The isolation that came with working in a remote community thousands of kilometres from my friends and family weighed down on me immensely. Working 12 hours a day for 26 of my 28 days away meant I was forced to actively pursue those connections in the limited time I had, even more so when the three hour Vic/WA time difference was factored in. I became heavily reliant on messaging and email. Not ideal, however, it led to the most profound development in one of my existing relationships, one that I shared with my dad.
Dad’s neglected 80 year old farming ears had been the cause of much pubescent frustration in my teens, sitting somewhere between outright deafness and downright questionable selective hearing, often resulting in conversations ending with him staring at me blankly and responding with a chuckle and a wavering, “ah, yes”.
To dad, this modern form of communication, known as “e-mail”, was the perfect medium with which to communicate. Often he would answer the phone to a friend, battle his way through a few misinterpreted sentences, inevitably concede to his chatty opponent and suggest they email him instead.
From that point on Dad and I communicated almost daily, and so began the initial stages of what became one of the deepest relationships I have ever experienced.
Nevertheless, two and a half years later, the FIFO industry inevitably spat my emotionally void and morally confused carcass onto its last plane ride home to Victoria. I spent the next little while getting my head straight by catching up on all the surfing I had missed and had my first chance encounter with Holly, who had flown into Australia with the same smile I’d been wearing just a few years prior when I left for the Pilbara.
Six months later, goal one was underway and I was flying to Thailand with one of my best mates by my side and absolutely no idea how I was financially going to be able to tackle goal two. But who cares… I was off!