Sunday, 10 May 2009

Ends and Beginnings

Hi there folks. I've been sitting around for hours now trying to summon the energy to start summing up the most important 6 months of my life so far for your reading pleasure. And in these hours it's occurred to me that I just can't do it.

There are so many things that happened to me. So many stories that I'm aching to tell you. But some things can never be. Those months were my own, and mine alone. Even if I could somehow harness language and memory well enough to retell everything it would be for naught. Already trying to tell stories to friends and family is frustrating me. I can't do them justice. People can't understand. It doesn't get me down though. It's just the way of things for the weary traveller.

So I thought about posting about my favourite cities, or telling some of the memorable moments, but I get the feeling it'd be too banal. This blog has always been about me going with how I'm feeling above all else, and I feel that now's the time to say goodbye. So I'll keep this short.

To the readers out there, thank you for reading. It means a lot more to me than I'd care to admit that there are people out there perusing my humble collection of words.

To my family and friends from home, thanks for supporting me through the tough times. Thanks for taking my skype calls and responding to my emails, and helping me get through the ice and rain.

To the friends I met on my travels, thankyou for making my trip that little bit more interesting and for being yourselves. Many of you were so different to me, and I loved meeting you and seeing a different side of the coin. I hope we can keep in contact.

A million more things need to be said. Another million don't. Thanks again everyone. This is the end of Magazine Theory, but I'm sure another few blogs are on the horizon soon, knowing me.

Take care now,


Tuesday, 5 May 2009


I'm in Singapore for one more day. Tomorrow is home time. It's hard to imagine that 6 months has gone by, and that I've seen and been through so much since then. It's crazy to think that back then I was a kid who'd never been out of Australia, and 6 months later I've seen 3 other continents, 17 countries and almost 100 cities. That's something.

So what have I been doing with myself in Singapore? Nothing really. I've been asleep for maybe three quarters of the time I've spent here, and that's just fine by me. Getting past the jetlag and the lingering cold. That being said, I've been enjoying it here. The weather would be unbearable for me to live in, but it's fine in short bursts. And what a relief it is to be able to walk around a city where everyone speaks English, where no one hassles you for money, and where cars drive on the left! And I'm the only white guy in sight: just like home.

Q: Does it freak you out to be surrounded only by Asians?
A: No, but it does freak me out to walk down streets full of Asian drivers.

Yeah, the traffic situation is pretty amusing.

So I've been thinking about how I'm going to wrap this whole thing up. I started this blog before the trip, but it seems to have evolved into a travel blog of sorts, and even though I didn't intend this, it now seems the natural thing to close the lid on this one soon, and move on to making the next blog. So after a bit of R'n'R back home, I think I'm going to write a series of summary posts and then close shop on Magazine Theory. You know, like about trip highlights, favourite places, what I learned, those sorts of things.

So stay tuned a little longer folks, and thanks for reading.

Sunday, 26 April 2009


Today I saw Auschwitz.

Black Holes and Revelations

I've been doing a lot of thinking this week. Time is running out but it's not moving very fast. The number of days remaining on the the trip trickle down the drain but get stuck there, like so much pubic hair. Damn hostel bathrooms.

So I've been wrestling with a lot of things. I won't bore you with all the details. I just wanted to make a point about one of my many revelations, which, like most, always seem to strike me in the midnight hour (or later) when there's no one else around. So here it is:

I am grateful for all of the trials that I have endured and will continue to endure, because no matter how shitty they might be, they grant me two gifts. They give me inspiration for my writing, and they equip me with knowledge which can be used to help prevent my brothers going through some of that suffering.

Friday, 24 April 2009

New Lows.

I've done all my washing. There's no dryer here. Everything is still wet. Only now do I realise I have nothing to wear to bed. Only now do I realise I have no underpants other than the ones I'm wearing. How did it come to this?

Monday, 20 April 2009

Uncomfortably Numb

Today there are 17 days to go until home but I can’t see it that way. Instead it’s only day 3 of no Emma. It’s hard. I feel weird.

I don’t feel the way I expected to. It hasn’t been killing me up inside like I thought. I watched the sunrise over Burgundy while the tracks pulled me away, thinking everything was going to be okay. Then the weight of the day crushed in on me and I got frightened. The last time I really felt afraid was the night I arrived in Chicago.

I’m moving in circles. I don’t want the hostel life anymore. Outside the void is cold and solitary. Look everywhere and see arms but none of them are out to hug me. If they were I wouldn't want 'em.

I’m drawing out tasks to stop myself being bored. I could see Warsaw in a day but I won’t. I’m trying to think about home to distract me but it isn’t working. I’m looking at photos from Thuy’s party but I can only smile with half my mouth. That twisted feeling’s back in my stomach. In Decize every thought of home made me so happy. Every skype call a chance to showcase. Everything excitement.

Everything was better.

Now I’ve gone backwards. I’m not ready to go home again. The thought of it frightens me. I start thinking real loud. How am I going to cope with the return? I’m sick and feverish now, my boosted travel immunity eroded. What if I’ve lost other things? What if I lose my immunity to poison people? There are a lot of them out there and they know where I live.

Emma’s left on her trip with Elodie. Makes things harder somehow. I feel further away then ever. Imagine how I’ll feel in a few weeks. I don’t like this but maybe it’s a price I have to pay. Maybe nothing’s supposed to fit so easily. Nothing’s supposed to be so perfect. Maybe we’re paying for it now in installments of months or years.

Don’t worry anybody. I’m fine. I just don’t know how to feel. I’m restless and numb and I can’t explain. Adjusting to this isn’t something I could imagine. It’s like trying to learn to live without skin.

… and in today’s ironic moment, as I finish this blog my iTunes on random plays ‘For Emma’.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Speak, Memory

Sitting at a table in an apartment with two French women and my girlfriend. The halting flow of semi-translated conversations. Jokes about me, about us, fly past me in another language. I try to grasp them as if trying to catch the wind in my hand. I watch the faces, the gestures, the expressions. I look at eyes. I listen to the animated stories with eyes, not ears.

Elsa mimes playing a violin. Now it's years ago, and I'm sitting at the kitchen table at Nonna's house in Elizabeth Street. The gaudy, colourful tiles surround me, comforting me on some level. This place is like a second home, in a way no other place has ever felt before or since. Mum is there, next to me at the table. Nonna is behind my mum, at her usual spot at the stove. Maybe she's making lunch. Maybe lunch is over and she's cleaning up. Nonno sits in his chair, the one closest to the door to the dining room. Behind him on the wall is the funny photograph of the pig, with the caption "Those who indulge bulge."

Nonno lights a cigarette and Nonna scolds him. Maybe in Italian or maybe in English. Scolding sounds the same either way. Nonno blows smoke rings, little circles expanding into infinity. Kieran is looking at the smoke rings with a strange look on his little face, his big glasses seeming to magnify it. I watch the smoke in amazement even though I've seen this trick before many times.

Everyone's talking but I don't know what about. Someone must have been complaining about something, and Nonno stubs out his cigarette in the ashtray and carefully draws an imaginary bow and plays a tune on an imaginary violin. Mum makes the face of a thousand memories, going further back in time then I can imagine possible at that age. Nonna shakes her head and says something. I can taste the smoke lingering in the air.

Now I'm 14 in the hospital seeing him for the last time. So much is happening in my life and I can't concentrate. This is the first time that I really have no grasp of a situation. Nonna is there fidgeting in the chair next to the bed. She gets up and moves around a lot. Nonno makes several lewd jokes about the nurses and Nonna tells him off half-seriously. The look on her face is hard for me to understand. My brothers and I are all pretty quiet. I guess we always are.

Nonno is wearing striped pyjamas. I think. I remember dark colours, like red and brown. I remember him leaning forward and sitting up in bed, and the gap between the buttons on the pyjama pants showing me a flash of pubic hair. I am acutely aware at this moment that I've never seen him or maybe anyone so exposed. I still can't make sense of anything. I'm shut off inside.

I can feel the sharp bristles of his unshaven cheek as I kiss him goodbye for the last time. At that moment I think to myself that I can't remember ever having kissed him before and I wonder why. I remember his smell that day more than any other day. For years afterwards I hold on to a jumper of his that Nonna gave me afterward. It was ugly and too big but it smelled like him still. I wore it to bed a lot until one day Mum threw it away. I was very sad that day.

Now I'm in an apartment with two French girls and my girlfriend. I'm quiet but I guess I usually am, especially in this context. Still, perhaps picking up on something, Emma turns to me and asks if I am okay.
I nod.
"I'm okay."