athens



Athens was an anthem of, "I can't believe I'm here. I can't believe I'm here. I can't believe I'm here."

It took two flights from Melbourne, through a night in Singapore, to arrive in Athens in the morning. Back on the road. Everything I needed strapped to my body.

It's hard to describe exactly how good that felt. Conveying how natural the road feels, how complete and content I feel while travelling, isn't easy. It's like you spent your entire life existing in black-and-white and suddenly, you step into a world of colour. Like you blink and a thousand new colours blossom into existence.

I didn't have a plan but I never really do. I thought to stay in Athens a few days and then head elsewhere to see more of Greece. But hostels outside of the city were expensive and getting there seemed confusing and I really, really liked Athens. I booked a bed in an empty hostel where I usually had the room to myself and could spend the evenings chatting with the young man from Mexico who managed the place. His name was Christopher and he had a long love affair with the road. He spent his youth daydreaming about the world but kept falling in love with girls and then he had a baby and then his baby died and he fell in love with another girl until finally, he was not in love. And in that moment, he decided he had to go before he fell in love again.

I could relate. Not to every detail but I understand how love changes things. It makes staying seem worth it. When I was there, sitting in the hallway with Christopher, I had a lover back in Australia. Someone that made staying seem worth it.

But the road the road the road...

Always the road.

I walked for miles and miles every day, waking early to photograph the morning light and then resting through midday and walking again in the evening to find the sunset. My feet hurt, my skin burnt, my mind spellbound. How wild it was to be there, with ancient ruins cresting hilltops and poking out from under grassy mounds, cobbled streets, warm hazelnuts from street vendors, graffiti on the walls, plants crawling out from balconies. I jumped fences to find myself standing beside pillars of stone, a fleshy dwarf next to rocky giants. I took a boat to Agistri island and I should have missed it—I really should have missed it—I have no idea how I made it there in time, wandering to all the wrong terminals and all the wrong boats and finally running in the right direction with a round Greek man shouting "GO GO GO!" with an encouraging, lopsided grin. I walked around that whole goddamn island. I stared into the blue water and breathed in the pine trees and I prayed for figs and then stuffed my pockets when I found them.

One evening, Natasa walked into my hostel and it really didn't feel like we hadn't seen each other in three years, which is almost always a good sign. We were so busy talking that we nearly forgot to eat. The day ended with a big vegan pizza from a restaurant on a hill and free dessert.

The next day, we decided to walk to the ocean. I hadn't seen a sunset in months. On the way, there was this big, wide, long street and on this big, wide, long street were big department stores with big windows and they were technically open for business but all the lights were  switched off because they couldn't afford the electricity. Everything looked sort of dusty and dim. A faded green pick-up truck drove down this big street and from it a man on a megaphone was calling out. He was announcing, to anyone who would listen, that he and his partner would buy anything you had—cupboards, drawers, bits and bobs, anything at all, anything you could sell.

C'est la vie.

Again and again, moments took my breath away. Moments stole my breath and then crawled into my lungs, nestled into the spaces between my eyelashes, settled into the corners of my mouth. The sight of a sunset, observed from a flimsy plastic chair with my friend beside as we munched on carrots and cucumbers. The city of Athens at dawn. Standing alone at Acropolis as the sun crested over the mountains and turned a blue dream into a world of golden light. Sun beams over the ocean. An old woman telling Natasa and I to keep fighting for a better world. A horse in the streets, bubbles floating overhead. How lucky lucky lucky this life on the road.



Photographs from October 2017.

melbourne spring



It seemed like it took the seasons forever to warm. We were wearing sweaters and beanies and scarves inside for months.

What can I say about these waning winter weeks and slowly brightening days? I fell in love, reluctantly but surely. From mountaintops to your hometown where the air was thick and hot as summer, corners of Melbourne to Ethiopian restaurants with dismal lighting (either too white and sterile or too yellow and musty), your house to mine (which was eventually yours too after you moved in). Dark stouts, a dim and funky bar with a fighter plane suspended over two couches, jumping fences to sneak into gigs, the tinctures you made for me after I got the flu for the third time in three weeks, flower hearts on the bed, piles of gratitude notes... Your bedroom that was always too cold.

Things were good but things were also never simple. So it goes. Looking back, it's so easy to connect the dots. In the moment, I couldn't imagine how it could go wrong. So it goes. I feel so young sometimes. And so it goes so it goes so it goes.

Each step was necessary. There were things I needed to learn.

At times, it felt like my life was burning—like I had a forest fire under my collarbone and it was spreading. It was hard and people got hurt and I got hurt and people cried and I cried and then we forgave each other and smiled again but sometimes even the best intentions leave a scar and it takes awhile for things to feel okay again.

It's been a year and I finally feel okay again.

These were the days that left a mark. I was utterly consumed by every moment and now my memories feel so manic and blurred.

I wish I had taken my time—breathed in a little deeper, held the air a little longer, found peace in the slow unfolding, been okay with not knowing. I was always scrambling for higher ground, trying to keep things under control, holding things so loosely while also squeezing them to death. I wish I had been calmer. I wish I had more patience.

There's a line from this song we used to love that sings, "don't be scared of what you don't already know."

I didn't realize how fitting that was at the time.

These were the days that left a mark. These were the days that were equally beautiful.

The living room was always filled with vape smoke that smelled like pink bubble gum. We sat on the roof while the sky transformed at that magical end-of-day time while a visitor rapped lyrics with perfect fluidity. Our home swelled to twelve people and a dog with a broken leg. We threw a couple parties with a little cocktail bar stuffed into the pantry where I spun around in circles and consistently got people's orders wrong. I watched you kick off your shoes and run into the ocean as if you were running home—your black skinny jeans clinging to your legs. I stood in a crowd as one of my friend's sang the sweetest, most haunting songs from a smoky stage. Between cups of coffee, walks through fern encased paths, kisses that wouldn't stop, poems that spilled from my mouth, photoshoots in bright studios, big dinners, big love, big moments, I thought these are some of the best days of my life.

So I made art until I was sleepless, cried on Jack's shoulder, watched the sun set with Tully, borrowed books from Bee, played video games with Jef, joked with Michael, drank coffee with Maite, tea with Claire, danced with Rahul and Declan, chatted with Saul, watched Vaughan and Mountain cycle alongside the tram in their bright clothes, played games with Dashy, went to a jazz gig with Sasha and Danika, talked art with Martina, listened to Suse singing with a ciggie in her hand. I was opened up, broken down, nurtured and loved, held and revealed.

You don't expect life to change you but it does. Becoming is a slow process that comes down to a series of moments which turn your feet into another direction and alter how you see.

These were the days that left a mark and I have carried them with me for a long time but now, all I have is gratitude. So thank you to my friends, my community, my ex lovers, my coworkers, my bosses, thank you to everyone who filled these slowly warming months. You all are the shine from the sun.

xx



Photographs from August 2017 - October 2017.