Continental drift

Day 168 - Sydney

Surprising fact about Australia #1: It has seasons.
Surprising fact about Australia #2: Some of those seasons are cold.
Surprising fact about Australia #3: I was in it. And cold.

Everybody likes surprises don't they? Unexpectedly finding two men in your flat when you return from work qualifies as a surprise right? The alarmed screams seemed to indicate so. Scaring Amy and Jayne has proved to be one of life's simple pleasures but traveling nearly 5000 miles to do it could be deemed excessive. Myself and Michael would have to find something else to do in the land of Oz. That something else was the perpetuation of travel by way of the accumulation of capital. Gainful employment in short. Like a bombshell we had exploded back into the girl's ordered existence and with the shrapnel flung wide we settled into catching up over a couple of boxes of goon. Bangkok's sweltering temperatures and dollar beers lay far behind us though we were as culturally, economically and meteorologically as close to home as we had been so far been on this trip. And yet despite the cold (have I mentioned that it's cold?), the cost and the (temporary) abandonment of a life of perpetual leisure there was a strange thrill in me. A thrill of a new life to be created and all the possibilities that lay therein. Do we ever give up on reinvention of ourselves? Or if not reinvention then refinement, the smoothing of rough edges, the banishment of undesirable traits? Do we all hold dear the promise that a better us lies inside and if only the conditions were just right that person could be realised? People rarely change fundamentally so why do we strive for an unreachable goal? But we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past (Fitzgerald, 1925). It seems driven by a difficulty in accepting ourselves as we are, as we ever were, as we ever will be. Travel is the perfect foil to this frustrated vision. Another place, another person. Throw off your rusted shackles, climb from the indenture of your rut, feel the warm sunlight of possibility upon your face. We all seek our own particular brand of reinvention. Mine is best described as wanting to look into a mirror and see myself and not a vampiric transparency. But the only mirrors I look into are those in friend's and foreigner's faces and the reflections define the person I see. It is a self-worth dependent on others, it is an unhealthy stare. It is rabid insecurity alleviated by adulation. I once suggested that praise fell on me as lightly as snowflakes but I was wrong. It nourishes a ravenous beast, a dead-eyed monster with poisonous fangs. I don't know if that is a harsh assessment composed of words better suited to hyperbole than honest analysis. I don't know if this is catharsis or needy evisceration. I don't know if it is harder to forgive oneself or others for character flaws and failings. I often find myself trapped in the foolish notion that every feeling ostensibly manifested must be the opposite inside, that every weakness we perceive in other peeple must be present tenfold within ourselves. We care so inextricably deeply about what other people think of us but to successfully reinvent yourself it is only necessary to change the opinion of one person. And that person is you.

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