Greeting to all fellow Drifters and Driftettes,
This blog was established about a year ago as a more considered sister to my stream-of-consciousness outlet for surf/skate/travel musings and inky-fingered antics over at my blogspot. Unfortunately, the intended prolific gush of beautifully rendered illustration, grainy snaps of far-flung beaches and cringe-worthy homespun philosophy quickly reduced to a trickle and then dried up completely. As some longhaired bespectacled Scouse once said “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”
And that’s exactly what happened to me. So here’s an attempt to kickstart the old jalopy into action again. Please excuse this one-off self-centred coughing and spluttering of the creaking creative motor as normal service is resumed. Future posts will be simpler affairs but a little explanatory perspective seems in order
The intervening year has been one of great contrasts as we’ve moved from living in a stable in a dusty village on the outskirts of Puerto Escondido to the hectic, anonymous urban sprawl of an alien Asian megacity via a few months stopover/tour of the Motherland. Going from the surreal treacle- slow-paced life of tropical heat, salty face and sandy feet to this pressure-cooker of a “conformism-is-king” country hurtling towards the future has been quite a shock to the system, the mental and cultural ‘jet lag’ only just wearing off after five months.
So, here we are in South Korea, colourful dreams of our meanderings through Central America fading. Instead facing the reality of doing the hard yards to fund the fire of future plans. My desire to draw is still hanging in there but tempered by the tiredness and cynicism from our work in the factory-like English academy where we stuff fragile young minds to near breaking point with grammar and syntax.
Though marooned in a city, inland and bland, there is at least plenty of Kryptonic-friendly tarmacadam to trundle upon and and a few wooden ramps to tumble from to maintain the stoke. And a few miles out of the city, the undeveloped mountains dripped for a brief spell with autumn colour, crisp cold air and the relics of ancient ways that are getting left behind in the pursuit of someone’s idea of progress. These occasional pleasures and the wonder of modern communication with family and friends keep the frustrations of creeping culture shock and that impatient gnawing of ‘elsewhere’ at bay.
It’s easy sometimes to see this year of yearning and learning in cynical tunnel vision: Just killing time before we can do what we really want to do. But if the longhaired Liverpudlian was right, we might just miss out on the wonders around us and what we’re ultimately here for. So as we lurch from escapism to immersion and back again I try to keep in mind the words my Dad had engraved for me on a pewter hip flask: CARPE DIEM.
Wise words for the living, from a language long dead.