30 January 2011

Reflecting on Your Journeys

How do you go about reflecting on the journeys you have already taken, and those you hope to take in the future?  What is the purpose of your reflections?

Past, present, future

On the sublime, the superlative and the soggy

Many like to travel

Adventures in the land of Blog

How do your own experiences of travel compare with my own?  Have you mainly travelled as an independent person, or as a part of a tour group, or as someone with responsibility for dependents?What is your idea of a perfect holiday?  What is your idea of a perfect occasion?

The perfect afternoon tea

Understanding the world

Via the visitor

Do you usually find that travelling enriches your life in some way?  What is the main difference between your routine travels and your other journeys?

Life, work and travel

The journey through life

Telescopes, microscopes and public buses


Researching a future journey, especially a possibly different direction in life, has become so much easier with so much online information available to explore.  There are so many options!

Journeys through time

Educational journeys

More musical adventures

How do you enhance your cultural wealth, your cultural experiences, and your cultural awareness while exploring online?

Via's quest

The adventure of awareness

Objects of times past

Somewhere to sleep

Images of beauty

How do you enhance your social wealth?  In what ways are people important in your life?  Can you define the importance you have in the lives of other people?

Via's magic carpet

Successful journeys

Welcome aboard the fair ship Social Enterprise

On the go

What are the most important things you have learned on your journey through life?

Sacred mountains

Philanthro possibilities

Reflecting on the past

The search for meaning

Singing, dancing and travelling

The inner world

Remembering Icarus

You will probably have noticed that this blog post encourages your reflections about the idea of travelling. Have you met people who reflect on their travels in the same way as you do, or in the same way as I do?  How do your reflections differ from my own?

Moving onwards

The road to recovery

The journey to work

Well, I hope that these few reflections on my own experiences will assist you as you reflect on your own continual journeys.

18 January 2011

Packing Just a Few Articles

When you travel, are you the sort of person who wants to take everything with you, or can you manage with just a few items?

How much of what you take with you, regardless of the amount, ends up not being used during the time away?

What to pack is often a challenge.  What do we really need?  Will we leave enough room for the souvenirs we will probably accumulate?  What can be thrown away or given away as the journey progresses?  What do we want to keep as a reminder of our experiences?

My own packing style depends on the type of trip I am taking.  The questions I ask myself include:  What can easily and cheaply be bought when I arrive at my destination?  What should I take with me to make my time away more comfortable?  What am I unlikely to find easily there but will absolutely need to have with me?

Travelling light is an art, and one that can be learned through experience, especially after carrying heavy luggage at inconvenient moments.  But it is also necessary to think about other types of articles in our daily experience, especially things that have been written that may help us to reflect upon our journey through life.

Here are some examples of articles I think are suitable for the purposes of reflection:

1. From Wikipedia
About recreation

2. From the Australian Broadcasting Corporation
About treating trauma - the risks of debriefing after disaster

3. From USA Today
About the role genetics plays in who we choose as friends

4. From The Telegraph, UK
About the pitfalls of social media

You will see that these are four very different articles.  You may like to look for something they have in common.  They all relate to aspects of our enjoyment of life.  Too much luggage can spoil our enjoyment of a journey, and so does not enough.  It is the same with information.  Too much becomes heavy clutter.  Not enough makes us feel needy.

15 January 2011

Going Home

The idea of "home" is often linked to ideas about personal identity and self-image.  A knowledge of history can teach us many things about our identities, both in an individual sense and as part of a community.

If home is a place of cultural familiarity, what happens to the meaning of "going home" when that familiarity is lost?  My cultural background may be regarded as British, but what does British mean, especially for someone who has spent most of the second half of their life in Australia?  Is Britain or Australia my home?

What does the idea of "home" mean to you?

Have you ever been homeless or homesick?

Whenever I am in a crisis situation, which fortunately has been quite rare so far, I tend to have a "stiff upper lip" attitude. I do not like too much fuss, or too much attention.  I do not like being overly praised or to receive a gushing, exuberant welcome.  Nor would I want to be hugged or kissed by a stranger, or even asked an intrusive question by one.  This applies at both the best and worst of times.

Have I really been "British" at all?  Are my behaviour traits a sign of emotional reserve or even coldness, or are they a sign of maturity, of being educated, of being independent, of being mentally well balanced, of being cultured, of being middle class, of being Australian, of being British, or of being English?  How do you label yourself in relation to your idea of home?

Here are some Wikipedia links you may like to explore (even though a few of them have been linked from my blogs before):

British people


Stiff upper lip

Culture of the United Kingdom

English language

History of the English language

British humour

People perceive each other in many different ways.  If I made a complaint about poor service or shoddy goods, would some of the less informed Australians around me just consider me to be "yet another whinging pom"?   If you read my four blogs, you will see that I rarely complain about anything, except injustice (especially injustice towards others).

Some of the best trained people to deal with difficult situations, especially difficult people, I have found to be the cabin crews of full-service airlines (but not necessarily on the low-fare airlines).  They are far better than I am in dealing with conflict and rudeness, and at diffusing difficult situations while remaining elegant and charming.  Perhaps politicians, police officers, military people, customs officers and security staff could learn from them.

Here are some more links to think about:

BBC News - Why is service still so bad in the UK?

Wikipedia - Flight attendant

I am still not sure where my home is meant to be.  It is not so much about a place as about people.  It is about community, of a sense of belonging, of feeling comfortable around other people, and of feeling secure in their presence.  Do you sometimes feel more at home when on holiday than when you are at "home"?

08 January 2011

The Journey to Work

Have you ever thought about your long-term journey to work?  If you have to travel a long distance to and from a job each day, have you also had a long way to go in life to achieve what you have so far accomplished?


I worked hard at school in Britain in the late 1970s.  I tried to make the best of my studies, even though I found many of the subjects boring, either in the way they were taught, or because many of my classmates found the subjects boring and I wanted to "fit in".


I went to college after I left school so that I could learn some useful "job skills", such as a faster typewriting speed, Pitman's shorthand, office administration and management theory.  I had no idea what I wanted for or from a "career" and there seemed to be no point in planning for one when jobs were very scarce anyway.


When we are young, our future is something we may look towards with a feeling of uncertainty.  I know I certainly felt uncertain about what life may have had in store for me.

Take a look at this link from the BBC of unemployment in Britain from 1981 to today.

I was learning shorthand at college in 1981 - and I hated it!  At school, at least in my mid teens, I had reasonably neat handwriting.  After learning shorthand, I could neither read my own longhand handwriting nor read my shorthand very well.  Secretarial work was not what I really wanted to do but it was the best I could expect, and at least I gained employment with my skills as soon as I applied for work.


Without a career plan, I chose to travel whenever I could save up enough money to do so - though always on a very tight budget.  Perhaps that is why I can still live well on a small amount of money today, and can spend the time working on developing my "real" career - as a writer.  

So, all those noisy and boring typing lessons - on manual typewriters - came in useful in the long term.  I can easily write a blog post today in less than five minutes.

05 January 2011

1931 and 1938

Although I was born a long time after the 1930s, the years 1931 and 1938 are very important in my life.

In 1931, my maternal grandparents were married.  Here is a Wikipedia article about that year.

In 1938, my paternal grandparents were married.  Here is a Wikipedia article about that year.

My grandparents were all in their twenties when they married.  The 1930s were the years of their young adulthood, just as the 1980s were for me, fifty years later.

Have you compared the years of your youth with those of your grandparents, and the influence of those much earlier times on your life today?

02 January 2011

Australian Drought, Bushfire, Flood and Travel Plans

While conditions in Europe have been very cold in recent weeks, Australia, with its global reputation for sunshine at the seaside, has been experiencing its regular rural reality of natural disaster.

Avoiding natural disasters is a wise move in many circumstances, not just in the hope of avoiding human tragedies, but also because it is necessary to think about where our food usually grows, and how it reaches us.

Here are some Wikipedia articles with historical overviews of a few of Australia's natural disasters:

I am writing this at home on a pleasantly warm and sunny day.  It is unlikely that I will be directly affected by drought, bushfire or flood any time soon, but I have made plans just in case one of those events does happen.  What are your plans to avoid catastrophes in the months and years ahead?

Past disasters can teach us many lessons about ways to cope with future difficulties.  Here are some more Wikipedia links to think about if you are currently in Australia or plan to be here soon:

It is reasonable to want to live (or just travel on holiday to) somewhere safe, pleasant and reasonably predictable.  Many areas of Australia cannot be relied upon to provide that, in either a natural or social way.  This is especially the case if travelling around the country by road, including within large cities, even though Australia has one of the best road safety records in the world.

If you are not familiar with Australian road conditions and climatic conditions, do you have the information and other resources to plan for a good journey?