Saturday, 23 July 2016

The same and yet different

We drive along the highway. The cars are the same but different, some are larger… a lot larger. We pass trucks, not lorries, they are the same, from behind, but most have elongated cabs, like an Alsatian dog compared to a pug. Stores pass by glowing in the fading daylight. They could be stores from any out of town retail park, but the names yell at me announcing their distinction. I don’t know these names… mostly. There are, of course, the global stores, though not as many on this particular journey.

We visit a couple of drop off points. Then it is time to change to a smaller shuttle for the very final leg. I am so close to my destination.

The sun has now gone for the day. It had been my companion since rising near the end of my first bus trip, almost 24 hours earlier. My day, my journey was coming up to 31 hours in total.

We arrived.

I climbed out of the shuttle. I was greeted.

I was tired…

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Across America

‘There are some nasty storms so we’re adjusting our route.’
That’s the sort of announcement that would have left me a little anxious in the past. I seem to have become accustomed to a nomadic, flying lifestyle quite quickly.
New York is more than just Manhattan. I knew this, but seeing it makes it real. So much of our take on reality is shaped by the media, what we view on TV, in the papers and online. Reality is so much more. I may have been stuck in my little room for too long. That’s my own fault. It is easier to sit still and let my reality be shaped than view the awesomeness that is out there.
Now I have a window seat. I want to see the awesomeness. Across the ocean the plane was brand new, bright and shiny. I’m now on something a little smaller and older and tired. It drinks up more fuel to deal with the altered course, then trundles down to the runway. The thrust of the engines pushes my fellow travellers back into the seats and we begin to climb.
I am struck by the size. It used to be a little walk down to the coast where I was. I know that won’t be the case now. A little over 500 years ago this land had not been consumed. Now it is both consumed and a consumer’s garden. Cities, towns, factories, highways, farms… so many farms… so many farms… like patchwork across the continent, carefully laid out squares to provide for the consumers.

The seatbelt signs remain on for most of the flight. We dodge thunderheads. They rise up to the 38,000 feet at which we fly and seemingly higher. Storms rage below. It is a wonderful view.
Then we are approaching our destination. It has been a long flight. I have travelled back in time once again. My day has been extended by 8 hours. I am arriving at the state I will call home for the next couple of months. It looks wonderful; the forests, the river, the volcanoes.
We land. I have arrived. I collect my case and leave the airport. I wait for the shuttle to arrive and take me on the final short leg of my journey.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Hands across the sea

Buildings the size of aircraft hangers. Aircraft hangers too. Bright uniforms, uniform smiles, make-up and well-groomed. It's a smooth operation. I move swiftly from one zone to another. I realise I could have carried a little more. We'll mark that one as something to learn.

Too many tangled cables hinder the procession through security. But I am cleared. I have my boarding pass, my seat and my suitcase is on a conveyor belt somewhere in the bowels of this city in a city. There is a feeling of the future in a place like this. It could easily flip into a dystopian vision if they hadn't washed the streets outside of anything and anyone undesirable.

Inside all that glitters is gold, or diamond, or silk, or high-end electrical, or expensive tourist tat. Every fragrance or alcoholic creation can be found. I sit and wait and people watch.

An Asian lady meditates. She is still, with her headphones on for what seems like half an hour. She doesn't move, she sits upright and motionless. A procession of men (why men?) attempt to charge their laptops and phones at the charging station. It isn't working. No one sitting around passes on this message as each eager person approaches and untangles their cables.

Finally, my flight is called. It is on time. There are no delays. I wonder with a new crowd of fellow travellers along the chrome walkways.

I am greeted with smiles, a bottle of water and a nice new aeroplane. It's called 'West end girls', how appropriate for an 80s music fan. I find my seat, buckle up and after a while we get underway.

It's been a while since I have flown. I used to be nervous. Not now, I sit back and relax. Soon I am being fed, watered and watching Batman vs Superman. The service is wonderful. The flight gentle. The journey long. The ocean is crossed.

I arrive on another continent. I have travelled back in time, it should be the evening but it is early afternoon.

Now it is time to make my way through what could be the most difficult part of the journey. It isn't. I am welcomed, if not by a smile, but by an official stamp. The next gate, I do get a smile. But I am still only about halfway.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

The adventure begins

I said goodbye and exited the deserted car park. It was just after midnight, now the 11th July a new day and a new chapter was beginning. I stood with a few others, people I did not know but fellow travelers. We waited patiently for the coach to arrive. Even with the coach tracker app telling me where the bus was, I still looked for the headlights to come into view.

The bus arrived several minutes after it was scheduled and we showed the driver our tickets and he dutifully loaded our luggage. The coach had been traveling for several hours already. Many of the seats were taken, a variety of ages and stories collected in one place. Some slept, others talked. I took my seat and settled down for the journey.

I would be on the bus for about five and a half hours. It was a long journey and I would soon be doubling back on myself, but I had to take this part first. I looked at the LED time display at the front of the coach and began to count the minutes and hours as the coach added miles.

I tried to sleep. I messaged. I browsed the Internet when I had a signal. I charged my iPhone. I managed to sleep about half an hour. Then the sky began to lighten. Sleep wouldn't come now.

I had returned to a place I knew well. An area I had grown up and lived for many years. Memories of the past mingled with thoughts about the future.

The bus journey was ended. We pulled into the bus stop and picking up my bag exited. My suitcase was one of the last off, as it had been one of the first on. I extended the handle and made my way to the next leg of my journey, while those I had shared the past few hours went on theirs.

Royalty free music for your projects

Putting my royalty-free music on youtube. Here's the playlist if you want some music for your own videos.