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The long Voyage to professional piracy – Part 30 – Learning the hard way

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It is a long journey to becoming a professional children’s theatre artist. This blog is the transformational tale of how Dustin Anderson became the children’s icon, The Purple Pirate. It is a non direct route of challenges and distractions overcome by perseverance and self discovery.

Committing to the bicycle as my sole form of transportation had it’s challenges. The obvious were time, weather, and smell. I could plan fairly well and arrive on time…but learned some the hard way.

I had just converted and thought that children would think that a pirates ship bicycle would be really cool. I hunted on the net and couldn’t figure it out how to do it with a road bike and when speaking to a fabricator about building something custom he suggested a recumbent. I was a little indignant at first but it had the best shape to be a pirate ship.

After some research I had decided that supporting a local bike company was what I wanted to do.

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The bike was quite comfortable and getting it decorated like a pirate ship was really enjoyable. There was a large geeky component that was very fun. I thought it was cool and children also thought it was cool…but something about seeing a person sit down can make some people uncomfortable….especially when you ride to their home in Langley from Vancouver (about 28 kms – not a lot for an experienced cyclist).

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In the trailer I had a 80 pound PA system. I was on my way to Coquitlam. I was quite tired at the end of the day.

To cycle for pleasure or fitness a distance takes a certain fitness level and understanding of diet. To add the added challenge of performing for children is another world. I didn’t understand how much I needed to eat in the beginning and would be “bonking” (low blood sugar) while performing. I would be dizzy and barely make it through.

I had to get specific costumes made so I could just get off the bike and go into a show. I had to have snacks ready to eat while cycling. I had to plan my route for efficiency and ease of travel. Some roads are friendlier than others. All this added a whole other dimension to being a performer.

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I had a reputation with other performers for my commitment. It was intimidating for some. Magicians are notorious for ‘adopting’ others ideas and I remember one guy had heard about the press that I was getting and started cycling….he didn’t last. Poor guy had no idea what he was getting into.

One of the greatest benefits was that I could eat anything at anytime. At  the start of this adventure I didn’t eat enough and got really thin and sickly. I think I even tried to go vegetarian shortly after and got anemic. Go hard or go home!!

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I had some very prominent clients that had hired me for several of their children. I believe it was a January and I had 3 shows. The first one was in Delta, and the second one near UBC and third in East Van. It was drizzly and gray and my first show went well but I goofed on my food and started getting dizzy, a pedal broke, and I overestimated my ability to make up the time.

I was late and the client was not happy. I felt terrible but did the best I could do at that time. I did the show and then made my way to my third party. On my way down a large hill my brakes failed. The pads wore out faster than I had anticipated and I realised at a stop light. I was lucky that the taxi that wanted to turn across my path was patient.

I was also late to my third party and that client was understanding. I was gritty from the sand of the road and dizzy from the lack of food. It was a learning day for me. I never repeated those mistakes again.

The long Voyage to professional piracy – Part 29 – The bicycle distraction

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Thanks for tuning in…!

It is a long journey to becoming a professional children’s theatre artist. This blog is the transformational tale of how Dustin Anderson became the children’s icon, The Purple Pirate. It is a non direct route of challenges and distractions overcome by perseverance and self discovery.

I am going to step back in time as I forgot to mention our first cycling trip in 2002…The beginning of my bicycle distraction. I have always had grand thoughts. Our friend Jon Blenkhorn was getting into cycling as well and I thought it would be easy enough to get up at 4 am and ride 30 kph for the entire day and get to my home town, Port Hardy by evening which was 400 kms away. I convinced Farah and Jon that it was possible as well. :0)

DCP_1871Both Jon and I were nervous and didn’t sleep that night. Sleeping in any situation is one of Farah’s many gifts. Jon is an athletic man and could carry his own gear.  I had made a cargo trailer from a kids trailer that could carry lots of stuff and thought if I carried all of Farah’s we would be in good shape.

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We made the ferry and I believe we all had a nap. It was  beautiful day and we got to Parksville feeling pretty good and when we got to Bowser we were done. I remember saying that I was tired and would like to find a place to stay. Both Jon and Farah let out a sigh of relief. They were both happy that they didn’t have to convince me to stop.

 

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We stayed the next couple nights at Bowser Bills. Jon and I rode up to Courtney the next day and Farah rested in the cabin. It was great trip. We didn’t get even close to Port Hardy but we really enjoyed the freedom of being on the road…and a seed was planted.

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Step forward a couple years….

I have always believed the role modeling and more effective than words which is the reason I cycled to the Banff Television Festival. When I was a child I was always irritated by “Do as I say not as I do”. When I returned from the festival I sold my truck and motorcycle. I believed that if committed to being car free and leading by example then Canadians would get behind the Purple Pirate and my future would be set.

I traded my truck for a small sum of money and some cycling shoes to one friend and sold my motorcycle to another. Farah and I were nervous but ready to try car free living. Farah and I bought our first tandem shortly after.

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Bicycle touring became a bigger part of our world and I started to dream of exploring the planet. The picture above is the first day of our Haida Gwaii trip. It was a great trip for our relationship. The tandem is also called “The divorcycle” for a very good reason. There will always be a stronger person in a bicycle touring group and then you don’t ride together very often. I called it yo-yo ing. My idea was that a tandem would be great for us to travel faster as a team. The reality is that the stronger rider travels slower than he would on his own but the group travels faster. This was learned the hard way…my hard headed way that is.

We rode up faster than Farah felt comfortable riding down and I had an unrealistic desire to ride faster. One day we passed a solo cyclist and then started to argue (because of me) so we would stop and the cyclist would pass us . We would start cycling again and pass her then start arguing again, stop and she would pass up. This happened a number of times and then the issue broke and we came together stronger.

This was a grand learning about about communication and compromise.

Here is the video. 

The long Voyage to professional piracy – Part 28 – The Purple Pirate Show, Cuba and the beginning of a bicycle distraction

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It is a long journey to becoming a professional children’s theatre artist. This blog is the transformational tale of how Dustin Anderson became the children’s icon, The Purple Pirate.

Deciding to step away from dance and focus on children was a challenging decision as I have been a kinaesthetic person. I have always known that I would be a performer but I wouldn’t have thought it would have been for young audiences. In the 80s I had the idea that I would be the next Tom Cruise. Life, interests and priorities change.  ;0)

Farah and I settled into our lives and I performed for birthday parties with the odd larger venue show. My introduction to magic was of a style that I didn’t connect with and didn’t spend much time working on as a result. The traditional children’s magic style doesn’t appeal to me and subsequently didn’t inspire me to work as hard as I am now. The genre of magic that I really appreciate is what the European world champions were doing. At that time I didn’t have the confidence to pursue that level of mastery.

I was lucky to meet film maker, Adam Voghell, through a mutual friend and in one month we pulled together a cast and crew to film The Purple Pirate Show.  It was a fantastic experience. I don’t know how it came together as it did but we pulled it off. Normally these kinds of programs take more time to complete but I was in such a rush that I somehow pulled together all the people needed to make it happen.

While Rowand edited it, Farah and I explored the western tip of Cuba by bicycle. We brought over school supplies collected by a good friend and school teacher Craig McNeil. The bicycles that we travelled with we left there. We created this video of our experience. It is interesting to look at this experience through my eyes now… I am a very different person.

When we returned we prepared for the Banff International Television festival. The Purple Pirate was going to take the festival by storm…and I was going to cycle there. To prove that I was serious about being a positive role model… This blog is a very interesting way for me to look back on the way I have approached life…with my body. This passion has always been great for me but can be alienating as most people don’t know how to relate to, what can be perceived as an extreme personality.

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This is the cake made for me at the going away party.

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I was nervous about cycling all the way to Banff. I trained for it…when I should have been preparing for presenting the show. I got sick the day before from the nerves but when I got on the road I recovered. When I arrived in Banff my confidence had been boosted from accomplishing the trip. The only issue was that I had no contacts or notoriety so my team had made a plan that I would wear different versions of my Purple Pirate ‘uniform’ everyday to attract attention….and it worked. I got attention but I didn’t know what to do with it. I was way out of my comfort zone. People came up to talk to me but I had nothing really substantial to say. I didn’t understand the medium or the market.

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This is the picture we used for press releases.

The last day was children’s programming and I made 100 purple balloon swords and put them on the backs of the chairs in the auditorium. When people entered the room it looked like a purple seaweed farm. It worked! The emcee said “the Purple Pirate has struck”, asked where I was and came up to me with the microphone. I said something but didn’t know how to follow up. Les Brown has a saying “I didn’t know what I didn’t know”.. I love that guy.

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The children’s programming day…I made 100 purple balloon swords and put them on the backs of the seats in the auditorium.

The Purple Pirate wasn’t a household name at the end of that trip but I learned a lot and am now ready to try again. I am writing a television program myself this time and gathering up a crew. The Purple Pirate will strike again!

The long Voyage to professional piracy – Part 27 – Blue Collar & Islam

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It is a long journey to becoming a professional children’s theatre artist. This blog is the transformational tale of how Dustin Anderson became the children’s icon, The Purple Pirate.

Dancing with the Karen Jamieson was not only interesting but I had the opportunity to work with some amazing performers. Alisoun Payne was/is this incredible dynamo of a dancer. It was a spectacular experience to dance with her. Below are pictures from Raven of the Roundhouse.

 

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Byron Chief Moons was another great performer that also had a dance group, Coyote Arts Percussive Performance Association. He hired me for residencies at the Banff Centre of the Arts and performances in Toronto and also video. It was a fantastic experience. Byron Chief Moon is a wonderful human being, great performer and always went of his way to make people feel special.

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Brian Webb invited me to choreograph for the upcoming season. I created a piece based on my experience in the  Blue Collar world and invited a good buddy of mine, Walter Kubanek to dance with me.

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I built a large wooden structure that Walter and I climbed over and danced around. Heavy physical labour with artistic intent was really fulfilling for me. Have a Look  http://youtu.be/JIwwvGrxgPA . This was a very fulfilling process for me but I didn’t have the confidence to promote Blue Collar to other festivals or venues.

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Once it was over I did small contracts for other companies in the lower mainland. There is a different aesthetic and physical demand between the west and the east. I have always been a very physical person and had that expectation of my dance work and training . Vancouver at that time had a different focus and I was frustrated.

September 11th, 2001 changed the world and mine for the better. I watched the television on that day and for the next period of time and was influenced by the media’s demonisation of Islam. Then one day in November I met a beautiful woman named Farah Nazarali.

This woman was really smart, conscientious, and….muslim! All the fear mongering about muslims that I was starting to believe was erased. I had travelled but I wouldn’t say I was worldly. My view of the world was changed with how I saw people of developing nations treated on the cruise ship. Farah had a huge depth of knowledge of the world and helped my global conscience grow. 13 years later we are married and still growing together.

I was unfulfilled with where my dance career was going and made a choice, with Farah’s support, to focus on performing for children. I love to dance but I didn’t know how to realise that dream in a city that wasn’t focussed on the aesthetic I was interested in so I decided to retire. It was a difficult choice but I didn’t see a great future for me in the climate and lifestyle that I prefered.

I have realised that this blog is about the life lessons that I have been presented with and that this is a great opportunity for me.

Life Lesson: Meeting Farah taught me that first hand experience matters not what people say.

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The long Voyage to professional piracy – Part 26 – Chinese Television

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It is a long journey to becoming a professional children’s performer. This blog is the transformational tale of how Dustin Anderson became the children’s icon, The Purple Pirate.

Shawn Farquhar knows everyone. This man is a motivated dynamo that has given enormous amounts of energy and love to magic. A friend of his and world champion magician, Juliana Chen needed an assistant and he suggested me. I had never heard of her before but I was always looking for work. The thought of working with a world champion that travelled the world was also very interesting. Juliana won FISM (the olympics of magic) with a cards and masks routine. She had toured the world with that act and sometimes needed an assistant for larger events and illusions.

We met and I would fit the criteria that she was looking for. We started rehearsing in the storage space of the infamous strip club, No. 5 Orange. She needed an assistant for a show at the PNE and in Toronto. Limousines would pick us up. What she needed of me was quite simple, dancing and assisting for the shows. The event organisers struggled with what was expected of them and backstage was really stressful. There are many details in putting together a successful performance and an audience member wouldn’t notice them.

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Every show was challenging. Then she invited me to come with her to the Shanghai International Magic Festival. What an incredible opportunity. I had never been to China before. I was a little nervous about going there as it was shortly after September 11th, 2001. World security was changing fast. In the end there were no difficulties go to or from China but I had my doubts. China is like a whole different planet. The noise and pollution in Shanghai are insane compared to Vancouver. I noticed that men were horking up phlegm everywhere and it made me think that their lunges were infected from the terrible air quality.

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We stayed in a beautiful hotel and I had a massive bed in my room. It looked awesome and I went to do a dive onto it…and bounced off onto the other side of the bed like a Chevy Chase movie. The bed was really hard. Really hard. I never expected it and didn’t sleep very well for the week. The gig was really interesting. I had choreographed one of the pieces for it and got to work with some Chinese national acrobats as my dancers. They didn’t speak English and I had only been able to learn how to say good, beautiful and count 1-10 in Mandarin to get us through. They were fantastic and we had fun despite the language and cultural barrier. Because they were employees of the state we could summon them anytime.

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The other magic acts were all world champions and were incredibly inspiring. I got to see Nicholas Knight and Kevin James but My favorite was Junge Junge. This incredible experience introduced me to the European style silent act….a seed was planted.

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I really appreciated the effort put forth in detail and narrative. The event itself was in a large stadium of 20 thousand people with a live audience of over 2 million people. I have no idea how the television audience enjoyed the shows but the live audience didn’t seem to care. There was a constant cacophony of cel phones, talking and there might have even been some Yaks wandering through. The sound guy disappeared, the lighting guy was asleep and the poor Canadian stage manager was going out of his mine. Some of the acts were cut short during their shows, some cut altogether. We were told that we weren’t going on and then “We’re going on in 45 seconds!!”. Me and my dancers nailed it despite the sound guy turning off our music half way into the piece and Juliana disappearing and reappearing in the audience to the din of the seemingly uninterested horde. Ain’t show business grande!

Going to China was great. For me the most memorable piece was seeing magic presented in a way that I really appreciated it… and now try to emulate with Message in a Bottle.

The long Voyage to professional piracy – Part 25 – The birth of the Purple Pirate

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It is a long journey to becoming a professional children’s performer. This blog is the transformational tale of how Dustin Anderson became the children’s icon, The Purple Pirate.

My parents were living in Tucson at that time and stayed with them for a couple weeks when I returned to North America. My little brother, Mikey, was 5 at the time. He is now graduating from University….I want to say something profound about time but I would just sound and feel old. :0)

Riding my fathers Goldwing around Tucson was quite a bit different than the GT 750 I had just sold. Those things are great for cruising around. Big and comfortable like a two wheeled land yacht.

When I landed in Vancouver I sub-letted the room of my friend, Terry at Main and 25th. The house known as the “Men’s Shelter” or the “Port Hardy Embassy”. It was 20 something single men that were mostly from Port Hardy. It was a perfect place for me. We all had issues and were trying to find ourselves…though no one was doing it consciously.

I started looking for some dance classes to train at and throughout my time in Vancouver I rarely have connected with the teaching styles. I auditioned for the Karen Jamieson dance company with my tried and true technique of a back flip. I didn’t hear back for a few months and then I got the gig. I worked with some extraordinary people; Byron Chief Moon and Alisoune Payne

I reconnected with the magician, Shawn Farquhar that I met in the Caribbean and he inspired me with lots of knowledge about magic. He would share effects that he was working on and overwhelm me with knowledge. He and his family became good friends. He is now a world champion magician and if you ever get a chance to see his work…GO! He is a master of the craft! Here is my personal favorite piece of his. 

I didn’t want to get a minimum wage job and thought about the fun I had performing with Birthday Party Doug in Toronto so I started looking for agencies. There was nothing like that happening in Vancouver. I had to start something on my own and I remembered that Doug mentioned that children love pirates. I had also heard about a local performer called the Emerald Admiral. One night before just as I was falling asleep….The Purple Pirate….I will be the Purple Pirate.

I got one of the raver friends of the Mens’ shelter to sew me a costume. I cycled to Richmond from Vancouver and bought the last plastic treasure box, taped it to my back and rode home. I learned some tricks that Shawn gave me and some of my own.

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I had an F-150 truck and had a friend paint the sides like the side of a hull, I designed a mast out of PVC, had  sail made and created my own bubble cannon! It was really fun!

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My initial idea was to supplement my dance income with children’s birthday parties. I enjoyed the creative process and once I got over a number of misconceptions I had of what performing at a children’s birthday party would be like…and some humbling experiences I was performing as the Purple Pirate quite a bit.

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The only issue was my artistic training “art is expression of self”….

The long Voyage to professional piracy – Part 24 – Kangaroos and the final leg of the Australian Odyssey

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It is a long journey to becoming a professional children’s performer. This blog is the transformational tale of how Dustin Anderson became the children’s icon, The Purple Pirate.

By the time we got to Perth we were pretty tired. We stayed with a good friend Zac for a few days and then started to make our way east. There were a few things we wanted to see like the Wave Rock and Margaret river on that side but ultimately we were getting to the end.

We met a couple young men from Tasmania that were touring around in a car. We decided to travel the Nullarbor plain together. 2000 kilometres of straight, flat and inhabited road…with a gas station in the middle. There were “short” road works of 50 kilometres of dirt road. This was unnerving on a loaded touring motorcycle with two people. We were very lucky to have the car for Cindy to ride for those stretches.

The Nullarbor was a two day trip for us and on the second day we left late and found ourselves travelling at night which is really dangerous as the Kangaroos come out. We hadn’t seen any in the wild until that night. Cindy road in the car and I stayed as close to the cars rear bumper as I could to avoid being taken out by one of those creatures. It was a white knuckle ride but we made it through.

A quick aside….(The goal of the blog is to be an entertaining journey for you but it is also a very interesting process in self discovery for me as I relive some of these experiences that imprinted on my subconscious. Performing for children isn’t nearly as dangerous as some of these Australian adventures….but the accumulative experiences of ones life shape how they approach their present life. In other words…When I am performing at night I am still on the look out for jumping marsupials!)

We rode through Adelaide and the The Great Ocean Road past the 12 Apostles.  Cindy’s mom went ill so she had to back to Holland from Melbourne. She flew out and I met up with some old friends and tied up some loose ends. It was nice to be back. I really like that city. 2521

The last part of the trip through Sydney and up through New South Wales was nice but I was ready to start my life again so I pushed through and didn’t stop much. It was getting cold as well….this is a relative Australian scale…not a Canadian one.

I arrived in Brisbane and stayed with another friend Peter. He helped me sell the bike and then I flew home. It was time for me to be Canadian again. As much as I liked many aspects of Toronto I was afraid of the winter and smog so Cindy and I had decided to move to Vancouver.

What are the life lessons of this trip for me? I keep coming back to Les Browns’ expression “JUMP…and grow your wings on the way down”. We really didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into and how dangerous some of those moments would be. It challenged our focus and determination several times. We were really scared for our lives and that made us push through. It is pretty amazing at the focus possible when you feel your life at risk.

Another adventure concludes and another begins…

 

The long Voyage to professional piracy – Part 22 – Chased by a tropical storm

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It is a long journey to becoming a professional children’s performer. This blog is the transformational tale of how Dustin Anderson became the Purple Pirate.

I appreciated the West Coast of Australia the most of all. Western Australia does not have many tourists because it is a long ways from where tourists land. I feel that if I want to meet Canadians I would stay in Canada.

One day heading south from Broome a massive storm hit. The wind was so powerful the rain was coming at us sideways. Cindy was piloting at the time and she couldn’t handle it so I took over. We had the added stress of being in a flood plane. Which we were told could take days to clear and we didn’t have the time or confidence to wait.

I saw a van up the road and knocked on their window to ask for guidance but they didn’t roll down their window. We wer scared so we rode off. The wind pushed and pushed harder from the west. I had to push the handle bars really hard into the wind to keep us on the road. I remember my right tricep burning from the work.  Once we got to the edge of the storm I hit the throttle hard to outrun the storm. We laughed that our right side was soaked and the left side dry.

Most of the terrain was like a low desert with very few formations or features. There were low bushes that would have spider webs spanning 4 metres apart and a spider as big as my spread out hand in the middle. Creepy. These spider webs were to catch birds! There were also dead cattle on the side of the road that were bloated looking like they were ready to burst.

We pulled into a gas station in the middle of nowhere and I recognised a woman…she was a Norwegian woman that I taught aerobics to in the Canary Islands. There is a mystical lesson in this but I can’t figure it out. We asked her where we could camp and she recommend on the beach not far from that gas station and only 15 kms on a dirt road.

It was beautiful, peaceful and there was  a constant breeze off the water. In the morning the breeze stopped abruptly so I got out of the tent to see what was happening. As soon as I got out a massive storm blew the tent over Cindy and snapped some of the tent poles. It was instant chaos. We were lucky to have Dieter there. Cindy got into his truck with all our gear and I rode the bike out of the dirt on my own.

We stopped at the next town, loaded up the bike and Cindy and got back under way. Dieter went back into the Outback and we went south. Our next stop was a little town called Exmouth. Cindy got to touch a dolphin which was  lifetime dream of her but otherwise it was an offseason tourist town. I believe we got chased out of Exmouth by a storm as well. The day after we left Exmouth was flooded by Cyclone Vance.

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I assume that what we experienced all the way south of Western Australia was the outside edges of that massive cyclone. I am sooooo sooo grateful that had been kept us out of its way. We needed some rest but for some reason we kept going.
I have questions about how to interpret these kinds of events. Is it Karma? How did we keep from being harmed by it? Is it fate? What is the lesson? It is a great memory none the less.

 

The long Voyage to professional piracy – Part 21 – Road Trains and Near death experience #2

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If you have ever wondered how a man goes from a bike courier to  commercial fisherman/ logger to dancer to world traveller, and then children’s performer you have come to the right place. This is the story of how Dustin Anderson found his performing identity the Purple Pirate…and the adventures along the way!

I remember being on the highway leaving Darwin with the constant fear of being hammered by a massive storm. We went for  ride once and a storm hit. We couldn’t see anything so we turned around and went back. The roads were a wash. It was too dangerous for us.

Heading west on the only road to Broome we would frequently see Road Trains, really long and efficient transport trucks carrying goods through the Outback.  These amazing machines travel fast and take a long time to start and stop. The road was mostly flat and really straight so we could pass them fairly safely.

We were passing one Road Train at about 150 kph and I saw an Emu crossing the road about a kilometre ahead. This gave me a bad feeling so I scanned as saw another following and going to cross in our path. I couldn’t just slam on the brakes as we had the Road Train right behind us. It was terrifying but I tried to time where the emu would be as try to pass.

I remember this like it was yesterday…It was right in front of our wind screen and even though we didn’t collide with it…it tumbled off the road. We must have been pushing so much air that we pushed it too. I am getting tense and nervous just typing about this experience.

We stopped about 10 kms down the road and tried to relax. The driver of the Road Train came in shortly after and said that he saw everything and was prepared to go around us. I don’t know how that would be possible and am very grateful he didn’t need to stop to sweep our bodies from the road.

Northern Western Australia is beautiful. I remember lots of red mountains. It was so hot that we would soak our shirts (no leather jackets) and within 5 minutes on the road they would be dry again. We would freeze 2 litre pop bottles full of water at night and drink through straws while we were riding to stay hydrated. It was amazing.

We arrived in Derby and were going to camp. As we looked for a camping place we were welcomed by a huge swarm of massive mosquitoes and even though we had ridden around 800 kms that day we decided to ride on to Broome. I have never liked mosquitoes. I respect their place in the food cycle but I still don’t like them.

We went for our first dip in the ocean in Broome to cool off…and it was like a bath tub. It was unbelievably unsatisfying. We made a German friend Dieter at this time as well. He was so different from us. We used our tourist map and travelled on our motorcycle. 117-1792_IMG

He was in a 4 by 4 with gear for almost any scenario. He was helpful and we really enjoyed his company…His help was soon to be needed again….

The long Voyage to professional piracy – Part 20 – Rumba de la Removalist!

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If you have ever wondered how a man goes from a bike courier to  commercial fisherman/ logger to dancer to world traveller, and then children’s performer you have come to the right place. This is the story of how Dustin Anderson found his performing identity the Purple Pirate…and the adventures along the way!

We left Alice Springs and went north to Darwin. We had run out of fuel a couple times now and were really lucky to have encountered some really kind people. We  didn’t want to have to keep waiting in the middle of nowhere for help so we started carrying a jerry can…there are some really big distances between fuel stops in the outback.

We stayed at a backpackers for a short time and made another Peter….this time McGrath. A fellow motorcyclist and out door enthusiast. It was quiet at the hostel as it was coming into…. wet season.

In Canada we have Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. In the tropics…It is either wet or dry. Wet is summer and it is quite something. It is so hot and humid that you are always “wet”…Sticky and smelly… all day. The heat builds up in the morning and then massive tropical storms from all the moisture in the air. They don’t last long but are very intense.

Darwin is a pretty amazing place. It is a fair size and quite isolated. It has all the modern conveniences and it is a long distance from another large centre. It has biting ants, and for 3 months a year it gets surf. With that surf there are massive salt water crocodiles, great white sharks, and poisonous jelly fish. I never saw any of those in the wild but I tried. We did go to a crocodile farm and saw a 4 metre long one. It was pretty awesome.

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the caricature is of Charlie Arbon…Pretty close resemblance too.

I got a job working for Arbons removalists. The greatest lesson of this part of the journey for me was that working relationships can really influence the enjoyment of the work.

Working with Wayne and Charlie Arbon was a true pleasure. Moving furniture is difficult work but Wayne and I would laugh all day long. Even when we were carrying a several hundred pound hardwood couch down a winding staircase or pack a 5 bedroom house into a semi trailer we would enjoy ourselves and work as a team. This experience taught me how important team work really is. 

As much as I enjoyed my working environment I still had unfinished business with dance. I taught dance at a local dance studio and even influenced Wayne Arbon. There was  a television program called Hey Hey Its Saturday and we were preparing to make our TV debut VIDEO HERE.

Few people have had the pleasure of true teamwork…and everyone should. The freedom to work at your capacity with encouragement is liberating. It is a guiding principle of my present ethos as the Purple Pirate. Everyone, including the adults, in the audience deserves to enjoy the performance.

I look at my audience as my team and look for every opportunity to make everyone feel included and part of the action. I learned this from a couple of blue collar men in a very isolated place, doing back breaking work in a terrible climate. 

Thanks Charlie and Wayne!

wheel and head

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