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.


Umachee Culture Love

Three homes stood silhouetted against the darkening sky, marking the settlement that would be known as Umagico Community. There were already over five families living between the three buildings, but they opened their doors to new arrivals as more families were relocated from their homes in Lockhart River.

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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.


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At 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.

As we climb higher along the ridge, the clouds close in to kiss our cheeks, leaving our skin slightly damp and cold. We are 3000m above sea level, between Tadipani and Ghorepani, and on a clear day this ridge would award trekkers with 360 degree mountain vistas; but for us, we will have to wait another day. Continue reading