The journey was 17 hours long. London, Singapore, Perth. I still don't understand why flight works. It is a metal bird. METAL and BIRD cancel each other out, they are not reconcilable. There is the gathering of speed, the plane is a wild animal, engine tensed like muscles. We leap into the air and I can't stifle the wild squeal of childish delight that whistles out of my mouth. Dan, a property developer from Manchester who sits beside me, laughs. We met just thirty minutes ago and he has told about his work, his love life, his pet Jack Russell and this holiday, taking three months off. I tell him I am impressed and hope to be able to do that, how relationships of mine have failed because of my unhealthy work ethic. He says this is also new for him, his first time not working in 16 years. Over Warsaw, Dan points out that we are 35,000 feet up, it is -58 degrees outside. On the T.V. Screen, he shows me the skycam, essentially, a camera strapped to the tail of the plane on the outside. At this height, we can see the curve of the planet, we are so high, Earth is bent. The night before I left, I went to a poetry event and listened to a gorgeous 10 line poem about dreams. How there are big dreams and little dreams. I forget the fine details, but it went something along the lines of a farmer dreams of a plough, a president dreams to his secretary, who dreams to his cabinet and soon, there is war. A man dreamt of crossing a field in the air, and we cross continents now. I consider the little horrors men do, how we divide and concquer one other, and consider now the evolutions, the hundreds of thousands of men it has taken to build ships for the air. A toast to those who dream big.
The reasons are complex, but I have not left the United Kingdom in just under a decade, in just under ten years of touring and trawling theatres, stages, trains and buses, searching, I think, for a place that I belong to. Once a rare while, with deepest conviction, I find such a place: in the tiniest of moments when I am conscious of being alive and simultaneously conscious of *thinking I'm alive, AND aware of everything else around me. Sort of like water suddenly being aware that it is wet. Over the weekend, I discovered I squandered away an opportunity to have such a place frequently and for a lifetime... I have a greater fear; that I might see as much of the world as I hope to, and realise that I might not belong anywhere specifically. Always at these points I think myself ridiculous and switch off, change topic to something more tangible and real, like rent. Something I can put my finger on and fix. I've been running.
I am in Perth, I am told that the closest city is on a whole other continent; there are places here where you stand, the stars look out to different parts of the galaxy. There is endless desert, water and you feel like you are at the edge of the world. There will be no place to run. I am absolutely terrified of what I will find there, but I'll go and seek that thing out.