come five months



March 16, 2017
Dublin

There are a lot of days in my pockets. There are 48 more to go until the aeroplane takes me back home.

34 days ago in Berlin, my life did a somersault. Some pieces fell out of my jacket and smashed but one thing that I know very well is how to wipe the slate clean. Give it a polish and a kiss for good luck. Pick up my things and start again. I don't know if it gets easier but you do get better at it.

When my camera was lost that day in Berlin, I stood on an empty train platform and stared at the grey sky and billboards and I spoke to the Universe (or myself, who knows), realizing two things that felt very true.

The first was that I needed to separate from my partner and stand on my own for awhile. The years had compounded on my back and my spine was slumping. I fought against the decision in the beginning, but with a lot of encouragement from Jerred to take the time to go deep into my heart and spread my wings, as he's always said, I hunkered down. Still reluctantly sometimes. I still kick and scream and cry sometimes. But I'm also sucking in air. I'm deconstructing beliefs that have been calling the shots. I'm accepting change.

The second was that I want to support myself through my photographs. Instantly, I had lost the ability to create images. And it was like losing an arm. I didn't realize how many hopes and dreams I had wrapped up in this thing. So okay okay okay—I'll give it a go. Okay okay okay—I'll actually try for something for once. So I guess I'm going to go freelance when I get back to Canada. Okay okay okay—let's see where this goes.

It feels like a lot of things are shifting—moving like dunes in the wind.

Someone said how awesome it is that I've found my path, that I've discovered a life that works for me. And I guess there's some truth to that. I love my life. I love wandering and drifting and discovering. It feels so natural.

But I can get stuck in a lifestyle same as anyone. I'm content and happy, but also too comfortable.

Anything can become a hamster wheel. It's easy to choose what you know, to stay safe, to keep your feathers smooth, to avoid feeling fear in your belly.

And sometimes I wonder (worry) if I'm content or just apathetic.

But I do love my life. I am in love with my life. I'm in Ireland now and it's immensely beautiful—everything I've been looking for these past weeks. I have been waiting and waiting to arrive here. At first, Dublin was making me feel haggard so I vanished to Howth for a day and ran through the heath and ate hummus on the cliffs and hiked along the shore and climbed through the rocks and I was smiling and breathing and here. Humbled with gratitude. Relieved. Present. Connected. There's a simplicity to days like these that I've been missing.

Oh but I'm eager for what's next.

I'm eager to get back to my mountains, camera in hand.






Self portraits in Howth, near Dublin. March 2018.

three months gone



January 16, 2018
Brasov

Oh Brasov, you were a beautiful mistake. The mistake was that we weren't aiming for you although I guess, we were always on our way. The beauty is that our mistake propelled us here, here amongst your beautiful cobbled roads and cracked, pastel houses, and little peaks hugging your shoulders.

It happened like this: we slept through Cluj Napoca and rode the bus to the end of the line in Miercurea Ciuc. The dawn was a pomegranate sky and blood-red sun. There was snow everywhere. We found a train that groaned and squeaked and creaked and rumbled and shook with broken pieces and missing bits. We found it with less than two minutes to spare. Jerred bought the tickets and then we threw ourselves through the gap in one train as a uniformed man hurriedly waved us forward to throw ourselves into the entrance of the second train. Heavy bags clutching to our backs. We watched the Romanian countryside roll on by.

I left Australia three months ago. God, this feels so normal now. Australia is a warm dream.

Normal life is endless buses and trains. Is stranger's homes and cobbled streets. Is Polish snowstorms and Czech winds. Is Prague beer and Hungarian langos. Is German cathedrals and Austrian Christmas markets. Is new faces and slow good-byes.

My best friend was with me for a month and it was the easiest thing in the world. The world doubled with goodness. I am carrying our adventures like wings on my heart.

Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Wroslaw, Krakow, Budapest.

She left three weeks ago and now, Jerred is here. A piece of my warm Australian dream. A piece of my warm Australian dream in cold Europe. A piece of my warm Australian dream in cold Brasov.

Brasov Brasov Brasov—I never knew I would be here. I never really thought about Romania.

I was very angry when I got here. Why is hard to explain but there was a boiling aggression in my chest and I was an imploding rage monster and that meant I didn't get to experience all the beauty that was happening around me. And that's a shame.

I don't know what I believe about the Universe or how it works. I just know that it feels like a mutual relationship. A two way street. Give and take. A conversation. When I feel good things, I find good things in the world. When I ask for something without obsessing over it, it is almost always delivered. When I am an imploding rage monster, my reality becomes just as unfriendly.

You always meet yourself on the road. All your sweetness and your sourness.

I guess I broke a little in Brasov. I broke when I walked into that metal gate in the dark and bruised my shins and shouted at the stars. But I broke like a fever breaks and things felt better in the morning.

Morning. We made porridge with all the goodies that I have been accumulating then meandered through a park and stared at the Black Church. We ate the sweetest pretzel to ever have existed and used the sugar to power our journey to the top of Mount Tâmpa, wandering through the snow-covered switchbacks and remaining rusty red leaves. At the top, we dangled our feet over the edge and I thought about how perfect this all feels. I kept saying, this is a really cool moment! I needed to make sure it was acknowledged. This is special. This is precious. This is worth remembering. Be here now.

The sun warmed my cold cheeks and Jerred kissed my cold nose. The light was pulled through the layers of mountains that surrounded us and everything glowed with a sort of perfect haze. Brasov's little red roofs were collected in the basin of the ridges like a Medieval puddle. I could hear dogs barking below and birds singing above. Jerred took pictures and so did I.

There's a Kurt Vonnegut quote that feels how this felt:

"And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.'"

So it goes. So it is. If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.



Self portrait with Jerred in Brasov. January 2018.