Let It Pass

post-4153-Isn-t-it-funny-how-day-by-day-DbVy

Music often makes me feel like I was born in the wrong time. I’m wrapped up in songs that call from distant horizons. Their familiar melodies rise and fall like gentle waves, slowly carrying me away over lulling seas to some eternal land of yesteryear.

Every so often, though, there’s a song that sends out currents strong enough to pull me back to the coastline, like a lighthouse twinkling on a promised land. When an exploration of a modern soundscape confirms that music from the here and now is not altogether lost, it feels like Christmas.

Most cherished of all are the times when I’m guided by an invisible beacon. Like today. I was drifting aimlessly, when I stumbled, quite by chance, into the floating lullaby of autumn leaves that is Jakob Ogawa’s “Let It Pass”. It was like sighting an unknown island paradise in the middle of the sea and then walking, in a daze, through a mirage of sound along a humming shore.

I became lost in an echo of lazy beach days and summer afternoons, where the salty breeze messed our hair while we watched as the burnt sun sank slowly to kiss the balmy ocean, and a hazy dusk spread across the sea to bathe the world in a final glow of glittering light. The waves were liquid amber, and the air was filled with the carefree laughter of youth, as we picked up handfuls of sand and let the grains slip through our fingers, falling freely like specks of gold in the twilight. Then, suddenly, it was dark, and I was all alone, haunted by the laughter of ghosts and surrounded by the shadows of faded memories. The grains of sand lay trapped in an hourglass, and the air was heavy with sadness and bittersweet nostalgia. The best things in life always end far too soon.

Despite getting caught up in a web of sentimentality, I simply adore this song. It has the sort of melody that I feel, rather than hear, so that I fall into it, like I fall into dreams. Those are my absolute favourite types of songs.

Kandy Colours

IMG_6822

There’s no denying I’ve been very focused on my upcoming travels recently. If I look to the future, I have one month to go until my hike on Kangaroo Island, and two months to go until my storm chasing tour begins in Oklahoma City. But it also occurred to me that today is one month since I set off for Columbo Fort station to board the train for Hatton, thus beginning my solo adventures in Sri Lanka. The days loomed uncertain, and as the train chugged along through the lush green countryside, I found myself wishing it would never end. I was content to just sit by the window and watch the world go by, without having to make any decisions.

There’s a sense of ease and calmness when I think about past travels. After all, there are no loose ends to tie up, no variables to consider, no surprises waiting to derail best-laid plans. There’s nothing to worry about anymore. Everything’s happened and it all worked out and even if it didn’t, it feels of little consequence- if anything, faded mishaps become colourful stories. It’s comforting to look back on it all, like being on a train that takes you in the direction that it has always been destined to go.

Thinking back on my time in Sri Lanka has made for a welcome change from the rapid fire thinking that has accompanied my holiday planning in the last few days. For the next couple of weeks, I’m going to ease up on my forward thinking altogether so that I can look back and spend some quality time documenting my experiences on Adam’s Peak, Horton Plains, Ohiya, Ella, Kegalle, and Sigiriya. Not to mention, it’s high time I started my Snapshots of Sri Lanka project, which I’ve been rather neglectful of. Actually, I think I’ve been purposefully putting it off, because I remember well what a mammoth task it is to sort through 2000+ photos. That said, I have the time I always dreamed of for this sort of thing, so I really have no excuses. It can be hard to commit to a project that feels overwhelming, but the hardest part is always getting started- and I have.

Once I remembered the success of managing these types of projects lies in breaking them into small parts, it really wasn’t so hard to begin. So far, the photo at the start of this post has really captured my eye. It was taken at the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, and I’m totally loving the colours. It can be difficult to offer a new perspective of places that have been photographed a million times, but I enjoy the challenge. Walking the creative path can be immensely frustrating, but also full of rewards and satisfaction- and that is why we pursue it, time and time again.

A Secret Unlocked

16939322_10154492353168391_5058307483612863344_n

I came across this quote the other day, and it instantly resonated with me. Here was the secret to overcoming all the struggles and frustrations I’ve had with my writing over the years. For the longest time, I believed there was no point in attempting to write if I didn’t feel inspired. I would know if inspiration was paying me a visit because writing wouldn’t be an effort. The words would simply flow, and my fingers would fly over the keyboard.

This belief meant I wasted many years waiting for a creative spark that never came. Not being able to write like I once had was upsetting- writing is the one thing that’s always defined me, and losing that ability felt like I’d lost myself.

There is nothing better than when the words do come readily, because it’s clear then that you’ve tapped into some source of inspiration, and such creative energy is a wonderful feeling for any artist to experience. But I guess I needed to learn that writing isn’t always that easy. Yet, funnily enough, when I finally realised that, all of a sudden, writing didn’t seem to be so hard anymore.

I think, as a teen, I had a somewhat romanticised notion of the writing process. But as I’ve grown older, and learnt more about how the world works, I’ve realised that in order to experience success with my writing, it must be approached in the same way as anything that you might invest your love and time and energy into. Like with any relationship, or friendship, or career, you need to show a daily commitment and dedication. That’s the hard part.

Now that writing has become a habit, I am filled with an abundance of ideas. I see stories in everything. Inspiration, actually, is all around. Travelling is what brought on this realisation at first. But the everyday is equally as inspiring- the quiet moments, the simple things. When you write about your experiences, it doesn’t have to be perfect. The important thing is that you try.

Just write.

Goodbye Summer

img_6723

It seems like only yesterday that December was starting, and with it, the season of summer stretched ahead, full of possibilities. And yet, somehow, three months have gone by, and the sun has now set on the last day of summer for 2016/17.

I’ve always loved the freedom that summer represents. As a kid and later as a teacher, I always relished the long school holidays, from mid-December to the end of January. Finally, there was time to indulge in my creative pursuits without feeling guilty that I should be doing school work instead. For six weeks, I would feel like ‘me’ again. These days, as a relief teacher, I have more freedom than ever before, so I’m trying to make the most of it. That’s why I’m so pleased with how successful this summer has been from a creative point of view. My two biggest achievements were completing my ‘Himalayan 100’ photo album and starting this blog. More importantly, I’ve maintained this blog for two months now. This is because I dedicated the month of January to changing my mindset about writing. Now that it’s a habit instead of a task, it’s just become a natural part of my routine and I don’t feel as if my day is complete until I’ve done some writing.

No summer is complete without a holiday, of course. My annual visit to Rottnest Island at the start of January may only have been for a day, but, like always, left me feeling refreshed and inspired. The longer trip came in February, when I headed off to Sri Lanka for two weeks. It was my first visit to the island, but I’m sure it won’t be my last. I met some lovely people on my G Adventures tour, was treated to some amazing views and nature experiences, and ate such delicious food that I’m still dreaming about it. Sri Lanka was the perfect way to start off my adventures for 2017.

I aimed to be active regardless of whether I was on holiday or at home, and, happily,  I achieved a goal that I set at the start of summer to walk 10,000 steps each day. That said, I found plenty of time to relax as well, in the form of watching late night trashy horror films; feasting with friends over the festive period; and what has got to be my favourite summer pasttime of all- lazing in the hammock with a good book (and sometimes falling asleep).

What I also really liked about this summer were the milder temperatures, as I don’t enjoy the heat as much as I used to. There were several days where I actually went for my walk wearing a jumper, as the air was nippy outside and it was so windy. The weather resembled a rollercoaster, as we’d have a couple of really hot days, which would be followed by a substantial drop in temperature. Not that I was complaining. It’s much easier to tolerate a 40 degree day when you know you don’t have a two week heatwave following it. (Though the 114mm downpour and 17 degree day that Perth experienced while I was in Sri Lanka was just weird.) I’m not sure whether the weather had anything to do with it, but the skies were pretty tame at sunset time, and my camera only came out twice the entire summer to capture a dramatic evening sky.

Nevertheless, there’s no denying it’s been a wonderful summer. Now to see what autumn has in store.