HOLLY MIRANDA SMALE

Writer, photographer, "rapper" and general technophobe takes on the internet in what could be a very, very messy fight. But it's alright: she's harder than she looks, and she's wearing every single ring she could get her hands on.







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Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Field of Dreams

Every mum has a saying or two that drives their kids up the wall. A saying that is so oft-repeated and said with such fervor, that you end up screaming "stop it! For the love of God stop saying it!" before you hit 15 years old.

One of my mum's favourites is: "If you build it, he will come." This, for those of you who avoid Kevin Costner the way that I avoid Kevin Costner, is from Field of Dreams. She's taking the quote out of context, obviously (she's an English teacher: that's what they do best). 
"What?" I'd shout at her, aged 18. "I'm not building a flaming baseball pitch for Ray Liotta, mum! I've told you a million times, it's not going to happen!"
Mum would stoically refuse to be drawn into any kind of literal discussion. Again, she's an English teacher.
"If you build your life," she'd say with a knowing smile that drove me nuts, "then the one you are waiting for will turn up."
"Don't care," I'd shrug at her in a sulk. "Don't want him to turn up anyway."

The other phrase she loved (possibly because I spent my teenager years slamming them) is: "When one door shuts, another one opens." "Opportunities," she would continue, "come in all shapes and sizes."
"It doesn't make sense, though," I would point out. "Sometimes all the doors slam at once. Sometimes they're all open. And then what do you do? How do you know which one to go through?"
"You just know," she'd explain in her Guru Mother Voice. "You just know."
"It's like flamin' Alice in Wonderland," I'd mutter darkly, going into my bedroom to play Radiohead as loudly as my stereo would go. "And we all know what happened to her."

Strangely, though, both points are based on the same concept: taking any opportunity that life throws at you, and simply getting on with it. Building, even if you don't know where it will lead you. Having faith that you're going in the right direction, even if you can't see the path you're on. (And both sayings could be easily used in a furniture store advert.)

So: I was contacted today - along with the other 48 short-listed applicants for TBJITW - with another opportunity: The Next Best Job In The World. Along with a public wild card, the 48 of us have been asked to apply for a new position with Mason Horvath: a luxury travel company that specialise in Once-In-A-Lifetime experiences. The position is six months as an Elite Travel Correspondent: travelling the world, experiencing amazing adventures and writing/blogging about them. And being paid $50,000 dollars to do it. Another 60 second video is required, and yet again I'm in competition with the very same people. 

Ironically, this job is actually better than the Queensland one: for me, anyway. Where the Queensland job meant staying in one place for six months, this is travelling around the world; where the Queensland job had limited activities (snorkelling, scuba diving, reporting on fish), this has activities that range from dinner on The Great Wall of China to Ferrari racing in Italy to picnics in the Sahara. 

So, I'm taking my mum's advice. I am going to keep building, and I'm going to keep heading through open doors, and taking every opportunity that is open to me. As long as I have the imagination to keep dreaming, and the energy to keep going for them, I will pursue that field of Kevin Costners. And I am absolutely going to make a new video, because you turn your nose up at adventures at your peril.

Mum was very pleased when I told her about TNBJITW (an even clumsier acronym). "Now that sounds more like it, Holly. No climbing trees at all. This one could really, really be right for you. You'd love a picnic in the desert, wouldn't you?"
"Still risk of sand in your sandwiches," my dad said warningly. "But probably a risk worth taking," he admitted as soon as he heard the word 'Ferrari'.
"Stop talking about sandwiches," my mum snapped at him. "Holly doesn't like sandwiches much anyway."
And then she stopped and smiled at me.
"If you build it, he will come," she added, for no reason whatsoever, and I found myself leaving the room in a strop all over again.

So, it didn't take much thinking about. I'm going to keep building, and writing, and dreaming. Of course I am. And I can only hope that Ray Liotta doesn't turn up at some stage and start lobbing balls at me.