Paul - who brings friendly nonsense (blur_kiwi) wrote,
Paul - who brings friendly nonsense

Meme about me

Comment to this post and I will give you 5 subjects/things I associate you with. Then post this in your LJ and elaborate on the subjects given.

I was given these by the wonderful[info]lijago.

New Zealand

I have to say that a lot of this will, sort of, merge together because they are very closely related, but here goes.

Photography. I was never really interested in photography until I went to New Zealand for my big, long voyage of discovery (cliche) a few years ago. Yes, I had used a camera a lot for holiday snaps but that was really about it. When I was preparing to leave, my mother asked if I would like to take her digital point-and-shoot camera. I was undecided for a while, after all I was going to New Zealand to write not to take photos, but in the end I agreed and packed the camera. Very quickly I found that I was very happy with the photos I took and people would crowd round in backpackers lounges when I got my laptop out and looked through those photos. It just clicked with me that I seemed to have a reasonable eye for composition and subject. So, I photographed, and wrote, my way around New Zealand. Along the way I broke my mother's camera and ended up buying another, identical one, for myself. Back in the UK months later I found that I got twitchy if I didn't go out taking photos in whatever spare time I had. I started my LJ for a couple of reasons. The main one was to stay in closer contact with my incredible friend ilmera</lj> , but I also did it to showcase some of my writing. Once I'd got my head around how LJ worked I decided that I would post photos as well and very soon developed a bit of a following, for which I will always be immensely grateful. Since then I have concentrated more and more on the photos in my LJ, showing people from all over the world the beautiful area I live in and the great places I manage to get to when I'm travelling. Photography has become very important to me and since I got hold of a camera that actually makes it look like I know what I'm doing, it seems to have gone from strength to strength.

Travel. I'm very lucky. My parents saw travel as being as much a part of an education as sitting in a classroom. This meant that at the age of eleven I went off to France to stay with a family. I was terribly homesick to start with but worked through it and ended up not wanting to leave. I have never been homesick since. At twelve I went on an educational cruise to the Mediterranean stopping off at places like Venice, Corfu, Crete, Izmir, Santorini, Malta and Naples. At sixteen I went on an expedition to Ghana where I stayed with a Ghanaian family for a couple of weeks, did a proper jungle-bashing trek circumnavigating a lake, and helped to build a school in a remote village. That was a real turning point for me and it allowed me to believe I had conquered culture shock. Since then travel has become a consuming passion for me. I love going to new places and seeing what they are all about; I love meeting new people from all over the world and sharing experiences; I love the act of travel as well as the destination. To say that travel broadens the mind is true, but only half the point - it allows the mind to go and explore in every direction. Travel is a worthwhile education in itself.

New Zealand. There was something about New Zealand that always captivated me as a child. I don't know what it was or how it started. It was just always there. Being the lazy person that I am, I did nothing about actually going there until some longstanding family friends emigrated and told me one day on the phone that it was a real shame that no-one had been to visit them. I put that right in September 1999 and vividly recall standing outside the International Terminal at Auckland Airport at about five o'clock in the morning. It was warm and just getting light and I could see the Norfolk Island pines and flax plants everywhere and remember thinking out load to myself, 'F@*% Me; I'm in New Zealand!' Since then I've been back a few times, culminating in my four and a half months stay where I really got to grips with the place and had the time of my life. Within the special place that is New Zealand there are places that are extra special to me, none more so than the little town of Wanaka in my beloved area of Central Otago with its lakes and mountains. Not a day goes by now when I don't wish I was in New Zealand. There is just something about the place that makes me feel more at home than anywhere on Earth, and that includes my home patch here in the south-west of England. New Zealand feels right, it smells right, it sounds right and it looks right - it even tastes right! I definitely heart New Zealand.

Writing. Writing gripped me in my late teens. I just found that I could do it and people seemed to like what I wrote. It was mostly bad poetry then and doing that got me into songwriting with a group of friends - this ended up with me being the vocalist in Barbed Wire where I struggled with tunes and my own lyrics. Then in my twenties I began to write more and more creatively, had a few things like reviews and short odds and ends published locally and generally did it for fun. When I was made redundant and decided to do my big New Zealand trip, I used my desire to write a book as some sort of justification for the whole thing. And I did it too. I lugged a laptop around with me, reviewed the things I did through my photos each day and spent a lot of time talking to fascinating people. In the evenings I wrote feverishly and ended up with the basic structure of Southern Crossroads, my book about travelling around New Zealand. I've still got my fingers crossed that it will be published, and when I have more time I hope I'll push that along. Being able to express myself through writing is the thing that keeps me sane and the thing that allows me to say more about the world than photos ever could, even though they both sit well with me and can work hand-in-hand together. I really should make time to write more.

Friends. I would be lost without friends. I have friends I have known for years, forever in some cases, who I grew up with, went to school with, spent time with. I have friends who are people I have met on my travels, who I've clicked with and whose company I delight in when I'm with them - it's great when you have a friend you met in a particular place or in particular circumstances, and you then meet them again somewhere totally different, in totally different circumstances. I have friends I've met online, or come to know through being online, who are also very special to me. Friends and travel seem to go together for me quite a lot, and staying in touch isn't always that easy but it's great when it works out. I value my friends very highly. I could list the people who I feel the closest bond with, the people who are most special, but that would serve no purpose. They know who they are, they know the place they have in my heart and they know that we will always be there for each other. Friends lighten the world and enlighten the world too. I love my friends dearly.

As I said at the beginning, all these things are part of one much bigger thing, they are all part of each other and essential parts of the whole, me. I can't imagine being in a world where I can't express myself creatively - whether it's at a visual level or expressing myself in words. I can't imagine a world that I can't see and explore, and even though I have favourite parts of it, I want to see as much of it as possible. I can't imagine a world where I don't have special people to share my experiences with, to share a bottle of wine with, to cook a meal for. They are all part of me.
Tags: friends, meme, new zealand, photography, travel, writing

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