Monday, 18 July 2016

Humans Are Just Selfie-ish!

On what has proven itself to be an inevitable day of all things different (baking, eating a uncomplicated hamburger, playing Pokemon Go) I find myself birthing this word child, which is mostly thanks to the exploits of other nomads who at some point were smart enough to learn how to get paid to travel - intelligent bastards. 
Dublin, Ireland (taken 2016)

So far, on this day, I've watched the Naked Traveller (dressed at all times) Contiki it from California to New Orleans (I am tempted to book that ticket) and Lauren Juliffe over at Never Ending Footsteps regale her top 100 tips on how best to tackle the big wide world. Interesting and most enviable stuff kiddies; yes, I do have a ticket to Fraser Island in September but everywhere else is still most desirable.

That all said, I've been spending more time thinking about those I know personally who are going to... or are currently hitting the road. The make-up is so different and they - I have no idea how I came to know so many travel bloggers and badarse Canadians, just to point out a few - but I can guarantee one little constant they're bound to have in common, provided they aren't sociopaths at heart; they know how to get homesick. 
Bangkok, Thailand (taken 2014)

Guilty of this, why yes I am, but that might just be because I'm human. I've had bad stints of homesickness and anxiety attacks in the past (not something I'd wish on anyone), which have made the social media news, but it was recently I learnt that one of my friends was going through a very similar situation. 

Said friend has only just jetted off for six months of adventuring - yes, I am envious - and she's made it no secret that there are a few reservations going through her head, the most prominent of which is leaving her family for so long. I know her and her people to be very close so this is understandable... and something I can relate to. Channeling a bit of Marlon's epiphany in Finding Dory there in case anyone was wondering.

Going back to my troubles abroad, of which I'm still hating on, there was one little action that eventually got me out of my misery and back on my own two feet; selfies! Since there are a lot of them in this post, I will make it clear that I'm not self-obsessed. Back on topic, said friend was very happy to recieve my bit of advice. 
Melbourne, Australia (taken 2013)

Here's how this trick came into being... 

Walking through Dublin Airport back in... mid-ish February and before my memorable flight to Madrid (two guys having a mouth fight mid air, nuff said), I was treating myself to some cold medication and cheap water, totally oblivious to the fact that I hadn't had my ticket Visa stamped (the bloody thing went through five pairs of eyes so somebody important could've told me before I lined up at the Ryanair gate) when, thanks to some free airport WiFi, my mum messaged to ask how I was going. 

These kinds of talks are staples for all of us - who's beloved Ma wouldn't check up on them when they're away seeing the world... and I guess the correct answer to that is Livia Soprano - and that was when my dear mum asked for a selfie, which I had no issue with. Simply taken, confusingly sent off, but an effective means of self maintenance in the making.
Cordoba, Spain (taken 2016)

Fast forward to my gypsy induced anxiety attack in Seville, it was here that, feeling displaced and disturbingly silent (everyone knows me to be loud - a Manchester male model made no secret of this) I messaged my family back home for some selfies - specifically of my niece and nephews who I love unconditionally. 

This proved itself to be a benevolent action - it got my tears to stop running; it brought my heart rate down. So, it's this that I encourage, should you find yourself in a less than ideal state of mind with a suitcase weighing you down. I mean, my selfies are normally really bad (which is something I appreciate, strangely enough) but they've been getting the job done and especially for those I love back home.       
Zagora, Morocco (taken 2016)
This post is for you all...

Thursday, 7 July 2016

A Few Bard Steps

Since that little drive out of Marrakech to the Sahara, so to speak, I've long been thinking of what the distance between the Atlas Mountains and Zagora could do for me. The answer, whilst copping my regular dose of chlorine but also narrowly dodging a one on one with a psycho parent (yep, they exist in this realm), finally came to me; a special about writing. Probably why the first picture used is that of Oscar Wilde.
Oscar Wilde at Merrion Square, Dublin, Ireland (taken 2016)

Melbourne writer Catherine Deveny, one of my favourites, kinda said, 'Stuff reading, let this be the year of writing'. By year she meant summer but we're in winter now; that's my defence.
Daintree Rainforest, Australia (taken 2014)

Whilst I've long since spoken about locations, both domestic and international, I've been thinking about the effect of location; it's quite nice and can be the best thing ever! Apparently that was the most memorable part of the Twilight series so here's my epic shrug. Moving on.
Brixton, London, England (taken 2016)

My decision to become a writer was one of those majestic grade four choices we can't seem to shake... or regret. In saying that, I have to devoutly admit that the steps I've taken away from the homeland have most certainly influenced my words. Without them so many wouldn't have been written. But, and this needs to be noted, some stops we make for the sake of adventure can have an equally beneficial effect on imagination.

Novels are my agenda for life, as are short proses and maybe the odd screenplay one day. I've recently finished a manuscript, working title is Oracle, which took me five weeks to get down. That's a personal best for me, and now I find myself wanting to write another with a few of the same characters frequenting a little place named Thailand. We're going global now.
Khao Sok National Park, Thailand (taken 2014)

Lucky one spent two weeks in Southeast Asia back in '14... and hopefully a few more in the years to come; I'd skip over for the lantern festival - I hear Yi Peng is a correct title, in Chiang Mai this year, but my boss will claim my head if I do. Reasonable... by my logic.

But here's a major point of this rant - sometimes the stops we've looked the least forward to making can inspire a hundred pages. Back in '14 the tour I was on stopped at Koh Phangan, the Full Moon Party Island. After a full on beach party, in which much kerosene was wiffed, I was left most certain that I wouldn't return (ironically I didn't mind the dead party we attended on night one - very quiet).
Koh Phangan, Thailand (taken 2014)

That said, considering my current manuscript and where I want to take it in the future, a young Alicia Rossi navigating the Phangan beach scene strikes me as interesting, even if it freaked this introvert out more than once. Lissy will be right though, she'll have a Persian badarse looking out for her.
St George's Square, Belfast, Northern Ireland (taken 2016)

Another locale that's proven beneficial is Belfast. I devoted two days to Northern Ireland earlier this year, most of which was spent nerding around Game of Thrones locations, but seeing the locals at St George's Square got a short story done in no time... as well as one set on the Antrim Coastline (it is stunning I should add, but be ready for the hale) about a young man now in need of more page time; Alec O'Shea, you'll have your day!
The Giant's Causeway, Antrim Coastline, Northern Ireland (taken 2016)

I have made research trips for the sake of my writing; the first one was a roadtrip down to Lorne on the Great Ocean Road during my teenage years (Mum and Dad, thanks again even if you might not remember it) and the latest was seeing the Atlas Mountains and Moroccan landscape so that a potential fantasy read might have a better detailed setting.
Atlas Mountains, Morocco (taken 2016)

These steps I've never regretted, I got SO much from taking them, and it can be said for the somebodies of the literary world. Juggernaut writers Tim Winton (Dirt Music, Cloudstreet) and E. Annie Proulx (Brokeback Mountain, The Shipping News) have created so much with their surroundings. I really cannot stop envying them. I may die doing this.

But still, it's these unexpected gems that get the pages worded and give the characters in our heads a place to call home. It's not just places either; I've met my share of people from around the world who have given form to characters and stories themselves. I met a carpet weaver in Morocco; I couldn't speak her language and she couldn't speak mine but her silent standing has given me plenty to work with.
The Carpet Weaver, Morocco (taken 2016)

As you no doubt might've realised I've been posting a lot of pics (this is not a photo essay, whatever the hell that might be) from across the world; it really is an interesting world. Don't kill it politics! All of these places, getting back on point, have done me a service.

Some may seem insignificant (hell, you might not look at them twice!) but should the day come where there's a book with my name on the cover they'll mean so much more to me. I'll be skipping back to them with a smile on my cracked face going 'I love you, you place!'
Hozier Lane, Melbourne, Australia (taken 2016)

I really am that crazy but yeah; the kids I teach are right.

Don't ever underestimate the steps you HAVE to take. Never do that. You might just come out on top kiddies. I'll let you know when I've reached it myself.