‘Regret and remorse. Amends and atonement. That’s life, right?’

So intones the gravelly voice of the sinister DJ that accompanies us through the 2015 horror road movie ‘Southbound‘ (Soapbox/Willowbrook Regent Films). The film is an interlocking montage of five stories involving travellers on a desolate, arid highway. The DJ voice-overs appear through the film, providing tough love and counsel, playing tunes and promising to ‘be right here with you, making sure you get where you’re going’.

I’ve been on the road for much of my midlife crisis, even before my current odyssey began. I lived in eight houses and had four jobs. I moved interstate six times. But wherever I was things didn’t work out so I’d move on. I’d drift, tread water for a while, then drift again. I was criticised for not stopping long enough to give a new situation a chance. Was it justified? I don’t know. The situation would just reach a tipping point and I’d say ‘That’s it. I’ve had enough.’

We’re all looking for a way out of tonight and into tomorrow. Well, they’re going to try to stop you but you gotta say “fuck it” and keep moving. Because this is your highway.

I left Australia to start my odyssey for a number of reasons. I felt I needed a circuit breaker – something different from what I had been doing since my crisis began. A chance to get out and explore. Perhaps rediscover an enjoyment of life. Maybe even find a new purpose and passion. Was I also trying to leave the past behind? To put some space/time between me and where/when this whole fucking midlife crisis thing started? Get away from the constant reminders of memories good and bad, both of which now bring their own pain? Undoubtedly. I wasn’t sure if leaving on a trip would actually achieve any of the above. What I did know was nothing I had tried up until then had brought any clarity or peace.

‘…all you can do is turn the music up, hit the gas and keep on moving forward. Try not to linger on the things you left behind. Because you cannot undo what’s been done. Keep your eyes on the road and let that engine roar so loud that you can’t hear those demons screaming in your ear. Lock your doors. Make those tires burn…kiss the past goodbye once and for all. Because every road has got to end somewhere…am I right?

A road trip can mean freedom and escape. Driving out of town with all your possessions in the back of the car can be shout-out-loud invigorating. Long trips can settle into periods of serenity, meditation and reflection. However sometimes being on the move feels like an endless road to no-where. Those times when you have no plan and no destination. When you pull over to the side of the road and ask yourself ‘what the fuck am I doing?’

For all you lost souls racing down that long road to redemption and all you sinners running from your past but heading straight into that pit of darkness up ahead. We’re all on the same endless highway…the one with no name, no exits…

I suppose I will keep moving until I reach the tipping point and say once again ‘That’s it. I’ve had enough.’ Or perhaps I will actually achieve one or more of the things that lead me to starting my odyssey. Time will tell.

‘…tonight might just be the night you finally outrun those wicked demons once and for all. Because in the end, we’re all just trying to find our way home, right?’

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2 responses to “‘Regret and remorse. Amends and atonement. That’s life, right?’”

  1. Kat Avatar

    Ah my old friend Jimmy Wara.
    Nice work brother – in the process of sharing the “endless road to nowhere” story you find yourself in right now ….
    You’ve also just managed to provide a bloody succinctly gnarly soundtrack right here at my end. Just think bro – you too could be driving a monster truck round and round the closed loop of a mine site haul run ….
    “Pit of darkness” indeed ?
    HA ! eat your heart out !!

    1. Jim Clayton Avatar
      Jim Clayton

      Ah yes, good point Kat. At the start of ‘Southbound’ two blokes are caught in an endless loop, arriving at a remote service station in their beat up F-150, then driving off, only to end up back at the same place again. I expect that sounds familiar…

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