and noticing the tools still had someone else’s blood on them. Not a good look. As much as like self-experiments… Contracting HIV on purpose is a bit beyond my comfort zone.

I ended up settling on Starlight Dental a Clinic, up-market one in Saigon for $250 USD and it was pretty good. I’d have thought I was in Australia if everyone there wasn’t Asian and spoke with an accent.

I asked my travel insurer if they would cover it and they said no because getting your wisdom teeth out isn’t an emergency dental expense, it’s a normal dental expense. Bastards. I’ll try claim it anyway. When my friends and I went to Japan, one of them, who hadn’t gone to a dentist in years and had a habit of opening beer bottles with his teeth, had developed… Horrible cavities. He used to show us with a fork how deep the holes in his teeth were. He came up with the idea that we should just smash his teeth out with a bat and use the travel insurance to cover getting new teeth. We didn’t end up doing it… But that actually would have worked, travel insurance totally covers stuff like that.

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I’m yet to see a trend of people showing off their sexy X-Ray photos… But we might not be far off. Check out those teeth. Brilliant. The gums were over the top of my bottom left wisdom tooth though and was painful as fuck.

In Vietnam you can buy basically whatever you want from a pharmacy, no questions asked. So I didn’t need a prescription or anything for heavy pain medication. I once walked into a pharmacy to see an old couple interrogating the staff about getting Viagra, they left satisfied with the “generic one”, a happy ending.

The actual surgery itself was fine… But I can understand why people are afraid of dentists. Having your teeth worked on feels like a movie scene where NAZI scientists are doing experiments on the protagonist whilst he’s just sort of uncomfortably moaning.

I spoke to another expat who said that his dental experience in Vietnam was much nicer, mainly because the Dental assistants were quite attractive and would brush up against him as they leaned over him and such. In a country where it’s not unheard of to be offered a blow-job whilst getting a haircut perhaps there is a whole new style of dentistry that is waiting to be uncovered by an enterprising capitalist. Maybe that would cure people’s fear of dentists and lead to a much healthier society.

When they finally yanked my tooth out I actually didn’t realise they’d gotten it until my dentist showed me. Then when he asked “do you want to keep it?” I felt like he was offering me a puppy. Yes I wanted to keep it. I am still considering making a necklace out of it and seeing if anyone notices, might be a hell of a peacock. Perhaps I can claim that wearing a wisdom tooth around my neck is an expression of my spirituality. We shall see.

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Overcoming my drinking problem

I love binge drinking… But I also hate binge drinking.

Something I’ve told almost no one is that I used to have a drinking problem. 

I first began to get an inkling of this on Australia Day, 2012, when I was in my second year of university. I remember very little, but know I made a right arse of myself and ruined the event for a bunch of people. When I woke up the next day, I was naked, on a couch in my friend’s loungeroom, with the worst hangover of my life, whilst my friend woke up and had gotten heat stroke the day before but hadn’t noticed because he was so drunk. I was expecting all this shit in the aftermath… But my drinking buddies actively congratulated me, telling me it was the funniest thing they’d ever seen… Whilst the people I’d ruined the event for sent me abusive messages. I felt uneasy about both reactions and decided that this was the beginning of the end of this bullshit.

It was not an easy, smooth or fast transition.

When i was walking through university and saw a bunch of stalls for an organisation that encouraged people to rethink their drinking habits. Literally as a joke, my friend and I had approached this stall to talk bluntly about just how much we would drink and we laughed when we received our classifications as heavy/problematic drinkers. After Australia Day, when I saw this stall back again, I took it a tad more seriously. “How does your drinking affect your studies?” Very negatively. “How does your drinking affect your health?” Probably doesn’t help. “How does your drinking affect your budget?” It’s one of my biggest expenses. 

The questions went on until something occurred to me.  Although I didn’t drink alone on the toilet at home or wouldn’t get violent on alcohol or wouldn’t drink and drive or wasn’t living on the streets from drinking and didn’t fit the image of an alcoholic I had in my head… I still had drinking problems for sure. I couldn’t recall ever just having one drink when I could have had fifteen. I couldn’t even imagine drinking in moderation, it was like a made up notion. I had regularly quit drinking in the past… For like three days, and it was like I just had no control over the matter. I WAS going to be one of the drunkest people at the party on the weekend, I WAS going to spew up, I WAS going to say something stupid, I WAS going to wake up hungover and embarassed. I thought to myself, whilst standing dumbfounded near this stall, that when I feel like I have no control over my drinking and that it is fucking with my relationships and health and money and studies… That of course it’s a fucking problem. The question wasn’t “do I have a drinking problem?” Because of course I did… The question was “what now?”. Fuck, I thought, and walked home.

I tried not to think about it, I had way too much fun getting drunk and my social life was way too invested in binge drinking to cut it out. But I did think about it.

I thought about how, when walking around campus with a friend, they would remark about how I just seemed to know everyone due to how many people waved at me as we went past, and how I’d had to explain that I only knew who about a third of them were, since I’d met the others likely whilst I was very drunk at a party. Hundreds of people knew me who I didn’t know. Fuck.

I thought about how, at my very poorest during university, I’d bought a cask of wine before going grocery shopping for potatoes and two minute noodles, literally going hungry so that I could still get fucked up. Fuck.

I thought about how often people would have to apologise for me in advance, or brief the host of a party about me before I arrived because of how drunk and bawdy I’d be when I arrived. I was an inconvenience to a group outing at times. Fuck.

And every time I told my drinking buddies that I wasn’t drinking, they would very easily get me to have “just one” when we met up, which would lead to me quickly chugging an entire jug of wine in a drinking game. I was totally defenseless against peer pressure. Fuck.

And every time, the next morning I would wake up and, recently, experience a hangover that lasted two days. I would be completely incapable of doing anything, and think to myself… What if I never got out of this state? What if I felt hungover my whole life? There’s no way I could achieve any of my goals for sure. And in combination with the sickness, which I had tried every hangover cure in the book to solve, I’d feel embarassed about whatever dumb shit I’d done, and how much I lacked a spine for caving to peer-pressure once again. Fuck.

I thought about how easy I succumbed to peer pressure for alcohol and wondered that if there were drugs available, if I’d be as easily pressured into taking those too. I’d never taken hard drugs before… But maybe that’s just because I’d never had the chance to. I didn’t trust myself to even be capable of saying no. Was alcohol only the beginning? Fuck.

I felt weak and I felt stupid.

But… It was just so fun. And so easy. And I had no amazing alternative to getting fucked up anyway. 

Yeah I’d like to avoid these fucking hangovers and all this embarrassment and bullshit… But some of my fondest memories I’ve had were whilst drunk at a party. Getting drunk was one of my favourite things to do in life. Did I really have to give that up? There’s just a level you can get to with a person you’re drinking heavily with, that I just didn’t get in any other environment. I could immediately turn a boring event into a fun event with it. I could totally avoid awkward tensions and overcome my nervousness. Surely I didn’t have to give that up.

For probably about two years I had an on-off and rather complicated relationship with alcohol. 

That scene in the movies where the main character has this revelation and then the next thing he’s wearing a suit, has all this money and is a brand new person overnight? Yeah, it didn’t fucking happen like that.

I had never gone to a party sober. Trying it out, for the first few times, just resulted in me eventually getting drunk at the party anyway after I was tired of my “friends” calling me a faggot and speculating that I must have a vagina. But eventually, I had a totally sober night out at a party… And it was actually alright. Then I tried having a sober night out going clubbing… And it was fucking horrible.

Women go clubbing, presumably, to dance and get attention. Men go clubbing, presumably, to get laid. Except only the top percentiles of men actually pull it off, for the rest it’s really just the idea. If you’re drunk you don’t realise just how boring it is if you’re not good enough to pull. And if you’re sober… You see this… And can’t unsee this.

I went to more parties sober to see if I could salvage my social life and didn’t have to abandon it to construct a new one, which was a terrifying prospect. This usually failed as my attempts to weakly and defensively say that I “couldn’t” drink were very easily overpowered. Often when I did remain sober, the abuse I copped negated the fun of the party. And often, the party was just boring, and the people were just boring. This is all fine if you’re hammered, but if you’re not, you need to extract a useful conversation out of the other dull, lifeless, useless party-goers. I was quickly discovering that I didn’t like a lot of people and that I was bored by most. Every single time I just caved and drank more, I enjoyed it more. Every time. It was terrifyingly effective and I knew it, which is why it was such a struggle, but every time the next morning I enjoyed my life less.

It wasn’t until I’d already graduated and was needing a new social circle anyway that I really started to make traction. And each time I went out sober I’d get a little bit better at it. Each month I got a little bit better socially and became a little bit less dependent upon booze. But my life was still dull without it.

About a year after graduating, I’d finally begun to fill my life with hobbies and social outings that didn’t centre around alcohol, and finally, fucking finally, it looked like I was on the home stretch.

Then I left Australia to go travelling and eventually live in Saigon. Here I didn’t have people who knew me as that guy who was always keen for a drink, I could reinvent myself and avoid the pressures… And I did.

I still miss getting fucked up… But I don’t miss it that often and I have other things to do and other people to hang out with that I enjoy too.

Now I just tell people I’m not a big drinker, I don’t make a big deal out of it and I don’t say it defensively and people generally shut the fuck up about it pretty quickly. I’m good enough sober to add value to a party so it’s fine.

Now I really love just having one drink, it’s relaxing and amazing.

Now even when I fall off the wagon and drink a lot, I get about a fifth as drunk as I used to and don’t feel so embarassed.

Now drinking isn’t a problem, it doesn’t make my life worse and I finally have control over it. 

When all your friends are drinking buddies

When I finally decided I need to cut down on my painful drinking habits at university, my social circle was slightly less than helpful. Whilst others could pull off a healthy dose of boozing in their lifestyle, it was increasingly apparent that I couldn’t. The hostility I experienced from them was about equivalent to if I told them I was robbing the homeless or shooting heroine or banging their girlfriends or something. It was a pretty shitty experience, but a pretty insightful one too.

Because I was so fucking socially retarded, getting drunk was an incredibly handy tool… That I had steadily begun to utterly depend upon. It was a massive crutch for me. And when I stopped using this crutch… It was hard to walk without it. I basically had no social life… And very, very few friends. I had gotten so dependent that at parties I had to relearn how to actually socialise, as I couldn’t just immediately start a drinking game. I found myself at parties feeling like I was looking at people through a window… Not a clue how to engage with them sober and feeling like everyone else knew it too… And was judging me.

It took me a long time to figure out why my “friends” were being such dicks to me about this, even going so far as trying to force me to drink and pouring beer over me when I refused. My final conclusion was that my value to the group was in the energy and entertainment I brought whilst drunk. I was so non-judgemental and so open to doing anything that it made them feel at ease too… And I was funny as fuck whilst drunk too. But if I took away the alcohol, their concern was that I’d take away the fun… And that they’d feel judged for not cutting down on their own destructive relationship with alcohol. The whole point of them getting drunk was to forget about how fucked up their lives were… And if I’m not drunk with them… I become a reminder. Very regularly one of us would come back from an exam that they had very thoroughly failed to forget about it… It was a time where they didn’t want to have to think about reality. So I at least understood where they were coming from.

Our drinking group would occasionally actually broach the topic of how we weren’t really friends with each other, but just “drinking buddies” and laugh about it. This made me uneasy. Because without them, who the fuck are my friends? I had made little to no attempts to meet anyone in my course and I just didn’t care enough to build friendships with the housemates. So of course I just clung to the shitty relationships I had, because they were the only relationships I had. Drinking buddies are fantastic for the purpose they serve, but not so great at facilitating the purpose they didn’t serve… So I decided I’d need some new friends.

I regularly heard it mentioned that you are the average of your five closest friends, because you naturally influence each other a lot and you naturally spend time with them doing what they do. If your friends are business people, you can expect to spend more time talking about business and attending networking events. If your friends are gym-rats, you can expect to spend more time working out and eating egg-whites. I always just shrugged off this idea because it was an uncomfortable reality to confront… If your friends are extremely heavy drinkers, you can expect to spend more time funnelling cheap cask wine and throwing up in the swan river on a Friday afternoon. 

Eventually though, I would confront this uncomfortable reality and ask myself those critical questions. Who did I want to be friends with? Who didn’t I want to be friends with? Who was unencouraging to be around? Who was I still friends with… Just because I had known them a long time? What sort of people would I be proud to call my friends and not have to apologise for at a social event? What sort of people would be supportive of my goals in life? What do I really want in a friend?

I mean, I didn’t really have much choice, I had graduated whilst most of my friends were still at university, and even without the alcohol discrepancy, our lives were decreasingly relatable to each other. Too old for uni but feeling too young for the business world, it was uncomfortable. Another problem was that I loved getting drunk, it was the most fun I ever had, and I missed benefits of it, but not the costs… And also that I didn’t have a suitable replacement for it, so my life was way more boring.

I felt like I was going to be back to first grade and walking up to people in class and asking if they wanted to be my friend. It just felt so lame thinking about this so much. Business people have the right idea, they don’t talk about making “friends”, they talk about mentors and contacts and their network… Although it’s really the same thing… Just doesn’t sound quite so pitiful and prompt quite so much insecurity.

Take away the alcohol… What value can I deliver to people I want to build relationships with? Was I good listener? Could I tell good stories? Could I be insightful? Yes, no, sort of. I had some personal development to do.

When I finally pulled the trigger and left Australia to travel the world and potentially live overseas, i found it was very easy to cut ties. Keeping in touch with people really requires effort to do… So the question became “who do I want to make that effort for?” and that was a very useful question indeed. The people I do bother to keep talking toI really value my relationship with. And the additional time I have that isn’t spent with people on divergent paths in life, has been spent with some fucking amazingly inspirational people I’ve met travelling. Highly intelligent, very creative, motivatingly brave… And really fun, they’re what’s propelled me to stay on this journey by making me believe that I could.