I’ve always had this weird relationship with death. I’ve had so many near-death experiences, that it’s even hard to remember each and every one of them. The funny thing about all of them is, that I’m still very much alive. Sometimes it feels as if I have some sort of a protective shield around me. But then that begs the question of how long is that shield going to last? And why the fuck would someone or something even bother protecting me? Is it all just pure luck? Or is it something else?
The first one I recall, happened, when my father took me to a local Rally Estonia event when I was around 12 or 13 years old. My father is a big time rally fan. He took me to several rally events in Estonia and Finland. Back then Estonia’s main driver was Markko Märtin. At the time of this story, he was competing in a local South-Estonian rally event. And the unsuspecting little me was chilling beside the narrow gravel track, cheering on with all the other spectators, only to be left in a cloud of dust after every passing rally car. I remember the exact moment his car flew past me, because 5 seconds later I was surrounded by a bunch of spectators asking me, if I was alright or if I was hurt in any way. Apparently a gigantic rock flew from under his wheel right over my little shoulder, completely missing my head. Markko went on to win that particular rally and that rock is still out for display in my apartment.
Of course it’s no wonder, that most of my biggest near-death experiences happened in Australia. Everything in Australia wants to kill You. Even the mosquitoes.
And when I’m talking near-death, then I’m not talking about the 2 full speed head-on collisions, I happened to witness right in front of me, while driving home from work on 2 separate occasions. Those had nothing to do with me..
I’m talking about when GLive and I were in our rock-bottom and tenting in the desert as ‘the kings of the hobos‘. That was back, when we were still fresh in Kalgoorlie and had just been tenting in the bushes for the first couple of days. Our first tenting spot was next to a random road, that encountered some occasional traffic.
I don’t remember what GLive was doing, but I was napping in the tent and basically woke up to a horse shoving it’s head into our tent. “What the fuck!?”, I yelled, before noticing a girl on the horse. The girl quickly replied “Larry (or whatever the fuck the horse’s name was) was curious about Your tent, I hope it’s okay and we’re not disturbing”. “Yeahnah, it’s alright”, I stated, as I was adjusting my balls of steel, while climbing out of that crappy tent and gazing at this stunning brown steed in front of me.
I remember thinking what a surreal fucking sight that was, in a random outskirt desert area, when out of nowhere a windy breeze rustled our tent and the horse panicked. It jumped half way around it’s own axle and it’s back hooves flew right past my face. A couple of inches away from my face. Yeah that close. None of us had any time to react, but You could almost hear me shitting bricks. GLive and the girl were both staring at me with their mouths wide open. Until the girl figured, it was time for her to go, so she rode off into the endless Kalgoorlie desert.
Or this one time from my first weeks in Australia, when my old flatmate, his bro and I went to the Scarborough beach in Perth. That’s one of the most popular beaches in all Western-Australia and it usually has some amazing waves going on. Anyway it was basically our first interaction with an actual ocean and we didn’t know anything about rip tides or what they are. So after a long day of battling waves after waves, my bro and I suddenly found ourselves half-way into the open ocean. The waves became bigger and badder, going up to 3-meters above our heads. But the waves were no longer breaking, so we began trying to swim back to the shore. But it seemed, like while we were swimming, the waves were only carrying us further out to the ocean. There was nothing we could do. Eventually we drifted more to the side and were able to barely swim back to the beach, completely exhausted. The lifeguards came to check on us basically told us how lucky we were. While listening to the lifeguard’s lesson on rip currents, we were watching other lifeguards pick up a couple of smaller Asian dudes with their boat around the same area, where we got pulled off to by the rip currents. One of the dudes didn’t have the energy to keep swimming and needed CPR. Oceans truly are as beautiful as they’re also dangerous.
There were of course some occasional smaller incidents, when I was reminded of death. Such as when I was working at some construction site with half-finished brickie work and as I walked through an unfinished door, a brick fell off the door frame straight to the ground right behind me.
Or the time when GLive, Face and I were on our crazy 3-week road trip towards Darwin. As GLive was quietly enjoying his beauty sleep on the back seat, Face was doing his best, while shotgunning, to keep me up at night, as I had been driving non-stop for 5 hours already.
We were doing around 100km/h, right as I was driving up-hill and closing in on a blind bend, with a hill blocking the view to the right, when a huge fucking truck popped out right around the corner. Those extra-long haulers with 3-4 trailers are quite a common sight in Australia, but that fucker was probably tired. He most likely couldn’t be fucked with slowing down and so he was cutting the corner using our oncoming traffic lane as well. Luckily I managed to pull us off the road to the left and somehow keep the car under control as we missed the truck by maybe 20cm or something. I probably chain-smoked 3 ciggys straight after that incident.
We made it to Darwin on 24.12.12. It was Christmas Eve and even though we were utterly tired and broke from our road trip, we still decided to have at least some sort of a celebration. So we did, what all packers do. We got ourselves a couple of boxes of goon and headed out to the beach. After a couple of hours full of cheap wine and catching up with the bros, one of us noticed a plastic bag floating in the ocean. “Probably some random trash”, someone figured. I decided to check it out. As I got closer, I realized, that it was a naked Aboriginal dude floating there. Of course we called the cops. The coppers came and questioned all of us, before taking away the body. There was a naked Aboriginal woman sitting not too far from us, staring out into the ocean. When the coppers questioned her about the dead dude, she told them it was her husband and she hit him in the head with a rock. Fucking hell. I took this photo right before we called the cops…
I actually had another near-death experience in Darwin later on. I was part of a container unloading crew in a shipping dock. I was doing three 24-hour shifts per week and getting paid a fuck-ton of money for it, so it was definitely worth it at the time. During daytime I was jumping from container to container on the ship and helping the cranes lock on to them. It was a slippery job during rainstorms, with a possible 40-meter fall in between the containers, all the way to the bottom of the ship. Luckily nothing happened there, even though I regularly had to jump over 1-2 meter gaps between the containers. Shit usually started going wrong during the last part of the 24-hour shifts. I always ended my shifts back on the ground, where I was directing cranes and showing them where they can drop off the containers, so the huge forklifts could conveniently pick ’em up and stack ’em elsewhere. So I had a crane drop a container a meter to my left and because I was really fucking tired, I had the other crane drop a second container a meter from my right side. So I ended up being in between 2 containers. Well something went wrong and the second container was coming in too fast. I could hear men yelling in the distance, but I wasn’t paying attention any more. What woke me up, was the massive metallic bang the containers made, when they crashed into each other. I didn’t think – I instinctively ran and jumped forward, as the containers sides crashed together right behind me. Had I stopped to think and look, I would’ve become a human pancake. Obviously I got relocated onto some other job afterwards.
But the real winner of my near-death experiences is of course the death of the White Sabre. Street racing 140km/h, a huge hole, a tree and a roll-over later my nose looked like a potato from hitting that full iron steering wheel head-on. It took the emergency respondents around 3 hours to cut me out of The White Sabre. Those were the longest 3 hours of my life. Some medics were suspecting, that my legs may be crushed inside the car, as I couldn’t feel them. It turned out, that my legs were barely scraped at all and the pressure from the car’s bent metal floor had simply closed the blood stream in my legs. That’s why I couldn’t feel them.
We were repeatedly told, that it was a miracle that we weren’t killed. We were dying harder, than John McClaine those days. I think it was the full metal body of that 80’s sports car, that saved us. I remember putting on the seat belts only 1 – 2km’s prior to the crash. Let’s just say, that ever since that day, my seat belt’s always on. The cops told me, that if GLive had been hurt, I would’ve been basically sent straight to jail. I actually did piss blood for a couple of days and we seemed to had torn every single muscle in our bodies, as we were basically bed-sick for the next week. It literally took me 10 minutes just to climb out of my bed and go for a ciggy. I couldn’t afford any medical costs either, as my insurance had run out a couple of weeks earlier. Most of the pain and fatigue was gone in a couple of weeks, but it took around 3 – 4 months for my body to fully heal from the crash. That’s the thing with young bodies. I was still 19, when that crash happened. My body recovered very well from it. Haven’t had any random pains or any related issues whatsoever.
In the end the local government did me a huge fucking favor and covered the whole cost for that crash from the local budget. A local firefighter towed The White Sabre to his backyard. It turned out, that he had the same car, so he probably got a good amount of spare parts from The White Sabre. Another firefighter looted my car battery from under the trees. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
The biggest actual lesson came from the local hostel owner, who went out of his way to help us back on our feet, when he had absolutely no reason to do that. We literally lost our jobs, our car and our health for a couple of weeks. We also had almost no money left. So he let us stay and heal without paying. He organized us new jobs. After that gig ended, he found us another job opportunity in Dunsborough – a beautiful small beach town couple hours away from Pemberton. Not many people actually care that much. That’s some real positive masculinity. If everyone in the world were like that guy, we’d have flying cars by now. The 1st of May will forever be my second birthday.
I’ve had many more different kinds of scares later on, but those don’t really compare against the stories I’ve written here. When I first moved to Australia, I had a couple of Korean girlfriends. Apparently they’re taught in schools, how to read palms. I had them both read my hands. They never met each other and they both said, that I’ll die in my 30’s through an accident. Now I’m not a superstitious person, so I’ve never thought much of it. But if something like that does happen, then well, I guess You can start believing that shit.
But since I’ve got a few years until my 30’s, then I guess I should really capitalize on all of those risk-taking endeavours, while I’m still protected, right? So meet The Suzuki Bandit!
We only get like 2 months of dry summer weather in Estonia and not getting a motorbike in Australia has been one of my biggest regrets in life. So me moving to New-Zealand had got to be the most perfect moment to get myself a classy motorbike. I used to ride motocross ten years ago as a teenager, but I gotta say – it all came back in half an hour.
Just gotta keep those fingers crossed, that the coppers wont catch me. I just spent the last of my personal NZ allowance on this bike, so can’t really afford a motorbike licence right this moment, hahah. What a fucking bandit…