Travelling the world and experiencing as much as I possibly could has always been my life’s ambition. Unfortunately, this ambition has been made a little more difficult by my crippling fear of heights. My solution: choose a travelling companion who is an adrenalin junkie and stubborn to boot. “No is not an answer!” “Don’t be such a pussy!” “Shut up and jump!” Just a few of the lines I’ve had to hear from my base-jumping, high-on-life mate. Still, my choice of travelling companion was spot on, I bungy jumped in Canada, skydived in New Zealand and walked along the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Forever indebted to my friend, it should come as no great surprise that when I became aware of his greatest fear, I wanted to repay the favour. It was not heights, not confined spaces, not global warming, and surprisingly not vegemite. Zoophobia. An abnormal and persistent fear of animals. A strange phobia to say the least, but who am I to criticise. So in my quest to rid my friend of his torment, I dragged him kicking and screaming from pillar to post. He cried at the Tiger Temple in Thailand. He hid behind a chair from the jumping crocs in Darwin. He even freaked out while posing for a photo with the cuddliest of animals, a koala. I just could not cure him of his terrible affliction. Whilst staying on Fraser Island I flirted with the idea of leaving some sausages outside his tent to attract some wild dingoes, but I eventually decided to listen to the countless warnings we received and stayed clear of the wild dogs. My moment of redemption did however arrive while drinking in Hervey Bay. It was getting late and many beverages had been consumed. My friend was tucked up in bed whilst I partied on with a small diverse mix of nationalities. And one wild animal. A rather large possum, at the end of our table. My genius plan was conjured: throw the possum into bed with my friend. It is said that hindsight is 20/20, so looking back; maybe I had a little too much to drink. I grabbed the possum by its tail, and to keep it distracted, I had a Swedish goon-addicted traveller feed it some crisps. With the cheese and onion flavours swirling around in its mouth, the possum didn’t even realise that it had moved from the bar to the bedroom door. Stealthily I opened the door and stepped inside. The Swedish goon fiend however, did not follow me. So, as I prepared to throw the possum into the bed, my furry little friend finally realised the situation he was in. Hanging upside down by the tail was not the norm for him. Naturally he didn’t react too well and attacked me! I crashed through the door and onto the ground with this crazed nocturnal beast biting and scratching me. My scrambled defence included shouting abuse about the animal’s family, while trying to wrestle myself from its clutches. We woke the whole hostel, including my friend who I think was having some sort of panic attack at the sight of myself Eventually I managed to tear this possessed animal off me and breathe a huge sigh of relief. I’m pretty sure he even taunted me as he scuttled off into the bushes. It wasn’t exactly the best way to help my friend overcome his fear. After witnessing that ordeal I’m pretty sure he’s worse off than he originally was, and now I too have a healthy respect for wild animals, as well as the knowledge that that not all fears are supposed to be conquered. Remember, the crazy possum is still loose in Hervey Bay!