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Interactive photographic map of the entire world!

Interactive photographic map of the entire world!

Photo Albums

The sights and other aspects of Korea
Korean Sights -- The Sights of Korea The World of Flowers
The World of Flowers The Temples of Asia
The Temples of Asia Faces of Asia
FaceOff -- The Faces of Asia Great Cities of the World
Great Cities of the World Viking Horns
Vikings Horns -- The Warriors of Iceland BlurStream -- Human Movement
BlurStream -- Human Movement Singapore -- January 2003
Singapore -- January 2003

Photo Diary

A Day In The Life -- A Photo Diary Of My Entire Life
A Photo Diary of Every Day of My Life
A Day In The Life -- October 24 2003
Photo Diary -- October 24 2003


The 70s Never Died, It Just Smells That Way
The 70s Never Died, It Just Smells That Way Terrorism in the 00s -- EgyptAir
EgyptAir America disintegrates in the sands of the Middle East -- Israel with it!
Greek Start a Holy War!
Start a Holy War


Life of Pi -- A Review by Robert Sullivan
The Life of Pi

ASIA ON MY MIND - my yearning to live in asia

MANY PEOPLE IN JAPAN (where I live now) often ask me "Why did you come here?", as if they can't understand why anyone would choose to move to such a harried, overcrowded, go-go-go environment. They can't believe I would voluntarily leave behind the blue skies and pristine seas of Australia, and come to live in their homeland. What they fail to consider is that after 27 years of life in Australia, I figured I had experienced as much as I needed to experience of Australian life. And what they fail to understand is that while it has plenty of fresh air and open spaces, Australia can also be as boring as hell when it comes to cultural experiences. When I was a child there, all I wanted to do was to get out. Preferably to Europe, because it seemed so temperate and cultured and so far removed from the brown scrublands of my own country, and because the books I read were set in European type landscapes (for example, "Lord of the Rings".) If there was snow and lots of people with blond hair, even better. In my ideal life I figured I would be living somewhere like the spruce forests of Norway or in some small town in Iceland, and every night would be decorated with the Northern Lights.

Of course, things never work out the way you expect them to do, and your dreams have a habit of building upon themselves, adding new layers, and metamorphosising. (But your dreams do want to come true, if you allow them to express themselves, step by step!) After spending all of my early years dreaming about Europe, but never actually leaving Australia, I was invited to accompany my university friend Garnet Mae on a voyage in 1992. He was planning to go to the Middle East, a place that wasn't even on my travel wish list -- but he had such a confident, I-can-do-anything spirit that I felt sure I could be safe with him, even if I had no money. He was an experienced traveller, and taught me that you didn't need much money on the backpacker circuit (so long as you kept to the cheaper countries.) In my ideal world, I would have preferred to go to Iceland and Norway rather than the Middle East. But Iceland and Norway were (and still are) prohibitively expensive, whereas the Middle East was affordable to a university student like me. So, I decided to go, thinking that any travel had to be good travel, even if it was to a part of the world I had never been interested in before.

Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and the trip changed me on many levels. But the biggest shock happened at the start of the holiday, when we made a two-day stopover in Bangkok, Thailand. Just like the Middle East, I had never considered Asia as a place to visit, let alone to live. But after just two days in Thailand from December 26-28 1992, my feelings about Asia underwent a complete revolution. I was a travel virgin, so my sense of culture shock was extreme -- I have never felt that kind of culture shock since then, and doubtless I ever will. You can only lose your virginity once, and I lost my (travel) virginity in Bangkok! It was the ultimate exotic experience -- so chaotic and strange -- so ancient and modern -- so colourful and beautiful -- so ugly and repugnant. So addictive! The smells of leather and Thai food and sewage and incense mixed together into one baffling aroma. The shock of poverty and affluence in the same street (beggars outside the Japanese department store.) The realisation that home is a very small place indeed, and that there are countless other worlds existing everywhere, existing without our knowledge. As I said, it was the ultimate travel experience for me, and I will never experience the like of it again. But one consequence of this stunning baptism is that I have been addicted to Asia ever since those two dazed days of 1992. From that point on, I knew I had to live in Asia. Europe could wait, for the time's being at least!

MY FIRST VISIT TO SINGAPORE took place on the way home to Australia from my very first overseas holiday, a 2-month ramble around some of the flashpoints of the Middle East, such as Hebron and Bethlehem. I had caught a Turkish Airlines flight from Tel Aviv to Istanbul, where I transferred to a Turkish Airlines flight to Singapore, where I would catch a connecting Qantas flight to Sydney. By chance, on the flight to Singapore there was the same Turkish/Australian woman I had remembered seeing on a Bangkok-to-Istanbul flight nearly two months before. It is a small world, and we must have locked into the same cycles or something, because two months is a long time for a holiday (for the ordinary person, that is!)

Anyway, I remember enjoying the stunning views of Singapore City as we approached the airport, and the sun shone stong, and the air was blue and clear. It was afternoon, and I had been flying all night, enjoying the luxuries only Turkish Airlines can present. We landed, and I remember ambling around the airport for an hour or two. I remember seeing the big "Selamat Datang" (welcome!) sign hanging over one of the indoor tropical gardens. But I was desperate to get home to Australia after two months in strange places, so I didn't pay much attention to how beautiful the airport was.

It would be 14 or 15 months before I would be back (again, for only a fleeting, airport-centric visit.) But in that time, as I finished my university degree in Australia, I would undergo a profound cultural revolution. I would become what Japanese might call an Asia-mania -- an Asian-fanatic, and I would dedicate my life to living and loving in Asia!

SO, HAVING BEEN ENTRANCED BY THAILAND, and spending a few hours in the beautiful Changi Airport at Singapore, I found myself back in dead-end Australia, at my university at Bathurst, in the country. I had lived through so many incredible experiences during my two-month holiday -- visited the Pyramids at Giza and the goat town oasis of Siwa in the middle of the desert near the Libyan border, lolled around a Palestian refugee camp and seen countless machine guns and tanks, traipsed through the snowy streets of Istanbul where everyone wore fur hats and moustaches. In short, I had tasted the vastness and diversity of the world, and then been forced back into the little box of Australian university life. It had been a cool and mesmerising little box before I blasted out of it, but now it was sterile and boring. It's funny how stupendous new experiences can make your old life seem intolerable and dull. Nobody wanted to hear my stories about Israel or the troubles of the Middle East. Nothing in Australia could compare with the feeling and the freedom of the open roads and bus routes of the Golan Heights or Lower Egypt, the sickly-sweet smells of a Bangkok market.

But -- screw them! They were going to hear what I had to say about the Middle East and the wider world! I would not remain silent. This website is testament to this fact!

Friday, July 15, 2011 Jakarta Dreams

FOR A LARGE PART OF 1993, MY FINAL YEAR AT COLLEGE AT CHARLES STURT UNIVERSITY (MITCHELL), ALL I WANTED TO DO WAS LIVE AND WORK IN JAKARTA. My journalism program had an exchange program with the Indonesian Observer based in that capital city, and every year one of the graduating students was selected by the newspaper's editor for a one-year posting, up there in the archipelago. I had never really been interested in Asia up till that point, Europe had always been the continent on my mind, but during our long summer break of 2002/2003 I had made my first ever overseas trip, focused on the Middle East, but with a couple of Asian appendages. My buddy Garnet Mae and I had stopped in Bangkok, Thailand, for a day or two on the way to Istanbul, and my view of the world was abruptly changed. After that revelation, that initiation into hot streets and crowded shopping malls, my life in Australia would forever seem a bit bland. Regardless of its comforts. From that point on I was a travel junkie, and life would be just about getting abroad again. Anywhere would be cool, especially Asia, especially Indonesia. So I applied for the internship, I studied Basic Bahasa Indonesia, in anticipation of my successful application. Little did I know that the editor over there at the Observer had a thing for Australian women... had I known that, I might not have tried so hard! For much of 1993, living out in Rocket Street in Bathurst NSW, all I wanted to do was to get a job in Indonesia. I invested a helluva lot of time and energy into the dream, and in the end, it was an outcome I could not control. The editor in Jakarta gave the job which should have been mine, to some chick instead. Not that I am begrudging her... my destiny took another course. I am glad I didn't win the exchange, because it freed me up for another path. But it makes you think: it really sucks when somebody else is control of your destiny. Nobody should have that kind of power of you... (For the story how I can use my online income to finally realise my Jakarta dreams, my own way, click



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