Heading For Paris!

From one end of Paris to the other! Our grandfather had style when he published Australia in Pictures in the 40s.  Vic, Ellie and Rob hope to recreate it in a sort of romantic way as our journey begins in a few hours time! Thanks for taking us to the airport, Matt!

Paris end of Collins Street, 1945, From Australia Picturesque, Ramsay Ware Printers

Paris end of Collins Street, 1945, From Australia Picturesque, Ramsay Ware Printers

 

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Chip in the Brain or the real McCoy?

We are not even on the plane and there is a sense of let down about the return.  It’s inevitable.   How many days after landing on the tarmac from an overseas trip can you talk about it before people glaze over? How often do you hear, “are you back already? It feels like you haven’t even been away,” and then the conversation moves on to the trivia of the here and now and local occurrences. Within days, even the most adventurous traveller, slots back into the humdrum of routine and mundane chores.   Little time passes and the journey itself becomes a doubt in one’s mind – did it ever happen? It now seems like a distant memory.  The sharing is short-lived, the proof hard to quantify, the experience so personal.

Douglas Quaid at Rekall Inc. having his chip implanted

Douglas Quaid at Rekall Inc. having his chip implanted

Hence the Chip in the Brain idea.  Ever since the original  Total Recall, where Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) visited Rekall, Inc., a facility that implants fake memories of ideal vacations, the temptation has been to just pay the money and the get the damn chip implanted.  Safe, cheap yet still as convincing as the real McCoy.  You can probably pay extra and have fake photographs made up and for a bit extra again, pay for someone to fake an Instagram or two.

But it’s unlikely to ever catch on.  The imperfection of travel is what makes it so perfect in the end. The smell of diesel from a London Double Decker Bus, a riot in Istanbul, getting sunburnt from successive days over 30 in Europe, an unwanted transit connection delay, the hired Peugeot that breaks down and causes havoc to a travel schedule.  Neither can a chip in the brain ever replace a close encounter with a local or the establishment of a lasting friendship. Take for instance our catch up with Carl and Teresa in Putney who we met in the 80s and Lou in Luton, Bedfordshire, a friend from Lee Abbey where Rob worked 35 years ago! And of course, Turkey, where we see Ineke and Ali in a traditional Turkish wedding, following a 10 year cross cultural, global relationship.

Yet, despite all this, there still appears for the return traveller, a suspended disbelief or disconnect with what has just happened. Perhaps in terms of belief metre, there is not a lot of difference between a chip implantation and flying 30, 000 feet above the earth’s surface in a tube for 13,000 kilometres. Both are just as farfetched for those who have remained in the same place whilst you have had the adventure.

From the point of view of answering the standard question; “so how was your trip?”, its probably best to say and leave it as, …“you just had to be there…”    Unless of course, you can produce some proof which ups the ante and the interest.  Take for example, the 2000 year old pottery Rob ‘found’ at Milos back in 1979 that now rests in the glass cabinet in suburban Camberwell and has been the centre of many a conversation. Or the Icon acquired from the Monastery of St. George in the Judean Desert which sits on the mantelpiece.  What objects of proof could we bring back this time from our travels?

All suggestions welcome!

No, at the end of the day, there’s no substitute for the real McCoy.

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National Geographic and the Art of Travel

National Geographics

Much knowledge of our world stemmed from the hundreds of National Geographic magazines collected since 1919 and stored at 1566 High Street.  Apart from the iconic advertisements that liberally adorned a pre 1970 NGG, looking at the photos and skimming the stories about exotic locations, would pass many a day.  A preference for the 1960s NGGs shaped the views of Rob’s America as he grew up.  So much so that when he and Matt travelled to the US in 2008, Rob packed the July 1964 edition which featured the famous “tunnel-thru-the-tree”, a Redwood tree so thick that a car could pass through it.  It must be said that the thrill of visiting the Redwoods on our way to San Francisco and driving the hired Dodge through the Redwood tree with the 1963 NGG reference at hand, extended only to Rob.

Drive thru Redwood

Drive thru Redwood

But don’t underestimate the power of the National Geographic magazine and its influence on this latest sojourn.  There is no electronic device that can substitute for a National Geographic map spread across the dining room table, finding exactly where that town, village or region sits in the context of something else.  There is no doubt the maps will find their way into Rob’s luggage, even if they were printed in the 60s and 70s.

Such is the power of those National Geographic magazines that they have secured a new resting home so that another generation can enjoy their magic, only to be faced by the same dilemma down the track  –   where the bloody hell do I store them?  [Gabby, talk to Ben!]

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Occupation in Southern France

An interesting question to ask when considering an extended trip, say a three month soujourn, is how do you occupy yourself?  If you’re in Europe, can you really just occupy your time with castle ruins, cathedrals, French Alps, bike races and eating?  Or do you need to settle and take up short courses, read European history and engage in local debate?  Poised to ask this question when a text arrived at 3.00 AM EST with the  photo below. A snapshot of a man clearly enjoying himself on a hot French day in a glorious swimming pool attached to a very nice hotel in Southern France.

Now that looks a good way to occupy yourself!

We will be able to ask him the question ourselves when we meet up with Bob in Grenoble and walk the French Alps together.

Getting excited.  Getting very excited.

Bob at Chateau les Merles

Bob at Chateau les Merles

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Local Joy

The joy of the moment is upon us as all six of us (including Chelsea and Ted) make our way to the Milk Bar and enjoy a morning coffee in the sunshine in our local neighbourhood.  As our adventure approaches, we begin to talk fervently about the spectacle of travel and the marvel of global interconnectedness with three of us about to travel to Europe and the other packing his bags for the States. What will it be like for us to be apart and away from home?

Flying High Over Hartwell

Flying High Over Hartwell

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Global Travellers

The Global village just got smaller when our niece handed her wedding invitation to us on Boxing Day 2012; a wedding to be held in Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey, September 2013.  It was the catalyst we needed to join our Global travelling friends in France and Ireland before heading to Turkey to experience a local wedding that unites a family from the south eastern suburbs of Melbourne and a family from the Nevşehir Province in Central Anatolia where the population is around 2,500 people.  A village known for its fairy chimneys and ancient rock churches created during the Roman period.

It seemed eminently sensible to celebrate our transition to post school kids and a high Australian dollar. And its all happening at a time when the world has never been so connected and disconnected at the same time. This will be a journey with friends, music, images and design.   ….an appreciation of beauty!

Home in the Melbourne suburbs

Home in the Melbourne suburbs

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