Story Archive

eSwag-17

GOING GOING GOING ..... GONE

Posted on June 5, 2012 by
Raymond
on the road at
BLACKHEATH

 

Imagine the world's largest, longest piece of Velcro. No ... bigger than that. That's closer but it's really wide, industrial strength and miles long. Imagine it ripping apart over a year with microphones to pick up the high pitched tearing and the low groans as from a torturer's rack. That's the backing track to my leaving home over the past year.

Now .. yes exactly NOW! .. the separation is complete. Man and dog are in the car ... dog with his head hanging out the window and barking ... man with a head in which the interminable tearing sound has finally stopped. Well the Velcro Symphony at least.

What does it feel like? I am not sure. I can occasionally be intelligent and am always emotional, but those two entities rarely meet as Emotional Intelligence. If they do it is as brief an encounter as a Christmas carol sung on the Western Front. My intelligence singing Stille Nacht in a steady voice while my emotions do a weepy Silent Night. The next day we are at war again.

Amongst the clatter of that conflict I feel lots of things: relief; abandonment; momentum like the first down stroke of a bike journey used to feel when I was a kid; or when I was a man.

All my important belongings are packed in the Adventure Camper. I only have my best pots and cutlery. Clothes are at a minimum. There is plenty of space and I know where everything is because there isn't much. That's one of the tricks I think. Don't have much.

We will drop off the mountain today and I'll sleep in the Italian penthouse somewhere on the Hay Plain. As I cook my dinner it will be bitterly cold and I'll start a fire. Man and dog will huddle around it and I'll catch up with the First Tuesday Book Club on iTV.

I'll lie in the penthouse and fail completely to stop myself from imagining the next decade on the road. The thought that this is now my life will overwhelm me and I'll make an attempt to lasso the vision into some reasonable and logical part of my mind. That won't succeed so my emotional world will ride to the rescue to catapult me into a dream world of wistful wanderings.

I am at an age where I should be thinking of a 'comfortable retirement'. Forget it. I'll keep running my Into the Blue trips. I want to walk, explore, be exposed, feel cold, have to scramble on top of the trailer to sleep, climb down in the morning, weep if I need to, when I need to, collect firewood, wash in creeks.

I also want to write. For years people said 'you should be a writer.' In the pit of my darkest drinking days, 'The Man Who Loved Too Much' was born.

It had, unsurprisingly, rather strong autobiographical elements where I was cast, even less unsurprisingly, as the victim. In any case I was so overwhelmed by the power of my as yet unwritten book, that I became emotionally exhausted and didn't write anything except the first line which I stole from a friend. "he took off his clothes and walked slowly into the ocean, and didn't even wave goodbye to his friends." Some books are best left unwritten.

Now I feel compelled to write so I am a writer. Before I was compelled to walk and so described myself as a walker. I have always felt it is the essence of what you do that makes you what you are.

Others disagree but I intend to go into country where what you or I think is of no consequence. Now that is a place to aim for. Where the horizon absorbs all my head talk like a carbon sink.

So I am off. All things, even waiting, end.

There is an idea in the novel Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier that I love. The protagonist, Inman, is in hospital recovering from a recent battle wound. As the American Civil War rages about him he crawls through the ward window as though it frames the rest of his life. Which of course it does. There is a sense that everything that happens thence is set within the picture frame of that window. Or perhaps, since life moves, a television screen.

The ELECTRONIC SWAGMAN was born out of an idea as I walked from Melbourne to Sydney almost 15 years ago. Now, with the turn of the key, I am driving into another picture frame with the script unwritten and the destiny unknown.

Glad you are coming too.

Raymond

PS. If you comment or hit LIKE it helps in getting people to hear about the eSwag.

Comments
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annielooby
Reply
Bon voyage my friend. I look forward to all the stories. I am green with envy. I will live vicariously. Favorite line: "Where the horizon absorbs all my head talk like a carbon sink." Love xx
Raymond
Reply
Those horizons have to be bloody big I tell you.
Barb
Reply
Well good luck Ray. I felt very emotional reading your blog, and I can only say I wish you everything you wish yourself and more. Love you Ray
Raymond
Reply
Barb, for anyone reading is my sister and my greatest supporter. xxxx
Noskopar fanboy
Reply
Very touching and well written blog. Excited to read about your new journey.
Raymond
Reply
Thanks Noskopar Fanboy. How are your treatments going? I hope you are developing the spiritual aspect of the Noskopar program and not just out for a quick skin makeover.
Noskopar fanboy
Reply
A quick skin makeover - how superficial. I heard that at Noskopar they say 'skin care is in the mind, the body and the soul.'
Raymond
Reply
I am relieved .. and yes .. Noskopar is a way of of life rather than a cosmetic treatment. Well done. Sometimes I have to be a bit firm with my fans.
Helen Fong
Reply
Hi Raymond, Are you actually retired now? No longer with Into the Blue? It seems unimaginable . BTW I am still writing my book but as a research student at UTS so unless I want to be kicked out, I will finish it. Look forward to hearing about your journeys.
Raymond
Reply
Hi Helen .. no not retired. I am still doing my trips but have sold my house and converted it into a travelling life of writing and photography. So, I shall do trips on the way. Glad your book continues and happy you are following Tom and my journey. My book is published in September/October and OI would love you to come to the launch. c ya Raymond
Ella James
Reply
Congratulations Ray, I wish you all the best and look forward to your book being released! Warmest Regards, Ella
Raymond
Reply
Hey Ella. How r you. Long time. Love to hear from you. Raymond xx
christa
Reply
Well , wot a nerve you have . . driving into 'my dream'(with a dog as well !) ! If I see you on the red road to Derby I  shall honk three times ! Leaving Margaret River sooooon . c
Raymond
Reply
Hey Christa. Great. Cant wait to get up there. Its like my lost world in my imagination. Honk 3 times if your horny we used to say in the 70's.
christa
Reply
Derby MarshArt Festival is on June 23rd.?? and Mowanjum Dance @ Wandjina gallery so don't loiter too long in the south country ! Wonders of the Lost World await! c
Raymond
Reply
Hey Christa - I'll be running a Desert Writers trip at that time but hope to head up after that to Broome. Might see you there. R
christa walsh
Reply
Look forward to the sighting ! May have to reconsider the Honk 3 times recognition signal . . (being 'horny' has slipped into a Wonder of a Lost World' ) but will have time to consider other options before then . I drive a 'White Pearl'/ a small red dog 'sista'/an a ubeut roobar just fitted ... how could you miss us ?
Raymond
Reply
Hey Christa. You will stick out like the proverbials. Raymond
Sue
Reply
Good on you - you are finally doing it! Good luck and can't wait to read about your adventures on the road in the Italian penthouse on wheels. Fittingly, as they say in Italian... allora... ("and then...")
Raymond
Reply
Hey Sue .. off to do a few trips then who knows where. Hope you come to the launch in October. Saw Sally the other day. Rx
Suz
Reply
Planning a trip with my Fonzy dogga too. just shopping the rig at present. What an amazing life we have!!!!!
Raymond
Reply
Hey Suz. Tell us about it. I want to get travellers - I was going to say share but God I hate that word - to TELL their stories. Gods speed to you as well. R
Jen
Reply
Love the farewell foto of you in the penthouse and lordy, lordy, isn't your skin looking GREAT! Thank you for tuning in for bookclub Tuesday - did you see me wave just to you? - and in the unlikely event you run short of fodder on the road, I have a heapa books and will just send some on to p.o. at whatever your next stop is. (like the old poste restante). First 2 weeks October, some time, you're booked in for a launch. In the meantime, don't be a stranger now x
Raymond
Reply
Thanks Jen. We will have fun at the launch. I don't care to brag about my skin but you are right. I look incredible. I think I might have gone a bit hard on the bowl in Extreme Exfoliation and there have been a few complications. Just a bit of swelling and a touch of gangrene. So happy you will launch the book. Ill set a date. c ya. Got to watch the First Tuesday Book Show. Rx
Holly
Reply
Bon voyage RaymondWoof woof TommieHx
Raymond
Reply
Tommie says Woof and I say Hi to you as well.
Kate Klein
Reply
Congratulations Raymond! I remember hearing your eSwagman plans ten years ago - now you have made them a reality. Fark don't we ALL want to DO something so unconventional and outrageous in our lives. You are the Noskopar Pin-up boy of Possibility. I am very proud of you.
Raymond
Reply
Hey Kate. You are right. I think you were the first person I spoke to about the Electronic Swagman. Not sure if that's what we called it then? Yiu are also right about Noskopar. Some people think its a miracle cosmetic treatment but it sooooo much more. Raymond xx
Sally
Reply
Hi Raymond. I take my hat off to you. If only we were half as courageous our lives might be twice as exciting! Cant wait to read about more of your adventures. Frieda sends her love to you and Tommie. x
Raymond
Reply
And Tommie his. I think there was a certain 'frission' between them don't you think
Catherine Horan
Reply
Congratulations Raymond, off into the wide yonder. Look forward to hearing about your adventures and the people you meet. That sentence '... it is the essence of what you do that makes you what you are' I have stuck above my desk,I hope you don't mind. Words of wisdom, thank you. Wear a singlet, you can't go wrong. Catherine
Raymond
Reply
Hi Catherine. I edited that line from one where I explained what I meant to that simple version. Got my thermal singlets ready. R
Cam
Reply
Ok mate, I'll have to come along via the blog. That penthouse looks damn cosy... Not much room for luxuries, but I see you've taken the good pants. Will you be playing a little red-dust golf?  Best wishes ... Cam
Raymond
Reply
You KNOW theres always room in my Italian Penthouse for you Cam.
Tanja
Reply
I'll look forward to reading about all the adventures Raymond - you're taking on a journey that most of us dread - silent time with your own head! Good on you Happy travels
Raymond
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Hi Tanja. You know, isolation has never worried me. I read about the old boundary fence riders who came in to town when they started setting two places for dinner. Hows your jewelry design going?
Juliann
Reply
I can hear the velcroe from all the way up here, and I think your cape is kevlar. J
Raymond
Reply
The velcro has stopped for me though .. its the sound of an outback wind now... R
David Hall
Reply
Good on you Raymond, I look forward to your tales of the road. May you always have what you need.
Raymond
Reply
Hi David - You cant always git what you want but if you try sometimes you git what you need..
Susan
Reply
"I am about to go into a country where what you or I think is of no consequence" words to reflect on. journey safe.
Raymond
Reply
Thanks Susan. I hope to be back for the Soiree for the Soul. c ya Raymond
Cecilia
Reply
You said the trailer, and I assume this will include the penthouse, will (also) serve the campers. The penthouse looks comfortable indeed, but I think with 16 - 18 choristers in there it may be a bit of a squeeze! ;-)
Raymond
Reply
You forgot Tommie. No we will be right. C ya soon
Toni Frecker
Reply
Congratulations, I shall look forward to readding the blog and enjoyng vicariously the adventure. Inspiring!!
Raymond
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Hey Toni. Welcome to the journey. I was almost going to say its the journey not the destination but I stopped myself. Lets have fun.
Julia
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I almost did too, and stopped myself¦ Jx
Jim M
Reply
Good luck mate “break a leg" etc Part of me envies you - and part of me cringes at the thought of the cold nights and aloneness“ and the lack of a good Chardonnay on the road!
Raymond
Reply
Sounds like you are comprised of two parts Jim - the envious one and the pisspot. Only kiddin me old mate. I know you to be a Renaissance Man.
Carolyn Looby
Reply
Hello Raymond, I've heard about you. Should have got on to this sooner. I'm looking forward to the journey. Safe travels.
Raymond
Reply
And its ALL TRUE Carolyn .. every last sordid little bit. Glad you are with Tommie & I. c ya Raymond
Rowdy
Reply
'on yar Raymond love & pats (for T) Rowdy
Raymond
Reply
Hey Rowdy. Just found the best camp. I ate an hour ago. The firs is going. Tom is beside me. The Italian penthouse awaits and its only 6 o'clock. C ya Rx
SHANTIEMAN DAVIE
Reply
Just so uplifting reading this Raymond you are doing what a lot of people want to do, including me but we have been caught in the trap.You my friend have found the key to the magic door that opens and leads you up mother natures path. I RAISE A GLASS OF MY FINEST SCOTCH WHISKEY AND AND GIVE A TOAST TO RAYMOND AND TOMMIE. MAY YOU TRAVEL SAFE AND LONG CHEERS.
Raymond
Reply
Hi Davie. You are our first Scot. Our very own Robert Bruce or Mel Gibson. He doesn't sound Scottish does he. But seriously. Great to have the VOICE OF SCOTLAND with us. I have found the most superb place to camp near bushranger Ben Halls Cave. He died at 27 after a great career as a charismatic bushranger. A Robin Hood character loved by the locals who turned out in droves at his funeral. His final words as he was shot - 'I am wounded. Shoot me dead'.
Alynn
Reply
Good on you Raymond. Go for it, and have a great time. 15 years since the great walk! I remember the preparations well. All done at the expense of the NSW tax payer and your fellow downtrodden workers! (My excoriating bitterness will always out-exfoliate your Noskopar, mate!) Ben Hall's Cave, eh? So you didn't quite make it to the Hay Plains on the first night. (I'll bet you and Tommie didn't walk all the way up to the cave, either.) Peter grew up in Grenfell, and we know the camping area well. We're planning to build on a high spot just to the NE of the Grenfell township, and hopefully escape from the city in the next 5 years. (I've officially retired, but can't afford to stop working just yet.) Thank god the extra room in the penthouse is for Cam, and not me! Take care and have fun. Love (the rough, blokey kind of course), Alynn (The Grumpy Old Poof) Pratt
Raymond
Reply
Hey Big Al. I love Grenfell. They might even be able to cope with you and Peter in another five years. Just. I couldn't take Tommie up to the cave because its a National Park but I did. I have to get to the desert or I would stay in the forest outside the park for a week or so. It is beautiful country. I could live here. I might. Right next to you & Peter. C ya R
Alynn
Reply
Jesus Herbert Christ, what was I thinking? What have I done!? Seriously though, we're starting with a garage and guest room, so when the house is finished, you'd be most welcome to come and have a rest from the road. Cheers.
Raymond
Reply
Thanks Al. You are nice underneath that truly horrible exterior,
wendy
Reply
you always do what you say... can I have some spare motivational genes you have currently not doing anything... I know you have loads to share.. "woof woof" to Tommie.. he knows what I mean!
Raymond
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Hey Wendy. My whole vision is being taken hostage by the landscape. I am prisoner to the sights around me. I arrived in a bush camp last night to find a little just born kid and two scared goats. Timing is everything. I feel I am IN the photograph and it is very exciting. Tommie says Woof.
jill taylor
Reply
Looking forward to the next episode! Can't quite imagine what it would be like being on the road full time. Good Luck Raymond; and keep the lively stories coming. Heard Jennifer B talking about the next Tuesday book club which is on comedy! c y j
Raymond
Reply
Hey Jill. I cant quite imagine what it will be like living on the road full time either. I hope you are coming to my book launch in early October. We will have to get Helen down. c ya Raymond
Marg
Reply
Looking forward to following your journey, though my own inclination would be to head north (from Sydney) at this time of year!
Raymond
Reply
Hey Marg. I have a couple of trips in the desert first. c ya R