Before i Forget : Simon Jones's blog

November 2014

GeneralThursday, November 27th, 2014, (10:54 pm)

I don’t really like winter, but there’s a magic and comfort to coming in from the cold and feeling the welcome of a warm home. Today, I’m far from that cold weather, but as my American friends prepare their Thanksgiving feasts, this might be one of the very few times when I actually miss the crisp chill of a colder day.

Warm fire

Not being an American, it’s never been a tradition of mine to celebrate Thanksgiving, but back in 2012 I got to spend that holiday with a friend in Seattle. Her family’s feast was nothing short of fantastic. A warm home full of people with conversation and laughter mingling in the air with the aroma of the forthcoming feast and the sound of (American) football coming from the TV.

Now, after seven years of celebrating ‘the holidays’ (as our American friends call them) in the southern hemisphere, the experience of coming in from the cold to a warm home and a waiting holiday roast has faded into the unfamiliar.

My first winter ‘down under’ felt bizarre because it lacked the reprieve of Christmas and New Year. Those holidays stand like lighthouses helping you navigate your way through dark and shortened days, but in the southern hemisphere the lighthouses are gone. Instead, winter is a long and featureless stretch of time like a desert highway without a curve or junction. It’s a ribbon of strung together days and weeks upon which you wait to reach your destination.

Indeed, not long after celebrating Thanksgiving in Seattle, I was on a white sandy beach in Fiji, a hop on my way back to another Christmas smack in the middle of New Zealand’s summer.

I’ve grown accustom to the summer Christmas now and to putting on sunscreen rather than a scarf when I step out into the late December weather. I love celebrating the New Year in the warmth of a long summer night. I also like that my birthday has switched from midwinter to midsummer like a politician unexpectedly changing party allegiance.

Thanksgiving feast preparationBut today, as I sit in a bright lush green garden of a cafe in Thailand, just a couple of weeks or so from returning to Australia, a part of me wishes that I was somewhere cold in the USA. Like I mentioned before, I don’t like the cold. However, just for today, it would be good to be wrapped up in a scarf, kicking up fallen leaves or walking over snow to a welcoming warm house filled with friends, football on the TV, an open fire, and a great big turkey roasting in the kitchen.

With that image in mind, I found a local restaurant here that has a special Thanksgiving menu for tonight. The place will be packed with Americans I’m told. So while it’s not going to snow here, it will get a little cooler when the sun goes down, cool enough for us to fill our bellies with roast turkey served with stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, vegetables and pumpkin pie for dessert. I can’t wait!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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TravelTuesday, November 25th, 2014, (10:45 pm)

You know you’re in good company when there can be a period of comfortable silence. That said, it’s been more than a year and a half since I’ve written anything here and I think perhaps that’s amounts to a little more than a comfortable silence.

Vintage postcards

The last post I made here was from Vietnam after a period of riding a motorbike around the country and ruining my clothes in sketchy Vietnamese laundries. Since then readers of my blog could be forgiven for thinking I had fallen, or at least rode, off the edge of the world, and I suppose in some respects I did!

So where the hell have I been in the last eighteen months? That’s a good question, but a list of countries seems boastful and wouldn’t really answer the question, would it?

I twice swapped an Australian winter for a summer in the sun of the northern hemisphere. I spent time with friends and, of course, made a few new ones along the way. I got thrown out of China, travelled across the United States by train, had my laptop stolen in Paris and my wallet stolen in Venice, collected (and left) parking fines in the UK, pretended to be famous in Singapore (even signed autographs!), drove a race car down under, rode motorbikes in dusty far away places, and still didn’t get around to joining facebook!

A few of my friends have taken to calling me a vagabond, which is a title I embrace. I might put in on a business card so I can give it to the next person who asks me that awful, but somehow obligatory question “What do you do?”

Getting a motorbike in VietnamIn fact, I already have a ‘business’ card. I printed them to give me something to exchange with people who hand me their card. It’s not so much a business card but more of a somewhat cheeky response to that mechanical exchange. They thank me, we shake hands, then they glance at it, pause, then usually say out loud, “Rule bending consultant?”

That card has actually been a lot of fun to give out. I considered re-designing my website into some very business looking site that touts the services of me, a ‘rule-bending consultant.’

Of course, as a ‘serious business’ website it would have to include some of those terrible stock photographs of people smiling while gathered around a computer, and men wearing hard hats and holding clipboards while one points up at something out of shot.

“Simon Jones has been at the leading edge of rule bending for over 30 years, developing strategies and programs to flex even the most rigid of rules. A founding member of the F.U.N. (Federation of Unwavering Nonconformity) Simon helped thousands find their inner rule bender and move toward a more flexalogical life.” Oh how the marketing BS would flow.

The thing is, I’ve been out in the world, bending rules and vagabonding my way from one story to the next, taking pictures along the way, but not writing. I simply got out of the routine, not that there was much of a routine here before then.

So as 2015 approaches I’m going to make a deal, though I suspect that my readers have long since moved on, so this is probably a deal with myself; I’m going to try and write a regular weekly blog post. This should give me the opportunity to share more photographs and maybe even help me find the inspiration to write more.

Also, I think this blog is long overdue a make-over. It’s looked pretty much the same since 2006 when my friend Joelle and I first hacked around with WordPress and this design.

I’m having a lot of fun being a rule-bending vagabondsman out in the world finding stories to be told, so it’s about time I got back into the habit of telling them, before I forget!

If you’re still out there and you’ve read this far, please say “Hi!” I’ll be back in Melbourne soon, so if you’re a Melbourne local lets get together and have coffee!