My one hope is not to become a robot machine, ever. I started school when I was four. Eight years later, I started high school, thinking I would finally be free. Six years later, after having been a cool popular fellow and the best of the class bar the obligatory spotty no-lifer, I went to University, thinking I would finally be free. Five years later, after having led a pleasant semi-turbulent life and scored the highest marks and best recommendations, I suddenly understood the game: I was being moulded into a society robot. All the things I had treasured as a kid and had instinctively recognized as true and necessary for further growth and happiness, spiritually or artistically or however you wish to label it (but it can't be labeled), were replaced by books, facts and theories -- my room, in other words, was being filled with other people's furniture. My identity was turning into a profession. (I've often been called a genius, but if I am, I have to discover why, and what to do with it.) I decided to take a year off and travel a bit: first to New York, then Washington, then Canberra, then Brisbane, then back again. My ex-girlfriend, Nicole, was originally going to join me, but things turned out differently. A few days ago, I've decided to take another year off after this one. Why not? As long as I don't have to write a report on it that will be graded afterwards, I'm fine. I'm 25, young, at my physical peak, and have to break free from the routines of a workman's life or I'll become a droid, a C3PO. DOA when I settle. Let's see where this brings me. I have a suspicion it'll turn out nicely in the end. Of course, if you find me bearded and drunk in a Brisbane bar, I was wrong.