Back from a long road trip and two nights camping I realise that is probably the extent of my travelling in 2019. Australian roads are so busy now and so many people drive huge four wheel drive vehicles. No one seems to drive at the speed limit anymore. Tailgating is common. Driving a narrow two lane road with a big jeep just a couple of metres behind my little car and a stream of heavy duty vehicles charging towards me with their lights on the daytime is unnerving.
Years back I loved driving along winding country roads. The traffic was minimal and most drivers seemed to content to amble along rather than rush. These days even if I find a quiet road chances are the surface is riddled with potholes caused by all the heavy vehicles.
The decision to stop taking road trips has been hovering in the back of mind for a couple of years. To finally decide ‘that’s it, no more’ is hard. I’m not a person who likes staying put and I’ve always imagined I will get back to faraway desert places I drove to when I was younger.
Go overseas then you might say – or fly to distant destinations in Australia. Maybe one day if and when I ever manage save the money – most likely not in 2019. Besides, flying isn’t something I enjoy. Those little hops in Australia play havoc on my ear pressure and long distance flying where you’re cooped up in a flying tin can with all those other people for hours and hours and hours doesn’t appeal any more.
So it’s goodbye to travel photos taken in exotic locations. It’s goodbye to writing travel haibun. 2019 will be about experiencing my immediate locality – anywhere within an hour’s drive of my home. I won’t be taking any roads, narrow or otherwise, to the deep north. Unless of course you take a metaphoric view of such journeys and see them as being more about inner travel than outer. In that case, well I’m paving new tracks constantly. I’m exploring new territory on a daily basis.
A single crow
cawing outside my tent
– who am I really?