Tag Archives: adventure travel

Version 0.32 (Picking Sand out of my Tent)

02-04-19

Late morning. Sick of my tent being full of sand I pulled everything out of it and piled it on the picnic table, unstaked the tent, turned it inside out and shook as much of the sand out of it as I could, then set it up facing into the wind, as opposed to perpendicular to it, because I was weary of one side being permanently bowed in by the wind that blows incessantly. Now, of course, both sides are.*

I’m putting myself through some kind of torture out here. Heaven only knows why. Well, no, that’s not true. It’s to save a bit of money, and to see this beautiful coast (which is beautiful, but once it’s been seen and explored, even just a small part, then what?), “to see Australia”, to be on an “adventure.” Is this an adventure? If it is it does not speak particularly highly of it. The wind is incessant. My tent I’ve disliked for some time for its inefficient size (volume relative to it’s shape)—though perhaps it’s just too small for my preference—and because I don’t have a multitude more stakes to pin down the sides, for now when I’m inside it I feel as though I’m being beat about the head by a flock of birds, it’s so constantly flapping about. Sunlight has been inconsistent, and the temperature is so that because of the wind if the sun is obscured I need a jacket, but otherwise not, so that I am always too hot or too cool, or putting my jacket on or taking it off. If I lie down in my tent to escape the wind it becomes too hot when the sun comes out (not to mention the previously mentioned issues with the slouch of the tent walls), like lying in a greenhouse. And I’m camped at a site called Sand Patch, so naturally there is sand all throughout the tent again. Now, is this an adventure, or is it simply living in discomfort simply to save a bit of money? I think I’m heading elsewhere, or back to Perth in a day or two.

So, since I’ve been alluding, but haven’t actually asked the question, I’ll ask, what is adventure anyway? I think yesterday was a bit of an adventure—I left the hostel a bit after ten with sufficient water, and bought some simple food at the IGA. Then I began walking: two hours of leaving town along the road eventually to a bike trail which took me to another smaller, quieter road that at its end was Albany’s wind farm: 18 giant turbines atop the sandy hills that fall off like cliffs to the ocean some three hundred feet below. Around this area is a boardwalk loop that also diverges into the Bibbulmun Track and a long set of stairs that runs down to the beach

It was at the wind farm that I stopped and had a PBJ and some trail mix, and thought about what it was that I wanted to do. At the start of the hike I thought that I might walk a length of the Bibbulmun to the next town over, Denmark. This hike out from Albany was a test run to see how that might feel. How do I feel simply hiking out of town to the Bibbulmun? If I was comfortable with this, then I would either continue on toward Denmark, or would camp at the nearest campsite and continue the next day. Obviously my feelings have been made clear, and we see that my mind has been made up about going back. But to me, that first day at least was worth it. It makes a good bit of sense to escape the routine of life by doing something so not routine, but my life currently is hardly routine to begin with. So, this extra day, to just save some money, is simply stupid. Of course, if the weather was better and I didn’t have a caffeine headache, and the wind wasn’t so obnoxious I might feel differently. But it’s not. It is what it is. And I am what I am, which is a fool. But I’m learning more about myself all the time. I’m stretching, reaching into realms that I have not before. Certainly it will leave some mark or impression on me, within me. But do I have the talent to leave anything of my travels behind?

 

*editing this now, two months, nearly to the day, since first writing this in my journal I realize I probably should have turned the tent so the door faced the wind, rather than the rear of the tent, as it is a triangle-shaped funnel, the front door obviously being the widest part, but then there would be the issue of so much more sand blowing into the tent, so I guess the solution boils down to pick your poison…. ah, well….

Version 0.31 (Continuing to Dig)

02-03-19

It’s the third of February and I’m camped atop a sandy cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean, about seven or eight miles south of Albany. I’m attempting to see a bit more of Western Australia while at the same time spending less money. I walked the distance out here, plus some extra as I took the wrong route, with a quite heavy pack—like really quite absurdly heavy compared to what I’m used to. This was not quite painful, but extremely uncomfortable, this walk. But I am here. To what end I do not know. However, I witnessed our sun’s magical rays splashing down upon the ocean in radiant sparkles and jangles like an eruption of fireworks across a night sky. Through gaps in the clouds they came like rockets and fizzy whizz-bangs shimmering like a floor of gold coins found at the bottom of a hidden spring in a hidden cave in a hidden island, and I guess that is something enough. Perhaps that is all I came for. That, and the pain in my shoulders and my aching ankle. It was message and a warning. You see, I’ve had this idea for a bit, of walking Japan from its southern most point, Cape Sata, to its northern most, Cape Soya. It is a “soft” project, as most of mine are. Soft meaning it is unnecessary to finish, or the means of getting from point to point may vary. The discomfort of carrying such weight now has me rethinking things. Though, runners traveling long distances typically push strollers with their necessary supplies, so that is something I may consider. I could also simply WWOOF or do a work exchange. Those are things I might look into even if I do continue with the walking trip. But all this brings me back, once again, to the questions of “why?” and “what am I looking to get from this trip?”

Clearly I’m not just looking to throw money away on a comfortable vacation. This is certainly a bit of a vacation, but it’s also kind of a lot of work. The photography, the writing, trying to stick to some sort of budget. I realize that hostels are never the plushest digs in town, but multiple unplanned days can easily puncture holes in one’s bank account. But ignoring the budget, what is the point of the photography? Truthfully, here in Australia there is no point. I don’t have a strong interest in being here, and I’m not interested in photographing Australia (which is different than saying I am not interested in photographing in general). The only reason I am still here is because I paid for the flight, a SIM card, and a visa. It seemed silly to leave after less than two weeks. But of course staying here longer means I’m spending more money, and Australia is not cheap, regardless of the exchange rate. There IS NO PHOTO PROJECT HERE. Except for possibly the one vague one that is everything is the same everywhere—a thought that I wrote about in a previous journal, and something that is ever present in the nether regions of my mind, surfacing at unsuspecting moments while walking around town or traversing a new landscape that reminds me of home. Even having a defined project though, what’s the point? What do I wish to achieve? Obviously if I want to produce a book, get featured in a magazine, or have a show (or multiple) I’m going to have to put some work in later, so this is something that is not at all relevant to my immediate situation.

Writing is its own pursuit, and sometimes I think it is more of a joy than photography. It is certainly more therapeutic. These journals, or snippets of them, could also accompany the photographs in a publication or an exhibition. At least with going to Japan I have a sense of something. A purpose. A journal, a la Basho. Just more contemporary in style than writing haiku and journaling; although, amongst his contemporaries, Basho, having more-or-less invented the haiku form, or really given it its own recognized stature as a poetic form in itself, was more forward thinking than anyone else of the time, and so when I think of what it means to be considered a “contemporary” artist today I liken Basho as being the earliest of contemporary writers and poets of his time, while the rest of his “contemporaries” were continuing in past traditions. In other words to be contemporary is to break new ground, which is what he did, and what some contemporary artists are doing today (though I’d argue there is little ground left to break).

I’m enjoying sharing this “adventure” with friends. And I continue to understand myself better with every new foray beyond what I find is my comfort zone.