To start this piece-of-words thing I thought I’d come up with a clever title. What is the opposite of tunnel vision? Bridge vision? Panoramic vision? Paddock vision!? Not as clever as I’d hoped for, but has a bloody decent Kiwi ring to it so I’ll stick with that.
– With Ben Hurley –
Who doesn’t love an article with bullet points? You feel as though you’re reading something a lot faster than usual, consuming the text like a rabid, literate dog. Also, if directives are itemised into, say, 12 easily digestible chunks, you know where you are and how much you have to go. It’s worked for Alcoholics Anonymous for years so why not me?
1. Stay Positive. Constantly saying things like “the world is a terrible place” and “humans are the worst” isn’t helping anyone and just makes us all feel defeated. Sure, we might be in a bit of a mess but we have always been in some sort of mess. History documents some of the worst examples of human nature: war, slavery, cruelty and Limp Bizkit, but we have to hope that things will get better. I believe we are learning from our mistakes. You wouldn’t describe humans as ‘gifted’ learners but we are getting there, slowly.
2. Don’t wear shoes if you don’t have to – it’s the most acceptable form of public nudity. Everyone is a happier person when they are barefoot on sand or fresh cut grass.
3. In traffic, let other cars in. I know we are a competitive sporting nation but you’re not going to ‘win’ at traffic. Leave a gap and let them go in before you. They aren’t beating you – they’re in the same crappy commute as you.
4. Do things rather than have things. Travel, walk, jump, see, listen and feel. If the world is going to get better, don’t you want to experience it? Besides, you really don’t need another lamp.
5. Stop arguing on social media. Don’t get me wrong, the potential for social media for creating a better world is incredible, it’s just that we seem to be getting distracted by squabbling with each other. No one has ever made a decent argument in 140 characters so don’t bother. Send a message to an old friend instead.
6. Get every nation on earth into cricket. No two cricket-playing countries have ever gone to war with each other. Fact!
7. Create. Knit a jumper, cook a meal, build a spice rack, record a podcast, write a haiku. The ability to create sets humans apart from the other animals. There’s nothing like the feeling of standing back and looking at a thing well made.
8. Get the jerk chicken roll from Bird on a Wire. This is absolutely not a paid plug. It’s just an amazing sandwich that is so good it has the potential to create world peace.
9. Be a low level superhero. The old adage “bad things happen when good people do nothing” is a saying for a reason. You’d be amazed at how much impact someone saying “Hey. Stop that please!” (in your best school teacher voice) has.
10. Never stop learning. Especially about the other people in the world. Today I learnt that Ethiopia follows a calendar that is seven years behind ours. I’m going to go there and relive my late 20s.
11. Don’t wear pants if you don’t have to. It’s a less acceptable form of public nudity than the shoes one (see number two) but the same thing applies for sand and grass.
12. Don’t be a dick. You know who you are. Stop it.
13. Always do more than people expect.
Thank this generous fella at www.benhurley.com
View original print design below
The world is in crisis. There is political turmoil everywhere, wars, natural disasters. People try to fix the world, they look everywhere and think, where do we start? Maybe if we stop pollution, if we sort out poverty, homelessness or hungry kids, the world will be a better place. However, that is not the answer. The answer is much simpler than that.
The answer is always Oprah Winfrey. She can solve anything. She brings out people’s most vulnerable side. She broke Tom Cruise’s facade. He used to be normal – dare I say, even cool. We all liked him, he could do no wrong. But Oprah knew; Oprah could sense that we were being misled by his cool movie roles. She opened the door and provided the couch and he jumped and we saw and we as a people went, ‘Oooh, no’. Then she gave away cupcakes and everyone in the audience was happy, and she said, ‘Under your seat’ and she gave them washing machines and the world was happy and forgot about the crazy.
That’s what we need more of, a woman that can show us the beauty but not keep the crazy from us. We need truth but with enough good sheets to let us know that the world is rough, but the sheets are soft, and sometimes when everything goes well there might just be some big surprise under your seat.
Now, when I rule the world – not if, because I’ve read enough of Oprah’s books to know I should own it – when I rule the world I will make it compulsory for every human being to watch re-runs of The Oprah Winfrey Show. She sums it up in her own way, with just enough crying, laughing, smiling, singing and being a good friend – all while smelling amazing! I know Oprah cannot save the world from natural disasters, but if we apply her life principles, we will learn to roll with the punches, to live off the land, and that there is no such thing as a pit too dark to come out of, or a ledge too high to climb down from.
Being a good friend means more than having an unlimited supply of money. However, if you could be good friends with Oprah, you could have both – but that’s not what it’s about. I think life in general can be summed up if we live by Gloria Gaynor’s song ‘I will survive’, all the while remembering that no one really survives life.
Illustration by Toby Morris
View original print design below
Humans have the power to destroy but we also have the power to fix. The Thames is less polluted now than it was in the 1800s. My body is in better shape than it was when I was in my 20s. Don’t focus on the people who are destroying the world, focus on the day-to-day things that you are doing to save the world. Help your children, family and friends to love, care for animals, mammals and the planet.
Learn to swim in a forest.
Get involved with nature! Take up swimming, mountain biking, trail running or even just running after your mountain bike while it floats down a river. Getting out and getting involved with nature can show you just how important it is to the world. If you are a dictator or even just a budding dictator, getting out for a walk or a swim in the forest will calm you down, and when you are sitting under that waterfall having a nice cup of Oolong tea you will think to yourself: “Why don’t I just chill out? Maybe the world is a better place if I am not a dictator.”
If you are caught up in the grind of the city, take yourself to an empty beach and have a swim. This will wash away the grind and remind you how awesome the world is. No matter what though, remember to swim between the flags. If you can’t get to a beach, just have a bath and think about what you are grateful for. If we all do that we are one step closer to saving the world. However, in the bath always remember to swim between the taps.
Travel your socks off!
By travelling and absorbing other cultures you can begin to respect everyone on the planet. Your perception of other cultures goes from “That’s weird” to “That’s awesome.” It is always good to travel to a destination where you are the outsider. And on a more base level someone has to buy those Thai fishermen pants, Thai fishermen aren’t buying them. I have been to Thailand and I have never seen a fisherman wearing those pants. I have seen a lot of people at music festivals with ginger dreadlocks and fire-pois wearing them though. Maybe they should be called white tourist fire-poi pants.
When you respect another culture you don’t fear it. You realise there are good people everywhere. Difference is awesome. You would hate to have the same meal every night*. Variety is the spice of life and when you realise how special everyone is it reminds you to save the planet. Because if we don’t, humans can’t continue to be awesome.
*if the meal was tacos I could probably have the same meal every night.
Words by Dai Henwood, Photography by Gareth Moon