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Escaping Life’s Daily Grind – How I Found Purpose and Meaning Through Skateboarding – With Interest

A skateboarder’s sanctuary

“It’s funny to think that you’re just on a piece of wood on wheels and somehow you are controlling it. It’s just amazing if you really think about it.” These were the musings of my younger brother after I had taken him out for his third skateboarding session. It is that initial sense of wonder that hits just about everybody who has ever decided to skate for the first time.

There is something unique and profoundly affecting about skateboarding, and—with the skate parks across the country made a no-go zone, and police handing out hefty fines for those caught skating amid this global pandemic—I find myself longing for the state of zen that comes with a board beneath my feet and the wind against my face. Ultimately, this pandemic has allowed me to reflect on how much skateboarding has affected and bettered my life. I find myself back where I was a few years ago: a time before skateboarding became a part of my every day life.

 

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It was early 2018 that I had taken a trip overseas to New Zealand. I had considered this to be somewhat of a spiritual journey at the time, as my family ancestry traces back to New Zealand and the Maori people. It was a land I’d never visited, and I felt drawn to the country—like it was calling to me. All of this was at a time where I felt the most lost in my life. I needed to find myself, so I headed to the source of the blood that courses through my veins, hoping to gain some kind of answer to questions I could hardly form.

We stayed in Wellington and ventured its surrounding areas. What I did not expect however, was how ingrained skateboarding was in the Wellington youth and culture. I was amazed to see businessmen in full suits skating to work. Just about every turn you took around Wellington, someone was skating. I was enchanted. I never envisioned I’d find myself wanting to skateboard after this trip to New Zealand, but funnily enough, that’s exactly what had happened.

It’s a family affair. Teaching my brother to skate.

Mere hours after touching down back in Sydney, I headed to my local Target and purchased my first skateboard—a cheaply made Piping Hot brand board. I told myself that no matter what it took, I was going to set my mind to it, I was going to do what I had given up on as a child: I was going to learn how to ride this thing. Each day before and after work I’d practice. The board itself wasn’t great, but I was determined. I would watch videos on YouTube and I’d practice riding back and forth, up and down my driveway. Eventually, as I got more comfortable on the board, I took the leap into skating on the roads. It would be a while before I really got the hang of this. I had my brother film me riding down the street one time; however, I began to pick up too much speed, had death wobbles, and took a bump hard onto my ass. That video has since become a viral hit in my family, many of whom love to pull up the video in my presence for a laugh. I didn’t let the many bumps and falls deter me. Even after wiping out hard and utterly destroying my glasses, I still persisted. I began to amass a collection of different types of boards, and committed to mastering and riding each of them.

Eventually I was good enough to skate to and from work each day. I’d start learning tricks here and there, and eventually I would become a regular at my local skate park. In a time when I felt so lost, I found a sense of purpose in skating. By challenging myself to learn to skate, persisting despite many set backs and nasty falls, I found purpose in a purposeless existence—with my feet on that board and the wind in my face. In time, I would come to skate just about everywhere. I’d search out skate spots, and just enjoy cruising around and filming little videos of my progress. Skateboarding became my purpose. I’d wake up each morning and hit the streets, and I’d soon enough start spreading my love of skating to others—even beginning to teach friends and family how to skate as well.

 

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Faster and faster until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death.

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Prior to learning to skate, I felt truly lost. I was at a turning point in my life, and dark thoughts frequently passed through my mind. Skateboarding became my means of meditation. While skating, I’d free my mind. Cruising around town with no place to really be, feeling that wind as I’d pick up speed, I felt like I could fly. In a tumultuous time of my life, skating was where I would find my peace of mind. The worries of daily life soon faded away, and all that mattered was me and my board. I fell in love with everything about skateboarding, from the sound of the board in motion, to the rush of dropping in on a quarter pipe for the first time. I loved it all.

Now unable to skate in the same way as I usually would, I find myself back to where it all began for me: skating back and forth in my driveway. For me, I’ll know this world is truly on its way to recovery when I can hit the streets again on my board without fear of police reprisal. Until that day comes, you’ll find me chasing that wind in my driveway. With that said, I’ll leave you all with the wise words of one of my good friends: “This is my only meditation. No skateboarding, no life.”

 

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Cure for Pain

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Flip flop slipperdy snap, want to hear a puzzle slap? Who hoot hoots like a shoe in the night, what beetleborgs do is quite a fright. You can be Scooby Doo and eat your pie too but I'm just having some fun being Halliday, dude.

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