2013 was year where my desire to go walkabout with possessions in a bundle at the end of a stick – or a couple of bags in my case – came true. I’ve been on it for a year and a week today, but rather than some far flung locale, I’m writing this post from my childhood home. Home is something that seems to punctuate journeys though, so perhaps there is no better place.
My entire understanding of my father’s death at this point, rides on numbers. September 4 – the stage of cancer he was diagnosed with.
But how do you get away from the memories? That’s what she’s left with. The missing words to a prayer she can’t recite. Trying to find all that’s lost. – Mark V. Krajnak, from JerseyStyle Photography’s Friday Noir The day before I turned 33, I delivered a eulogy for my father, as his body awaited the cremating furnace.
In close to ten months of travelling, the hardest and most constant challenge I have had – beyond the isolation, helplessness at otherwise ordinary tasks of everyday living in a new place, utter loss when everything is going wrong and no one is speaking the same language – is being sick.
I first heard Ukendt Kunster’s Neonlys album (free – yes really – download here) this past April, somewhere in the sweeping wilds of New Mexico. Hooked off the bat. Ukendt Kunstner – Danish for “Unknown Artist” – are Hans Philip (rapper) and Jens Ole McCoy (producer). All their lyrics are Danish. I don’t speak Danish. But the melodies, the beats, and something about the cadence of the rapping, I find spellbinding despite the linguistic barrier. I’ve listened to Neonlys (“Neonlight”) so many times that I can often be caught singing along in my best approximation of words I don’t understand and can’t pronounce.
…the number of months of gypsy-jangling, not the Pearl Jam album. Every month i survive on the road, intact and sometimes even flourishing (to ongoing amazement), I come back to this sign. This was painted inside the bus stop near my eldest sister’s home in Washington state, where I spent the first three weeks of my journey. I waited many grey, wintry days inside this shelter for the bus that would bring me to downtown Seattle, still something of a wreck, wondering what the #$^%$#%$ I was doing. Hoping to hell I’d see the truth in it some day. I’ve done some dumb things, learnt some hard lessons in this time, and I’m sure I’ve not plumbed the depths of stupidity quite yet (sad, but …
“Wonderful wonderful Copenhagen!” was the refrain that greeted me over the phone line, every time my Dad was reminded it was where I was heading in July for another, extended Mad and Magic Raving reunion. It turns out that centuries ago, Dad had a pen pal from Copenhagen, and it’s been a European city that has lingered in his consciousness since then, though he’s never been.
7110 – The number of times Beyond has been played since it was released ten days ago. It’s been featured on PetaPixel, F-Stop Lounge and Monster Children. David Hobby, yes the Strobist, has shared it on Google+. It’s been shared among our collective friends, family and followers more times than either of us can keep track of. I’m not entirely sure what to think of the hubbub that my little documentary about Flemming has generated. On one hand, I’m thrilled to bits, on the other I’m all “!!!!!!!!” I’ve received an amazing amount of messages from people everywhere with support and encouragement. My mother said it was “awesome!!!!!” and that Flemming’s story made her too, wish she could travel forever. My mom’s a tough customer. …
18 July 2013: I spent my six month milestone as a vagrant in the air, fittingly, enroute to Copenhagen from Montreal, marked by as unbelievable a sunrise as I’ve ever seen. Descending into Iceland for a seven hour transit, just above the sweep of plane wing, the red band of sunlight from the approaching dawn poured blood orange onto a sea of altocumulus clouds as the sun climbed the dark skies to light a brand new day.
Let me stake a claim about landscape/nature photography here: it does nothing for me. I can, and do, appreciate landscape photos from a technical perspective. But emotionally, they leave me cold. There’s something about the perfect beauty of an excellent landscape photo that seems to shut my engagement down. I’m compelled by imperfection for reasons I’ve never looked into, but they are doubtless why I thrive visually on gritty environments/things and misshapen industrial vessels. In mid-May, I got on a Greyhound to Lubbock, Texas. I was looking forward to finally meeting Jerod Foster in real life after a few years of chatting with him on Twitter, and attending his much talked about Texas Tech photography workshop in Junction, which is basically… …wait for it: An …