July 25, 2012 – January 25, 2013
Has it already been a half-a-year since I flew to San Francisco from Florida to attend a Travel Writer’s Conference and then to Sydney, Australia? And it was nine-months before that when I flew to Brasilia, Brazil, to spend four months hostelling around a large chunk of South America. And another four months traveling down the Andes between Colombia to Chile. Any way we look at it, I’ve been on the road for a long time now; poking about in the Southern Hemisphere.
Something strange has happened! It all feels so normal now that I’m having trouble quantifying my experiences with the old ““Gee whiz, would you look at this!” attitude so necessary to a travel writer or a blogger. I change countries, cities, residences, bunk beds…. so frequently; and I get so instantly absorbed in my new surroundings that I have no time to contemplate as an outsider anymore. I’m neither Outsider, nor Insider, but am easily both.
I form instant and important friendships with some wonderful people and we run parallel for a few weeks. Then, I float away on a bus or a plane or a boat or a train. I can’t, or don’t, write about the time that I spent with them; because so often I have been privvy to some of their life-changing moments. Maybe I’ve helped a little by being a stand-in Mama or Counsellor but there’s no writing to be done while I’m looking at life through someone else’s eyes.
Then, there’s the fact that New Zealand, where I’ve been since mid-December, is so like the United States, that I take a lot of it for granted. Everyone is so friendly; the towns are so clean and beautiful and the countryside is spectacular. I love it in the North Island and am looking forward to the alpine scenery of New Zealand’s South Island, which I am heading for in my slow and rambling way.
It now occurs to me that, without planning to, I’ll be touching down upon the four southernmost points on the face of the Earth, lands which are closest to the South Pole.
It started when I visited Ushuaia, Argentina, the tiny town at the tip end of the Andean spinal column of South America, which is the nearest of the four, to Antarctica. Now, I will go all the way to Stewart Island, New Zealand; then, Tasmania, Australia; and finally, Capetown, South Africa.
I may try to wrap these purposes together in a “To The Ends of The Earth Book Tour” to promote the three books I have on Amazon.com. It’s a brand new idea for me and I’m trying to think originally while there is still time to set something up.
Because that, in itself, would get me out of my complacency that everything is just as normal as can be and what is there to write about?