By Daryl Jones
I skated to town today to get a coffee and use the café’s wifi to do boring shit like my overdue tax, pay a few fines and crunch some numbers like a responsible adult. But halfway there I spied a beautiful beast through the trees. Red and white candy stripes. 4WD. Customised rear mounted cabin. Pot plants. Tiny Yoda glued to the dash. There was no doubt about it; this was the vehicle of a bona fide legend. The hunt for the owner was on.
Minutes later I spied a bearded tattooed bloke in his undies whooping and leaping into the chilled wintery ocean at a beach nearby. Undoubtedly the champion I was looking for. I’d found Zachariah Norton. My tax was just gonna have to wait.
Zachariah Norton is a travelling barber, which explains the colour scheme of his beast. He’s been snipping hairs since he was 14, and word on the street is, he’s pretty darn good at it.
A couple of days ago he quit managing one of the raddest barbershops in Melbourne, chucked in his savings, scissors and sitar and headed out onto the open road in his customised adventure-mobile.
He is taking his skills all over Australia, and gaining a bunch of new ones as he goes. So what made a dude with a comfortable life, good job and all the normal stuff we accumulate, pack it all in for a crazy nomadic lifestyle?
“Time is ticking. I love my creature comforts as much as the next guy, but I also don’t want to just assimilate into the system.”
“I don’t just want to get a new shiny car, a house in a place that I don’t particularly want to live and possessions and be attached, paying off banks for the rest of my life. It’s just fucking hard to live these days unless you’re in a higher earning bracket. I don’t think minimum wage in the city is enough to survive, and it becomes really hard not to get tied down by the money you make.”
“It’s crazy, most of us live in a world where it’s a mission just to go to Byron for a week! Something like that shouldn’t take a year of planning and be a big deal. We’re all just slaves to the fucking dollar.”
“I love my job. There is massive power in helping people feel good about themselves, and physical appearance has a lot to do with that. I love it. And it’s a pretty big deal, letting someone cut your hair.”
“Touching someone’s ears is a fucking weird thing. Have you ever really looked at someone’s ear? Ears are fucking weird.”
“Ever walk up to a stranger and just touch their ears? That’s what I do for a living.”
“In my job on the floor I talk to every type of person you can imagine. Judges, bankers, tradies, artists, whoever, and I’ve found that the people with the “best” jobs are often miserable. Like I was talking to one guy about learning my first instrument a few years ago, and he was like “I wish I could learn an instrument, I’ve always wanted to.” And I said, “You can! I did it! It takes like 20 minutes a day and you’ll get it!” And he was like, “I don’t have the time.”
“I thought, mate, if you haven’t got 20 minutes a day for a pleasurable pursuit, that’s fucking shit.”
“I took a risk to pack up and leave, but I have a much smaller debt than if I’d borrowed and bought a house. It is scary, the thought of being alone, but travelling forces you to meet people. I love being on my own as much as I fear it.”
“Basically I don’t want to waste time. It flies by so fast. I want to be a doer, not just have ideas. I want to see Australia and still work, learn new skills and have new experiences and be free. So I’m doing it.”
To keep up to date with ZN, hit him up at @goldenhands_x or @zachariah_j
To get the man with the Golden Hands to come touch your ears shoot an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep an eye out for the candy-striped Land Cruiser near you!