Essay by Luke Foster
“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
When I was in my late teens and early twenties at art school, I thought bohemian writers like Jack Kerouac and Henry Miller and Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs were cool and because I had a long commute from Avalon to the city, I read these sort of bohemian books a lot to pass the time. I drank and smoked like them thinking it was cool.
“The only people for me are the mad ones: the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who… burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow Roman candles.”
But now I want to live as long as possible and feel it’s cool to be straight edge meaning alcohol, cigarettes and drug free.
When I was 19 me and my art school buddy Glendon Fletcher hitch hiked to Byron Bay from Sydney and back with only fifty dollars each in our back pockets, and slept on beaches and in parks and sometimes standing roadside on the Pacific Highway for hours at a time. We started by catching the train from Hornsby on the edge of Sydney to Newcastle and walked to the Pacific Highway to hitch there. Our trip was inspired by both of us reading Jack Kerouac’s novel On the Road about he and his friends hitchhiking and driving madly back and fourth across America based on their true lives in the fifties.
Now I am a health nut and haven’t smoked for over a decade and haven’t drunk, for about 4 years.
As I am a writer now, I feel I have a responsibility to my young readers to promote all of the values I try to live by mainly healthy living, not drinking or smoking or doing drugs and exercising a lot mainly in my case beach walking two hours a day and going to the gym a few days a week and to a lesser extent bicycle riding.
“Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend – or a meaningful day.”
I love this Dalai Lama quote as it seems to sum up my life of late where old friends move on and I make new ones. I try to make the most of every day and make every day a meaningful day.
Going back to the topic of hitch hiking my mum hitched hiked around Europe for several years with her young teacher friend in the sixties. I learnt from my mum how to be frugal. When she was saving to go to Europe, she saved every penny and wouldn’t even buy a coffee. She was a wild free spirit when she took that holiday in her late twenties.
In conclusion I feel its great to travel as much as you can and be a free spirit but I also feel its good not to go wild with booze and cigarettes and alcohol and drugs as I am 50 now and I realised that I don’t have a lot of life left and am probably over half the way there so I need to be as healthy as possible with how I live.