April 23rd 1983

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 2

Perhaps something of a shock, especially for those of you who have got into the habit of reading these posts for the past very nearly two years, but I have decided to take a bit of a break from the daily posting (or maybe I am over-rating myself, and this announcement is more of a “Mwah” moment. Or even a “Phew!”)

There are a number of reasons for this. First of all, the rest of this blog has been very much concerned with travel. Even when we stayed in Haruru Falls, and holding down about five jobs between us, we were still living in a two-person tent, so retained something of that traveller vibe. Australia is very different. After a brief stay with Val’s uncle, we headed over to Sydney, where not only did we manage to find some proper accommodation, living with my cousin in a flat in Mosman, but also held down proper jobs… or as proper as we could do, seeing as neither of us had work visas. Val was a waitress (again), this time in a relatively upmarket Sydney restaurant, while I dived into the world of telephone sales, cold-calling customers to try to persuade them to buy advertising space. And so our lives were more or less properly domestic: commuting, working, etc. I have always told people we were travelling for three and a half years, and it is true that this was the period we were away, but actually we didn’t travel at all during this period, so this part of the diary is very much out of sync with everything else.

The diary at this point – for I did continue to write it – contains more detail than you could possibly imagine about the ups and downs – mostly downs – of telephone sales, and as such does have a certain sociological interest, describing the everyday life of a Sydney office-worker. More pertinently, and painfully, it has a strong psychological aspect too, as it charts only too accurately my own mental state at that time. Actually, the whole diary has had a pretty strong impact on my view of myself, or myself as was, and I have found it quite a challenge at times, to encounter the young me, with all his faults. And in many ways this whole episode has been the most difficult at all. Maybe at some time, I will think about sharing it – it has all been transcribed now – but for the time being, I would prefer to keep my inner self at this time to myself.

I confess, I have been struggling for a little while with the prospect of this section, and making a decision to leave it for a time has come as a relief. It has been a real joy for both of us to re-live the events of forty years back, teasing out memories, as well as bringing to light incidents that we had forgotten about entirely. But that has not been the case for me personally while transcribing this period. All a bit relentlessly painful. There is also the not insignificant task of trying to find enough photos; a detail, I know, but one that has proved tricky at times.

It is not as though I am will be disappearing entirely from your inbox. I am still working with my group of asylum-seekers, and those posts (which have sometimes sat rather confusingly alongside my travel blog) will continue. And I will, of course, be back. When we leave Sydney and resume travelling, in late September, the daily blog will return… and believe me there are some exciting adventures to come, which I am very much looking forward to sharing with you.

But, for the time being, au revoir.


2 Responses

  1. Pamela Blair

    Au revoir! But I’ll see you in your home country in a few months.

    I understand what you mean. When I stopped to work a year in Tanzania after two years of travel, all the charm which had graced me during my travels disappeared, and I had problem after problem–finding a place to live (I had to move every week or at best every three months) it took me almost three months to find a job–why would a single woman be traveling as I had been unless she was REALLY CIA? And then there was the male problem: I’d been able to avoid them along the way, but once in Dar, I was like a sitting duck. You and Val were lucky to be a couple. Being alone, I made several bad choices I wish I could redo. Nonetheless, I loved Tanzania for its politics, its beauty, and its people, and made lasting friends while there.

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