Travelling faster than human speed across time zones causes jetlag. That and a sore backside from sitting too long on a long-haul flight. But I musn’t complain: initially it took homo sapiens thousands of years to immigrate across the world, today we can do travel half-way across the globe in about 30 hours including ground travel and transfers. It is the 7 time zones between the one we left on the East coast of Australia, to the one in Northern Europe that is the killer, together with the dry, putrid air that comes from so many people stuck in a small space, the sore eyes and swelling legs that stay with you for a few days after you have again stepped foot on solid ground.
In this light, it is very hard to understand why traveling is equated with living, when all you want is to survive the situation you find yourself in to be back to where you came from. At best, it is a great opportunity to practice mindfulness, to be in this moment without longing for a future one.
Such wrote Hans Christian Andersen in ‘Mit Livs Æventyr’ in 1855. To travel is to live. I would translate that title, given the HC Andersen context, The Fairy Tail of My Life, though literally it may be better translated as The Adventure of My Life.
It has been 18 months since we returned home to Australia from our big year in Copenhagen. We have created new routines and new ways to make meaning of life and the everyday routines back in Brisbane.
We are back on Danish soil to see family and friends in Europe for seven weeks of holiday. And a little bit of library conference at the public library of the year DOKK1 in Aarhus, Denmark.
Jetlagged and with sore legs and bottom, I don’t necessarily think HC Anderson was right: life happens where you are and you make a choice to live in it, whether or not you are travelling. Travelling gives you the opportunity to experience something new and make memories. But if we live to travel, we invariably spend most of our life yearning to be elsewhere.
Before we go, I wanted to say See Ya Later to my home suburb and my boys. So I made this little film, though you may feel cheated if you expect to see Yayoi Kusama and an upside-down elephant in Mitchelton. I added for effect and to try out my new-found iMovie skills.
I wish all my readers a merry x-mas and a happy new year.
This time last year, we celebrated a true Danish jul together with my siblings and their families, managing to serve up our own version of the x-masses we remember from our childhood home, complete with pork roast, ris-a-la-mande, live candles on the newly felled pine tree and Santa who delighted most, but terrified one five-year old. On x-mas day we walked through a bright morning with sparkling snow in beautiful, cold sunshine. All up we were 17 people together, ranging in ages from five months to 72 years. Continue reading →
We had to improvise the Abbott bottle to mark his demise. Photo: Mick. 2015.
You win or die when you play the game of thrones. Cersei Lannister, Game of Thrones
A few weeks ago we had to improvise a red wine bottle for the Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott’s demise. This is tradition in our household. When a new Prime Minister, Premier or Mayor takes the reigns, we buy a bottle of wine, stick on the best image of him or her, and save the bottle to savour when they are catapulted out of their seat of power, whether by election or leadership challenge.
When the image of the drowned boy on a Turkish beach first came onto my screen I thought it was an art work. An artist highlighting the tragedy playing out in the mediterranean with thousands and thousands of ‘boat people’ crossing the waters away from chaos and conflict in search of asylum and peace in Europe. The porcelain coloured skin against the absurdly bright red t-shirt, the soles of his shoes and that pasty colour of his ear seemed to me surreal, artistic, not real life. I did not pay a great deal of attention at first.
Large pike live in the Lakes in Copenhagen. This pike did not live to tell the tale of the water it swims in. Photo: Mick. 2015.
It is said that it is always hardest for the fish to describe the aquarium it swims in. Whether that is so, being at a distance away from Australia, I am able to see my adopted country through different eyes. In northern Europe, the image of Australia is typically one of dangerous wildlife and the foolhardy larrikins who laugh in the face of such danger, pop open another beer can and throw another shrimp on the barbie. It may be one of bronzed, muscular surfers on white sandy beaches and it may involve red dirt and Aboriginal people living in harmony with country. It is a happy-go-lucky place where people speak English, the climate is warm and nature is stunning.