With all this extra time on my hands recently, I’ve been trying my best to fill them with books. The latest, Boy Swallows Universe. I know I may be one of the last people in the world (nay, universe) to read it, so please don’t spoil the ending. As the words consumed me and my days, a particular paragraph stood out to me as rather poignant at the moment, and a mind trick we could all probably use right now. It went a little something like this:
Slim says a good way for me to remember the small details of my life is to associate moments and visions with things on my person or things in my regular waking life that I see and smell and touch often. Body things, bedroom things, kitchen things. This way I will have two reminders of any given detail for the price of one.
[Slim gave] everything two meanings, one for here, here being where he was…and another for there, that boundless and unlocked universe expanding in his head and heart.Trent Dalton, Boy Swallows Universe
Looking around my room, I see Japan to my left, and Spain to the right. Across the room is Germany, and next to it is the Australian South Coast. Around my room there are things, things that sit here, but remind me of there. So while I wait out this lock down, I’m finding ways to holiday from home.
The table next to my bed houses trinkets and treasures. There are things that shine, things that smell, and things from the sea. I found this abalone shell on the shores of Lake Conjola. I remember the moment I picked it up, wiping the squeaky white sand from my skin, shielding my eyes from the shimmering blue water. He was snorkling, his hair somehow still perfect as he emerged from the water. I didn’t know what time of the day it was, or for how long we’d been baking on the beach – such is the way in the southern coastal town; your worries just seem to drift away.
And speaking of, the coral to the left are just a few of the millions of pieces that made up our island in the Maldives, called Drift. It was extravagant and a bit expensive, but as I’ve always said, travel is the best investment you will ever make.
These decorative plates caught my eye in the Spanish town of Córdoba. It remains one of my favourite cities to date, and I often find it continuing to come up in conversation due to its refreshing approach to religion. Not refreshing in that it’s new, it’s definitely not. The Mosque was originally built in the year 784. But the intriguing bit? They built a Catholic Cathedral in the middle of the Mosque in the 13th century, leaving the mosque around it, creating the Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba. So to me, these plates are a reminder that peace can exist if people just pause to see the power in their differences.
The canister on the left is a vintage gold lighter I found while rummaging through the Mauerpark flea markets in Berlin. I’d never seen anything like it, and don’t and have never smoked, but it felt like some sort of time portal to a different period. I think it cost me a few euro (and my bag being searched as we boarded the plane out of Berlin – eeek!) but a quick flick sends me straight back to that day.
The dish on the right holds memories of a different kind. It was a gift he brought back for me after spending a month trekking to Everest Basecamp from Nepal. I remember the moment he gave it to me, and I remember how it felt to hold both it and him in my arms.
I’ve been to Japan a few times now. That’s not a complaint though, far from it. Each time I’ve visited the same places (Kyoto, Tokyo and Osaka) but with different people, arguably making for a completely different trip. The last time I was there, I opted out of visiting deer-drenched Nara, and instead delved deeper into the slightly mystical Gion district of Kyoto. Lanes lined with little tea houses, side streets made of cobblestone, they say it’s where you go to find a geisha. But as it turns out, it’s also where you go for a ceramics class. This blue beauty is the result of letting the clay speak to me, as well as instructions given in slightly broken English. The best part? They glazed our creations and posted them back to Australia for us. I’ve never found a use for it, except for reminding me of those little treasures you uncover while travelling.
This is just part one. Because the more I look, the more I see. So depending on how long this lasts you might get a part two, and even part three.