[travel] day 83: Australian Festival of Travel Writing [2]

What a day. Waking up at 9:00 am after a night hyped up on cacao makes for a sluggish morning. After texting Sarah to make sure that she was awake, we set off to leave our houses by 9:30….9:17 hits the clocks. I am still in bed. I rush to get my clothes on along with some makeup and I am rushing to the tram by 9:43, just in time to catch the tram down. Perfect.

The first panel was Where the Road Ends. About immigrating to another country and calling it home. The three speakers were all ladies that contributed to the book “Joyful Strains”, which is about their personal experiences making Australia their home. These ladies, Val Colic-Peisker ( Croatia), Amy Espeseth (USA) and Michelle Aung Thin (Canada/Burma) talked about their one-way travels to Australia.

How through traveling you can reinvent yourself, how the perception of distance changes when you travel and how nothing becomes too far. They also touched on the point of how your “home/original” country is a reference point for you no matter if you want it to be or not. Because you have this other country that you called home before, it is inevitable to write about it and compare.

For me this talk was extremely interesting, not because I find Australia home but because I find Japan home as well as the States. I could relate and find myself harboring the same feelings at times.

The second talk was by Brian Thacker. He dedicated himself to retrace the VERY first Lonely Planet guide, South East Asia on a Shoestring. It was published in 1974. Let’s just say that he had is work cut out for him trying to find all the hostels/guesthouses and restaurants that Maureen and Tony Wheeler took on their trip.

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The third talk we sat in on was Tony Wheeler himself. The founder of Lonely Planet. We heard him talk about his books, Travel in Bad Lands and Travel in Dark Lands. He visited countries like Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Afghanistan, Cuba, Congo, etc. How some countries progressed since the last time he visited and how others deteriorated. If we all had the balls of steel to travel to “dangerous” destinations.

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Sure, you can call me a snob but best quote of the day was “I’m going on a big trip soon, a 16 days cruise……..” stop. Just stop. We are real travelers. A cruise is a floating on a boat and not dealing with the real country you are visiting. You don’t visit countries, you visit ports.

With the Co-Founder of Lonely Planet, an amazing man, Tony Wheeler.

With the Co-Founder of Lonely Planet, an amazing man, Tony Wheeler.

 

What great opportunity and great company [thanks Sarah for taking me along]. Inspired me to write more in depth. As long as I can get to my MacBook in time.

cheers and happy traveling.

mao.

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