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.

Advertisements

Up close in the Capital city

BOGOTA. 9AM (PEAK HR) Up close. Armpit close. In latin america it’s not uncommon for the men to wear as much, or sometimes more perfume than the women. It’s nice, they smell good and thankfully too, as there are certain times of day you will find yourself pressed firmly against a chest, arm or other body part when trying to get around the capital city of Colombia. 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

Egyptian City Lights

Do you want to see the real Egypt? he asked. Meet me back here tonight and I will show you…

I’d seen enough movies to know that wasn’t a good idea. I knew we were just two young women in a strange city, in a foreign country. We didn’t know the culture, we didn’t know where was safe or who to trust. Continue reading

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.

.

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.

.

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.

 

Continue reading

Abandoned Spaces Re-birthed

“I’m not about defacing property,” he said, “I’d never paste or sticker a school or hospital or anything, you know. But if it’s a run down, derelict or abandoned place then to me it just feels like a blank canvas, and we are giving it a new purpose, a new lease on life. It’s all about rebirth.”

IMG_1731 copy

These empty halls are waiting. Breath baited, like my own. Broken glass crunches beneath my shoes and echoes through the empty concrete shell that once bustled with life. We stop and listen, of course the walls still have ears. But now green fingers reach from the garden beds to caress the walls and windows and the halls are lined with a different kind of life. Echoes and stories left by the skilled hands of artists, rarely seen in the moment of creation but forever inked to the mortar they cover.

“To me, it’s about finding new spaces and interpreting them. The space finds me.”

I am trailing Brisbane street artist Skullcapper as he scopes out new spaces for his work to reside. As he told me, it’s not about defacing public property… it’s the opposite. It’s about expression and bringing a life and spirit to an area that was left to the wolves.

“I like to use non-traditional spaces, I guess that’s one of the reasons street art appeals to me,”he says, bucket and backpack in hand.

“For most of the bigger works, it’s the location, size and features will determine the scope and design of the piece itself.”

IMG_1744 copy2 copyWe stare at the walls, already laced with works and images of artists who have seen the promise of the abandoned place as a blank canvas. Enormous works of art, detailed and engaging, coat the walls both inside and out. A kaleidoscope of design and creation covers nearly every inch of the space, arguably one of the city’s most extensive art collections standing free for all to enjoy.

But why here?

“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,” Skullcap says, as he heads upstairs, engulfed by a collage of paint, stickers and paset-ups.

“You clearly respect the work of other street artists, do you collaborate often?” I ask, watching as he prepares the bucket of gluey mixture.

“I try not to, there are a lot of politics involved in Street Art, it’s like highschool. There’s a lot of egotistical bullshit.”

“I mean nothing is really original anymore, we are all just creating used ideas in a fresh way, it’s bound to overlap here and there.”

I suppose. We all have something to say, sometimes it’s the same thing, but that doesn’t mean it is less important. That’s it really. It’s about acceptance, diversity, creativity and making your own in this life and city that we call home. Without these people and their words, ideas, actions and opinions this would be nothing but a concrete shell. We the people are the paint and creativity that brings this city to life, as these artists breathe life into this abandoned places.

Each person adds another layer, another voice and spice to this place, the life of this city. Street art is an art for everyone, a relationship with the structures that house our days. A mark of respect, objection, love, fun or just to say I was Here.

 

“This is what I see myself doing for the rest of my life,” he says to me with a smile,

“it’s what gets me out of bed.”
IMG_1695 copy

 

**Full album here.

No Longer a Place to Call Home

“Sometimes I just don’t tell people what is going on in our country, on the streets we grew up on and to the people we know,” she says, eyes forward with no hint of pain in her voice. “We have already cried so much and experienced such devastation and fear, but as the government controls most of the news, we feel as if most of the world just doesn’t know the full story.” Ok then, let’s hear it. Continue reading