Sunday, February 2, 2014


It's 2:30am on Monday the 3rd of Feb. I'm awake to catch a bus from Bundaberg to Brisbane that comes at 3:30, and have been killing time for the past approximately 9 hours. It's been pretty awful actually. Bundaberg was an important stop for me on my travels because of the Bundaberg Distillery, which I went to for about 2 hours max. Since then I've been waiting in a hostel.

I figured something out by being here though: I mentioned in my last blog post that Cairns felt like a tropical Rochester, MN. I realized why that is, because both are wealthy small cities. Bundaberg is a bit more run down. That's not to say that it's poor or anything, just older and a lot less modern. Also, incredibly boring. It should go without saying that I miss Melbourne, but in an odd twist of fate I'm even starting to miss Cairns. I was there long enough to develop a familiarity with it, and that pervasive charm that I can't quite put my finger on. Maybe it was the simplicity yet expansive list of things its surrounded by? Honestly, I think it was the people. The hostel I was at had some people that I connected with, and I just miss genuine human interaction.

I'm not 100% what Brisbane has to offer, but I'm cautiously optimistic.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


So I've left. I left Melbourne and I am the saddest I've been for a long time. It's physically painful. It's even painful to write about, but at the same time if I don't record these feelings now I'll lose them. Life moves on, and I know that, but you don't expect it to hurt as much as it does.

I'm desperately trying to figure out how to get back and live in Melbourne. I'm anxious about what life waits for me back Minneapolis. It's home, and it always will be, but Melbourne felt different. Like a different kind of home. I left my comfort zone in a big to come to Australia, but I was ready to move on then. I was ready for a new adventure. Now I've left Melbourne and I just question everything I'm doing.

When I first got to Melbourne I remember talking to Arj Barker after a show at Spleen. I'd talked to him before at Acme, and figured it was worth talking to him. When we were chatting he mentioned how great it must be for me. But at the time, I my thought was "seriously? This isn't great. It's not bad, but certainly isn't great." It's amazing to think of how much I've grown since then. It took so long to get a point where I was with people who cared about me. I found acceptance, and it took a long time to find.

Now I'm back living in a hostel. I hate living in hostels. Frankly, I hate travelling. I just don't like being away from my home, where ever that home may be. I remember as a kid getting back from family vacations and just being relieved. Realistically the only reason I'm in Cairns in the first place is out of some stupid obligation I feel towards home. I'm up here chasing that a dream that other people think I should want. My head is full of regrets about being here. Why didn't I stay and be with my friends who love me in Melbourne for my last month instead of flying to this soggy forest? It doesn't feel right, and yet I have no one to blame but myself. Cairns is not a place that I would choose to live in. Had I known what I was getting myself into I may have chosen differently. There are too many North American tourists. In fact, there's too much tourism in general. I'm going snorkling tomorrow in the Great Barrier Reef, and I'm not even that excited. There's a just a pit in my stomach.

I worry that dwelling is making things worse, but also that if I stop thinking about how great a time I had in Melbourne it'll disappear. My dad said I'm coping with loss, and that doesn't seem like that far off the mark. What's even harder is that I know if I were to stay in Melbourne permanently things still wouldn't be the same. Life is always changing. Making new friends, losing touch with others, building new experiences. But letting go is hard.

Oh, and it's hot and humid here and I resent it for that too.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Goodbye Melbourne, Part 1

I'm packing things up right now, and it's very difficult. There's a little night stand of drawers that has been accumulating personal possessions since I moved in, and cleaning it out is hard. It's the little reminders, how things got there, business cards from various people I barely remember meeting, but at the same time know exactly when and where it happened. All the things on the wall that were of any permanence for me are going to be removed. I haven't been this sad to leave somewhere since my apartment on campus where I lived 3 years. This place I've only been 6 months. It's only been less than a single year that I've spent here, but it feels like so much longer. A comic last night whom I'm not particularly close, but is held in well regard commented about it. I mentioned I hadn't been here for more than a year, which surprised him. It's nice to know when someone says you've made quite the impression on people. I know that I'm missed back home. I know that. But when I left there, I knew I was coming back. This place, I probably can't. And importantly, what I return to if I do will be different. Everything will be different. I have the thought that going home will be the same, but I'm scared that it won't be. And that fear isn't that it might not be, it's a fear of the unknown. EVERYTHING IS UNKNOWN AND I'M BLOODY SICK OF IT.

I went out with Stacey today for dumplings. I commented on how I don't even know where I would go to get dumplings in Minneapolis, though I just developed a taste for them locally so recently. When we finished eating we got McDonalds 30 cent ice cream cones and sat in the sun in the CBD. We chatted a bit, and a busker started setting up near our bench. He was drinking a Coke. While relatively inconsequential, it looked good and I thought about the balloon shop on La Trobe and Elizabeth where I frequented first because it was near the hostel, and later near Salmat. I got to know the proprietor over the various months. Eddy. He's a chatty guy, and so am I, so we eventually started talking. The first time was when he noticed my change purse. It's weird how in a situation full of unknown people who are always shifting in and out of your life, sometimes just a man who owns a balloon store can bring immense comfort. I also know that he's a good human being; one time I saw a homeless man who lives nearby come in with his change, and Eddy swapped him for actual notes. It's that kind of small inteaction that made me like him in the first place.
I suggested that we go to the store, so that I could say goodbye to Eddy, knowing full well that he may not be there. But sure enough, there he was. You don't neccesarily know how your life will be affected by change until it happens.

I wish I didn't have to leave.

Right now I'm off to join some mates at the pub. I sold my bicycle today, so it's going to take a while to get there, but I'm quite keen to go.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Letting Go

Hi. I'm at the library today cowering from the heat. It's terribly hot today. In fact, it's a four day stretch of scorching heat. Each is over 40 degrees Celsius. Yesterday was the hottest temperature day I've ever encountered. It got up to 109 Fahrenheit. But it's dry heat, so it's relatively tolerable. Well during the day. It sucks harsh at night.

I'm not sure how much more I could talk about the weather if I really wanted to, but this post isn't about that. I've been putting off talking about is that I'm finally leaving Melbourne, and I'm at the point of acceptance. It took me a while to get this point, but I'm here. It got to the point where I was having difficulty booking flights because booking the flight meant I was really leaving. Obviously, procrastination is not a great tactic while booking flights, I booked my flight to Cairns a week or two ago and now I leave in less than two weeks. It's hard to leave, but I'm ready.

God, I just don't know what to say. I'm just in this anxious period of travelling where I'm just waiting until I leave. I'm busy virtually every night until I leave, mostly comedy nights. But the days are still open and I have little to do. One thing I have planned for is that I'm having a going away party this Saturday. Like most parties I've hosted in the past, I'm simultaneously concerned that no one will come and that there will be too many people. I think the latter is most likely to be the case, but both are still possibilities (at least in my mind).

Despite becoming a vegetarian, I'm going to eat meat a few times in the near future, first at my party. Because I'll no longer be able to get it, I'm gonna eat kangaroo. Frankly, I don't feel bad about eating kangaroo since it's very environmentally friendly. I'm also planning on eating meat on Australia day. My friends are throwing a party which has been labelled "Dan Juola Day", and the plan is to eat buffalo wings, drink American beer, and light fireworks. I know that they've been eager to make buffalo wings, and it's already a holiday. So really, it's more happenstance than anything, but still, it's touching. It's really gonna feel like a 4th of July party and I'm super stoked.

I know I've posted in the past about my concerns regarding the future, but I want to reiterate that they have not been allayed. I'm considering buying a plane ticket back to Australia for next year just to force myself to come back. I just... I just don't want to leave this part of my life behind.

Lastly, I tried to write a retrospective piece on the first day of the year, but it seemed like a small milestone. My yearlong milestone will be upon me soon, so expect a post about that in the near-ish future.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Impending Unknowns

I've been posting a lot lately. Well, writing a lot at least; I still have yet to post several that are already written but I didn't have internet at the time and forgot. I'll post them pretty soon.
What's going on for me now is an impending sadness. I have less than a month left in Melbourne and I don't know what to do with myself. I wrote on Facebook yesterday that I remembered produce is going to be sold by the pound instead of kilo and it was a huge revelation. There is going to be so much that's different. I'm scared and anxious. It's like I'm abandoning a part of my life that I've really come to appreciate. My move here wasn't like that; when I left the US I left something that I'd always had. Here, it's something I've found. My experience in Melbourne has been like a romantic relationship. At first it was new and exciting, then there were some ups and downs, and I became really sick of it. But now I'm past that. Melbourne is like someone with whom I've created a history, and now I have to break up with her. It's heart wrenching. Months ago I thought I wasn't too fond of her, but now it's like I can't think of a life without her. All of these truths that I've been putting off are growing, and it's at the point where I can't look away. I'm leaving Australia, against my will. The goal when I started out was to live here a year, get the experience, and go home back to essentially the life I had when I left. My plan was to get a political job for the upcoming election and keep plugging away at comedy, especially after election season. Now, it's like I don't know what I want anymore. It was a fairly brash decision that brought me here, and I can't really believe I made it. It's a horrible cliche, but I came to take a piece of Australia home with me, but Australia is keeping a part of me.
I'd like to think I'll be back, but I just don't know. I keep saying I'll be back for the 2015 MICF, but even that worries me. That's so far in the future; what if everything is different? What if I find somebody and settle down or something? What if I just can't take it any longer in the comedy world? What if I quit? What if when I come home I fall as far out of love with Melbourne as I did in love over the course of a year? I don't like these unknowns. I have friends here, a network, and a lifestyle. I don't know what happens next and I don't like being in the dark.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sometimes I Just Feel Like Writing

12:30pm, 12/23/13
I'm at a neighborhood coffee shop/cafe. Realistically, it's more cafe than coffee shop, but there's waitstaff, which is atypical. The place is quaint, lots of wood and white paint. It's cloudy and drizzling, that kind of rain that it's not quite worth opening an umbrella, but enough that it's visible and your can feel it.
I don't have a specific reason for writing beyond just a feeling that I should. I can't shake the feeling that none of these posts accurately capture my life in its entirety, but each is just a portion. And that I'm a super huge wanker for trying to get philosophical.
I'm getting scared of what happens next. I only have just over a month left living in this city, I don't know what happens next. It's that fucking unknown that's bothering me. Not that it's all unknown; I know what life as a backpacker is like. I also know that I prefer life living in a house, and having a space of my own. Beyond the obvious interim period, I've actually been thinking a lot about what I want to happen when I get home. I'm not 100% sure what I'm going to do for a job when I get back, but I'm getting scared that comedy and politics are finally intersecting. What I'm alluding to is the Minnesota Fringe Festival that happens in early August, which is prime time for election season. In other words, if I do one, I necessarily cannot do the other. While it's the Fringe is definitely not a mandatory event, it's something that I have been planning on attempting as an approximation for the Melbourne Comedy Festival. I'm actually planning on applying for the Minnesota Fringe, since entry is granted via lottery in February. Really, I just don't want the preparation for the MICF to be a compete waste. But if I get a campaign job, that's what takes precedence.
That's not to imply that my time in Australia has been a waste, even comedically. I maintain that moving to Melbourne was one of the best (if not the outright best) decisions I've ever made. I think about what brought me here, and what I've accomplished. Clearly it's not the kind of a achievement that wins accolades; people move internationally all the time. What I'm really proud of is moving to a new country, making my way, meeting new people, and overall growing as a human being.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Summer/Winter Travel Plans

It's December, and that means summer. I haven't yet titled this blog post yet, but it will need a title. I'd rather not post "hey mid december!" as my title, but if push comes to shove, that's probably what will happen.

Let's just (and by "let's" I mean, I'm gonna write, and you're gonna read) talk about what I've been up to:
I've been unemployed here for over two months now. Amazingly, I'm not destitute. I'm not rich, that's for damn sure, but I'll survive on what I've got until I have to leave. I've been casually looking for employment, but at this point it's too late. In fact, I'm about two months too late. What I really should have done was start looking for a new job immediately after quitting Foxtel, but I didn't, and now I'm relatively stuck. Frankly though, I'm content with my decision. A little bit of extra cash would have been nice, but I'll get by with what I've currently got, plus my Australian tax rebate, and credit card. I get a distinct impression that what will likely happen is that I'm going to be coming home with a smidge of debt. But with a little luck I'll be able to knock that out swiftly.
What's left for me is what I want to do with my remaining time here. The month is booked pretty solidly, comedically. January specifically. My thought was that I'll leave Melbourne immediately following my last day on my lease, but I have a few gigs afterward, and furthermore Australia Day is on January 26th (it's like Australia's 4th of July), about a week after. While I could obviously celebrate it anywhere in Australia, and my plan was to be in Sydney, but it's really more of a bbq/hang out with friends holiday. I'd really rather be with friends rather than strangers on a day like that. So if that's how my plan goes, I leave Melbourne on the 27th, go to Sydney for a week or so, hit up Queensland for about a week as well, see Uluru (the giant rock I'm obliged to see), and then leave the country. Pushing my departure from Melbourne by a week really cuts into my tourist time, but so be it. Actually, maybe I can go to Uluru and back between when I leave Melbourne and Australia day...  Clearly I have to look into my further plans.

The only thing I know for sure is that I have to leave the country on February 21st. The plan had been to go to SE Asia for a while, then New Zealand, then home, but in part due to my financial situation, and partially because I'd really have to get back earlier, I'm thinking about skipping Asia. I know it's maybe not the right decision, because how long until I come back to this part of the world. I think what I really need to look into is what I can do and how long and how much it costs. I still really want to go skydiving in New Zealand, and want to spend at least a week or two there. I've started to wonder why I want to go to Asia at all. In part, it was because it's so cheap there, and it's a great place to lounge. Drinks are cheap, food is cheap, travel is cheap. But how much do I care about that? It's just another place to spend my remaining money. I honestly think what I've done here is as good or better than that would have been. I find myself having a really great experience going out constantly here. I have friends here. Any night of the week something is going on, and I know I'm welcome. It took some time before it happened, but I really feel home here now. I'm beginning to dread going home. I've also started seeing someone, and it's been nice having companionship. I'd forgotten how much I like simple things like holding hands walking down the street. Sleeping around is alright, but I miss somebody to actually care about. I'm not sure exactly what happens next, since I obviously have to leave here, but for now I'm in a good place. There's obviously plans that I could make, or at least think about, but part of me really doesn't want to. I'd rather let things go how they're going to.

What I think I need to do now is talk to somebody with a bit of information about travelling. I also think I just need to let myself max out my credit card and worry about the consequences later. Sorry Future Dan, but things might suck for you.