Together – Alone

Today I managed to catch two contrasting interviews on the National programme. One was about Don Ritchie, the “angel of the Gap” who talked down as many as 150 suicidals from Sydneys most famous jumping spot, The Gap. Ritchie lived opposite and approached people who appeared to be on the brink to chat to them and invite them in for a cuppa.  What a great guy! What a brave, inspirational man. The other interesting one was about a guy called Chuck somebody who is going off to live on his own in a remote island in Alaska for six months. The interviewer commeneded him for his bravery and asked him all about what he did and what he expected to gain, would he go insane from solitude? What would he eat? What would his hut be made of?

I cannot help but condemn the latter man to the class of crazy. Not just crazy for going out into the wilderness, we all saw Into the Wild and at least that guy had a point, you know, “fuck money and commercialism and standards and shit” but this Chuck dude doesn’t seem to be like that, he’s doing it for the sake of it, to be amongst the beautiful mountains. I understand the need for solitude, I’m partial to a bit myself. But really, what’s the point of being alone? Don Ritchie spent his life proving to people that even in what they thought was their darkest hour, they weren’t alone, that someone would be there for them. Life is just too short to be spent not revelling in human interaction. Six months alone means you could miss it all, death, birth, love, life and it all being shared. I’m also all for proving things to yourself, that’s important too, but I really don’t think we can congratulate a man who chooses to go into the unknown alone. But a man who goes out on a limb to bring others back, now that is someone who sees the isolation and the beauty in life.

For more on Don Ritchie, who is defs one of my new heroes see




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