Awake in Australia.

By Jason BladesMarch 12, 2010

I grew up in a small, rural and coastal town in Massachusetts. My family lived close enough to the city to take a trip whenever we wanted too, yet our surroundings would make us feel and think otherwise. Our closest neighbors were the beach and the gang of farm animals that we could hear next door every morning as they all woke up for each new day. I liked to adventure and learn, but as long as it was close to home. I wanted to keep learning as much as I could about my surroundings, as long as I didn’t have to let go of my mom’s hand. It is safe to say that living in such a small town and never leaving home had created a kid who had become very ethnocentric. I knew plenty about where I grew up, but I couldn’t imagine that a world outside of mine even existed.

This attitude continued until my senior year of college where I made the commute to a local state school only thirty minutes away. It wasn’t until my last semester of college that all of this changed. I decided to take a chance and applied for an internship with a cause that I felt passionate about, TWLOHA. If I am being completely honest, I will tell you that there is no way I ever saw myself getting accepted as an intern, let alone moving to Florida to participate. Within the month, I had put my final semester of college on hold and was driving down to Florida with most of my belongings to join 5 other new interns who were taking on the same new adventure. I made the choice to move despite what some people around me thought. I moved because I was ready to learn more, ready to learn and work for something I felt passionate about.

My internship ended in August when I came home in preparation for my last semester of college. Over the course of my internship, I had the privilege of standing behind the TWLOHA booth: meeting, talking and learning from so many people on Warped Tour every day. Through everyone we met on the road and my fellow interns, I learned so much about people all over: listening to their stories, their adventures, passions and desires. It made taking a chance, stepping out of my comfort zone and moving so far away from home well worthwhile. In December, I finished up school and got the invitation to go to Australia with TWLOHA for Soundwave. It was only a year ago that I decided to take a chance a step out of my comfort zone and venture away from home, now I was headed to another country for the first time!

Chris and I just returned from the adventure of a lifetime in Australia, on Soundwave Festival. Chris had gone to Australia last year with TWLOHA, but this was my first journey to the land down under. Soundwave Travels across the large continent in 2 weeks, with five stops in five major cities: Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Perth. After landing in Brisbane, I found myself teeming with excitement. I had a hard time sleeping most of our trip; some say it was jetlag, but I disagree. I was so excited to meet so many people from all over and to see a new and beautiful country that I couldn’t find any time to sleep. Excitement and fresh faces at the booth were my fuel for each and every day where sleep was lacking.

Each and every city of our trip had so many new people to learn from and great things to experience. In Sydney, Chris and I got to lay under the stars at the foot of The Opera House and Harbor Bridge with friends. We walked around Melbourne and saw a city with amazing architecture and beautiful culture. In Perth, we took the tourist drive up the coast that ended with a dip in the ocean and a breathtaking sunset over Trigg Beach. We even got to plan some tourist activities that involved koalas, kangaroos, vegemite and a cool looking currency.

By far, the highlight of my trip and adventure in Australia was meeting so many new people and making new friends every day. Everyone at the booth, on the road, and at the airport, I owe my experience to you. Thank you for bringing us to Australia this year. This is for everyone that stopped by the booth to say hello, to everyone that showed curiosity or support for TWLOHA’s message, and for those who came simply to talk. Thank you to all of my friendly flight neighbors who wanted to share conversation, stories and friendship. Thanks for showing me a hospitable and beautiful culture and country. Thank you for my adventure, being my teacher and allowing me to learn. It has been a powerful trip, and I owe it all to you. Thank you for making me feel at home, even though home was half the world away.

Thank you again to everyone in Australia, from Warped and on the road that I have met that have made me feel like I am at home, even when home is so far away. I cant wait to see you all again.

See you so soon,

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