His Time in Australia
During McConaughey’s time as an exchange student in Australia, he had six different jobs, including a bank teller, a boat mechanic, a photo processor, a barrister’s assistant, a construction worker and an assistant golf pro. He was 18 years old and down to 140 pounds.
“My identity shaken, I needed some resistance to find my footing, something to overcome, a discipline to adhere to, a sense of purpose, so I could better maintain my sanity in the strange place I was in. I decide to become a vegetarian,” he said, adding he ate “a head of iceberg lettuce with ketchup on it” for dinner and started running. “I got very thin. I also decided to become abstinent for the rest of the year, which still had nine months in it. I started believing that my life’s calling was to become a monk. I made plans to go to South Africa after my year’s exchange and free Nelson Mandela.”
He concluded that his time abroad “shaped” who he is today, writing, “A year when I found myself because I was forced to. A year that also planted the seeds of a nation that continues to guide me: Life’s hard. S—t happens to us. We make s—t happen.”
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