Wish you were Here

airplane wing over rockies

Winging my way west, this is the first time I’ve noticed the gentle curve of the horizon quite this way. Can’t help but think of all the pioneers and prospectors, settlers and safe-haven seekers, making their way across this vast wasteland of rock and ice more than a century ago. Their strong spirit sings clear no matter how often I gaze down upon this vista.

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Empty


what more could one wish for

There’s always that odd feeling when one gets into the cab after the bags are all packed and stowed, the checklists gone over for the fourth time, last minute instructions scribbled on bits of paper and left on the counter; that hollow gulping of yes, so glad to be on the way but oh no, how long is it going to take before all hell breaks loose and of course, it inevitably will.

Travelling is both pleasure and pain. Whether we are off to a vacation destination (ha ha – when was the last time anyone had a real getaway in some exotic location that didn’t involve sleeping on a relative’s fold-out) or on a job-related jaunt, just navigating through the airport can be exhausting. Electronic check-in, check-out, scan this document that body part, shoes on, shoes off, mobile devices on off in the bin in your carry-on: God forbid one has too many fillings as fluoride was unknown in your childhood because you will be promptly waved off to one side for closer examination….

We are learning, albeit late in the game, to travel light(er). With the emphasis on the er. Our carry-on departed at maximum weigh-in filled with promotional materials (the magnet give-aways going through the scanner twice but otherwise passed over) and returned home filled with dirty laundry. Alas, and much to Miss Z’s chagrin, there was no time this voyage to shop for snazzy souvenirs or even the tiniest twinkling trinket: better luck next time…

“How does empty look to you?” – the glass half-filled, a bathtub drained, a look that’s lost or filled with pain, crumbs of cake, that last bite, big blue skies over a big blue lake – We would love to see your vision…

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, some great entries and the guidelines for this fortnight’s challenge can be found here. Need more info or want to browse past themes? Have a look at HOW DOES THIS WORK.

The Big 5 – “Where” are you from? – Week 2

where are you from

When Across the Bored was little, the world was a very big place where letters came in envelopes delivered to the door and telephones only transmitted the sound of our voices. News was listened to on the radio, watched (once a day) at 6 in the evening or read about in the paper and much that happened outside of our immediate communities was digested pretty much after the fact.  If anyone we knew was lucky enough to travel we gave them a hug, tearfully wished them godspeed and au revoir, consoled ourselves with something sweet and then patiently waited for a postcard and their return.

Today, we spend a lot of our time in transit, our work and leisure takes us back and forth between neighbourhoods, cities, countries and continents. We tend to multitask at every available opportunity on all sorts of devices, convinced that the need to know what everyone is doing and how they are at any given moment is crucial. Maybe… or maybe not. Although we may feel some relief to find out that yes our loved ones did arrive safely at their destination, when batteries drain, lines of communication fail and links go “offline” our anxiety increases exponentially.

With the world seeming a much smaller place, and the ability to pinpoint where we all are right now at the touch of our fingertips, the question of where we began becomes moot. This fortnight the Big 5 Challenge has been reminded that we don’t always need to, or want to go back, that there is some truth to the phrase “You Can’t go Home Again“.

Where are you from?” – City or farm, present or past, pedigrees and bloodlines, in the future or lost in time, adopted country or birthplace, Venus or Mars… We would love to know where you feel connected to.

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, some great entries and the guidelines for this challenge can be found here: Need more info, want to browse past themes or get the badge for your blog? See HOW DOES THIS WORK.

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Gifts


sweetly unexpected

It used to be that we would pack our bags and trot off to some far-flung destination with nary a care, now our journeys have become more defined. Time is of the essence and as much as we are still taken away from the nest for vacation, work or duty, more often than not in the recent past we are the ones to stay behind and wonder how life unfolds for our own young travellers.  Luckily, the luxury of technology lets us remain close through our devices – our phones even ring, oddly enough, in the tone of the land we are trying to reach and voices coming from across the ocean are sometimes clearer than if they were across the country. At first the days seem longer, quieter, less filled with the big, bold noise of life and then suddenly they are past and once again we are standing in an airport waiting for our missed ones return from another most amazing and enlightening adventure.

We are glad to see them back with all their appendages intact, no wallets, cameras or even worse, passports pilfered from pockets or packs and in a good mood, happy to be home.  There are enough stories and pictures to last through quite a few dinners, their experience of the world and observations of the people in it the source of much amusement and sometimes, disbelief. Our offspring have found this form of indulgence satisfying but have also learned that the little things do count, like taking the time to find a sewer-rat hand puppet for a sometimes annoying sibling.  And so, unexpected as a lovely box of macarons, the Two Cents Tuesday Challenge gives you – Gifts.

“What is a gift for you?” –  A present, a prize, the look in her eyes, a talent to sing or big shiny ring, the love of a child or something more wild, the quiet of night or just waking up, right…

We would love to see your vision.

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, here are some guidelines for the challenge: HOW DOES THIS WORK?

  1.  I will post some commentary on a random topic that pops into my head (such as the above) and then ask you to respond on the same.
  2. Your point of view on the current week’s challenge can take any form: a quote, a motto or saying, an essay, poem or opinion of yours or attributed to someone else, a piece of music, a song, a video, a work of art, photograph, graffiti, drawing or scribble – but it has to be about the topic!
  3. Please, don’t just link to an old post… challenge yourself.
  4. The Challenge will be open for 14 days (there will be a reminder post at the 7 day mark) after which I will post another.
  5. ENJOY, have FUN and TELL your friends and fellow bloggers.

 SO – Create your Two Cents Tuesday Challenge post

  1. Then add a link to your blog in my comment box.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your post, title your blog post “Two Cents Tuesday Challenge” and add the same as a tag.
  3. If you would like your reader to see what others are presenting for the same challenge, add a link to the “Two Cents Tuesday” challenge on your own blog.
  4. Feel free to pick up your badge on the Two Cents Tuesday Challenge page
  5. Remember to Follow My Blog to get your weekly (hopefully) reminders.

Travel Theme: International Women’s Day

Lucy 2

lucy – Like us
living, loving and changing her world
one step at a time

Find a reason to celebrate in the entries at Where’s my backpack?’s challenge
Travel Theme: International Women’s Day.

Read more about Lucy and Hominids:

Lucy’s Story
Hominid Hunting
Lucy and Selam’s Species Climbed Trees
Found: Our two-million old ancestor who bridges the gap between apes and Man

Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign

One of these things is different from the others….

This week’s  Photo Challenge: Foreign opens up a whole world of images with great visual impact. Although the text on this wall-sized butcher’s sign needed translation, the graphic content was fuel for a hot debate between travellers to ShenZhen.  Unpalatable to many of the group, vegetarians and carnivores alike, it proved once again that when travelling everything is relative – a matter of taste, so to speak – and that, like a good book or film, the enjoyment lies in our suspension of belief.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary

When few are awake 

Travelling into a time zone that is ahead of our own lets us rise comfortably early.  As the sky starts to change from inky blue, everything is calm and it is easy to imagine those who have already been up for a few hours, from the vendors in the market and the bakers pushing golden loaves into ovens to street cleaners sweeping away the dust of yesterday. From a hotel window we can survey the city as it stirs from sleep: at dawn, all is quiet and one can easily pick out single sounds before they get swallowed by the rush of the day – water tumbling over itself into the fountain, a robin calling to its mate, the far-off rumble of a city bus making its rounds.  Like the solitary woman who wends her way to work or the man practising tai-chi in the clear light of a new day, we are alone with our thoughts, undistracted and undisturbed. 


Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life

Rounding a corner to surprise

This week’s Photo Challenge: Everyday Life brought to mind a set of pictures that hadn’t been looked at in over a year. In need of a quick pre-winter holiday breather last December, we had managed to catch a few sunny days in San Francisco.  It is always interesting to revisit places where one has not been in awhile, to see the changes in the urban landscape and how the vibe of the city has been transformed by those who live, work and play there.  SF is very much like our own melting-pot of a metropolis in that it is full of wonderful, different things to see and do but we were very much saddened and shocked to find the economy had taken an aggressive and often brutal toll on many who seem to have no voice in their own society.  An relaxed afternoon spent wandering and taking photos took an unexpected turn when we wandered into the back of a demonstration against big business, bad banks and the evils of capitalism.  The desire to find an escape route, quickly, from the angry crowd was overpowering and yet at the same time the protest was oddly appealing in that it represented many of the issues that we held truly important: decent jobs and housing, a good, accessible education, medical care at affordable prices – not really all that much for a 21st century democracy, or any country for that matter. So, like the protesters, we straddle a very thorny fence: on one side the weight of real life bears down upon us and on the other is our continued hope for a better future. Where we land is all about the actions we take, and the decisions we make, every day.

On a lighter note, and thankful once more that we are in a position to be able to pursue what we are actually good at, here is a glimpse at the first image that came to mind when presented with the challenge:

What real life is actually like on a daily basis

While the world revolves and people go about the business of everyday life, some of us work remotely, solitary, with our tools close at hand – not even needing to go any place in particular to get our daily tasks accomplished…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Free Spirit

Where sky and ocean meet to whisper

The sea is magic. In search of renewal, each year we migrate from our landlocked home to the coast. On a sandy beach rife with the sounds of summer, we close our eyes to the bright sun and are suddenly alone, the waves’ voice a soothing lullaby. On other days,  a free spirit may seek the water’s edge to wizard an answer from the deep.

On a plane to Reality

A sudden change in weather has brought cooler winds and hazy skies – it is an omen that summer vacations are almost over and makes one long for that almost blinding brilliance of July. We are in transit, obliged to leave the slow, dreamy pace of the west coast for the east. Renewed, refreshed and recharged going towards the winter, we are already starting to see things with a different eye.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge

Urban, meet wild – concrete kissing rock

A fashion photo-shoot along the causeway illustrated proof that many west coast urban areas seem to run right into the Pacific.  For all that is intrinsically wrong with cities taking over once-green spaces (the subject of a future post) there is still much beauty to be found, sometimes right beneath our feet.  This weeks’s photo challenge: merge and the very act of just looking down are serendipitous indeed.