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LATE 2019 TRIP: PROLOGUE: Jumping off the hamster wheel


View Urban Reverie Late 2019 on urbanreverie's travel map.

Sydney, Australia
Thursday, 17 October 2019

"Only those who toil six long days out of the seven, and all the year round, save for one brief glorious fortnight or ten days in the summer time, know the exquisite sensations of the First Holiday Morning. All the dreary, uninteresting routine drops from you suddenly, your chains fall about your feet. . . . There were thrushes in the Richmond Road, and a lark on Putney Heath. The freshness of dew was in the air; dew or the relics of an overnight shower glittered on the leaves and grass. . . . He wheeled his machine up Putney Hill, and his heart sang within him."

--"The Wheels of Chance", H.G. Wells

Now that I have almost reached the maximum amount of annual leave one may accrue in the service of my employer, it's time once again to explore the world, only the sixth time I have left Australia, and the first time I have went overseas twice in the one year.

It will be a welcome break. It is not that my life is particularly unpleasant. My job has become far more tolerable this year, perhaps even approaching enjoyable at times. I am grateful for the company of friends and family when I get the chance to see them, I finally met some long-lost cousins I never knew existed before I signed up for an ancestry.com account, my health both physical and mental is improving.

It's just that life as a white-collar inner-urban middle-aged bachelor tends to be rather Groundhog Day. It sometimes feels as if my life is a never-ending hamster wheel of crawling out of bed in the morning, catching the 480 or 483 bus down Parramatta Road to work, doing enough work to keep my manager and the long-suffering citizens of New South Wales happy, hitting the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre after work for some laps, grocery shopping, cooking, dreary household chores and sleeping, only to do the same thing the next day and the day after that. It often feels like the only relaxation I get is learning languages on Duolingo on my phone during the commute to and from work.

Duolingo, the famous mobile phone app that has revolutionised how people learn foreign languages, is my inspiration for this journey I am about to take. About four months ago I was looking for a new language to start on Duolingo and unable to decide on one, I picked the weirdest, most esoteric, most difficult language on offer just for the hell of it. I then got sucked into the vortex of learning more about the country where this language is spoken and its history and its culture, and then I searched for air fares on Google Flights, and well, here I am.

So it is time for me to jump off the hamster wheel and go on another one of my adventures for a few weeks. And as always, I will be sharing tales of my adventures on Travellers Point. I would be enormously honoured if you were to follow along with me.

Posted by urbanreverie 18:42 Archived in Australia Tagged sydney prologue duolingo Comments (1)

PROLOGUE: The best-laid plans

overcast 27 °C
View Urban Reverie 2019 on urbanreverie's travel map.

Sydney, Australia
28 January 2019

Those who were masochistic enough to read my previous travel blogs on Travelpod (now closed and archived on Travelark) may possibly remember that, at the end of my last trip overseas to Europe in 2017, I was definitely going to move to Europe to engage in postgraduate study.

Ah, but the best-laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley.

After a nervous breakdown with a lengthy period off work and a slow, faltering recovery, the death of one parent with its attendant convulsive grief that turns one's world upside down, another parent who has also had some medical scares, and - perhaps most importantly from the practical perspective - a sober appraisal of what emigration, even temporarily, would do to my finances, I have decided to stay in Australia.

And really, you could do much worse than Australia. I have my friends, my family, a stable well-paying job that allows me to indulge in my travel addiction. Life is peaceful and safe (as long as you avoid the hordes of drunks with severe anger management issues swarming around town centres on Friday nights). Nobody starves from want of food or dies due to lack of medical care. Sure, Australia can be improved drastically. Like, perhaps a huge plastic air-conditioned dome could be built over the whole country. And maybe the railways could be sold to Deutsche Bahn who will know how to run a proper transport system. And Rupert Murdoch's printing presses that daily pour forth millions of column-inches of unadulterated bile could be blasted to pieces. But other than that, how many countries are there that have more civilised conditions of existence than Australia? A dozen countries in Northern Europe, possibly Canada and New Zealand, perhaps the four East Asian democracies. Out of nearly two hundred countries that's not too bad.

In any case, I have reached my maximum allowable amount of annual leave at work which I have to use, and it is time for me to keep exploring this world. I have picked a country in a part of the world that has yet to be thrilled with my electrifying presence. Where shall I go this time? Follow this blog to find out.

Posted by urbanreverie 14:42 Archived in Australia Tagged prologue Comments (0)

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