Coming Home

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There’s something disenchanting about coming home from an overseas trip. You’ve traversed a time zone or two. You’ve travelled thousands of kilometres and seen amazing sights, to then have it all come to an end. Coming back home where things seem a tad more clouded or smeared, almost as if a faint brush of emptiness has re-touched the scenery with a greyness that you never noticed before or you’d abandoned once in the sphere of another reality far removed from the one we stand in, in our everyday lives. Perhaps it’s because of the closeness and familiarity that closeness imbues, once removed from that close and comfortable zone it so easily forgotten. Coming back to it affords a freshness and a type of amnesia of the menial everyday life we lead, yet it only seems moments pass when it all comes crashing back, just like you’d never left.. Prior to leaving you were acutely entangled within the mesh of everyday living and within its grasp you became blind and unaware that everyday life had all but ensnared you and held you hostage to a routine, which on the surface doesn’t seem like such a bad thing, however beneath the facade is the collateral damage of losing the ability to actually see and perceive the things around you. A comfortable and secure existence which is familiarity steals ones perception while trading it for a focal point that seems all consuming but is in fact merely just a distraction from the small things that make up the whole. Taking the time to stop and smell the flowers is not something which is often encountered in the hustle and bustle.

Upon returning from the ‘other side’, fresh eyes are still tuned to the perception that just on periphery there is so much more than just objects around you, so the once familiar is a little newer and a little fresher – one’s eyes are opened and moreover, receptive to the finer treasures that are everywhere but difficult to see when one’s blinkers are set to a narrow vision and focus. It’s unfortunate that fresh eyes soon tire and  fade back into the tunnel vision of routine. And how fast it returns is startling. It takes considerable effort to keep ones eyes open and not be consumed by all the things that you’d left behind to venture into the world afar but routine is an alluring seductress, she will invariably pull you close with her ruby lips, soft and sensual, whispering sweet little lies into your ears. The hot breath on your ear lobe telling you that you’re the only one for her, that all you need do is close your eyes and experience the here with the numbness and comfort it shrouds you in. To let yourself fall into those warm, endearing arms and be swept away with the ease and security that routine brings. Persistence wears away the memories from afar and your eyes are once again accustomed to the narrow tunnel before it, like the night vision we experience when we are thrust into darkness. As our pupils dilate to soak in what little light can be found in that darkness, the soft light at its end is all we soon see. A light that never seems to get nearer because the treadmill we are walking upon to get to that source of wonderment ahead – that light over yonder only perpetuates the illusion that we are travelling forward when in fact we are merely standing in the same spot while our legs are thrust in a motion that never gets us anywhere. A source we forever strive to reach yet perpetually fall short of, so it is – our beloved routine. Our mistress and comforter.

It’s a short lived experience, travelling the globe on holiday and all too easy to become reacquainted with normalcy upon returning home. Besides the fact that I am a new convert to the idea that going overseas is not a bad way to spend a few weeks it would be a entirely different ball game to up and leave and extend the travel experience by living and immersing yourself in another land, far away from home or to become a seasoned traveller who does overseas trips regularly. I have the impression that seasoned ‘travellers’ are a more adventurous lot and probably more interested and comfortable in the people of a place, where as a novice like me, prefers to avoid the people and focus on the actual place. I’m not one that likes to get in amongst the masses of the world meeting new people. I’m not good at it! Partly because I’m far too uninteresting to make any sort of impact but more so because not that many people really impact me and besides, I detest the little game we need to play with the trivialities and nuances of small talk. I understand the necessity of it,  treading carefully around the edges, sussing the other out before revealing too much of ourselves, but lets face it, it is a tedious process and unless one possesses the ‘gift of the gab’ to drive small talk in a direction of greatest interest it will ultimately fall into the two most uninteresting topics of conversation ever imagined.

I definitely do not in possess said gift, I find small talk just falls flat with me.  I’m a difficult nut to crack because my interests are small and narrow and not as eclectic to fit the tastes of most people. I suppose I’m sort of getting better at it as time progresses but I still find the uncomfortableness and anxiety and dead end that it usually ends in with me as just not worth the effort when so much of humanity is just not that interesting, who mostly subscribe to a default position of sport and weather. Occasionally little gems are presented but for the most part the rabble is just that – rabble.  Perhaps I’m far to arrogant and haughty to have what it takes to ‘fit in’ with such a default position. But I am who I am. Perhaps you may find my previous post entitled ISTP revealing. It may reveal why I am such a difficult personality to crack or then it may not.

What my travel to Finland and short visit to England taught me, actually reaffirmed in me, is that I prefer and enjoy nature to the hustle and bustle of city life. City life is such an artificial environment and I’d forgotten what it was like to sit in an environment that wasn’t just concrete and scores of human beings wandering around in a self deluded daze. In fact I had a semi epiphany when at the local Westfield’s the other week, observing the trickle of shoppers who were lazily strolling with what looked like a glazed look. I couldn’t help but wonder, what the exact nature is of this meaningless activity we indulge our precious time with -  shopping for things we have absolutely no need for but somehow are compelled to buy? It comes back to the routine we are entwined with. We invest a large portion of our lives at our places of work, complete with a tunnel vision that our routine sees with, while time withers away, dying at the hands of routine and what better activity is there to complement the numbness than with other shoppers who are desperately in need of something other than that which they are doing but no longer know what it is! I know I do it and even though I often find myself in a semi existential crisis, wondering why on earth am I wandering around with the same glazed look as my fellow shoppers. It is because it has become a routine and because we are a herd creature, the shopping mall is the obvious place to be when not working. After all it isn’t for nothing that we spend 40, 50, 60 or 70 hours a week working for is it. We want to spend the money we earn and seeing as most of our time is spent earning and so few is spent in leisure, it is a place of worship for many of us. We can buy those objects of yearning that will show to our fellows that we are above the ordinary and indeed better than the you. But time is little so we flock to the local Westfield’s where everything is nicely compartmentalised and convenient so we need not spend too much of what is most precious – time, wasting it in search for our little piece of nirvana.

It’s pretty sad that more of us don’t actually see the madness and do something else like get together with family and friends and head out in the fresh air but the madness is such that we feel compelled to visit the church of capitalism, to hand out the alms of our faith and pay homage to the god we serve. It’s funny but the cash god we pay our lives for, is intrinsically valueless. Those bills we hold in our hands so dear has probably less value than the actual paper its printed on.

What can I say. Time for another holiday to forget all this nonsense we work for.

Category : Journal | Blog

Midsummer (Juhannus) – Lappeenranta

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My first week and a half in the country of my ancestry – Finland.  Already it’s been a full week, a week and a half spent doing pretty much nothing except eating and relaxing in amongst the forest on the shore of a beautiful lake. Eating extraordinarily good food and I can safely say Finns serve a phenomenal feast. Just one helping just isn’t enough, although the first serving is more than enough it seems that my relatives want me to eat more and then eat some more. I don’t quite know why but I have to say that the food here tastes a whole lot better than Australia.

After arriving last Tuesday week, the 22nd June – early morning Helsinki time, the air a little brisk and the sun shining like it was 10am rather than the half six it actually was, my first day was spent recovering from traversing a time zone and having been cramped on a air plane for over 20 hours. It was a relief to have my feet firmly planted on Terra firma again but I was in such a daze that I could hardly think straight, let alone appreciate that I was in Finland. My first impression was quite literally that I’d arrived in a forest and to be entirely honest it was a little underwhelming viewing it from the air. But my first impressions might have been a little jaded by travelling in what felt like a sardine can with wings. My flight on British Airways left me with little confidence in air travel with anything resembling comfort, however Finnair were, by far, miles ahead in clean and comfortable flying. If I ever travel overseas again I will most definitely give British Airways a wide berth.

I only spent a couple days in Tuusula with one of my other Aunts and most of that time was spent resting and getting into holiday mode after years of slogging it out in the office. It was so good to relax that I’d forgotten what it was like to actually relax. Before my Aunt Paula and I left for some other relatives mokki (holiday house) we did manage to see some  of the local Tuusula wildlife. I saw my very first squirrel that jumped on the window sill and I thought it was coolest thing in the world. Unfortunately I wasn’t quick enough to get it on film but I did manage to get a local pheasant walking in the front yard and down the driveway which was pretty cool too.


Now I’d read about how practically everyone in Finland owned a bit of forest and that paper consumption is never given a moments contemplation, but the view from the air plane as it came in for a landing at Vantaa was that I was landing in a forest. There were pine trees everywhere, and the landscape was just a green mass with a few lakes thrown in for a splash of colour. I’m just so used to the Australian landscape with it’s browns and earthy colours of reds, greens and blue hues of eucalyptus and the arid, sun scorched earth but Finland from the air was well, just green. Having also viewed the Finnish countryside from train now, I can confirm without a doubt that it is a green mass. The forest as viewed from the air is exactly what you see, everywhere, a matter of what you see is what you get. I have never seen so much forest in my life and when travelling by train it was a little monotonous but awesome by its sheer magnitude. Viewing it at speed is where it fails to impress anything but a green blur, however getting in amongst it is where it excels. It is a magnificent experience being enveloped in a forest and having the green swallow you and seeing not only pine but birch and numerous other nameless trees. It is awe inspiring when the summer night is shining its sunlight with an endless day and being in the forest without a sound. It is so incredibly still. Not a cricket stirs, nor any sound from the lake as if the frogs have been silenced by the beauty of the setting sun as it turns the lake into a giant mirror. If no wind whistles through the trees there is absolute silence. Still. Quiet. Just total peace. Nothing can describe the silence, just phenomenal!

The long days make the forest experience complete, with a lake mirroring the reflections of the forest and it feels as if you melt into the landscape and become a part of the stillness. Relaxation at its finest.


The long days are celebrated with the midsummer festival weekend which is called Juhannus where a bon fire or Kokko, as it is called here, is lit. Family and friends come together to drink and eat and party the weekend as the nation stops to celebrate the tradition of Juhannus.

My time at Lappeenranta will probably be remembered with a kokko and the incredibly peaceful and beautiful lake and long days where the sun never did quite set, even when the sun did eventually go down it was still light enough to see.


The sauna – lakeside pictured above.


Forest wild flowers pictured above.


Lappeenranta sunset above.

Category : Journal | Blog


Posted by Comments Off on Waiting

There is something about waiting that fails to sit well with me. Wherever it is, waiting around is something I just don’t seem to like very much. So while I wait for my flight I sit here at the departure gate, well just waiting. And what really is there to do except wait. Even now as I type, another load of passengers are waiting, waiting for their flight and waiting for a couple of passengers who are missing. Who presumably are missing in action or lost somewhere in the labyrinth of airport security checks. I know, I was subjected to the “random” swab check after passing through the x-ray machine so it isn’t inconceivable that the couple could be bent over with a rubber glove probing inside their extremities for explosives of some type or other.

I can imagine the frustration of the other passengers on flight BA16 who are eagerly anticipating  a take off, yet  who are destined to wait, to await the last 2 stragglers who inevitably will be 2 of the most hated people in the world for the those on that plane.

We on BA10 share their anticipation as we wait. In solidarity we wait.

Category : Rants | Blog


Posted by Comments Off on Downtown

My first trip into the nether regions of Australia, to the state of Victoria and I am so far impressed by this strange far away land. After many confused moments, trying to navigate the Princess Highway, with its snaking and winding like a serpent weaving and slithering its way through Eden, luring me with mis happen stops and starts, adding to the confused and frazzled state of my mind, I managed to arrive safely in Geelong, Victoria where I’m spending the next 3 nights. Nevertheless  it was pretty hairy when a torrent of rain threatened to wash me clean off the motorway coming into Melbourne. My concentration levels remarkably became heightened when I began to feel the friction keeping me secure to the bitumen, loosen as I aquaplaned ever so briefly, that and the few times my mind wandered off along with my steering.

I’ve never been to this part of the world and it was high time I ventured somewhere new in this vast sea of sun burnt dust and crackling bush, fiery with reds, yellows and browns. Eucalypt and thirsty grassland swaying to the scorching sun.

To be away from it all, to be away from the woes and troubles of home, away from friends and family. Alone. Time to reflect and explore and enjoy the solitude of traveling with my only companion, the sweet sound of tyres swishing and rumbling along the blackened arteries of rural life. Keeping me still as my eyes wield with the straight and meandering path ahead. Just a few brief moments to still the savage beast within, to quieten the insatiable ravages of thought with a simple need to focus on the immediate future as it twists and turns along a silent landscape.

Category : Journal | Blog