Unlearning by Bike Cycling solo from Thailand to Spain Words by Nicole Heker & Photos by Jeremy John

Unlearning by Bike - Cycling solo from Thailand to Spain

Unlearning by Bike 

Cycling solo from Thailand to Spain

Words by Nicole Heker & Photos by Jeremy John

 

It’s remarkable to hear the stories and wisdom from someone with a mere quarter century of birthdays under their belt. When many twenty-somethings are just becoming their own person, falling into the capitalism cog and finding joy in the form of baggies and beers. Nicole is outside, exploring, learning, unlearning and making a difference to those she cares about. And cycling from Thailand to Spain. 

Nicole Heker has been living and travelling through Asia for the past 3 years.  Managing the Happy Kids Centre in Bhaktapur, Nepal since she was 23. Now she is on her biggest adventure, cycling solo from Thailand to Spain. An unassisted bike trip to raise money for the Happy Kids Centre. Her goal is to raise $12,000 - enough to cover an entire years worth of costs for the centre.

We caught up with Nicole to chat about the best and worst parts of the trip so far and we dive into her philosophy on life. 

Unlearning by Bike Cycling solo from Thailand to Spain Words by Nicole Heker & Photos by Jeremy John

Unlearning by Bike Cycling solo from Thailand to Spain Words by Nicole Heker & Photos by Jeremy John

 

Why and when did you decide to do this trip? 

I was working as a deck-hand on a sailboat that would circumnavigate the world. The captain of Mr. Percival is an Australian man who decided to leave Australia for the first time and see the world. I was fortunate enough to get a gig working on his boat for a short period of time, crossing the North Java Sea in Indonesia. At this point, I had been traveling for almost two years throughout Asia and had thought that I had a good grasp of what it meant to be an independent traveler. Then, I met Tiphaine and Marco, two cycle tourers who had cycled all the way to Indonesia from France for over 3 years. They rocked up to the boat with two bicycles and all of their gear. They looked tanned and rough and adventure-worn. Over the next three weeks on the boat, they shared their stories, showed me photos and videos and explained the sense of freedom and autonomy. Their stories beguiled me but it was how they carried themselves that sold me. They were so comfortable in their skin, so confident and strong within themselves. They were resourceful, and independent and were quick to fix things that were broken or take on any new task on the boat that needed handling.

It was their inner-state that captured me and brought this trip to the forefront of my brain. But it had to wait. I had 0 funds left and had already signed a contract to work in Korea for one year as an English teacher. Over that year, I saved almost every penny I could. I did the research, followed all the blogs and Instagram accounts I could find and moved toward this goal–riding my bike from somewhere, to somewhere else, far away. I didn’t know where, but I knew what I wanted out of it. Cycling every day gives one a sense of purpose as it is, but I wanted to have a driving intention behind what I was doing, and I wanted to use whatever platform would form from this trip to make a positive impact.

The cause was easy, I have been working as the Director of Development for a Nepali NGO for three years now, we’re a small organization, but our impact has been huge over the past three years, but like any organization, we needed more funding. This is the impact behind my trip.  The intention came a little bit more slowly until I started messaging with an old sociology professor from Penn State University. That’s when I remembered his words on the final day of class. He challenged us to “unlearn everything” and so, Unlearning By Bike was born. I was going to pay attention to the stories around me, the stories that I carried within me, all of the judgments that I harbored and I was going to try, to see as clearly as I could, the truths of the world and of myself. 

Unlearning by Bike Cycling solo from Thailand to Spain Words by Nicole Heker & Photos by Jeremy John

 

What does, 'its the inner journey that I’m after', mean? 

In short, it means growth. We live in our self-made cages of perceived limitations, fears and redundant stories that for the most part do not serve us. On the bike, I try to observe what's happening, what kind of thought patterns have become habits, and what fears dictate my actions. So often, people travel in search of themselves. While traveling can be a great catalyst for growth, everything–every journey we need to take, every facet of ourselves is already inside of us.

I guess my version of the inner journey is outgrowing my cage by taking responsibility, wandering into the unfamiliar, conquering my fears, and integrating new skills and tools. We are ruled by so many things from our genes to our environment, but, I don’t believe that they have the final word. We have space for growth, improvement, and change. Not just through reading books, or making a Pinterest board of inspirational quotes, but by putting some serious work into breaking down what those limits, fears, and stories are and taking ownership over them. 

 

What has been the most uncomfortable/scary experience of the trip so far?

Mongolia is a place of extremes. I would easily say that it's one of my favorite countries that I’ve cycled in but it was also scary and uncomfortable at times. One time, in particular, was in a very small town called Ulziit. It was exactly what I imagined the old Wild West to be like–dusty, lawless, streets were strewn with horses, drunk men, and shattered glass. The buildings were short, square and colorful. My three cycling companions at the time, Claudia, Oliver and Jerry, and I rode in on a fair day. The fair happens once a month there and nomads come from all over the region to raffle for a motorbike or some sheep. Everyone was wasted and rowdy, barking at us as we rode in, intimidating us by riding their motorcycles straight for us and then turning at the last second, making sexual gestures towards Claudia and me. We were supposed to be there briefly, just to restock on food and water for the road and then we heard it, “crunch.” It was Oliver’s rim. It was broken. This was a catastrophe. We were stuck in a town where everyone seemed like they wanted to rob us or harm us in some way.

It felt anything but safe, but we were stuck. Jerry and I found a hotel and barred the door with some chairs and Claudia and Oliver got a ride back to Ulaan Baatur where they would buy another rim and meet us back in Ulziit. It took two days. Jerry and I only left that room to pee in the ditch outside, one at a time, while the other stood guard at the window to make sure nothing happened. When we were leaving the hotel owner begged for money and started trying to grab at all of our things laying around the room until finally, my face made its point and she left. Sufficit to say, we did not enjoy our stay in Ulziit. 

What has been the most memorable/enjoyable experience of the trip so far? 

Before this trip, I had never really heard of Tajikistan let alone knew where it was. This small country, surrounded by Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and China, exceeded all my expectations. The landscapes were surreal, epic mountains were the backdrop to this incredible stretch of bike riding. Being very unpopulated, I felt like I had the world to myself. All of my camp spots became home, the roads were mostly paved but led us up, up, up incredible passes that gave me a daily sense of accomplishment. We were dirty and rugged and resourceful. We built campfires and bathed in rivers and when something broke we had to fend for ourselves, getting creative as we patched up tires or adjusted chains. Every evening, it was just us, me and the couple other cyclists I met on the road and the stars.

When we did come across the occasional nomad or mountain family they treated us like family, inviting us into their homes and showering us with hospitality, usually in the form of many cups of tea and a place to sleep. There are countless moments, in every country that has touched me in some way, but Tajikistan as a whole was just a wild and adventurous time that tempted my imagination and left me a different person as I exited out the other side. 

Unlearning by Bike Cycling solo from Thailand to Spain Words by Nicole Heker & Photos by Jeremy John
Unlearning by Bike Cycling solo from Thailand to Spain Words by Nicole Heker & Photos by Jeremy John

What do you mean by "designer of my fate"?

Being the designer of my fate is about living with intention. Without awareness and intention, it is easy to get swept up into the crowd and end up living a life where you never question what you want or what makes your heart dance but just follow the herd. It also has to do with circumstance. For example, the night can be dark, and storms can rage, but by taking responsibility as the “master of my fate” and captain of my soul” I’m giving putting my confidence in myself to change the direction of things. My philosophy on living life is ever-changing haha! But at the base of it all is “Follow your heart/bliss/curiosity” whatever that may mean for you and LOOK INSIDE. See what drives you and ask yourself “Is it fear or is it love?” When I’m 70 years old I would be proud to say that I lived–that I tasted and tried and wondered and that I left this world a little better than when I found it.  

What books are you currently reading and what is your favourite book? 

I am currently reading Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut. I really love his works, particularly his short stories from Armaggedon in Retrospect. It’s so difficult to choose a favorite book but Siddhartha by Herman Hesse is a short read that I keep coming back to before starting any journey. It demonstrates the non-linear path of a Siddharta’s journey to enlightenment. I keep going back to that book because every time I read it, no matter how different my life circumstance has become, it sings true and teaches me new lessons. 

Unlearning by Bike Cycling solo from Thailand to Spain Words by Nicole Heker & Photos by Jeremy John
Unlearning by Bike Cycling solo from Thailand to Spain Words by Nicole Heker & Photos by Jeremy John

When you were a child and at college, what did you want to do with your life? 

I have always been someone who felt drawn to the margins. When all my friends were checking out the flowers, I was turning over the rocks, looking for something else. I was always pushing the rules and sometimes, I took them way too far, but I had this insatiable curiosity and thirst for experience-based knowing. I wouldn’t say that I thought I was unique in any way, but I knew that I questioned everything and that I had little regard for doing what was expected of me. I’ve never really had a clear image of what I wanted to do with my life.

I’ve always had an idea of the person I wanted to be though. I remember being around 10 years old and going over to my friend Caylin’s house. It was different from any other house I’d seen. It was a Victorian style and painted yellow. Her kitchen was colorful, with orange floors and yellow walls and they had their own garden outside growing strawberries and cherry tomatoes and giant sunflowers. Caylin’s mom had a tattoo, she skinny-dipped in the pool outback under the moonlight, and she went deep water swimming, encouraging me to do the same, something that my parents usually forbade. Her job was in construction and on Caylin’s birthday one year, she put a hammer in all of our hands and taught us how to build. She was different and I knew that when I grew up, I wanted to be radical and draw my own lines as she did.

As I grew up, I tried to fit myself back into the mold. I went to university, still not knowing what to do with my life, and thought what office job I would get when I graduated. After studying abroad, something reawakened. I decided to trust myself and just follow my curiosities. That brought me to Thailand after graduation, where I started to really ask myself questions about who I was and what I was interested in. Now, I plan on having many careers! I want to write a kids book and be a yoga teacher or start an eco-cafe somewhere. I want to live in a treehouse and a van for a while and get good at using my hands by practicing ceramics, wood carving, and leather-work. But I find its best not to plan too much. I’ll just keep following my curiosities for now. 

 


 

If you would like to donate and keep up to date with Nicole, check out www.unlearningbybike.com

And check out more of Jeremy's work www.jeremyjohn.co.uk and @jeremyj0hn


jaislamer desert camel camping opium tea hash

On the edge of the Thar desert, sippin on opium tea

On the edge of the Thar desert

sippin on opium tea  

 

It’s mid afternoon when I arrive in the Golden City, Jaisalmer. The dry, sandy breeze intensifies my hangover. I jump in a rickshaw and head to my Hostel. The fort acts like a huge roundabout, so big that it blocks the afternoon sun on the drive over. When I arrive at the hostel, the owner is sitting out front, smoking a cigarette in his cream dhoti. His name is Raul, he’s a nice guy, probably in his mid 30’s. We chat for a little bit before he offers to take me up to a lookout to watch the sunset over the fort. We jump in his rickshaw and head over the lookout. We arrive and walk up the stairs, I sit down and marvel at the sun setting over a 860 year old castle. Creams turn to yellows and then into orange and then into gold. It’s beautiful. 

jaislamer desert camel camping opium tea hash fort

 

We head back to the hostel and bypass the infamous bhang lassi shop that Anthony Bourdain visited. I order a super sexy strong Mango lassi. The rest of the night is spent on the rooftop in a stoned blur, looking at the stairs, smoking biddies and playing an Indian board game - a mix between checkers and billiards. 

I wake early the following morning in the comfort of a king sized bed in my private room, all for the price of $3 a night. I drink chai with Raul and I ask him where I can find someone to take me into the desert to camp for a few nights. He tells me he has a cousin that runs a camel tour. This is always the case. It’s the motto in India, Everything is possible.  And everyone knows someone who can get what you want. And it’s generally a brother or a cousin, whether they are actually related is another question. I spend the rest of the day exploring the sandstone alleyways and then buy some hash from the cook at the hostel. A beautiful cube of resin, perfect for a desert trip. 

The following morning I wake early, again. It’s hard to sleep in the heat. I pack a small backpack with some things for the next 3 days in the desert and leave my rucksack at the hostel. Raul's so-called cousin is picking me up just around the corner. I walk over, admiring the stalls along the way. It feels like im in the setting from the book, The Little Prince. I’m greeted by a driver, a thin man with a dazzling moustache, wide brim hat and a long sleeve cotton shirt, he looks like a worn-out Indiana Jones. There are 4 other people coming on the Camel desert trip, a strange asian couple that are decked out the in latest Yeezys, a German girl and an Israeli. We pile into the back of an old jeep and head into the desert. 

 

jaislamer desert camel camping opium tea hash

We stop along the way to meet some of the children from a local gypsy village.  As soon as we stop, the kids run out of their huts, yelling and cheering with their hands waving high. They run up to the car and hold their hands out, begging for sweets. The driver pulls out a bag of lollies and starts throwing them out the window. We watch on as the kids scurry round, picking up the lollies from the ground and begging for more. We drive off and leave them in a dust cloud soon after. It’s disheartening. I knew that that was something that tourists have created. A chance to ‘meet real Indian gypsy children and visit their village’. We carry on, driving deeper into the desert. 

jaislamer desert camel camping opium tea hash

jaislamer desert camel camping opium tea hash

We arrive at a small village, comprised of 5 huts or so, surrounded by a knee high rock wall. A man squats in between a heard of camels. A father, named Arjun, and his two sons greet us. I light a cigarette and offer Arjun one, his eyes light up, he takes two. Not long after arriving and we are off again, this time, by camel. 

We ride for a few hours, along single tracks and over dunes. Wild horses and goats run beside us. It’s quiet. The only sound I can hear are the dings from the camels bell and the sound of sand blowing through dry shrubs. We stop behind a large dune to set up camp. The sun begins to set. I help the two boys collect wood and we start a fire to make chai. By this point in my trip I have become seriously dependant on the sweet, sweet nectar of chai. It’s crack. It still blows me away how amazing it is.

jaislamer desert camel camping opium tea hash

jaislamer desert camel camping opium tea hash

jaislamer desert camel camping opium tea hash

I roll a spliff with the hash from the hostel and walk up to the top of the dune. The heat haze blocks the intense light of the sun, creating a perfect silhouetted circle above the horizon. I light the spliff and pass it round. The asian couple are on another dune, the girl is throwing sand in the air and the guy is running around with a camera, trying to get the perfect shot. The rest of us sit in silence. Just being present, enjoying the moment. A boy from a nearby village rides his camel up beside us and sits down to enjoy the sunset with us. It’s so cliche. Like, is this really happening? I’m almost convinced it's a setup. I guess I’ll never know. We all just sit there, enjoying the sunset. 

jaislamer desert camel camping opium tea hash

jaislamer desert camel camping opium tea hash

I walk back down the dune and help Arjun set up the swags and prepare for dinner. An ominous cloud lurks above the horizon.  I ask him how often it rains in the desert, he says it only rains once or twice a year. I look back at the cloud, thunder belows and a gust of wind blows sand in my face. Maybe this is that time of year. 

The dark cloud becomes a black cloud. The wind continues to increase, blowing sand everywhere. Our fire blows out, our bags are quickly submerging into the dunes. I feel a droplet. I fuking droplet of rain. I create a makeship balaclava using my jacket. It’s storming in the Thar desert. I turn to Arjun and the boys, they’re running around trying to make sure we don’t lose all of our shit and still have food for dinner that isn't completely covered in sand. I couldn’t help but enjoy the moment. Maybe it was the hashish, but it was beautiful. A freak storm in the Thar desert. What are the fukin chances? I guess, 365 to 1. I was completely defenseless and I embraced it. If it were to rain, we are pretty screwed. No tent, no cover and a 2 hour camle ride back to Arjuns village. 

storm rain in desert jaislamer desert camel camping opium tea hash

storm in desert jaislamer desert camel camping opium tea hash

After an hour or so of panic. The storm calms down, the wind dies off and the clouds roll away. The asian couple peer out of their jacket cocoon and gesture something towards Arjun. He ignores it and continues to rebuild the fire. I chuckle. The boys and Arjun prepare a meal for us as the night slowly appears and the stars come out. A curry with rice and naan. It’s delicious. I eat it with my hands and enjoy every mouthful. We all sit around the fire and marvel at the stars, they are so bright I wonder how I will be able to sleep without covering my face. One of the boys plays the drums using the rice pot. The yeezy couple next to me inspects every mouthful with their iphone torch. We chat briefly around the campfire, the boys speak engligh pretty well, much better than Arjun. We scrub our plates clean with the sand and put on a pot of chai.

Arjun holds my shoulder with one hand and holds out a small bag with the other, “opium tea?” he asks. I nod and grin, without looking too desperate. I’ve always wanted to try opium tea. I knew it was popular in Jaisalmer. We are less than 100km from Pakistan, which is flooded with opium. So it’s no surprise that it’s readily available. I ask him how strong it is and spin my head around in some type of communication charades. "Strong wine," he says. The boys divide the chai between everyone, including Arjun and I. Arjun uses a stick to scoop out some opium from his bag and then mixes it into his chai, he then does the same with mine. I’m a little hesitant as to what the feeling will be. Some friends of mine had opium tea a few nights prior and they said it was quite mellow. I take it slow, taking small sips. The rest of the group head to bed. Arjun and I sit around the fire in silence. Shifting our gaze from the crackles of the fire to the glowing sky above. It’s beautiful. The opium cuddles me and I melt slowly into the dunes. 

I eventually find my way into my indian swag - a thick yoga mat and a blanket. The sand is still warm from the sun. The air is cool. I don't think I have ever been this comfortable before.  It’s not long before I find a couple of desert beetles crawling their way under my leg and into the warm blanket in an attempt to cuddle with me. I spend the next 15 minutes trying to locate the beetles in my bed, throwing them as hard as I can over the dune as soon as I grab one. I can hear the Asain couple still awake, shining their Iphone torch around in their bed. Their probably looking for desert beetles too. 

I don’t remember falling asleep. But I remember waking up. Arjun taps me on the shoulder and gestures with two fingers towards his mouth. “Cigarette?” he asks. I can’t believe this prick. Waking me up to steal some darts, the audacity. But I was in too good of a mood to care. I point towards my bag and tell him to get them himself. He grabs the pack and heads over to the fire where he is cooking a pot of chai. I roll out of bed and walk to take a piss. It’s so calm. So quiet. I’ve never been in the desert before, except for Stockton beach when I nearly died of dehydration with a mate of mine, but that doesn’t really count. This is my first, ‘real’ desert. 

jaislamer desert camel camping opium tea hash

I finish my business and walk back towards my swag. A dog is sniffing around the campsite. I ask one of the boys whose dog it is, he tells me it’s a desert dog… A fuking desert dog? What kind of an answer is that. That’s not really answering the ownership of the dog. If I found a rabbit in a shop and someone asked, ‘Whose rabbit is that?’, I couldn’t just say “shop Rabbit”. Or maybe I could. Maybe some animals don’t have owners and they are just ‘animals of the environment’. Whatever. The dog is nice and it chills with us around the campsite. We drink our chai and packed up the camels again for the ride back to the village. 

jaislamer desert camel camping opium tea hash

The ride is nice. The temperature is warm - the day hasn’t progressed enough to become hot. We arrive back at Arjun’s village. The jeep is waiting for us on the road. I shake Arjun and the two boys’ hands before searching through my backpack to look for some parting gifts. I give Arjun my remaining cigarettes, my torch to one of the boys and a pack of playing cards to the other. They seemed to be pretty chiffed. We pile back into the car and drive off through the desert. 

I ask the driver if he saw the storm last night. He looks at me with his eyes stretched wide open, gesturing with his hands above his head to indicate that his ‘mind was blown’. I laugh. He laughs. The weird Asian couple in the back look tired and fragile, I don’t think they enjoyed the trip that much. We drive through the desert with the windows down, listenting to strange indian gypsy music.  We make it back to the golden city by dawn. 

 


Bud Heyser - 13 Knives - Knife maker - Photo by Laurence James

Bud The Knife Maker

I walk down an alleyway and into a fluorescent lit workshop. Behind an assortment of half-built motorcycles and benches is a man in an apron and gloves, pulling a piece of metal from a furnace with a pair of dramatic tongs. He looks like he’s in his element.

He sees me from the corner of his eye, removes his goggles and turns the furnace gas off. Reaching out to shake my hand with his scarred knuckles and a welcoming grin beneath his beard.

I ask him if I was interrupting his flow.

“No, not at all. I was just making a spork for my buddy upstairs.”

I admire a man who orders a custom feeding utensil usually reserved for toddlers.

His name is Bud. He’s a modest man. An adventurer at heart with a love for winding down roads on his motorcycle. He even went to architecture school but I certainly can’t imagine him in a collared shirt slouching over a desk. Now he forges custom knives with intricate handles made from wood and bone.

Bud spent his whole life in Kentucky before packing up and moving to Melbourne a fews years ago. He worked as a furniture maker when he first arrived but it didn’t last long.

“I couldn't handle the clients… it's so wanky haha. That's why I got away from it. I just wanted ideal clients - people who I could relate with. I was already making some knives on the side and everyone I made a knife for was cool. I met some of my best friends by making knives for them.”

Now he forges out of a workshop on Easey street in Collingwood - sandwiched between a bar (Paradise Alley) and a screen printing shop ( While You Sleep ), surrounded by vintage choppers (BITZER). A photo of his manager is mounted on the wall to make sure he stays in line and doesn’t duck next door for a cheeky midday pint.

All kinds of people walk through the door. Some are knife collectors, others are tradies or hunters. He even made a bunch of throwing knives for a guy in the circus.

Heating and hammering metal has always been in his blood.

“My Grandpa ran a forge and foundry called International Harvester and my dad was a machinist; he made some knives as well. I played around when I was younger but didn't really make any knives.”

“Grandpa would always give me a knife on my birthday. Actually, even if it wasn't my birthday. Whenever I went over to his place he’d be like, “do you want this” and hand me a knife… or a BB gun haha.”

Yet, Bud didn’t learn much from anyone else. No fancy knife making school and limiting his internet use as much as possible. Just some helpful pointers from his old man and an old book.

“My dad taught me a bit but I bought a book from 1906 called The Farm Blacksmiths Handbook. That’s it. I try stay away from the internet. People that know how to make good knives generally don't know how to make good youtube videos haha. So you see a lot of bullshit online. I like it this way. It keeps my head down, playing with what works and realising what doesn’t.”

Knife making wasn’t something he planned for as his career - it just fell into place.

“I just wanted it to be a hobby that paid for itself. I rented a space so I had to be doing something in it. So I built the forge and started making knives - I can’t believe it didn’t blow up haha. I still get scared sometimes when I start it.”

But his current workshop in Collingwood wasn’t his first. He got kicked out of his last workspace.

“I went to this knife symposium up in Tharwa Valley. I spent 3 days riding a motorcycle there, 3 days forging with some of the leading experts in knife making and then spent 5 days riding back. I had no cell phone service and no clue where I was going.

"Once I finally got service I checked my emails and one was from the owners of the studio saying that I had to move out because I was being too loud. It sucked haha. I came from such a high from the past week with so many great ideas. And now I had to find a new place to work.“

I guess it was a blessing in disguise. Otherwise, he might never have found Paradise Alley.

We looked through a bunch of his creations; knives the size or my arm, counterfeit coins, cutlery and vertebrae shaped knuckle dusters. With knowledge of metallurgy, alchemy, chemistry, woodwork, fabrication and everything in between, he can create almost anything he thinks of.

“I get obsessive over things and then never do it again. Recently I had this weird fascination with making counterfeit money.”

“I’ve been second guessing calling it 13 knives. Cause I'm also making silverware and jewelry. So I might have limited myself. Now I'm calling it ‘13k, Quality Goods’. So that's the transition. I just want to keep it open ended, making knives and whatever else I'm interested in.”

He hands me a couple of the knives from the cabinet and starts rattling off the different types of bone in the handles.

I was a little skeptical. Is this crazy knife-wielding bloke getting black market animal parts from African poachers?

He doesn’t. Relax.

“I get water buffalo horn, zebra bone, warthog tusk. There's an organisation in Africa that go around and pick up the bones from reservations when an animal dies. There not poachers. The money goes back to the reservation for conservation. Bone lasts for ages when it's treated properly. These knives will last a few hundred years, I hope.

“The handles are a lot of fun to make. But so is the blade... Actually, it's all fun haha.”

These knives aren't mass produced. It takes a lot of time and effort to make a single knife.

“A knife takes around 40 to 50 hours to make. I start with a block of steel, heat it, beat it into shape, harden it, treat it, temper it, and then start doing handle work. The handle work takes forever.”

“I go from one day, brutally bashing out steel to make the blade and then the next day making hidden pins for the handles. There are so many different skills involved in making a single knife. A lot of engineering is involved just to get it all to meet up and feel nice. “

I noticed that he still had 10 fingers.

Which is impressive with all of this hammering, grinding, melting, and fireballs around. I asked Bud if he’s had any accidents.

“Yeah, I ran my finger through the grinder last year. That was pretty bad. I went to the doctor and asked him if it was that bad. He was like ‘yeah, go to the hospital’. They wrapped it in gause really big and told me to take a month off work. I went back to the workshop that afternoon. It was hard though because every time I was grinding, it would shoot sparks straight onto the gause and set it on fire.

 

He then made a passing comment about getting metal fingertips to prevent it from happening again.

“Not like removing my real nails. Just like attachments. You could do anything with them. My nails are always getting hit on the grinder. That and an exoskeleton and I’d be set haha.  I’d be unstoppable, taking over the world making knives.”

I ask Bud what his next line of metal creations will be.

“I really want to make a steam engine haha. That’s my next thing.”

I could get around that. Petrol is way too expensive anyway, I’d much rather buy a bag of coal and a jug of water. Maybe we should start a new series called ‘What’s Bud Making this week’. I think it has legs.


Check out some of Bud's creations: @thirteen_knives / www.13knives.com.au.

Also, how epic are those photos? I know right. Insane. Make sure you check out their other work: Laurence James -@laurencejamesphotography www.laurencephotography.com.au and Alberto Zimmermann -@betozimmermann

 

Check out this interview with Bud by Jack Sprenger: