What I learned from my weekend in prison

We've all been there. Well ok maybe not prison but in those situations..

Cruising along somewhere between our pre-determined point A and point B and it hits us. There you are, in a very random situation that on paper is laughable, and internally is somewhere between concerning and anxiety producing.

This was me a few weeks ago. I had just landed in Perth, Australia, on a last minute weekend get away to visit the ladies that run Roller Ski Australia. This would be my first ever roller ski lesson. Ok, I was nervous about that, sure. I was also a bit nervous about the accommodation I had booked for myself googling a simple "cheap accommodation Freemantle" - up came a new hostel built into the area's famous prison. They will also proudly tell you how the prison is the most haunted building in Australia.

Room for one please..

Ok fine I wasn't a prisoner, but yes I was staying in a prison.

None the less, some serious learning took place here. I was way outside of my comfort zone and for the first time training with cross country skiing professionals, on another side of the country of which I knew virtually nothing about, giving it the best effort I could.

Somewhere between calling my Mother while hanging up laundry on a line attached to the prison wall, and roller skiing up Freemantle beach walkway with three incredibly supportive Norwegian women - it hit me. This is it. These are the moments that we live for. Not the pre-determined, well thought out end points - rather the mornings you wake up (voluntarily) inside prison walls just before going out to train for a crazy race that you've committed to.

Life was happening.

Taking in the environment of the accommodation I had booked - the folks at Freemantle Prison YHA have very tastefully provided stories of past inmates and the history of the prison itself located for easy viewing around the "hostel". Reading the stories of the lives that have been lived and consequently lost, inside the walls I have paid AUS $30 a night to stay in really puts things in perspective. We are very fortunate, all of us, to have the freedom to make the decisions and take on the challenges we wish. I like to remind myself (and my poor friends constantly) that life is full of stimulants, and we have the fortune of deciding how we react to them.

So next time you find yourself driving on a deserted highway after midnight to check into a prison to begin training for the worlds longest race in a sport you've only just signed up for... or you know... whatever happens between your point A and point B, remember to enjoy the ride and make the most of it. Its life thats happening, choose wisely.

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VasaloppetJosh StintonComment