When I was young I got very sick.
For some reason I felt compelled during that time to write a story. It was a short story. Only two pages. But for a seven-year-old it felt very long. Being trapped indoors as a seven-year-old boy who loved football, riding bikes, and swimming in the lake felt like torture.
In the story there were two squares. One black and one green. Both represented possible futures. The black felt like the suburbia I was trapped in while I was sick. A double story, windowless brick wall on one side and a concrete backyard on the other. The green was the parks, the lake, and the faraway beaches that I dreamed of.
My family and I were a good two-hour drive from the beach. Our trip there every summer felt like the most amazing thing in the world. It was so wild and free. The outlook changing every day, the waves thrashing you around while wild creatures darted past. This was the world I wanted to be a part of, a world far removed from gates and concrete barriers.
When I was 11 we moved away from the suburbs of inland Australia to a beachfront shack on the shores of Clifton Beach, the gateway to Storm Bay and the wild Southern Ocean, on the southeast coast of Tasmania. The water was cold and refreshing, the waves were there every single day at my front doorstep, sometimes big but mainly small. Waking hours spent not at school were enjoyed in the water straight out front.
My first real job was on a boat in one of the last great wilderness areas of the world. It was hard work, but it kept you well and truly in tune with nature’s elements. At this stage I still had no real concept of money and how much it meant to people. I thought that my job of catching and killing fish was bad because I was killing too many fish. I eventually learned that this was probably one of the most honest jobs you could have. We were accountable for everything on that boat. All that we plucked from the ocean was hand-picked, and all the gear we used was crafted locally.
Watching a well-paid Western executive screw a Chinese factory merchant for half a cent a couple of years later, I realized money held priority over anything else in this world and humans seem completely happy to destroy ourselves and the planet we inhabit in pursuit of more of it. It’s a sad truth that I still often try to ignore, as I assume everyone else tries to do, too. Or are we so far removed from the reality of actual survival and co-habitation with other species and the planet that we just don’t see it?
I drive a car, I eat food wrapped in plastic, and I drink my coffee then throw away the cup. I have a garage full of surfboards, toys, sporting equipment, and tools, most of which I probably don’t need. Some of these habits I have changed already. Some I am still working on. I know my everyday way of life is destroying the planet we live on and depend on for survival, but I don’t know how to change.
This is why I am doing The Laps, a 10-episode TV series with my mate Rhian Slapp, where we take on island nations of the world on 14-day laps with all but 10 personal items each in the hope of finding some answers to the following questions: How much time do we have left at our current rates of consumption? Is a world without money feasible? What will run out first? Water? Oil? Food? What can we do to slow the flow of excessive consumption that is encouraged increasingly worldwide in a time when the reverse should be true?
Perhaps this will help that seven-year-old boy answer the question to his story.
The Laps is a reality adventure travel TV series, following its two Australian hosts Dustin Hollick and Rhian Slapp around 10 island nations, with no cash, no car, no phone, and just 10 personal items each.
- With just 14 days to complete each lap, the guys must survive with the bare minimum in both chaotic cities and remote natural environments, relying on nature and the kindness of humanity to help them on their quest.
- Their consumption of food, oil and water will be measured along the way and compared with our standard human consumption levels.
- What is learned along the way will become a blueprint to inspire us all to make simple changes at home and on our travels to help preserve our Earth for future generations to enjoy as we have.
Follow the journey on www.thelapstv.com. Episode One ‘The Lap of Tassie’ kicks off filming on October 10th, 2016.