Monday, April 13, 2009

Sydney, Here I Come

~ Well, it’s one thing to sit around writing about travel, but it is another thing completely, to actually tear oneself away from the comforts of home, family and the internet – and hit the road.

So finally, six months after returning from the USA and Europe, I’m on the move again, if only for a few weeks.

I'm about to leave Adelaide for Sydney, and I can’t wait to see the highway stretching away before me. In preparation, my station wagon has been serviced and tuned; it now sports four brand new tyres, all perfectly balanced and aligned; my travel mattress is in the back; I’ve renewed my membership with the RAA, the local emergency automobile association; and my gear is safely stowed, stored and securely in place.

I’m one of those people who love to drive, and I’m also the type of person who doesn’t need lots of distractions on the journey. I don’t take any music with me. No iPod; no MP3 player; no CDs, and certainly no music cassettes (remember those). I like nothing more than to travel with my own thoughts, songs, dreams, and fantasies.

Somewhere on the seat next to me, within easy reach, will be my mini-cassette recorder – waiting for those moments when my Muse taps me on the shoulder, and brings me a new song or poem or inspirational thought. Also close by will be several pens and a notebook, for those moments when I just have to pull over and start writing those thoughts down.

I’m in no particular rush to get to Sydney. This is a good thing. It means I can take the ‘road less travelled’ and explore towns and sights along the way. It means I don’t have to push myself or the car to the limit, thereby putting both of us in danger.

To paraphrase T. S. Eliot: "It’s the journey – not the arrival – that matters.”

Not that I don’t want to be in Sydney. It is a city I have only visited on business, never for pleasure. I have never spent more than a couple of days trying to take in the sights and sounds, the smells and tastes, and the hustle and bustle of Australia’s biggest metropolis.

This time around I am travelling purely for pleasure, and I will have up to three weeks to explore Sydney, and I’m sure I will love it. I’m also sure I will come away with hours of video footage and hundreds of photographs.

However, these are just mementos. The way I look at it – it is much more important to experience a city, rather than merely try and record it. Sometimes you can spend so much time trying to capture a photograph of a beautiful sunset – that you don’t actually spend anytime simply sitting on the beach experiencing the natural beauty of that very same event.

After all, while a photograph of a glorious sunset may indeed by a beautiful thing. It can never capture the sound of the surf; the gulls wheeling and shrieking overhead; the smell of the salt on the air; the wind in your hair; or the joyous laughter of a young child building castles in the sand.

So my primary focus will be to enjoy and experience Sydney, and my secondary focus will be to film, photograph and write about it.

I’ll be back in a few days with my first report. In the meantime – whatever you are doing, have fun – I know I will be.

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