Tag: travel

Your Holiday

My temptation, when people post photos of their holiday in Bali, is to post photos from Kerobokan prison in the comments.

I resist that temptation because I know it's petty and won't change people's thoughts about traveling to Indonesia, it will only change their attitude to having me as a social media friend.

But it was only months ago that we, as a nation outraged with injustice, mourned over the deaths of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan.

Bali is part of Indonesia and Indonesia behaves appallingly, in terms of global citizenship.

Many countries behave appallingly in this regard. Australia behaves appallingly. The US behaves appallingly. China behaves appallingly.

(I'm searching for dirt on New Zealand, but I think it might be clean.)

Yet, it's travel to Indonesia that sticks in my craw and I'm trying to work out why. Currently my theory rests on the images of paradise-like tranquility yelling to me as a lie about the "real" nature of Indonesia.

But I know that politics, economics and human rights are complicated topics, not likely effected by incidents of individual outrage and wishing the world was fair. I know that people sometimes just want somewhere quiet, warm and pretty to visit, cheaply, with their family. I know that it's easier to lie to ourselves with justifications of our actions than to actually reduce the occasional luxury we work so hard to afford.

Knowing these things don't make it better. They make it worse. Because I also know that nothing is ever improved by taking the easy route and we can't expect other people to work hard to better our world while we choose luxuries over morality.

This makes it worse because I am guilty of the same thing in other parts of my life. I don't go to Indonesia but I support other things, countries, corporations and activities that make the world worse.

I see photos of people's holidays in Bali and they remind me of all the luxuries I should go without in order to make things better for others. They remind me of how other people see the world and I wish I could see that world too, but I know it doesn't exist for me. So I suppose there's envy there too. And to be envious of a thing that repulses me so much causes me more guilt.

Enjoy your holiday. Don't get executed. Never expect justice.

Ten hours is long enough on a flight

Travelling to New York from Melbourne is one of the longest trips on a plane. Too long. The flight from MEL to LAX is about 13 or 14 hours. Then there's the whole disembarking, customs, luggage, connecting flight malarky to put up with and then another 5 hours to JFK.

I hate airports and I hate the non-temperature they have on planes. Neither warm nor cold. I'm sure it's calculated to be the most pleasant for most people but it never feels like anything at all and that, in itself is unnatural.

Then there's the whole notion of travelling economy. There's no room to stretch out so it's almost impossible to get any sleep, even if your doctor prescribed some helping tablets.

There came a point in the first leg when I thought, "That's really long enough for a flight." I checked the handy flight path channel on the on-demand, in-seat entertainment unit and we had only just passed over Hawaii. That was about 10 hours into the flight. I wished we could stop in Honolulu for a night, get some rest and then continue on, but the pilot had other plans.

By the time we arrived at LAX I was largely zombified. Only managing three and a half hours' sleep the night before (because of the Australia vs Cuba game), Thursday had, thus far, lasted about 25 hours. There would be another 13 before it was actually time to go to bed.

Another problem with the length of travel is the anticipation of just wanting to be at the destination already. In this case it just happens to be my favourite place on earth.

New York City is where I most feel at home. I love Melbourne dearly and it really comes a very close second but there's something about NYC that makes me feel like I really belong here.

So the time it takes to get here is crucial. It takes about 20 hours total and that's just too long. That's essentially a whole day I spending not being in either Melbourne or New York. I am nowhere. Transit is limbo and it's the most uncomfortable and unnatural feeling there is.

Feeling the cold on my face when I walked out of the terminal at JFK was instantly comforting. I had returned and it felt right.
Films seen: Burn After Reading, Rachel Getting Married, Vicky Christina Barcelona