It’s that time of the year. The sun has swung over to glare at our kitchen windows. My neighbour gives her bedding a thorough whacking on the bamboo poles her laundry dries on, with a new fly swatter. There’ll be no mites or other potential invaders on anything when she is done.

These are the little things that anchor me here. I understand them – why they’re done. Who does them. What they mean – the way I don’t, just about anything/-one else in this place. They make me laugh, and make my day.

My latest piece, The camera as passport, is up on Fujilove. Somewhere in there i mention that coming back to Singapore – home – is a destabilizing prospect, even after spending a good part of the year here, over the last 5 years.

Some of it is spending long months away, in default temporary entrant mode. A previous decade and a half as an Australian immigrant makes this very easy to slip into. The readjustment to being back here, when I’d rather be elsewhere, is always reluctant. And no matter how determined I am that this time, it’s going to be different, it never is.

Singapore has been a transit zone since I’ve been back. It’s where i wait to go elsewhere. I haven’t started anything that is essential to living in a place – personal or work relationships – because I know I’m leaving again. My connection to the country, and everything/-one in it, is based either on an outdated history, or a thin, passing interest.

And it’s killing me, trying to regard a place i spend so much time in, as if I’m only visiting. What makes life rich in this place or any other, is the deep connections to society, formed by participation. None of which I currently have, because I don’t do.

It’s making me think the nomad days might be over.

In the last couple of years, I’ve been coming back here to wait for…basically nothing. Money has grown tighter and tighter, so travelling is no longer satisfactory, even on the small budgets I’ve always had (because money has been tight from the start). And when too many fiscal disciplinary controls fall into place, the world starts getting closed off, and travel turns into a very long and expensive commute. That’s just depressing.

At the end of the day, going nomad was one choice out of several I could have made, and that is still true.

Five and a half years of travelling have been unbelievable, but I badly need deep connections and living like this doesn’t encourage them.

It’s time to make another choice.


  1. Erin Wilson says:

    I want this for you as much as you want this for you. And I hope it can be in closer proximity to each other.

    1. Charlene says:

      Erin, me too.

    2. Charlene says:

      Oh boy, me too.

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