How’d I end up here?

Get fucked, another blog! I know, I know, brutal, I’ll keep the posts as streamlined as I can and hopefully entertaining. Was a horrible student of English so if my grammar is shitful, blame it on the fact my parents were too poor to send me to private schooling.

Early years; so the story goes, mum came home one day to find me sitting on my father’s knee, folded race paper in hand, yelling “Ya, ya, pssssst, get up you bastard.” That was the final straw for her, they split up when I was nearing three. Lame attitude mum, obviously didn’t understand how much better your horses run if you yell loud shit at the TV. Anyway, in my blood, sign of the future, possibly.

Young know it all; punted on every Melbourne Cup since I can remember. I was the kid at school that took the sweep stakes from the paper in and collected money. Dad was always solid each year, giving me $20 to spend on the race. Remember a nice little heater around the time Rogan Josh won the cup (1999), picked the winner four years in a row. High school, hello girls, all things sport and Texas Hold’em poker. Didn’t take me long and I soon had an edge in the game, eating the best food from tuck shop errrday.

Flown the nest; moved to the Gold Coast, Queensland, been here ever since. On the gambling front, this is where things started to get serious. 18th birthday was spent on the turps the night before, poker all day while still 17, 364 days old, more turps while playing and then walking into Jupiter’s casino at midnight. I remember playing anything and everything, until I don’t remember anything, BLACKOUT. Luckily, my mate had skull dragged me out of the place when I was up, well up. Now it’s not a lot to me, but it’s all relative. Back then for an 18 y.o. living cheque to cheque $3,000 was a big deal. Best part was, now I knew how easy it was to make money, if I’m ever short of cash, I’ll be going to the casino for a top up.

Growing up, a little; the plan with going to Jupiter’s when ever I was short didn’t work out well for me, needless to say. I never liked poker machines, they seemed stupid so I never did any great damage in those early years on the punt. Hold’em comes to the casino, this will be easy, just like at high school. That plan didn’t work out for me either, needless to say. I knew the game, I was actually quite good at it, I had no patience though, too young in the head.

Recent times; I sold my equity in a great little company, with a business partner I have a ton of respect for, 40/40 Creative. Hardest thing I’ve done to date in my professional career. Bottom line, it wasn’t for me. I wanted to pursue a dream of playing poker, so I did and I am. Along with that I’m learning to trade on Betfair and betting on sports where I have an edge. I’ll basically bet on anything if I think I have an edge, simple as that. Living the dream, but it ain’t all rainbows and lollipops, let me tell you.

This blog is going to be full of all sorts, ranging from average shit to good shit, so pick and choose what you like, leave me some feedback or questions, if they are good, I’ll answer them.

Cheers Luke

Honour among thieves

Haven’t written in this thing in fuck knows. Been a long time anyway. Started out as a chance to keep myself publicly accountable when trading and then I got a little bit Day25 with it and was doing holiday updates and now I’ve decided to just write about whatever the fuck I want; I’m turning this whole blog into a steaming pile of mutant shit. But anyway, “honour among thieves”, who are these thieves, well if you’re on the punt and winning, you’re a thief in this story.

I want to take you back to where it all started for me 5 years ago. Sitting at the poker table and someone asks me if I had ever heard of “sports arbitrage”. After getting the run down I realised that I could make some extra cash on the side of poker, relatively risk free. I was signing up (or using past muggy accounts already opened) to do matched betting“. I was young in the industry, naive and I really didn’t know any better that was my edge. I mean my bankroll wasn’t big, I had been shown this low risk way of making extra cash, this is a gold mine that will just go on forever right? WRONG, BANNED!

From there my now wife, her sisters, my brothers, my mates and a few randoms too all also “got into” matched betting. They all followed the same systems as me, all used my laptop and did it under my very watchful eye (wink wink). This was a gold mine for “them” that would continue to go on forever right? WRONG, BANNED! And so I ran out of people to “tell”. It was then that I realised that if I wanted longevity in the game that I would need to bet at places that wouldn’t ban me. I had been using Betfair in matched betting and come across sports trading“, this was going to be my way forward.

Fast forward and I’m asked to fill in for my mates indoor cricket side one week. Here I meet Tristan Merlehan who happens to be the captain and founder of the side. We get chatting later and I find out he owns Topsport; “fuck” I think in my head “I hope the cunt doesn’t find out I used to do that bonus bet shit at Toppy, don’t think the bookies like it”. Anyway, “who gives a fuck, bookies are all cunts” I thought to myself, what does it matter.

Few months go by (I won’t go too deep into my “bromance” developing with Tristan but I’ll leave it at; this guy has to be one of the most thoughtful, generous persons I’ve ever met, that and he loves punt and sport, lad) and we are having a beer after the game as is tradition for our indoor team the “C U Next Tuesday’s”. Tristan tells me a story about a client who stung them big time. This person found a horse mispricing in an ALL-IN market for some upcoming race. The finer details I can barely remember but they aren’t super important, I think the horse won some lead up race and they hadn’t moved the price despite this having happened. So the client finds the error and bets it to win a stack. Now my response to Tristan at the time was “well you guys should have been quicker to move it”, so naive, so so wrong.

As time went on I started to learn that bookmaking relationships like any other are give and take. I was at a Betfair function one year before Magic Millions and Tristan also attended. He wanted to introduce me to one of their biggest clients who we will call Dale because he reminded my drunk mate of Dale Steyn (and he let him know about it too “YOU LOOK LIKE DALE STEYN, STEYN TO WARNER, BANG” he reckoned). Anyway Dale and I got chatting, quite fascinated with his whole operation we talked for quite some time only interrupted when said drunk mate would yell across the whole party at Campbell Brown who was a Betfair guest on the night “OI CAMPBELL, CAMPBELL, CAMPBELL, OI CAMPBELL” *Campbell finally acknowledges with a look* “CROWS” *fist pump from my mate*, *awkward laugh and nod from Campbell*.

But I digress, one thing that Dale said to me that blew my mind and educated me was that his relationship with Tristan and Topsport was one of huge mutual respect. Although his livelihood depended on finding value, it didn’t depend on finding it through errors. The value of having Topsport as an “out” vs betting grubby errors was a “no-brainer”. In fact Dale had code of honour with Topsport that if he or his crew saw anything clearly incorrect they would “bet $1 on that runner and that would alert the traders that something was wrong and give them a chance to rectify it. After that whatever they went back up was fair game”. This moment stuck with me forever, here I had a professional punter, wildly successful winning at a big rate against Topsport and yet they both were mates, drinking together, chatting shop, not all bookies are the enemy? They’re not all cunts?

From that day I set out to do the right thing by those books that had done the right thing by me. The list wasn’t very long it had one name on it Topsport (Betfair also been brilliant and have big time for all the Betfair Aus crew, but talking bookmakers specifically here). I made an agreement with Tristan that if I saw anything I too would be betting $1 on it to alert the team. I also became an advocate for their business in the social sphere and I defended them when the opportunities arose. Not only that my best punting mates in the industry (we have a group chat) also started reporting errors directly to me and I would send them to Tristan. We all too, like Dale had started to realise that the offering from Topsport far outweighed the short-sighted snipe of an incorrect price. What happens if Topsport ceases to exist? Where are we then? Frightful thought.

Fast forward to today. I have 3.5 places I can bet to win more than $5; Topsport, TAB (in cash, account is fucked), Betfair and the half is BetEasy who on their day will let me on to win $500. Lets remove BetEasy because really its rare I try there as limits pretty grim and lets remove Betfair because they won’t ban or limit. Leaves TAB (cash) and Topsport; and for me (I can’t speak for other sports in fairness) but this is a mismatch of epic proportions. Take any random cricket game “Toppy” are likely to offer some 250+ markets for you to bet on whereas TAB might be lucky to offer 25. Toppy I can bet in my jocks from home, TAB I have to put clothes on and run to the pub hoping the price hasn’t gone. Toppy will lay me to win $1000-$2000 on the most esoteric markets and main stream its literally nose bleed sizing. I get more on than majority of clients because over a sustained period I’ve built a relationship, they know I won’t snipe them and in return I get on for more than the average bear on 100% “fair bets”, “respect is earned not given, it’s a 2 way street”.

I wrote this piece because lately I’ve seen a lot of filth getting bet in some of my extended circles as well as talk about what makes a good or bad bookie. Each of you will have your own opinions and you’re entitled to them. To me though, if you’re a winner you should be thinking about building relationships with true betting bookmakers, looking after their business means looking after your own. As someone once said to me this game is a “marathon not a sprint” and the thought of running a marathon to the TAB with cash in hand every day, clothed to bet on 25 markets isn’t much fun.

Caveat: I’m not holier than thou, do I love a good palp rort? My fuck, do I ever (probably tried/ been on 5 this week). But pick your targets, think about it, use your fucking noggin! Time and a place for everything.

Betrium – Decentralised Betting Exchange

EDIT: I am not longer affiliated with the project. Whilst it continues to roll on, I am no longer advising on the project. I didn’t leave with any bad blood with the CEO, what I can say is that advice I was giving wasn’t acted upon and thus my time with the project became pointless.

If anyone would like further details I’m available on social media to discuss in private.

Introduction to Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency is designed to remove intermediaries through a “decentralised ledger” and “blockchain technology”, thus create true peer-to-peer transactions. Satoshi Nakamoto released the Bitcoin whitepaper in a way to introduce people to the concept of removing intermediaries using a vehicle we all use in everyday life, money.

At the moment our money is controlled by governments, banks and other institutions, for the “safety and security” they provide, they take their cut on the way through with fees and taxes. The way that we currently account for who owns what are with “centralised ledgers”, that is, the banks keeps track of the movement of the numbers and we must take their word that the ledger is correct. There are many issues with this system, I’ll let you look into the ideas of “fractional banking” to learn more about it. The crux of the issues is someone else is controlling your assets and they take hefty fees to do so.

Bitcoin unlike banks, has an open ledger, to make it easier to understand, imagine a giant excel spreadsheet, on this spreadsheet (without names, just letters and numbers) every every single transaction since the inception of the asset is tracked. Because everyone has a copy of this excel spreadsheet we all agree that the transactions have taken place and we move forward. That is the basic premise of what Bitcoin and furthermore “Cryptocurrency” has done. We all have a copy of the ledger, we all agree the transactions have taken place and we move forward with the assets where they now are. Obviously it’s a bit nerdier how we get there, however that’s the basics to paint a picture in your head.

Next up, Ethereum. The term “Cryptocurrency” probably isn’t the best one as it makes people think all 1000+ are just peer-to-peer cash like Bitcoin, but they aren’t. I prefer the term “Crypto Assets” as it gets people’s mind thinking the right way. Ethereum was created to be a public blockchain that would allow other developers to create “dApps” or “decentralised apps”. Just like Bitcoin, the heart of the idea is to remove the intermediaries but this time they are not banks and governments but companies that take their cut for the cost of transacting with them.

I have to reiterate that its all a bit nerdier and difficult than I explain, just hoping to make it slightly easier to get your head around. Imagine Ethereum is the Apple App Store or Google Play. Inside the latter we have Uber, for this explanation I’ll assume you know what Uber is. Inside Ethereum we have Uber dApp 2.0. Both of them function in exactly the same way, you need a ride, you put in the details, a driver picks you up and takes you from A to B. The only difference is one has an intermediary and one doesn’t.

See Uber, they will tell you they’re a “peer-to-peer ride sharing app” but that isn’t quite right. Uber take ~25% from drivers in order to pay for their costs of running the giant ledger and business that is Uber. Uber dApp 2.0 doesn’t have these costs and instead through “blockchain” and the “decentralised ledger” concept takes a fraction of the ride cost ~0.01% to pay to a miner (people that process the transactions using their computers get a reward for doing so, this is called mining). So without the centralisation and control, we can create a network using our own computing power in order to update the ledger, all agree the assets are where they should be and move forward.



Now with the Uber example in your head, start imagining all the industries, particularly online (but face to face too) that can be disrupted by such technology. Then let me welcome you to Betrium.co. Those of you who know me, know that I gamble. A lot of what I do involves turnover at a betting exchange. I choose to bet there for a number of reasons, mainly because I won’t ever be declined trying to bet there. For those that don’t know, a betting exchange is a back and a lay between two people, no bookmaker involved. “That sounds like peer-to-peer” I hear you say, it is, except for the fact that on the way through the exchange takes a percentage cut in the way of a commission. Those commissions vary from exchange to exchange and user to user.

Betrium is aiming to be a clone of Betfair (the largest betting exchange) but in a “decentralised” way. There will be no premium charge and extremely low commissions, true peer-to-peer. There have been a few Bitcoin betting exchanges already, however most have missed the mark, the token which can nail this market first will flourish, excessively.

In 2014 Betfair generated £393.6 Million in revenue a decentralised betting exchange that can capture market share will lower revenue taken out of the gambling coffers greatly.


The opportunity

In the past 12 months I have turned over $1.3 Million AUD on various gambling exchanges, as a “one man band” that’s fair going. I use a bunch of technologies that plug into the API of those betting exchanges and would be surprised if I wasn’t in the top 5% of users in terms of revenue created, turnover and understanding of the platform. With that knowledge I have been looking for the “horse in the race” that can win the decentralised betting exchange race. I’m not sure it will be Betrium.co, but it is the best one I have seen to date.

They aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel at Betrium like some others have, they are simply looking to make a decentralised version of Betfair. They are exploring relationships with outside software creators that currently plug into Betfair and other current exchanges. They are a very approachable team with some experience from the gambling world on board.

The power of creating a decentralised gambling exchange network comes from users in the end and investors at the start. The opportunity for us is to be either and or both. These platforms have an ICO (initial coin offering) it’s like an IPO (initial price offering) but you get coins instead of stock. Betrium.co is coming up, they are in pre-sale at the moment and have raised $150,000 USD which has exceeded their expectations (there is a definite hunger for a platform in this space). During the ICO you will get 1200 BTRM (Betrium) per ETH (Ethereum which as point of writing is $450 AUD) so roughly $0.37 AUD per token. You can trade these tokens on an exchange (like trading on the sharemarket) or you can hold them and use them to gamble with on the Betrium betting exchange when it launches in late 2018.


Full Disclosure

I was motivated to write this for a couple of reasons, firstly I have a relationship developing with the team at Betrium, I have been in constant contact with the CEO – Maksim Surorov, he sees a mutual benefit in the relationship and has offered me a bonus of 8% for any investments that come through me. That happened organically though as I want to see someone succeed in this space. It is something that affects me directly and an area that this technology can be very disruptive.

I will be looking to work with Maksim and Betrium moving forward both with product development and funding, if you are interested to invest and have questions for me or Maksim, happy to get those answered.

EDIT: I am not longer affiliated with the project. Whilst it continues to roll on, I am no longer advising on the project. I didn’t leave with any bad blood with the CEO, what I can say is that advice I was giving wasn’t acted upon and thus my time with the project became pointless.

If anyone would like further details I’m available on social media to discuss in private.

Punt Pod – Podcast Launched

Been working on some other projects of late, on of them is Punt Pod. As the highly creative name suggests, its a free podcast where we chat sport and specifically punting on it. We do have some guests lined up too, with a focus on those that love a bet and ideally a beer. Some of the guests are famous, some will be and some not at all, but should be some fun to hear their stories. We will be doing our (both co-hosts) best bets each pod and thanks to TopSport.com.au we have $100 each to put on our best of the pod with all proceeds going to a charity each quarter. We’re still looking for the first charity to be the beneficiary of our millions of winnings. If you have a charity that you would like to offer up please contact us at:

Punt Pod Twitter – www.twitter.com/puntpod

Punt Pod Facebook – www.facebook.com/puntpod

Punt Pod Gmail – puntpod@gmail.com

Give us a follow, like, retweet, share, subscribe, all that good shit. Look forward to hearing your best degenerate stories and sharing them with the degen community.

P.s. we’re on iTunes too https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/punt-pod/id1257535384?mt=2

Cheers Mac

I went on “Gold Coast Vs Drew Kruck” Podcast

I went on “Gold Coast Vs Drew Kruck” Podcast

The other week I went on Drew Kruck’s podcast, “Gold Coast Vs Drew Kruck”. It was so much fun. I’ve known Drew personally for 3 years, we shared the experience of Fight Like A Pro, both having gone through the program and fought in the ring under the guidance of Gavin Topp. You all know Drew though, Drew has been in your living room for a decade or more, Drew is the famous son on the Titan shed ad’s “you’ll be lucky you got a Titan” etc. But Drew is so much more than that, Drew is the kind of guy that does things a little bit different in life. He’s an entrepreneur, a music lover, a member of a band and the host of a great Podcast.

I hope you enjoy episode #164 as much as I enjoyed making it.


Cheers Mac

“Everyone should go at least once”

“Everyone should go at least once”

A friend of mine who’s a regular in India says; “everyone should go at least once” and I agree with that wholeheartedly. He doesn’t even like cricket really, but God, if you do, there isn’t a better place in the world to be. This was my second trip to India, but the first to experience cricket, I have to say it was definitely in my top few holiday experiences; cricket loaded adventure. So much is owed to the Aussie Cricket Team as without their efforts early on in the series, I wouldn’t have gone. I booked one way flights months earlier but had intentions to ditch it if we were getting walloped. At 1-1 and right in the contest, the deep buried love for my boys arose to the surface. My excitement fired up “Dave” on Reddit, an Aussie expat living in Saigon. Didn’t think he would actually turn up. That was emphasised by me writing him off when he first mentioned it on the thread:

Reddit thread with Dave Barbeler

No accommodation, no travel insurance, no medical shots, no worries. Bec’s a big planner when going on holidays so I took this opportunity to plan as little as possible. All I had was flights when I left, I booked an AirBnB for Kolkata during my stopover in Kuala Lumpur. The accommodation was basic in furnishings, but a fully self contained top level apartment at only $22 a night, you’d have to be high maintenance to complain. Joydeep the host was a fucking “ledge” too, only 3 levels down in the same building he was extremely accommodating, checking me in at the absurd time of 2.00am. I was up early the next morning checking out what Kolkata had to offer. A 10 INR ($0.20), 6 stop metro ride to “Esplanade” had me in the heartbeat of the city. Being a cricket trip, the first thing I noticed was the big lights of the famous Eden Gardens. As an Aussie Eden Gardens is probably more infamous than famous, regardless, it got the cricket juices flowing. Got some help from a local guy who took me to a little restaurant for breakfast. Told him “I don’t care what it is, I’ll try it, I just want to eat where locals eat”. He didn’t let me down, I had two plates of “Chana” including a couple of “Paratha“, bottle of water and it was all under $2.50.


Being mostly “planless” I wandered over towards Eden Gardens. Wasn’t very far down the road when I saw the mighty “Sukchar U. F. C.” cricket club warming up for their match and ducked over to inspect the facilities. As usual it was fucking dry as a Nun’s cunt and looked like it would rag at right angles from ball one. I bowled a few and whacked a few down the ground before moving on to Eden Gardens to see if I could have a peek inside. The security were nice enough to let me get in there and have a sticky beak. Quite weird being the only patron in the stands of a big ground like that, got to check out the facilities just roaming around until I got the boot. Shame that I couldn’t get to ground level as probably would have pushed the limits and gone out on the hallowed turf.


In the shadows of Eden Gardens there were tonnes of cricket clubs. From memory it was a Wednesday and there were hundreds of young (some school aged) men playing cricket. It wasn’t school holidays, they were allowed to have the day off to play, lucky cunts. I pulled up a chair to watch some 2nd grade “Cricket Club of Bhawanipor” action. The boys were interested to know what I was doing. We chatted for a while as their match was delayed due to a wet outfield. Umpires called an early lunch, the captain and coach offered for me to have lunch with them which I couldn’t turn it down. @Relaxer_ said it looked like shit, that’s because he eats caviar everyday #ballerlife. Personally I thought it was quite good, free feeds always taste that bit better too. I had to head off before the end of the days play but the boys had their opposition reeling after sending them in on dust bowl 5/45, hope they got the job done.


Had a round of golf at Tollygunge Club in Kolkata. Like a lot of things in India it was fuck around just to get on the course. I had to hire cart, pay green fees, hire clubs, buy balls, buy tees and load a food and drink card in 5 different places rather than at one counter. After almost giving up, I got out there with my caddy that I was forced to hire. I found out he was worth the $7 though when on the 4th tee I “shanked” one hard left in the water and he ran off after it, meeting me 10 mins later on the green with my lost ball. I was lucky enough to join with a member of Tollygunge just before my second shot on the 5th. He was an investment banker who spent 3 years in Melbourne. It was excellent to play with him as he knew and had access to members benefits; fresh coconut water on holes 6 and 15, lunch and lemon drink at the halfway club house.


On to the Ranchi and what I came for, cricket! I met up with Dave from Reddit who was already in town and had met another Aussie couple Jay & Ruby. We ate at what would turn out to be our favourite restaurant in Ranchi “Kathi Kabab“. We had a couple of beers down the road to get acquainted with one another but hit the hay early to get up for day 1 in Ranchi. Upon arrival at the ground, it was a fuck around to get tickets (standard) as there was only one box office. If your gate entry wasn’t near the box office you had a bit of a hike each morning. Knowing there was no grog inside, we snuck copious amounts in to mix with our Sprite and Pepsi’s. I thought it was all over when one of the Ushers from the ground said “this is not good” as he watched me pouring Vodka into a Sprite cup from 2 meters away. In the end though, I don’t think he wanted to make it his problem to kick out the white guy.


Being only 4 years old, JSCA International Stadium has very nice facilities, spacious and clean. Winning the toss and getting on top early I was pretty vocal and it wasn’t long before my chanting and arm waving for boundaries had the locals firing back with some very poor banter of their own. Mostly though, they just wanted to sit near us and take not so subtle photos of us to show to their family and friends later. They could have just asked, we would have said “yes” to a photo majority of the time anyway. It sounds fucked, but we found out pretty quick that white skin will get you a long way in Ranchi. Lunch day 1 and a few of us were able to walk through multiple security access points without passes to have a buffet lunch in a corporate box. This became a daily thing on days 2-5 and we barely got a sideways look at any stage.


“I want a photo with Sudhir” was one of my brainwaves. A thrive of activity compared to where we were, the “cheap seats” where Sudhir was frequenting, didn’t stop cheering all day even though we were winning the battle on the field. We were told by guards “its not safe for you in there” upon trying to enter but forced our way into the action anyway. It was so much fun in with the locals, it’s the closest Ruby, Jay, John and I will be to feeling famous. We were mobbed, I reckon I took over 150 selfies in about 15 minutes, it was peaking. Pushing through to get to Sudhir, I got the shot I needed with him and after shouting “AUSTRALIAAAAAAA” a few times to whip the crowd into a frenzy I was out of there.


Next part in Ranchi is best summarised by the still frames I got.


So is this the last part of Ranchi too…


Draw, 1-1 still, on to Dharamsala we go with all series results in play. I don’t think you could pick two more different Indian cities than Ranchi and Dharamsala. One had barely seen any tourism in its time, the other was thriving with jet setters. With the cricket in town it was “Aussie cricket Bogans” meets “Buddhists on a spiritual journey”. I had drinks with Daniel who is a scorer for the BBC after we shared a cab from the airport earlier that day. Mel Farrell, Jarrod Kimber, Arya Yuyutsu and Adam Collins joined us and we cricket “nuffied” it up, chatting all sorts about the game played in heaven. Finding out we both had plans to climb Triund Hill, Adam and I teed up a trip together the next morning. It was every bit as good as TripAdvisor suggests.


Peter Lalor was really the catalyst for this trip after he assured me that “Dharamsala and Cape Town” were two grounds a cricket lover must get to. I’m yet to go to Cape Town but he was fucking bang on with Dharasmala, what an incredible venue to watch cricket. The security was a lot tighter there, no sneaking into corporate boxes, Christ I had to leave my hotel key and coins outside the ground. They tried to make me leave my phone and charger too, but I got shitty and the white skin played its part again as the locals didn’t get the reprieve I did with this issue.


Traveling with Dave was great. He’s one of those people that just talks to randoms and befriends them. It made for having a good crew and in Dharamsala our crew grew by 5 when John, Jess, Mac, Jem & Brian joined the ranks. For the whole trip we had a good crew rolling which definitely made the experience all the more enjoyable. All in all this rates in my top few trips away overseas, I love India, I love cricket and that probably helps, but even if you don’t love cricket; “everyone should go at least once”.


Cheers Mac

“Why would you leave the summer and go to the winter”?

I got asked this a lot and the answer is for love. Makes you do some crazy things. Bec had been offered a marketing internship in Essen just outside of Dusseldorf, I had the flexibility to pick up and go over so I did. You have to remember that for me, seeing snow and experiencing the cold was something new. Growing up mostly in Queensland or 90% of places in Australia for that matter, you can’t have those experiences. Was it too cold? Fucking oath it was, but still, I have fond memories of the experience already.

It was a 12 week trip in all, so I’ll be mindful to keep it short and punchy as possible.

I connected with Bec in Paris as her two week break commenced, shortly before Christmas. Paris was ok, I’m not sure but I think it’s around 20 countries I’ve visited now and Paris was the first time I had felt unsafe. I wasn’t sure why, but it just didn’t feel right and I told Bec to hold her handbag tight. That instinctive feeling was right when 15 minutes later we watched a lady have her phone stolen from her. It was literally taken from her hand, the thief casually walked away. He picked the wrong bitch to mess with though. This woman was 5 foot high, seemingly from a rough part of the US and she staunched the cunt. The thief returned her phone just to shut her up and stop the slapping to the head.

Paris had all the sights and things you expected but nothing really wowed me. When I went to Agra to see the Taj Mahal, I had expectations, but it wowed me. The Eiffel Tower and it’s friends didn’t. The people for the most part were a bunch of snotty nosed tools, with a few helpful, locals mixed in. Also if I’m honest, wine, cheese and bread aren’t three of my favourite things so I couldn’t really get into the cuisine either. One of the funnier times was on the walk to the Eiffel Tower, where a shady looking ‘shell game’ was being run. There were quite a few people playing though, lots of noise and being a confirmed “sicko on the punt”, it peaked my interest. The turnover of Euros and cheering from the people playing seemed fishy. Why would these people keep playing a game where they are likely to lose and on top of that be betting 50 or 100 Euros at a time (then again Pokies players do this in their droves)? 5 or 10 Euros, ok, I understand, but there was big cash being turned over here. Something wasn’t right. What really gave it away was Bec and I could see which cup the ball was under, yet these people at 50 Euros a hit would pick the wrong cup repeatedly. Bec and I have good eyes but how can we both be seeing it and the people paying and playing can’t? I decided to walk away from the game and watch from 25 meters away, almost instantly they stopped playing, until another tourist came along and BOOM, the game would take off again. It was clear that they were all in on it at this point. I later found out that many people have been stung playing this in Paris and other areas of Europe (I thought I was sick, read some of the stories in the comments).

I must give an honourable mention to Palace of Versailles though. Thanks to @armodan for putting us on to it. It was a bit of a shame not to see the gardens in full flight of summer, but still this was certainly worth the 45 minute train ride each way, very cool. Paris overall is one of those places that I can say; “been there, done that”, highly unlikely to visit again though.


White Christmas in Vienna. No, not the “Devil’s Dandruff”, actual snow was forecast which for a couple of Aussie’s was exciting to think about. We stayed in an AirBnB smack bang in the middle of the action. The pebble stoned roads and Renaissance style buildings were quite attractive on the eye. Our options for food were thin night 1 as it was the night before Christmas Eve. In Austria they have their Christmas celebrations on Christmas Eve, weirdos. Additionally we had a Vegetarian out with us this night which made restaurant selection more difficult. We ate at Morris Restaurant & Bar, what a fucking shit hole. There is nothing good you could say about it (see some of the scathing reviews here), not even the drinks were good, well, they just didn’t come at all so it was hard to tell. To the waiter’s credit he came to the table and said “I made a mistake, I’ll kill myself later”, sadly, I saw him the next day serving tables and he wasn’t dead. Other than that culinary experience, Vienna was beautiful. I really loved it and would like to see more of Austria one day.

I had been to Prague once before with four mates. Once I saw the itinerary was missing the “four floors of whores club”, I knew it would be a different trip from the last. News to me that Prague has a castle, was that there when I was here 7 years ago? The castle was a good site to see actually, I get into that sort of shit and we had a great view of the city at the end of our walk through. Pro tip; get the bus up to the top and walk down the hill through the castle, particularly good if you’re lazy like me. News.com.au listed the Astronomical Clock as the worst tourist attraction in Europe and our free walking tour guide said people are often let down by the hourly show. But the most let down are the people who show up at 11pm daily to watch. The clock only does an hourly show from 9am-10pm. Having a sadistic streak, I made sure I was there at 11pm one night to watch the disappointment on the tourists faces, pleasing stuff. Legend has it that Master Hanuš; creator of the clock had his eyes pulled out by the King so he couldn’t make another clock like it. So to fuck them up, he threw himself into the cogs of the clock, broke the clock and committed suicide at the same time. Being the only one that knew how to make/ fix it, the clock remained unused for 100 years I think it was. What a savage cunt. Ate great food in Prague, our favourite was Lokal, place was fucking amazing. We got told “if you eat somewhere where it feels like the waitress is about to punch you in the face and beer is less than 50 korunas then you’re in the right place”. Lokal definitely ticked all those boxes.

Berlin, against seemingly all other points of view, I didn’t rate. One of my best mates lives there so thats a credit to it, but other than that, pretty ordinary joint. I mean the war stuff was quite interesting, in a horrifyingly confronting way. After a while though, it’s like “ok Hitler was a cunt, I get it”. Did spend New Years there which turned out to be a flop because Bec got lost from the group we were with and I spent 45 mins including while the countdown was on looking for her. Fearing the worst, I was running around like Liam fucking Neeson in ‘Taken’, having visions of her being drugged, rapped and organs sold on the freezing streets of Berlin somewhere. Needless to say when she was found, she had all her organs.

Home was in Essen, just outside Dusseldorf. Pretty sure I was the first tourist to come to Essen because the number one thing to do on TripAdvisor was to go to the shopping centre. Fuck me, this place was about as shit as it comes for things to do. There were some good places around to visit, apparently. I didn’t go, I just couldn’t deal with the weather all in all, just wore me down. The whole thing of putting on 50 items of clothing to go get a Döner was doing my fucking nut in. Living in the cold sucks, good to visit, but living there was mostly shit, we have it so good in Australia, made me realise that. Bec and I shared her University accommodation for 10 weeks, I think a good real estate agent would have described the space as “cosy”. It was mostly self contained though, with a shared kitchen. Was good for me as I got to stay rent free as the cost was already covered in Bec’s internship costing. The best thing about Essen was the trips on the Autobahn when we went too and from Berlin each time. Got something with a little more power for the 2nd trip and had it sailing along at 240 k’s which was fun.

Got over to the land of Fosters beer and terrible teeth. Was good fun actually, caught up with a few boys from Twitter. It’s a strange feeling actually, meeting someone you’ve chatted to a lot online, feels like you’ve known them a long time despite never having met. I started out in London where the great man @EWThief145 took me into his home. While there caught up with a few other boys from Twitter including; @ravi_layer@SimUKCricket@Ben_E89 & The Universe Mong @WoakesBravo4lyf . NFL playoffs were happening while I was there, so one night we all got together at ‘The Hippodrome’ in London. They have a filth setup there where you can watch the game on a big screen in a theatre type setup. The view from the top was exceptional, the beers and wings weren’t bad either. After the game, @WoakesBravo4lyf and I hit the Blackjack tables, not sure how he went but I was launching in like any “BIG STRONG AUSSIE” would and did my fucking conkers. HOUSE ALWAYS WINS!

After a few more nights on the town, pissing up around London, I caught the coach up to ‘the Toon’ to see @JM5portsAnalyst. I scored a good deal on a room through @JM5portsAnalyst, a typical truck stop type motel setup, basic but got what you need, bed, bathroom and TV. As we walked off with the key the lady behind the counter said “have fun youse two”, fuck sake, she thinks we’re about to plot each other. @JM5portsAnalyst would be so lucky, believe you me. Ducked up the road later for a few bevies, the drunker this cunt got, the harder it was to understand him. It was like he was speaking another language, later I found out he was, kept talking about “the Ben”, “the Ben” this, “the Ben” that. Not to be rude I’m thinking “Ben” must be his brother in law or a mate he was talking about earlier. I didn’t say anything until I was so lost and asked “who is Ben”? “The Bairn, my daughter, thats what we call a kid up here”. Mental patients these Northerner’s how the fuck do you get “bairn” from “baby”.

Got out to a Toon, FA Cup replay, fuck the city was rocking that night. I quite liked Newcastle actually, was something charming about the place, sort of small town vibe, but clearly very established. The locals turned out in their droves for the match, incredible scenes. We went to a few bars before hand for an authentic night out, cheap piss, no fucking around, genuine experience. Chinese dinner before the game too, but no discount for the work @JM5portsAnalyst  had done at the shop 6 months back had him absolutely seething. No piss allowed at the football, fucking what? Never heard of such a thing, how come all these fights and things happening but everyone is sober? Sniffed some out at half time though down under the stands. Few songs were sung by ‘the Toon’ supporters about Dwight Yorke and his retarded kid and most importantly the home side got the win!

There was one more trip back to Berlin, mainly went back because of my mate who lives there. He wasn’t there last time we visited. There’s not much to say I didn’t already say, shit hole to me, but some would love it.

Aix-en-Provence was an absolute highlight of the holiday. This place was incredible. I absolutely loved it! I’m told the whole southern part of France is amazing, sadly didn’t have much time to explore it this time but I will be back. The way the trip to “Aix” came about was a one in a million really. Hobart, Australia v South Africa, 3rd test, I was there for the cricket and stayed in an AirBnB with 5 other guests. Truth is, the place wasn’t really fit for 7 of us (5 guests and 2 hosts), but there was no room in Hobart. With the test on (and something else I can’t remember), everything was booked. Making the most of it, I suggested that we all go out for dinner together. We all got on great and when Dom and Mon found out I was coming to Europe they said I really should come and see Aix-en-Provence. Fast forward 4 months and we had arrived in “Aix”.

I’m so glad we made it over there on a weekend trip. The whole experience was made particularly special by the fact that Dom and Mon lived in an 18th century mansion. This place was huge and still very much in its original form inside and out. The kitchen had been re-done, but other than that, you didn’t have to imagine how this would have looked when it was built. The garden grounds were beautifully manicured and considering the vacinity to the city centre, quite large. We stayed in our own wing with a bathroom, bedroom and sitting area. It was magnificent. The city itself was beautiful, quite quaint, yet it still had a modern edge. The shopping there was extremely high end, all the big brands there in original architecture. Food incredible and the weather is great 99% of the year I’m told, mind you we did hit one day of rain whilst there. We will definitely be back to explore the coastline in the near future.

Brugge was the last stop before beginning the trek home. It was like a cleaner version of Amsterdam to me. I liked it without being in love with it. I think by this stage I’d seen a lot of similar type cities already. Got to see the first stock exchange ever created, think to this day it still runs out of the same building. Did share an experience with Bec one night where we split a “dip, sip, trip” chocolate drink. Fucking near killed me, the head movies I was having were not healthy. Will never forget it mind you, was quite the “trip”.

It was cheaper to stop in Japan on the way home, having heard nothing but great things, we decided to stay for a few weeks. It was really cool to be able to connect with Bec’s two sisters and their partners on this leg of the trip. Most of them hadn’t left Australia before so it was always going to be great to share that moment with them. We started out in Tokyo and as typically happens when on tour somewhere, everyone got a bit excited early and really gave the piss and karaoke a good nudge in Golden Gai. We got to the fish market and auction which wasn’t as good as I’d hoped, but the exclusivity of the auction gave it some importance I guess. Would have been cool if there was a way to know how much the Tuna was being sold for.

A bullet train (which was an absolute experience) up to Iiyama Station was the next leg of the Japan adventure. From there a bus up the range to our accommodation at Nozawaonsen. Just like everything else in Japan, the snow had been talked up massively to me. Like everything else in Japan, it lived up to the hype. Wow. What a great little city with amazing snow falls. We only had 4 nights and 5 days there but in that time, managed to get an overnight fall of FOUR METERS OF SNOW! Expecting a big fall the night before I remember looking at a 7 meter tree outside our room window with about 1 meter of the stump covered. In the morning I could see around 1 meter of the top of the tree only. The fields were excellent, well maintained and our accommodation had a private Onsen. After a big day on the slopes, come home, put your stuff in the dry room downstairs and then jump straight into your private Onsen, incredible. Nozawaonsen is home to some snow monkeys too which I had to see. Seen tonnes of monkeys in my travels over the years, but never ones that chill in Onsens in the snow.

Honourable mention to Kyoto. Definitely enjoyed it, quite original and authentic in its ways. Got to the Golden Temple (Kinkaku-ji) which was a highlight. Seen so many temples they’re coming out of my “boonty”. But special ones like that are a must see.


Cheers Mac


Physical Start on Minimalism

A few weeks ago I watched “Minimalism, A Documentary About the Important Things”. Unknowingly, I had already headed off down the path of minimalism, I just didn’t have a name for it. Others have given me names when I’ve explained my reservation towards modern Christmas, birthday celebrations; Grinch and cunt swing to mind. Often my thoughts are misconstrued though, its not that I don’t like to give gifts, I love the feeling you get when you give gifts, the look on people’s faces fills me with great satisfaction. What I don’t enjoy is the commercialisation, high pressure, keeping up with the Jones’ type world we’re in. Physical gifts, although pleasant, I’d much prefer to give my time or put my money towards an experience. Something that you can remember long after the latest iPhone or Macbook has been surpassed by its younger, shinier, sibling. Also, when I give gifts, I prefer it to be a significant moment for me to do it, not a significant moment decided by marketers of products.

Obviously this concept isn’t for everyone and that’s fine. A few people throw out that this movement is for “rich white people”. Don’t understand where that comes from, I took different points from the doco than the next person who watches. To me (I’m white, not rich), minimalism isn’t a competition to see who can have the least things, its about removing items or habits from your life that don’t serve a purpose or meaning to your life. On top of that, there are no rules, there is no right or wrong way to approach this. If two new BMW cars provides you with purpose, go for it. If a junk draw with 500 random items in there provides your life with satisfaction, great! Its really just a mindset to me, my 30th is coming up, I’d sooner spend money on a bar tab and food for my friends and family to share in an experience than buy a car, but thats just me. Regardless of how you perceive the concept from the outside or take it on if you pick it up, I think its important to remember that you can make the rules on this concept and I like that.

Before today I had really just been thinking more about the concept. Today though, I tossed a bunch of shit off the balcony to take to the bin. The feelings were mixed, on one hand I felt like I should have been giving the items away to less fortunate. On the other hand, most of the items were faulty in some way. Some completely fucked, others had the whole “you need to know how to wiggle it to make it work” thing going on. Ultimately I threw them out as not to pass on junk. Was very refreshing to throw my almost new Epson printer off the balcony. Anyone who has had to deal with a printer that has fucked you off will know how painful it is. This relatively cheap printer I would have been lucky to print 50 pages from it before it completely shat the bed. Fuck it, its gone, smashed into 15 or more pieces after being dropped from 3 floors up. From now on I will just use Officeworks pre-paid printing system, its excellent and they are everywhere. I just got rid of a few things totally un-meaningful to me today, easing my way into it, lets see where this journey goes.

The whole concept has made me think about the way I live life even deeper. I’m questioning what the really important things in life are to me and making an effort to hold those closer to me and I feel good about that.

Cheers Mac