Autumnal Coincidence

Autumn! Those red leaves, that delicious crunch. I seldom like to use the word ‘delicious’ beyond a food descriptor, but in the case of autumn leaves, it really is just what my feet are thinking! I was driving along, admiring the presence of autumn and I realised (seems to be quite a theme in my blog) that I can learn a lot from trees.

I feel lately I’ve fallen into a bit of a slump, putting off the things that fundamentally will build me up, ie. creativity and exercise. It is a vicious cycle as the slump makes me not feel like being creative or active but, by not doing these things, I end up feeling down and get deeper in the depths of the slump and so on. I can recognise it, but inertia grows and hovers, like a thick film over unstirred hot milk. It was all this that was playing on my mind as I was driving to work the other day.  Then, the sun came out and sparkled through the reds and oranges and final bits of green, letting Autumn pierce through my grey.

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I thought to myself, those trees will change no matter what is going on in my, or anyone’s, life. There is a truth beyond my own and somehow there is liberation in that! It lifted me.

Step beyond myself and into the realm of the autumn leaves.

After this little episode I turned on my audio book. A minute later, the narrator said, “as she stepped outside, noticing the Autumn leaves she thought to herself, no matter what war is raging, the leaves still change…” At first I just thought it was normal – of course that would be what comes on in that particular point in time. Then I realised I wasn’t a character in a movie and that this was delightfully, perhaps inspiringly coincidental!

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Just as the leaves change, so too can I get creative, no matter what society is coming to, or Trump slump I am inhabiting. The Earth just keeps on turning. We must embrace the moments, or else we just watch them all drift by.

Emily and the Big Red Tree

Sometimes, all it takes is for a big red tree to shake us from our treadmill state of existence. It has been over a year now since I returned from overseas. My travel blog has lain dormant and I hadn’t realised until yesterday that is some ways, Emily has too. For the past year I guess I have been travelling, but in a different, less awe-inspiring way. It has not been me with a backpack surrounded by Europe; but rather me in high vis work clothes surrounded by a big red Australia Post van. From the old towns of Eastern Europe to industrial areas of new Melbourne. I have still managed to find joy in the work I’ve been doing in my role as a PTO- very important ‘Parcel Transfer Officer’. It is great for my fitness, it does not drain me emotionally at all and I can choose all sorts of interesting podcasts to listen to (the other day I learned about how flea circuses worked- I never thought I’d feel sorry for a flea!). I also get to plonk around in giant work boots and wear a stylish, delicately hued, womanly shade of fluorescent yellow.

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One of the most interesting parts of my job is that I get to have a sticky beak into so many different types of work places; from giant bustling factory floors to boxy offices where the sound of fingers tapping at computer keys, coupled with barely audible whispered conversations, makes for a very snoozy environment. I also have the privilege of admiring the Friday fashions worn by the receptionist models, all ready to get heels-off plastered at their beloved knock off drinks.

To be honest though, the work is not at all intellectually stimulating and I do spend a lot of my time imagining about all the other things I could be do/lives I could be living and occasionally get a pang when I realise it has been a whole year of dreaming and,while I’ve made a few positive steps, all those dreams are still just that!

Yesterday, however, I was driving along and a big, beautiful explosion of red in the form of a tree shook me out of my robotic state while I was travelling along a Clayton street. It made me open my eyes and do a u-turn to see it again, properly. I had been driving along in a tunnel of routine, looking towards the pickup I was about to do from a post office. It was as though I had been squinting through the moment, ignoring everything that was present, attempting to see all future tasks and events. This magical red tree managed to reach into my head and snap me out of my machine state and reintroduce me to Emily, the human, who likes to write and draw and drum and sing and interact with groups of people. When I was roaming about overseas I was always in the moment, but something with this job had changed that! The Red Tree slapped me back into the Now and out from the eternal ‘Soon I Will, Then I’ll Be’ frame of existence.

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While I’ve been so happy in my life back in Melbourne, I’ve taken an age to settle in and my work-life and personal aspirations have been stuck a little in quarantine. I have been comfortable enough, which I guess has been the issue, as I haven’t had a great need to step up and out and try for more. But who wants to go through life being comfortable enough, when the opportunity is there to be so incredible fulfilled, inspired and satisfied beyond measure? Why settle for the treadmill of life when there are fields of splendour to walk, run and dance upon??

I needed that Red Tree, to remind me of Me.

It’s time for something new and I’m excited for what that will be!

Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud

So, sometimes travel isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Occasionally it is just storm clouds and rain without any bows. I was given some advice from a friendly stranger at a bus station in Turkey a few months ago which lead me to taking a bus that took me not to the airport like I had originally hoped, but to a bus station at least an hour away. Because of this, I got on another bus that took me on a tour through the back streets of Turkey’s own Footscray and I missed my flight.

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In Germany, a couple of months later I took some more advice from a “helpful” stranger on where to stand to wait for a bus I had booked to the airport. The signs were a little confusing and the man was so willing to help. When the bus came 15 mins late I showed my ticket to the driver and he said that I was holding a ticket for a completely different bus company. That bus, it turned out, hadn’t been 15mins late but had just arrived at bay 8 not bay 15 where I had been obliviously sitting, reading my book. The only thing left for me to do in order to make my flight was to pay the extra money and get a train. To say was a little frustrated at myself would be an understatement. I wrote this in my journal as I sat on the train that day…

A fury that burns like wild fire through the dry fields of my mind. Soaring through me as I storm back through the train station to buy another ticket, I weave my way through the rent-a-crowd of station inhabitants. Once on an equal, friendly plane to me, the general public now seem like a plague of locusts surrounding me, irritating and relentless. I can’t believe I let it happen again!!! This screaming thought takes over like an obnoxious police siren down a busy city street. Why do I seek help from strangers??! They only ever *muck* things up. I should trust my own ability to find an answer. Alas. I know people don’t ever consciously lead me astray…to err is human and to err with a helpful heart should be forgiven. In the end, I wasted no real time as the train is quicker than the bus. However it cost me an extra €25 when the bus was only €6- Im just throwing money away like it’s the end of the Monopoly.

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In hindsight, these moments never are that bad, plus, it’s good to remember the frustrating times as well as the good times- it wouldn’t be a proper travel experience after all if there weren’t at least a few disasters.

It’s funny, in missing a flight, the worst moments are those leading up to the flight-when there is still a minute chance that you might make it. The stress is palpable and the frustration like a hungry lion in a vegetarian restaurant. Once the flight has definitely taken off however, there really is nothing that can be done but to accept the fact that you were never even meant to get it anyway. Acceptance, flexibility and a sense of humour are definitely keys to happier, carefree travel/life. Continue reading

Happy HelpX

After i returned to the UK following an amazing summer back home in Australia I had a bit of time to fill before I started my new job. My other plans had fallen through so I had to come up with something new! I learnt about HelpX from a friend of mine and it had always been in the back of my mind as something I wanted to try. It is a brilliant way to see a new part of the country while also contributing to something beyond oneself in exchange for food and board. I was so excited when I received an email from Grant at The HoBB saying that they were happy to have me come and stay for the weekend. I must admit that I was a little nervous going to a strangers house for the weekend, however, the plethora of positive reviews on the helpX webpage by previous guests instilled me with great confidence that I would be in for a happy weekend. Indeed I was!

I was lucky enough to fit so much in the mere 3 nights that I stayed there. I learnt how to mix cement and build a wall, I gathered firewood, helped narrate a YouTube video, went to a folk music night at an old aerodrome, created milk bottle planters and ate many a hearty and delicious meal! I find myself daydreaming about that heavenly apple crumble far, far, too often.

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I could go on and on about the incredible projects that are in motion at the HoBB but I don’t possess nearly enough knowledge about them to do them justice. All my words would just get jumbled up in my mind when I attempted to do so and would end up with some nonsensical convoluted sentence like, “the HoBB is ahh…a sustainable aquaponic DIY home grown Welsh country rabbit hole wonderland. Cosy fireplace, fertile dream space.”

To give a sense of how I was feeling while I was there, here is an excerpt from my journal at that time.

The HoBB. Wales. March. 2015.
I must write this down while it’s still as fresh in my mind as the air is here in Wales. Where oh where do I begin? When I signed up to HelpX I had a vague notion of what it was that I wanted- but how on earth was I lucky enough to end up here? Am I still on earth for that matter?? Is this some enchanted elfin dream land?? The HoBB, it seems, is what you get when someone looks at their imagination, admires it and then actually lets it become them in real life. It’s one thing to have an idea and daydream about how lovely it would be for it to become real- but to actually go ahead act upon it and make it your reality is just taking life to the next level. The HoBB is a dream, nay a fantasy realised- and I am so, so honoured to be here!

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I got off the train in oh so chilly Knighton, in the heart of Wales. I was alone with my backpack, guitar and the knowledge that Helen from the HoBB-my home for the next 4 days- was going to collect me. The thought did pass my mind ‘what if no one comes to collect me? Will I seek refuge in a local free house??’ I felt a little like I’d gone back in time- I forget how old and charming the buildings can be here in the UK!

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Sure enough though, I was collected. Helen drove up and immediately upon seeing her, I felt warm and welcome and at home. We arrived at the HoBB and I found myself melting into the sheer charm of the place. There is a certain energy here and a sense of…light. Glorious, almost magical light across the hills at sunset- the bleats of the sheep in chorus, echoing across the valleys and the plains; and glorious light of my hosts with their enthusiasm, kindest and willingness to teach.

The HoBB is evidence that we shouldn’t just live our life but that we have the power to CREATE out life- a life that inspires us and has us bounding out of bed in the morning with the enthusiasm of a child.

Cosy, quirky, beautiful, inspiring.

❤️

These Moments

Sometimes I am presented with such an intensely beautiful scene that I can barely handle it. My brain sort of explodes a little bit and I just don’t know what to do with myself. I want to capture it in someway so that I can share it with everyone I love and share it with myself at a later date when such beauty is but a memory. I take a photograph, but I am never satisfied! So I take another 10 of the exact same picture, hoping that the second, third or sixth will capture not just the lines and the colours, but the sensation of the slight breeze and with it the scent of the daffodils in its midst.

I will so often be doing the dishes and then look out the window to see another spectacular light show such as this one unfolding outside. I squeal a little and then run out with my phone, never with a warm enough coat on. The pictures never quite capture the moment though. It's like trying to catch water with a sieve-the sieve may get wet, but there is never any substance left inside.

I will so often be doing the dishes and then look out the window to see another spectacular light show such as this one unfolding outside. I squeal a little and then run out with my phone, invariably without a warm enough coat on and in socks alone. The pictures never quite capture the moment though- It’s like trying to catch water with a sieve-the sieve may get wet, but there is never any substance left inside.

In the picture I can see the shadow that the sun has cast but I can’t feel the same warmth that accompanies the glow. How can I capture all this? Why can’t I just hug a sunset?! Along with the physical sublimity comes the emotional spark- what does that even look like? How can I somehow bottle the essence of my joy, this feeling of freedom laced in gratitude and wonder? image I am so aware that life is fleeting, that joy is fleeting, that These Moments are fleeting. However they are in equal measures as old and as everlasting as the universe, as they are of this universe. image

I know that there are other times when I am a fiery ball of frustration or anger and utter devastation, when this very piece of writing would just be aggravating or absurd. I know in those times I would look back at this version of myself and think ‘Urgh Emily, what does that even meeean?! Have you seen the news lately? Humanity is falling apart! Who needs your frivolous musings?!’ Perhaps though there IS cause occasionally to rant on not just about terrible, annoying things but also to occasionally rant, no, gush about the beauty of it all as well. Perhaps. image

I just wish there was someway that in the future, when I’m standing on a crowded train on a hot day and my nose has somehow become embedded within someone’s sweaty armpit and I have a leg cramp and my car rego is due and there is no food in the house; that I could somehow eat a photograph of These Moments and be transported, even just for a moment, to the sense of enlightenment they bring. Ooh even better, you could have a bag of crisps and each crisp is a different happy memory (patent pending). Unfortunately I think I’ll just have to rely on the power of my memory and my ability to mentally escape.

No, screw that! I wish to rely on my ability to fully embrace those textbook bad moments and see them as what they are-a fleeting moment in this amazing life. “Nose embedded in someone’s sweaty armpit” becomes “a new found appreciation and gratitude for the marvellous invention of deodorant.”