Story Archive

eSwag28

Well this is Christmas!

Posted on December 17, 2012 by
Raymond
on the road at
Sydney

 

I have never quite understood the idea of "another year winding to a close." It does nothing of the sort, it spins like a whirling dervish on LSD until it collapses in the corner on New Years Day. Well mine do anyway.

I've seen the women in my family work from morning til dusk for a month to prepare food, buy presents and keep children from being over excited. It was exhausting just watching them. They really should have done it in another room so I could enjoy the cricket. I mean some things are sacred. 

That is a joke. I have attracted a lot of readers from all over the world on Facebook and on this blog and I have to be really careful with my language and our Australian humour. Words have to be used unambiguously. I have to "take" a photo rather than "shoot" it, especially when it's an owl. The howls of protest - or maybe hoots - when I shot a beautiful owl might well have reached the UN.

At an early Christmas party a few days ago, a trick my family adopted some decades ago to beat the communal madness of Christmas Day, my niece made the point that this time last year I was asking what a blog was. Well, a lot can happen in a year. Blogging and posting images has become an almost full time gig as Tommie and I travel. Life is a shared observation. 

My book, The Electronic Swagman, has been published and I am about to open my online Corner Store. Actually I am opening my Corner Store right now. At this stage of its development it has the print book and eBooks available. In the new year I will have the images from our journey available on a store through an Australian production and distribution company called RED BUBBLE.

From a laptop in the middle of Australia, I can shoot, sorry "take", an image of Tommie or a kangaroo or a mulga caught in a dying red light and within minutes, not only can it be posted online with people from Los Angeles to Lithuania commenting on it, but uploaded onto a virtual store. From there it can be ordered as a framed or canvas print, a photograph, a t-shirt or a greeting card and dispatched within 3 days. Not only has the internet given the tyranny of distance a run for its money but Print on Demand means stock inventories are a thing of the past.

During the development of my online store, about three months, the need to adapt to the changing capacity of a connected world was critical. I had no idea of Red Bubble, or different types of eBooks. Nothing is the same anymore. It seems to me that the change has now hit a critical point and there is no way back. 

I enjoy it. It did take me a while to mutate from the "I don't use Facebook face" to the realization that I actually love it. It is fascinating and powerful. For you to be reading this now is incredible. The capacity for different voices to be heard above the corporations and the orthodoxies is mind-boggling.  I started writing a short story called An iPhone in Auswitch. It imagined an iPhone smuggled into the death camps and the simple power of shared visual information. Then the Arab Spring started and Facebook allowed information to be disseminated faster than the secret police, who had held citizens terrified for decades, could stop it. My story was no longer news. The world has changed. 

I do like to think I share images and stories that have significance. A story about a farmer from Booborowie who doesn't get one cent for his wheat in a lof of bread had responses from every farming community in the world reporting the same dilemma. A photo of old Keith who is dying prompted other such stories and reflections. Daily shots of Tommie are a celebration of a happy and beautiful soul.  Community can develop in cyberspace. In the case of the Electronic Swagman it is developing around the love of dogs, of nature, of photography and simple stories of people. 

I started writing this blog without any real idea of what I wanted to say. I should end by inviting those who have not yet read my book to buy it. It is a story of which I am proud. It is how Tommie and I can continue to do what we are doing, by selling our books and images across the world.

Regarding myself, I have found that Life on the road deflates the emotional airbags that previously cushioned me. Life is raw and immediate. The antenna that seeks stories from old men in Boulia or symetery in the image of an outback fence falling down, is continually alert. It is a little exhausting. In the next year I will need to find a balance between writing and photography, between enjoying my journey and between sharing it.

In the meantime I invite you to visit the Corner Store and to read the back story to the current journey which started on New Year's Day in 1953. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Raymond & Tommie xx

PS - Photo courtesy of Wendy McDougall Photography. 

Comments
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Sally Snow
Reply
Hi Raymond and Tommie. Indeed what a year you have had - and what joy you have brought people.I wish you a relaxing and fun Christmas and look forward to enjoying more blogs and photos in the new year. Sally - P.S. Frieda and i are around for walks if you have time!
Sally Snow
Reply
Hi Sally - In the new Year we should get some Sydney Swaggy together for a walk. There are lots of them. Have a great Christmas. c ya Raymond & Tommie
Robyn & Darcy
Reply
Hi! Love the site. Tommie's letter was priceless and you picked Darcy's favorite photo - See? We remember these things! I look forward to reading more. WOOF for now.
Raymond
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Hi Robyn - Tommie write OK for a dog I guess but I have to do all the hard yards. c ya Raymond
Jenni Willis
Reply
Hi Raymond & Tommie,I loved reading your book,not often I stop for a day so must have been good! Reading it evoked memories of my own journey to this point. Thank you for sharing both past & present and may the road before you continue to lead you to where life is full of wonder! :)
Raymond
Reply
Hi Jenny - All the best for the New Year. Ill see you guys soon. Raymond
Carolyn
Reply
Happy Christmas Tommie and Raymond. I love catching up with your daily FB posts and looking at the beautiful photos, especially the daily tree. Good luck with the sale of the book and the corner store.
Raymond
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Hi Carolyn - thanks for your encouragement. I am encouraging people to go to the Corner Store and get the book of Tommie and my adventures up to the start of the eSwag. Have a good Christmas. Raymond & Tommie
Carolyn
Reply
I will certainly do that. I am from the UK. I spent a year in Australia last year teaching and I sooo miss it so I just love anything to do with Australia atm.
Barbara
Reply
Shoot an owl! Ray, you break me up.Congratulations on The Electronic Swagman, brilliant. Love reading your blog (not as much as Tommy's but it is still good) so thanks for the enjoyment of it and your insights.
Raymond
Reply
This is my sister Barbara everyone - She is much OLDER than me as you will have noticed from the photos of her I posted on Facebook.
Sarah Marsh
Reply
Hi to you both I am so happy I found your site. I can hardly wait for your next post.I am a Canadian. Your travelshave inspired me so much. Thanks you so much for sharing your's and Tommie's adventure.I defintely will get a book after the holidays.Woof to Tommie and Merry Christmas to you both and to your family.stay safe.
Raymond
Reply
Hi Swaggy Sarah. You have a lovely Christmas as well. Tommie and I have some wonderful plans for next year even though we dont really have a clue what we are going to do. THATS THE PLAN. Glad to have another Canadian onboard.
Rosa
Reply
Hi Raymond and Tommie from Sinbad an me. Hope your New Year is full of all those things that make your life worthwhile and that Christmas finds you surrounded by those you love. Cheers, Rosa and Sinbad.
Raymond
Reply
Hi Rosa and Sinbad - all the best to you as well mate. I'll get up your way sometime this coming year.
Rosa
Reply
I look forward to it.
Loreena @ Little Aussie Travellers
Reply
Hi guys! We've loved following your story. Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Here's hoping we bump into you out on the road in our travels around Aus in 2013, I'm pretty sure our buddy Yoshi would love some doggy company although he mostly ignores other dog mates to chase his stick or his ball, but that's Kelpies for you I guess. If we do meet on the road, I'll be sure to let Tommie know not to take it personally :)
lee bruce
Reply
I am so happy to have met through the ether a kindred spirit and so wish I was still out and about.My father was a great walker and he taught me to see the small but intimate immensities around us.I used to be able to walk miles but at 58 find mself stuck at home in a busy street,feeding the birds and wishing for the sea and hills. I spend a lot of time of the scottish islands contemplating the sea and listening to the mar am grasses.love your posts and photos.my blog is www.trackworksblogspot.com for anyone who would like to look in.
lee bruce
Reply
Thank you for this post. I am reminded of a quote when thinking of your work " Look deep into nature,and then you will understand everything better"  Albert Einstein How odd so many of us have lost the importance of this,Native  peoples all over the world have always known it. We have a five year old grandchild born on New Years day,this year she is with us to celebrate and she was with us for Christmas too,we had plenty of calming to do. especially when ours sons arrived and made safely up the dangerous road north. Breagha got a new soft bed and a toy for christmas but really every time someone gives her a biscuit what ever time of the year its christmas for her. wishing you and yours a safe and Happy 2013.