travel

Thoughts and quotes from watching Lost In Translation

Life is awkward

I hope all these mental health podcasts are better than whatever Charlotte is listening to

Not loving the sweater vests

Leopard print

No hospital visits this time

Fax machines 

How long have you been here? I couldn’t say.

How are they always at Shibuya Crossing?

May I be able to sleep when I get back

Killing time

Are you awake?

Does anyone know what’s happening?

Does it get easier?

I just don’t know what I’m supposed to be

Every girl goes through a photography phase

Keep writing

It’s scary

Nobody ever tells you that

The mountain in the distance

Which way is Mt Fuji?

The Maples look great. I miss taking those pictures 

White pants

White paper

Kyoto is lovely

May you find your way. May you find yourself. May you enjoy the journey.

Onsen onsen onsen

Daikanyama is hip

I can’t tell the difference 

Judgmental glare

I thought I’d missed you

Looks of sadness and longing

Cabs

Hey

To be seen

To be close to somebody

To have Phoenix songs play in the background of our lostness

Friends you get for a moment. This one transitory moment. It will never be like this again. You won’t be back round this way.

Glico flashes neon wishes

Can’t sleep

Shibuya again

Here I sit in Shibuya not far from where I went at the beginning of this trip. I have crossed that crossing amongst the masses myriad times. I have yet to be robbed.

The main thing I misplaced was hostel keys. This is unsurprising.

I packed the wrong things. I was awkward at times. I have been tired, as ever reminded that my body is not as it once was and that it’s limits are always there awaiting me, reminding me that I am finite and fragile.

I worry about how I am going to travel in the future, but overall I feel good. As good as I can possibly hope for.

That anxiety and fear is gone. I am safe, this is nice, I am enjoying it. I settle into things.

I also have nothing much to steal. Enough to buy a 7/11 dinner and transit fare to the airport.

The main thing to worry about now is my flight. I check the time over and over in the hope that the triplicate events in my phone (generated by some sort of email thing not me) are in fact real and right, that I am not as ever messing up and getting the details wrong. Something to work on. Trusting myself, trusting that things will work out, that I can be safe and okay.

I am content. I am here in this moment. Savouring what remains.

Remote islands

I never made it out to that island. I really really wanted to, my guidebook made it sound so easy and lovely but it didn’t work out.

I probably should’ve done more research but the impulsive side of me won. I was busy trying to keep up with coursework and didn’t have time to piece it together.

Excuses.

I feel stupid, like I failed, like I’m wasting time. I came all this way and I didn’t make it to that island. I decided not to go.

I swapped maybe not making it to hikes via shoddy infrequent bus service for hiding in cafes from the rain. I generally have been longing for that, wanting to sit and read. I got through 50 pages of a book on plants. All things considered it was a good day.

Still I can’t help but feel like I screwed up, like this long shot off the beaten path plan was always stupid, like I need to stop trying to do this because it just ends with me frustrated.

I’m looking out over the sea, from a harbour, wind that smell, the view of where that overly expensive early morning ferry would’ve gone. A couple hours on the water to an island.

I love these remote islands. They pull me.

As stupid as I feel I can’t deny that I love the sea.

This town is nice. It’s so cute I could pinch it’s checks. Everything I’ve eaten has been delicious and a good price.

I know I’m too hard on myself, that this is what travel means, you can’t control the weather, guidebooks aren’t always reliable. I know still I’m beating myself up instead of enjoying the break. 

If I want to travel to these remote islands I need to start driving again, an unfortunate reality of car culture. Anxiety can be worked on and overcome I just have to decide whether it’s worth it. Then there’s the matter of my back and wrist. Can they take driving? I haven’t asked that question of them since everything got bad. I do know that steering wheels are up there in thing a that prompt pain in my arm. Is it worth the time and money to work on that pain? For the mobility that comes with wheels? Rarely do I see value in autonomous vehicles but for rural transportation they seem appealing. I’d definitely take advantage.

I like the breeze and the wind. I like that I came somewhere further and different. I like this town. Maybe it’ll clear tomorrow and I can go to the volcano. I can move and do and feel like I have something to show for my travels.

Have a break

I am having a good day, other than the bit where my arm got tired and I had to deal with luggage, but that is to be expected. I got on a train, slept, I wandered around, I’m now at a cafe.

I’ve always felt good traveling by myself. Having a generous amount of time in a place, space to get bored.

I love this quiet out of the way town even if it’s too hot here.

It’s hard to believe it’s break already, the trip is winding down, the time grows short. I’m on budget, I can spend the money on food.

Traveling as a group is nice, it has its perks but it’s also something I’m bad at. I have traveled by myself a lot, I have gotten good at being on my own, being with others I don’t know about. It’s a lot harder for me than being by myself. Between freelancing and moving around and living in my own head I have spent so much time on my own terms, no compromises, no company but books and podcasts. Sometimes I think I’ve gotten too good at being by myself.

Even if it can be awkward and tiring I am enjoying the people out here. You don’t get that by yourself.

Sacred rivers

Some notes/thoughts probably for a draft of one of my assignments:

A way of marking where we’ve been and where we’re going

To see that things do not have to be as hey are, they can be different 

Memories and moments, materials and textures.

To hear the rush of a river that others hold sacred

Zero

When we did the Trans Siberian we started in Beijin and worked our way towards Moscow. Awaiting us at the end of our journey was a monument, the zero marker for the route to Vladivostok. In our trusty Lonely Planet everything was organized from there. We often worked in reverse, going towards instead of away from zero.

Today I begin at zero, we begin at zero. Our journey through this city, the past, the future. Through choices and paths, myths and monuments. We begin at zero and work our way outwards.

Coming and going. Time feels circular. Big dominant cities tend to do things the same.

How do we measure a journey? A city? A place? Where does the kilometre market on the road sign actually measure to?

Nihobashi in Tokyo

Travel + fragility

When I read over my draft of Set Your Watch to Moscow Time I’m always struck but two things.

One, I seem so anxious and hesitant. Its like in afraid of my own shadow. I wish I was bolder and braver but instead those pages and filled with my worries and unwillingness to dive in and trust the world.

Two, how fragile I felt. Travel is intense and demanding. It leaves you exposed and vulnerable. It’s great but it’s also scary. I was sick before my first flight landed, before I’d even left Canada. It was not an auspicious beginning to a seven week trip.

I spent the rest of the trip painfully aware of the limitations of my body and how much harder it is to feel crappy when you don’t have he security of home.

I’ve always been the sickly one in my family. My plan for the zombie apocalypse is to die early.

There are echoes of how I felt the last time I was here. The weirdness of sounds altered by injuries. Ringing in my ears. The oddness of how loud everything is. How peaceful and quiet the city is at 5am while it waits to awaken from its slumber.

I’m not who I was. You don’t get multiple injuries in three months and have your life  fall apart and have your body or mind come out the same on the other end.

It’s been a year. Instead of driving back to Calgary to rest and take a break from how badly everything went when I arrived in Vancouver I am in Japan.

I am doing so much better. I am okay but in some ways I’m also not. That dull ache that haunts my wrist is more of an intense and urgent twinge. I’m going to be leaving my camera behind, not convinced that this is the place to try to answer the questions I have about photography.

Can I still do this? Should I try?

Is photography something I should let go of? Is it something I can adapt to?

Travel is intense and physically demanding. I question whether my arm can take the things I used to ask it to do without a thought.

Now I know that I am far from my dumbbells and yoga mat, and that I probably shouldn’t push it. I must balance the NO that pain shouts loudly with Keep Moving, words I try to keep fresh in my mind.

I don’t know what the pain means or what to do about it. I just don’t know.

The uncertainty and fear. The feeling good sometimes and bad others is one of the hardest parts.

I just don’t know anymore.

I miss that person I used to be, the way I used to exist in and experience the world. I would meander and click. Photography the reason to go outside, the main activity when I traveled, a way of seeing and noticing the world.

If not to take pictures than why go outside?

I have gotten better about just being. Just going out into the world.

I am okay but I’m also not. The damage of that sprain haunts my sinews and tissues and decides what I can and cannot have. I am filled with grief and gratitude. I feel so much better than I once could’ve imagined. Still I miss who I used to be and wonder whether I can hold onto parts of that or should let go.

I am constantly aware of the precariousness of my existence and my body is a way that I never was. There are things I worried about not being able to do that I can now do and I try to enjoy the heck out of them. I feel lots of confusing and contradictory things.

I have my phone. I can snap photos with that while I am here. That’s good enough I guess.

Shibuya crossed

I am glad that it’s a Sunday morning. It feels tame yet it’s still crowded and stressful. I want to disappear down a side street, find a cafe to read at, I don’t really want to be here.

I am worried about pickpockets, about all the ways I might fuck up and ended up having to spend money I don’t have. That voice was so loud before I left, louder than the excitement I was expectantly asked to feel. I was excited but my brain was more preoccupied with the feeling that I’d mess up in some unfixable way and never recover. The same feeling that drives my anxiety dreams about forgetting to do an assignment and then flunking out of my MLA because of it.

The silly thing is that I am very comfortable traveling. I have done it a lot and there are few things that feel as natural and easy.

I am good. I am content. My brain is tired and it really just wants to go somewhere cozy to listen to John Green’s voice as he examines and rates the world I inhabit in a way that makes me swoon at the beauty of stories and words, in a way that reminds me of how I got to be this particular person doing this set of things. Always the love of words and ideas and stories. Always.

It’s early. I wandered the quiet streets of Tokyo and enjoyed the narrow alleys, vending machines and buildings. Was thrilled to discover an unremarkable park filled with people exercising and doing their morning routines. I watch water flow in a wide river that tries to contain and mask it.

I rode trains, beautiful, wonderful trains.

I was distraught to find that the pastry I ate for breakfast every morning the last time I was in Japan (yes EVERY morning) is no longer available. While mourning the loss of a treasured routine I tried a different pastry from 7/11 and was pleasantly satisfied.

Now I am here in Shibuya waiting for things to open, feeling tired. I came here because I’d like to buy a toque, because somehow I am always cold. I thought it was spring so I didn’t pack one. I don’t know if it’s worth it, or if I have enough cash in my wallet to buy one — an unfortunate oversight.

I remember liking a couple of design stores out here last time. I remember enjoying it.

I wait for things to open, I wait for the city and myself to wake up.

Moscow 2012

I went to visit my sister in Moscow during my reading break the semester I was in Copenhagen. She'd just moved out there and I was nearby so I thought it would be cool to visit. The planning was challenging but it was cool to see the city and her life there.

It was my first trip to any of the former Soviet countries. I found the architecture a bit jarring at first. So many concrete tower blocks everywhere. By the time I left Copenhagen I'd gotten a lot more travel in and was pretty blaze about it but this was the first time I'd seen it.

TransSib 2014 Yekaterinburg

We also visited Yekaterinburg during my TransSib trip, another World Cup host city.

It was a pretty and small town. I'm not as in love with the Romanovs as they are.

One of the things that's easy to forget in this crazy world is that Russia is a diverse and rich place filled with lots of people just living their lives. Going to Russia and seeing a lot of the country showed me that. Never forget that people aren't their politics and that we have more in common than that separates us.