Mediterranean (from Tarifa to you)

I watch the weather where I was
and where I want to be;
too cold for summer, too hot for winter,
too comfortable to be close to anywhere.

I’d stood at the sea’s entrance and
seen the smudge of Africa, nine miles
close, not knowing your blood, that it flows
from the other side.

So that’s why the words zanahoria, azúcar, taste so
sweet and alfombra, almohada, feel
like home.

But you wouldn’t understand.

Between a figment of memory
and a fragment of imagination
I begin to invent the past,
explain the future,
making the present a gift;
making it magic.

I crossed the Atlantic, dipped toes into the Pacific’s
east, Oriental Miss Columbus me.
Meanwhile you were on the west coast
of another kingdom.

We were strangers then.

Lean in, listen keen
to the drumming of my heart: that
all along this was a call
for you to come and take
me back to your Mediterranean Sea. Continue reading Mediterranean (from Tarifa to you)

Chasing wonder

Concepts create idols. Only wonder grasps anything. Gregory of Nyssa This quote struck quite a chord with me when I came across it again recently. It captures my thinking in developing the theme and content for two of our major events at work this year. I truly believe cultivating wonder can do more to educate and mobilise people than concepts can. Part of me absolutely … Continue reading Chasing wonder

Cambodia: Cycle. Sweat. End slavery.

This month Cambodia marked the fortieth anniversary of the fall of the Khmer Rouge. It’s prompted me to finally share on this blog something of my visit there late last year. My 9-day trip involved a 5-day cycle tour (with law firm Wotton+Kearney in support of International Justice Mission), plus time in Phnom Penh and Kampot. * Day 1 Day 1 of the Cambodia Cycle Challenge … Continue reading Cambodia: Cycle. Sweat. End slavery.

From travelling light to living light

Packing light Coming back from 12 days away over the Christmas-New Year break, I realised that I only used half of what I’d brought along with me – the rest could have stayed at home. I really thought I’d gotten good at packing light. When I travel with others I often get comments about how little luggage I get by on. I’m a bit chuffed … Continue reading From travelling light to living light

My biography, as told by my booze

A personal atlas of alcohol.

Before you get the wrong impression, this post is not about booze-filled nights from my backpacking days. It’s an anthology of anecdotes and memories, linked by a common theme: alcoholic beverages.

My discovery of different drinks parallels some important memories. These are what I’d like to share with you.

So let me take you from my childhood, all around the world and back home again. In this brief autobiography, I’ll let the alcohol do the talking. Continue reading My biography, as told by my booze

10 Tips For More Meaningful Travel

What’s the difference between a tourist and a traveller? And how can we have more meaningful travel experiences even while traveling for leisure?

Throughout my experiences of being a tourist, exchange student, international intern and expat, I have been reflecting constantly on these questions of identity, foreignness and the assumptions bound up in the practice and concept of travel. Continue reading 10 Tips For More Meaningful Travel

80% Australian

Approaching this Australia Day, I’ve been thinking a lot about my Australianness. Or lack thereof. It’s not that I’m experiencing epic reverse culture shock now that I’m back in Australia (just a little …), but certainly the relationship between my personal identity and my country has undergone significant transformation. As a child I felt more foreign than I should have. Probably because I went to a really … Continue reading 80% Australian

Almost-no-longer-twentysomething

“You’re not 25 anymore, y’know,” my sister says. She’s being gracious. After another year abroad, I re-enter my bedroom where the posters, postcards and photos plastered against the back wall are peeling off, the Blu-Tack tired of supporting them. This is interior decoration befitting a 16-year-old, and I am now (sigh) an almost-no-longer-twentysomething. But what does the bedroom of an almost-no-longer-twentysomething look like? Probably a … Continue reading Almost-no-longer-twentysomething