The sky is bright blue for a change, our bellies are full from a continental buffet-style breakfast and the air feels crisp. We’re ready to hike, in every way possible. A volcano crater had loomed on the horizon the last of yesterday’s drive, and that’s where we were headed this morning.
The ground had been slippery when we’d walked out of our room that morning, and we’d been afraid it’d be difficult to drive, but the car had proven worthy and we were speeding along the road as if it was high summer and the roads were dry. The crater looked impressive on the horizon, with its perfectly flat surface. Surrounding it were trails of smoke rising to the sky coming from the local hot springs. All I could think of was the coming hike and the views from the top. Stories about volcanos had littered my life until then, but I’d never been close to one myself and all I could think of was walking along that ridge. Pitch black dirt underneath my feet, never ending views all around. Not for the slightest moment did I think about the anxiety attacks I’d been having lately, why would’ve I?
It was our last night, we had just devoured a delicious dinner of seafood accompanied by a nice glass of wine and were hanging back in our chairs to give our bellies some space when I looked outside and noticed the stars. What if?
For a moment I hesitated but then decided to look it up regardless, we only had a few hours before our flight would leave but hell, it wasn’t as if we’d be back soon. I grabbed my phone from deep down in my bag and connected to the restaurant’s wifi. It was a clear night, I didn’t need a website to tell me that, but what I didn’t know was if there was any chance of seeing the northern lights tonight. So I opened the tab which I had kept ready for weeks and there it was. 90 percent chance.
The future is dark, which is the best thing the future can be, I think. Virginia Woolf.
I draw, I write – the two processes are the same to me; they help me to understand, to make connections. I have no objection to showing the drawings, but when it comes to writing I feel I don’t have the entitlement to write. I mean, publically. I don’t know the rules, English is not my first language. I write about feelings, not facts.
Writing is personal and challenging, yet I find it very gratifying – because it helps me to understand.
I hope that by being personal I can be general too, that someone will relate and we can have a conversation.
I’m sitting on a hunter’s platform overlooking a valley. Right in the middle of it I can see what I think is the outskirt of La Roche. A river twists and bends its way through the city and then the trees and I imagine myself walking there only a few hours before. The signage hadn’t been very clear to me and I’d felt utterly lost, after a few confused looks at the map I’d picked up earlier I’d mustered my best french and asked a local man if I was going the right way. Yes, he said, and he said it with so much confidence I had trusted him entirely. A little further down the road, I’d asked another group of locals again and they had said yes with perhaps even more confidence than the first. It was probably because of that, that it took a little while before I found out, but I found out soon enough to eventually find my way looking around and behind trees and signposts. They had sent me the wrong way, I guess it’s just the tourists walking these routes and not the locals. It didn’t really matter, though, the tracks and climbs and views were just as beautiful. It was just a little harder to navigate, walking a different route from the one I’d planned in the opposite direction.
I can’t find my pen, it’s gotten dark now, but it’s ok, a pencil will write the same words. The colours of the world have changed so much in the last few hours. I didn’t even notice, I was lost in another world, flipping the pages of my book until it got hard for me to read the words. The sun had set without me noticing and with it slowly the light had disappeared. I looked up in utter astonishment, and when I did my breath was taken away. Water drops and layers of dew and steam fogged the windows. Obscuring what was outside, covering the world which was now in warm shades of red, orange and yellow where street lights were turned on and in shades of deep dark blue and purple everywhere else.
Our day in Liverpool ends quickly though and the next day we find ourselves on yet another ferry to Dublin, where we get our first taste of Gaelic. All the road signs are both in English as in Gaelic and I rejoice in trying to say all the words out loud. I quickly memorize the word for exit as we pass the sign at least every five minutes on the highway and I don’t think I ever stopped saying it during those three weeks.
Ireland, I haven’t seen you for a while. A couple of years it has been since my feet touched your soil, but if I think of you I hear the music playing in my head and images of roads winding under flowery skies and over green hills littered with stone hedges come to me clear as if it happened just yesterday.
It was quiet out here, too. Dead kangaroos on the side of the street. The woman at the only roadhouse between Mildura and Broken Hill only said “Yay” and nothing else. It was getting hotter and hotter, red dirt roads branched off from the main street. I got used to driving straight, taking photos out of the car, changing CDs and started to like them now, tried to practise the Spanish rolling R. There was nothing else to do than driving and waiting for something.
It always takes some time to get used to yourself again. I had spent the last two months surrounded by other travellers, started similar small talks every day with different people, and found out new things about faraway countries every other day. Now I was on my own, driving out of Melbourne, and I had forgotten how quiet and lonely it can be behind the rental car’s doors. I had forgotten what I looked like on my own. The outside rushed past without a noise like a movie on a screen with a volume turned down to silence: the trees, the houses, the heat. I had a moving room of my own, my Canon A-1 and a notebook on the passenger seat.
“I never really understood the word ‘loneliness’. As far as I was concerned, I was in an orgy with the sky and the ocean, and with nature.” ― Björk
There is a vibrant energy behind the nature’s hidden refrain. Capturing the ’emotion’ of the landscape scenery marks out the extraordinary from the ordinary, the light from the shadow. This wanderlust has been captured by the extremely talented Jocelyn Catterson, who has left the city behind and has decided to be a part of the wilderness.
“Never let the fear of failure determine any of your decisions in life.”
Emmanuel Rosario is a 26 years old photographer from Harlem, New York. His photographs really push us to work harder to be on the road more often. His work is what we imagined Kerouac’s ‘On The Road’ to look like. His photographs show his friends and him adventuring on the highways across America, drinking bourbon and smoking the night away. Curious about his lifestyle and his photography, we had a little chat with this talented rolling stone.
Skyler Greene is a photographer, designer, and traveler from northern California. He’s been traveling since secondary school, after joining TEAM, a wilderness exploration program which was comprised of backpacking, experiential learning, and group cohesion. It is there where he learned how to survive with what could fit in a rucksack in extreme elements, under the guidance of his mentors.