Why it’s ok to cry on an aeroplane.

Please stow your tray tables in the upright position and politely look away from the travellers who are having a silent breakdown.

For some reason, I think it’s ok to cry on airplanes. Well, from my experience it seems like something that’s accepted, politely overlooked by other weary travellers by a stiff smile and a diverted glance.

People are generally leaving somewhere loved, someone loved… returning to someone loved… or coming to the realisation that at the end of the baggage claim line, there is no loved one waiting this time.

It’s something that seems to be accepted with a kind look, instantly replaced with casual indifference. You can cry. Silently. It’s understood, it’s ok. For some reason it is and I’m not going to ask you to explain or pull yourself together. Go ahead, but into the window or quietly into the darkness if you don’t mind.

I guess the crying people don’t make a scene and their sadness is something that sometimes just shows the others how lucky they are to have someone waiting when they land or when they return. It’s a kind of unspoken social currency- you can have this moment without judgement, without awareness or restraint and we can be thankful for our own lives.

Anyway, I seem to do this a lot… cry on airplanes that is. I get attached, I love too deeply and I can’t stay still, it’s an interesting mix. Also I’m usually completely exhausted and to be honest,  I’m usually crying beside I’m sad to leave the people and places I love,  and at the same time overwhelmingly happy to be going back to the people and places I love. It’s a lot to deal with, over 1,000 feet up, far away from anyone but disturbingly close to my own thoughts and emotions.

We touch down and I hail a cab. The cabby asks how my day has been… I say ok. He says ok too.

It’s ok to lie about these things too sometimes. Anyway its only a 30min cab ride before I get home and there my enormous dog will be beside himself just to see me. There will be such extreme tail wagging that he throws him off his feet, and there will be face licks and cuddles and that look; never leave again. My housemates will give me a hug and be genuinely excited I’m home, and I know I’ll be grateful that I have such an incredible place to come home to.  That’s it right?  You can find yourself stranded in limbo; as the night sky, the long week and separation mix dangerously with the confines of the cabin and the hostess’ voice grating on about seat-belts at a volume that will split eardrums… and apparently… in that moment, it’s ok to be human.

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All the time, and not enough money.

There is an a conflict in the adult world that no one seems to warn you of before you decide to grow up and become one of these contributing members of society. That is; you need a job so you have money to buy food, clothes, travel and other fun things (as well as the not so fun things like bills and rent, but your adult job will sort that right out.)

The problem then is; where do you find the time? Surely I can’t be pouring this much of my golden years into ensuring I have the means to live when I only have the few hours after work or one day a weekend to do it Continue reading

Rice Mag Issue 5: Eddie Relax

Rice Mag Issue 5 is exploring Egypt on the back of a motorcycle, finding yourself on the floor of a mosh at a festival and helping a friend through depression…

Issue 5: Eddie Relax

Issue 5: Eddie Relax

Emotions tend to exacerbate themselves, I think to myself, feeling the smile creep across my face, spreading from a hyperactive ball of light settled deep in my stomach. I let the sunlight spread through my veins, coursing and flowing like a river that will inspire everything it touches. …My point?  Continue reading

Off the Wall

Thats the beauty of street art, right? It’s always a collaboration, always dynamic. A constant interaction between the art that was there and the next art that will add or cover yours. You can’t control the weather, the heat, the rain, the wind, the art is shaped by the environment it is created in. It belongs to the streets. Continue reading

Rice Mag Issue 5: Salsa y Queso

Issue 5: Salsa y Queso

Sometimes I just dont tell peole what is going on in our country, on the streets we grew up on and to the people we know,” she says, eyes forward, no hint of pain in her voice.

“We have already cried so much and experienced such devestation and fear, but as the government controlls most of the news, we feel as if most of the world just doesn’t know the full story.”

I had asked her of her family living in Venezuela, where civil unrest has seen citizens shot at point blank while they protest for change.

“I can’t tell you of the violence, because I can’t bear to watch the videos sent to me by my friends and family still there, but I can tell you of the terror.”

 

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Rice Mag Issue 4: Abandoned

Issue 4: Abandoned

Housed by these urban spaces, these concrete pillars, rivers of stone, towers of brick and mortar, floor to ceiling glass and metal.Without people, it is nothing but walls and pavement.

We make this city, we built these mazes, gave them names, meanings and memories.This city is ours.

We stare at the walls, already laced with workds and images of artists who have seen the promise of the abandoned place as a blank canvas.

“I’d rather create a really great paste up or design and put it up on a wall somewhere that hundreds of people will see each day, than confine my work to the walls of a gallery.”

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Rice Mag Issue 3: Get Naked

Issue 3: Get Naked

It doesn’t have to be right now, it can be later, when you are at home alone or in your office with the door closed, maybe the bathroom at the gym- anywhere you feel comfortable and preferably won’t get arrested. There, in your very own space, with your very own lovely company, take a moment to slip into your birthday suit.

Feels good doesn’t it? I wonder if you recognise the person in the mirror? (That is given that you aren’t just staring at a total stranger while in the gym bathroom, come on now, let’s not be creepy.) No, I mean your own reflection.

The truth is, we take such pains to conceal our naked truths, hiding under a carefully constructed suit of self creation to morph into who we tell ourselves we are, and who we
want to be seen as.

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Rice Mag Issue 2: Red Dust

Issue 2: Red DustThey stared at my skin, my freckles and strangely curly hair, they noticed my eyes were blue.

One of the girls gasped and came close, peering into my eyes.Gently, she put one small hand on my cheek and pushed my face toward her friend…

Sissy look, she has sky in her eyes.

The Northern Peninsula Area (NPA) is a group of five remote, indigenous communities sitting at the most northern tip of Queensland, Australia. I was lucky enough to join these communities, living and working in the region for 2 years. Continue reading

Rice Mag Issue 1: Nepalese Dreams

There is a goat in the little hatch-back next to us.

Issue 1: Nepalese DreamsHe’s standing in the back where the luggage should be, face pressed against the window with a contented look on his little face, as if this is the most normal thing in the world.

I look at him from the back seat of our own little car and he looks at me. Then they are gone, swallowed by the heaving web of traffic cascading down the pot‐holed roads of Kathmandu.

“Have you ever been to the Asia before?” he asks.
“Uhm, yes. I spent one week in Tokyo once,” I reply, stuffing my pack into the boot.
He smiles and shuts the top, brown eyes sparkling, and I can tell this is going to be like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

Welcome to Nepal…

-Issue 1 full copy available for download here.-

Ten weeks, from the city to the jungle, rice fields to the mountain tops. We’re at the edge of the earth, the birthplace of Buddha, this magical place and it’s people. Stories and images taken from my time volunteering with VCD Nepal in a country of cows, curry and culture.

More from Nepal:

annapurnas small fileAt The Edge of The Earth

We are standing at the edge of the earth… The entire world just seems to drop away in all directions, dissolving into grey as thick clouds engulf the Annapurna range we are standing on.

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IMG_8196 copyLeaving Kathmandu

One last embrace, that’s all we get. I bury my face, breathe deeply and will the tears to come. They don’t. I hold tighter for just a moment longer. “Jess, you’ll miss your flight.” I peel myself away, avoiding meeting his eyes because my own are still devastatingly dry, and lug my pack into the line for security.

IMG_0092Connecting Chitwan 

The bright green rice fields dotted with small homes and carved by black winding roads, stretch out on one side to the edge of the jungle and to the base of the snow capped Himalayan range to the other. The fields are tended by hand, workers bent double with sickle in hand.

IMG_9530Real Wealth and Rice

I awake, already hot and sticky, to the sound of small feet rushing along the concrete corridor outside my door. The other volunteer, an English girl named Polly, is already awake and slowly disentangling herself from the mosquito net surrounding her bed.

 

IMG_0373Dashain Festival 

At least ten arms reach towards me, pressing the wet tika onto my forehead while murmuring soft words of blessings and good will. My folded hands attempt to catch the red rice and curd mixture as it drips from their hands onto my lap and the carpeted floor we sit on.

IMG_8571Culture, Tradition & Traffic Jams

There he sits on the crumbling steps of a temple, its tiered roof offering shade from the midday sun. With arms folded across his lap, he watches the traffic racing by, stirring a cloud of dust around his shoulders.

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IMG_0438Don’t Worry About a Thing, We are Family Now

At the time I didn’t realise how true this would turn out to be, but after spending two and a half months with VCD, as I stand in the airport security line with tears soaking my cheeks, it feels more like I’m leaving my home and my family than simply returning from a holiday abroad.

The Merchants of ThamelThe Merchants of Thamel

I’m tripping through the streets of Thamel, doe eyed and foggy, with the sights and sounds of Nepal’s capital closing in. At least we are moving, that’s important right now. We need to keep moving because the ground feels like it’s getting away on us.

 

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