surfing in russia

Imagine.. Spending Valentine's Day With Jared Leto

“OK this one is a joke.. I promise..” Your Mum shot a look to your sister who was already sneering in her chair.  

Today it was February 13th and your 24th birthday. Your parents had come over to visit you along with your sister, brother and some of your closest friends. You watched your sister skeptically for a minute before starting to peel off the wrapping paper. As soon as you grabbed a handle of a mug and ripped the paper to reveal Jared’s face you were laughing. 

“Very funny guys..” You say as you pulled off the wrapping paper completely revealing a china mug with a topless Jared Leto showing himself on it. “I’m guessing this was your doing?” You say as your eyes meet your sisters.

“Maybe..” This makes all of you start laughing. “Seeing as he couldn’t be here we thought we’d bring something of him to you.” Her tone returned to a serious one which made you snap back into reality. Jared had been on tour for a while and had been doing a lot of promotion for Dallas Buyers Club which required him travelling all over the world which meant you hadn’t seen him for 4 months and it had been hard on both of you. It was soon to be your year anniversary of being with him and you’d never felt so distant. Neither of you could help how much you missed each other and wished things were different. 

“Anyway,” Your Mum beings as she sees you starting to over think the situation once again. “You better go get ready - we’re booked for Revenir in an hour!" 


"Blue or red?” Your sister said as she hovered in your doorway. 

Examining the two dresses in her hand, you get up and start to examine the material. 

“Red. You always look so lovely in that dress!” You say as she smiles and hooks the two dresses to the door handle and hugs you. 

“What’s this for?” You say as you are squeezed tighter.

“I know how hard this must be,” You didn’t want to say anything because you knew she knew what she was talking about. Her boyfriend is in the army and regularly leaves home for months at a time. “I know how you feel. I’m always here if you need to talk. Okay?" 

There was a long pause as you buried your face into her hair.

"Okay.” You finally spoke. 

“Let’s go then - this is one of the nicest restaurants in London.. Believe me!” She said smiling. 


Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you..

The people around the table consisted of your Mum, Dad, younger sister, older brother and your friends Mel and Fleur. The meal at the restaurant Revenir had been wonderful and now your Mum had started the choir of very out of tune people singing. The restaurant was very small and so their loud voices made the people sat having their meals all turn and look with a smile on their face. All of a sudden there was a voice from behind you. 

Happy birthday dear Malfoy..

At this point your head snapped around to look behind you because there was only one person who called you that and could sing in such melodic tones. Ever since you’d seen the last Harry Potter they had started calling you it because your hair colour was almost exactly the same as Malfoy’s and you’d always had an intense love for the house Slytherin. 

"Happy birthday to you.” Jared spoke with a cake balanced on one hand, a balloon in the other and a huge smile on his face. 

Before you had time to examine everybody’s reaction or read the writing on the cake or examine the pattern on the balloon your arms were around a suit collar as you squeezed Jared the tightest you ever had. Your Mum got up from the table and slowly relieved Jared of an unsteady cake and a fluttering balloon as she leaned in close to your ear.

“Happy birthday.” She whispered with a smile. 

You couldn’t believe Jared was here for you as he had so many tour dates and so many commitments that were causing him stress and taking up all of his time. You couldn’t believe he hadn’t called or that your Mum and Dad hadn’t told you. Most of all: you couldn’t believe how much you had missed him. 

“I hate you.” You said with a laugh as Jared pulled away and looked at you.

“I love you, too.” He said with a smile as he planted a kiss on your forehead. 

A waiter had brought over a chair for Jared at the end of the table and as you took your seat Jared broke his grasp on your hand. Before he sat down he gave your sister a kiss on the cheek and your brother a hand shake as he had met your parents numerous times but never your siblings. He spent the next 5 minutes introducing himself and complimenting the woman’s dresses and the boys’ hair as everyone smiled and spoke.

This was the first time the people you loved most had been in the same room and the first time you had been completely whole in a while. 


“So I’m just sat there and in walks Dennis Dixon and I’m just like.. Do you even dash?” Jared says as your brother erupts into laughter. Everyone had bonded with Jared over the end of meal coffee which included your brother who he couldn’t stop talking to. 

“You know I think it would of taken him exactly 4.58 seconds to punch you..” Your brother said as Jared and your Dad dissolved into uncontrollable laughter. 

“Okay.. I do have one last present for the birthday girl..” Jared said as he finished chuckling. The whole table apart from your Mum and Dad watched in awe as Jared put his hand into his suit pocket and rummaged around. Your Mum and Dad sat with a huge smiles on their faces and their hands gripped tightly. After a couple of seconds of looking: Jared pulled out a long, thin envelope. 

“Happy birthday.” He said as he handed you the envelope. 

Everyone sat on the edge of their seat as you began to open it. Slowly, you pulled out 2 plane tickets. 

“Lyon in France?” You say speculatively. 

“Appropriate for the restaurant, right?” He said with a cheeky smile. 

A smile grew massively over your face. He had planned all of this so well and without anybody knowing except for your Mum and Dad. 

“We’re spending Valentine’s day in France?” You say, your smile growing wider and wider as you speak. You see your sister in the corner of your eye staring in complete awe at Jared. 

“We’ll be spending it with a few of my friends, too. Our spontaneous trip begins in an hour if you accept.” He said with a wink. 

“Your bag is all packed,” Your Mum added which releaved Jared of the 7 pairs of eyes that had been locked on him since the word go. “It’s in Jared’s car. It’s all been arranged.” Jared’s eyes met your Mum’s.

“Thank you for that, Annie.” He said as he smiled at her.

“It’s my pleasure.” She said, going slightly red. 

“Let’s go on an adventure.” You whisper as you kiss the side of Jared’s head.


You had finished saying your goodbyes to everyone as they all wished you well. As you were saying goodbye to your sister, you could see Jared and your Dad having a very long conversation that Jared had asked to have with him which finished with a handshake and a hug. You were now sat on the plane and travelling to Lyon. You spent the whole 2 hour flight holding Jared’s hand and catching up with him about what you had both been doing. Soon enough it was 2am and you were flying into the twinkling city of Lyon.

“And this.. Is our room..” Jared said as he slowly opened the door. Jared had booked a room in the 5 star hotel Villa Florentine which was the most luxurious hotel you had ever been in. The bedroom was huge and was decorated with swirling patterns all over the ceilings and walls with an en suite and artwork everywhere. You were in complete awe of the room as Jared slowly rested his hands on your waist and whispered in your ear. 

“We better go to bed - we’ve got a big day tomorrow.”


You slowly wrapped your arm around  Jared who had been awake for the past half an hour watching you sleep. 

“Good morning chick..” He whispered as you slowly opened your eyes and smiled. 

“Happy Valentine’s day.” You say as you run your fingers through through his short, brown hair. 

“Happy Valentine’s day to you too.” He said. All of a sudden you realized the room seemed different and was showered in a different shade of red. Sitting up in your bed you noticed that in the night Jared had put balloons all of the room, hung hearts from the ceiling and scattered petals all of the bed. 

“I know it’s cheesy and stuff but.. It’s our first Valentines and-” You stopped him with a kiss that said thank you. 

“I don’t have your presents because I wasn’t aware of this trip until last minute and most of them would of been too big but..” You put your arm down to the right hand side of the bed and rummage for a small gift wrapped in red tissue paper under the bed. “Here is one of them." 

Jared’s eyes became bright as he opened this present slowly and then held it up. His eyes became wide and looked like they were going to fill. Jared had lost his triad necklace a few months ago when he was crowd surfing at a show in Russia and he admitted that was the one thing that he loved most that he owned. 

"Turn it around..” You spoke with a smile. 

Slowly Jared span the triad necklace to display that down the right hand side length was the word ‘SHANNON’, to the left hand side was the word 'TOMO’ and on the very bottom length said the word 'JARED’. This time Jared really had to bite his lip so he didn’t fill up. 

“Thank you so much,” His eyes met yours. “I love you." 

"I love you too.” Your lips met and Jared rubbed his hand along your jaw line. 

“Hold on 2 seconds..” Jared hopped out of bed and went to the desk in the corner of the room where he got a scalpel from the draw and started doing something to the triad. 

“What are you doing?” You say as you try and move to see his hand movements as he turned his back and blocked your view further.

“Nothing - go and get ready. Our day begins in an hour!" 


The day consisted of visits to various places in Lyon, a meal in Archange and a long walk hand in hand as you looked in various shops. Just spending chilled out time with Jared made you the happiest person you had ever been. Around 4 o'clock Jared kept looking at his watch. 

"What’s wrong?” You say back in your hotel room as you finish opening the presents Jared had bought for you. 

“I have to go.” Jared’s eyes became wild as he started to pick up his jacket and put on his shoes. 

“Where?” Confusion has started to spread over you because it looked like something was wrong. 

“Trust me. There will be a car to pick you up at 6:30.” He was about to put his hand on the door handle when you grabbed his arm.

“Jared!” You said sternly before he escaped through the door. “What’s going on?" 

"Do you trust me enough to let me leave?” His mouth moved into a side smile. 

“Along as your promise to come back.” You reply, a little unsure. 

“As I always have.” He said before he kissed your forehead and raced out of the door.


At dead on 6:30 there was 2 beeps from a car outside. Wearing your black skinny jeans, red t-shirt, leather jacket and red converse you bound down the stairs and knock the the car window which winds down. 

“A lift for the girlfriend of Jared Leto?” Says a taxi driver. You smile and get into the car as you are whisked away somewhere different. After about 15 minutes of driving, the taxi driver pulls up in front of a huge building which is flooded with people. 

“Ah.. Halle Tony Garnier! What a fabulous place.” He spoke in his French accent. Indeed, it was fabulous and huge. After a minute of wondering you remembered that this was where 30 Seconds To Mars were playing tonight. You smiled.

“Thank you for the lift.” You say as you get out of the car.

“Enjoy it!” The driver said with a wink. 


Whenever you had been to a 30 Seconds To Mars gig before, unless Jared has specifically asked you to go to the side of stage area, you had loved being on the floor. This time was no exception. 

One life.. One love.. Live!

The concert was now in full swing and City Of Angels had been a huge success with the crowd. All of a sudden, the music got quiet at the end of the song.

“Well.. How are you feelings guys?” Jared spoke as he took a drink from a bottle of water.

Infinite, you thought. 

“So today is Valentine’s day - right?” The response to this was a mix of cheers and awkward recognition of loneliness. “Who wants to be my Valentine?” He said with a smile. The cheers from the crowd got louder and louder. Although you had gotten to the concert 30 minutes late, for some reason all of the crowd seemed to let you get very close to the front and a few of them even recognized you. Jared’s laugh got louder.

“I’m only kidding guys, but you are all beautiful and wonderful. Where is my Valentine?” He said, scanning the horizon. Everyone started clapping and a few starting pointing to you. “There she is - come on up here!” Various security guards help you over the barricade and up to the stage where Jared draped his arm around your shoulder and the whole crowd went wild. 

“Okay so um..” Jared pushed hair hair up and the crowd’s noise didn’t subside until he ushered them to hush. “It’s Valentine’s day and I love you. Everything about you. The way you make me a better person, the way you’ve made me interested in things like Harry Potter and Doctor Who and all that weird and awesome stuff and the way you..” He stifled a choke as he tried hard to breathe normally. “They way you saved my life.” The whole crowd went dead silent as you did. He had done exactly the same to you but you’d never thought you’d done it for him. 

“So.. I want to say something. Well, they do.." 

All of a sudden Jared dropped onto his knee and looked at the crowd with a huge smile and beckoned a response mouthing the words ’as we practised’ towards them. Without any hesitation, different sections of the crowd started to shout a different word. 

"Will..” Shouted the far left section. 

“You..” Shouted the middle section.

“Marry..” Shouted the far right section.

“Me?” Jared spoke. Silence fell in the room. 

You inhaled sharply. 

“Yes.” You spoke before you dissolved into tears as did Jared and the crowd went wild. Shannon and Tomo walked forward clapping and smiling and the whole place was erupting with happiness.

Jared pulled you close as you both cried with happiness. All of a sudden, you noticed Jared’s necklace. On the middle of the triad, the length holding all points together..

Jared had engraved your name. 

О взрослых разговорах

В последние дни только и разговоров, что о взрослой жизни и о взрослости, как чувстве. Мне кажется, что для каждого человека это ощущение себя взрослым приходит в разное время, не в какой-то конкретный промежуток времени, а буквально в разное, к восемнадцати годам или только к сорока, или вообще не приходит, бывает и такое. И приходит оно скорее неожиданно, точнее постепенно, но вся эта этапность совершенно не замечается, а после остается только оборачиваться и думать, как же все так случилось. Слушая истории переполненные взрослыми чувствами своих сверстников, я только глубже понимаю, что я еще совсем не готов, возможно, даже мой компас живет своей жизнью и указывает мне куда угодно, только не во взрослую жизнь.

Истории об ответственности, о домашних делах, о решениях проблем, о семейной жизни воодушевляют меня с одной стороны, заставляют гордиться этими людьми, уважать, но с другой стороны они вводят меня в ступор - мы же одного года рождения, как так случилось, где звезды так сошлись, что вот мы с разницей в месяц между днями рождения так по-разному смотрим и видим вещи, так по-разному строим быт вокруг себя и даже говорим о разном, вроде бы используя одни и те же слова. Лишнее доказательство, что календари всегда врут, спешат, не догоняют, и у каждого человека, получается, есть свой особенный календарь, где обозначено с какого момента быть взрослым, к какому числу начать менять взгляд на жизнь. В моем календаре я такого пока не заметил, хоть и пролистал этот год до конца и даже следующий, но ничего не нашел даже близкого к взрослому взгляду на жизнь. Но когда-то это, наверное, случится или нет?

Слушая историю за историей, задавая вопросы и удивляясь, я думаю, если внимательно присмотреться, в моих глазах блеснет искра страха за то, что я не чувствуя себя готовым ни к чему из этой взрослости, или я просто не замечаю, как эти самые взрослые дела постепенно окружают меня, незаметно подступая со спины, смыкая кольцо. А, может быть, я сижу тут, хлопая ресницами, на самом деле не осознавая, что и я становлюсь взрослее каждый день, вовлекаясь в обыденность, просто не замечаю это, отрицаю и отвожу взгляд. Вдруг я тоже становлюсь взрослым, только не замечаю этого? Вдруг никто не замечает, как становится взрослым и это не остановить?

Chris Burkard’s adventures in the arctic took him and a handful of surfers to Russia’s remote Kamchatka Peninsula – and they found what they were looking for.  Minding the resident grizzly bears and suiting up for the 42-degree water, surfers Keith Malloy, Dane Gudauskas, Trevor Gordon, Cyrus Sutton and Foster Huntington – with the indispensable help of two local guides – discovered untouched surf, salmon runs and some of the most scenic camping spots any wanderer could wish for.

Photo: Chris Burkard