Monday, July 15, 2013

Planning to Travel

end-papers - coloured pencil - for books to be exhibited at Lopdell House end of 2013                'love rinses - know mercy - better yarns - dreams time travel'

Once again I need to get away, back to amrka and to see some of my friends there, I go. I'm entranced by the place. Fine people there have a great deal to do with my feelings, but also, the actual countryside, city-scapes and various cultures enthrall and inspire me, in countless ways. Yes, amrka has its difficulties, however there is much to celebrate too. Maybe however you believe I'm being unfashionable on purpose, (contrary for dramatic effect), or have in some way been tricked into saying complimentary remarks? No. Somewhere deep and profoundly vital I've simply been convinced I need to visit there again, for the good of my life and future, for my soul too I could admit.

Lately I understand what it is like to think you have been born in the wrong country. I know other friends also feel like this. One moved to Australia as soon as he could. The way things worked in New Zealand did not suit him at all. He's now a highly successful artist there with a fine family and really, the wondrous creations my friend makes would not have suited New Zealand. His happiness also increased the longer he lived over the ditch.

Some of us prefer a continent, rather than islands. I was surprised to discover I lived somewhere considered small when I was young. I'd more or less always felt like I lived on a place called the world, enormous. Travelling around the world as I have done, confirmed my idea I did indeed love to belong to Earth. Roaming, exploration and adventure feed me like great music and movies do.

My decision to do this, (leaving in the middle of next year), immediately made me feel happier. 

I shall be buying trees before I depart this time. I think the more people who plant trees when they travel, the better. Trees to cover the carbon cost of the trip will only be an extra $200- NZ or so. I find this also makes me feel good, giving to others. The trees will be planted in South Australia where they really need them. (I also grow trees here to give away throughout the year, to help cover my carbon cost from running a car and went vegetarian for the same reason).

Every person who travels on a return jet to Europe from NZ creates 200$ NZ trees-worth of carbon. If it is not soaked up by trees the extra carbon clogs up the atmosphere. More carbon to soak into the seas and make them acidic, too if there is nothing done to balance out the extra emissions. The world's seas are set to die by 2030, I gather, they're getting less able to support life the more carbon they soak up. 

We need to turn this around. 

Human beings can change and adapt, we've done this before. This carbon we're pumping out is partly responsible for climate change, for drastic weather patterns like floods, storms, droughts, and also, for polluting the air.

In New Zealand, this winter is so chilly. We've had drastic weather the last three years, more than usual. We all need to change our ways. Human beings do affect the environment.

Here is one of the companies that provides the service of planting trees where they are needed. 
Do your own research on this.  Trees are beautiful, they provide bark, fruit, leaves and shade, they're a habitat for many species. Trees also breathe in carbon which they use to grow and they give out oxygen.  Planting trees is one way to combat climate change.

Giving to others shall also make you feel good. Happiness is made up of various experiences which culminate in this feeling of well being, and joy. The pinnacle of happiness is generosity towards other people, towards where we live and also other creatures.

We need first of all an abundance of sensual pleasures, like good music, food, touch sensations, comfortable clothes, warmth and closeness, lovely aromas about us, fine sights, good art, decent exercise and so on. Whenever we think life is too much, we need to go back to those basics, in some way. Eat some good food, listen to music you love, cuddle a loved one, stroke a pet, laugh with a friend, take a long walk and breath the air deeply, absorb yourself in the wonders of nature, or whatever the idea of sensual pleasure suggests.

Next, we need to have aims and goals, intellectual pursuits and dreams we want to make reality, or just to entertain us.  These we need about half as much as we need sensual pleasures, to be happy.

Finally, (about half as much again) we need to give to others to achieve true happiness.  This can of course be time we give. People who give time and energy to others may be truly happy, they feel more fulfilled and see the difference their efforts have made to someone else's frame of mind, planning, lightened load or some other result. Generosity also may take the form of material goods or some activity like planting trees for travel. Caring for the environment and for creatures within it, we see the beautiful results, may breathe in fresh air, there is more reward than simply a feeling of well-being then, yes?

I could well have touched on this before in my blog. The information does bear repeating however and I'm excited about my trip next year, of course. The story has not ended, my visit to see friends who I've now known online for 13 years and only met face-to-face last year, continues. 

What I'd love, I imagine, is to get them all to move here. Childish and naive though that may sound, I would. Of course, then they'd be in a land so foreign they could be in awful culture shock. It's so different here even if it may look the same in some respects, and we do share one language, a version of English. But the idea of slicing away the part of amrka where they each live and transporting it here remains with me, in some peculiar fashion. It is like I think the world is an animation and I may redesign it.

Until such a tool exists I need to go and see them once more, a few of them anyway. This time also travelling south as far as New Orleans. I grew up listening to jazz on an adopted uncle's hi fi. My family while I was growing up tended to attract people from far and near. A couple from Scotland became some of our closest friends. They could buy music from overseas. (In those days you needed overseas funds to import luxuries like long playing records). Louis Armstrong's Moon River about the mighty Mississippi remains one of my most favourite songs of all time. He really did dream of crossing it in style one day, too. 

When Louis Armstrong left the area of New Orleans where he was born, (I have read his autobiography), they told him to remember what the people there taught him about who to trust and how to behave. He did follow that advice and grew to be one of the most respected performers ever, world-wide. 

The awful floods in New Orleans some years ago made me cry as soon as I heard about them. The disaster was partly due to the clearing of wetlands which had created a buffer against floods, and also due to lack of care on the part of authorities who cared for the area. Those floods devastated many people's lives.

I believed I would never be able to go there, my heart would not be in it. But the people have rallied and so much restoration and so on has been done. The extraordinary spirit of New Orleans has triumphed in many ways. I look forward to visiting the place. 

Please also, do consider planting trees for travel when you fly especially, or take any long journey by car. It is better to use trains or boats, they have lower carbon emissions and are more likely to be pleasant to travel by, as well.

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