15. May 2015 · Comments Off on Reporting in · Categories: Uncategorized

Ten flights in six weeks. Around the world in 44 days.

Not as impressive as it sounds, of course. Back in the twentieth century, before planes turned us into wannabe birds rather than the nomads we really are,  Jules Verne’s ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ was knocked into a cocked hat (curious expression; did I make it up?) by Elizabeth Jane Cochran.

Verne’s novel, published in 1872,  is pure fiction. Jane, however was an investigative journalist (using the pseudonym Nellie Bly) at a time when the mere idea of digging deep (she pretended to be insane to report on conditions in a so-called lunatic asylum) raised eyebrows.

Few know of her now of course, because in the main women were – and still are – relegated to her-story rather than his-story. Born in 1864 in Pennsylvania, USA,  she circumnavigated the world in 72 days, pen and paper at the ready. An amazing story in itself. Check her out…

Before I left Scotland on February 25, and much inspired by Jane, I made a vow: to keep a record of my trip to Canada, California, Hawaii and Japan. I even bought a special logbook, with a woven indigo blue cover and inviting creamy pages.

Toronto was all about family; Montreal, friends...

Toronto was all about family; Montreal, friends…

Like you, maybe, I have often begun to keep a diary. When I look back, however, these dives into self-reflection (in the guise of reportage) were at low spots in my life, acting as vents for anger, depression, misery or blame. No longer.

This time I promised my self to write every day, adding paper memorabilia, quick sketches and materials such as dried flowers along the way.

Bits and bobs, odds and sods from San Francisco: a trial haiku; angel card reading (after the retreat); sprig of lavender; slogans on fashion items that drew attention, made me think...

Bits and bobs, odds and sods from San Francisco: a trial haiku; angel card reading (after the retreat); sprig of lavender; slogans on fashion items that drew attention, made me think…

Of course there were days when – and here come the excuses – I was too busy or caught up in other mindsets and mindfulnesses, not in the mood or just too lazy. But in the main I did well and kept up, even if the quality of the writing varied to a ridiculous degree.

Japan, for example. So familiar, so extensively investigated,  described and reported over the years, became more visual than text orientated, as if I was on holiday, which I realise now I was.


Entrance tickets, brochures, and the weather!

How did the diary begin? As follows, and written in the hotel in Edinburgh on the night of the 24th, because of my early flight to Toronto via Newark, NJ, the next morning:

We are as packed and prepared as we can be. Akii in his usual panic, but I have thrown my hands in the air: can do no more. The gods are with us: the security alarm seemed to work (though still no phone or broadband). 

The garden was rippling white when we drove away in Lady Marion’s taxi – she advertises as LADY DRIVER! – thousands of snowdrops being played around with by the wind. Above, branches whipped the sky, black on blue: a fine day.

Six weeks later, returning with Akii from Japan:

Got to Dunkeld and phoned Marion, but not there so left a message. Luckily she phoned back, having had her supper but “no alcohol as yet!” Bless her.

Feels good to be back but Akii coughing and I feel something not quite right.

Question: Am I allergic to Scotland? 

Having returned on April 10, we both promptly fell ill. An inflight virus no doubt, exacerbated by the exhaustion of over-stimulation and relief.

The very last entry in my log is a reading from the I Ching, recorded a few days later inbetween fits of coughing and wheezing. After all, the referral before leaving, urging me to “attend to the path and not the goal [and all will be well]”, had stood me in good stead. Maybe this would help bring me full circle?

“Darkness reappears unexpectedly. Caution and reticence are in order.”

Which may explain why the last five weeks have done little but take me one step forward and five steps back. Mostly computer muddles and tricks. I have even had to rewrite the last two thirds of this blog, because a week after posting, text, photos and captions disappeared overnight.

Which makes my choice of QUOTE OF THE MONTH (posted the same day as the original blog in mid-May) all the more apt.

Time to throw caution and reticence to the wind and simply accept:

Life is so mysterious, if you allow it to be…