On Paper Plains/Planes (Or: Again with the Changes)

“Words are air. Writing is forever.” – Fridge magnet

The act of putting words onto paper is like bringing something to life. From soil or skin, something blooms and lives in reality. Ink drips slowly, soaks into paper and then forever more the truth is made.

The intangibility of the blog is something that keeps it fresh, readable and eternal. As long as hard-drives, magnetic strips and super-computers exist, this blog will exist as a marker of my movement. Bonica lives forever as a story and image and James will forever be in those magnificent cities, taking photos and seeing sights. But the intangibility of the blog also marks it as something fluid, untrustworthy, susceptible to edits and tampering. What if a picture goes missing? What if the author edits a fact after the fact? Does truth change? What about memory? I could sit here and re-write my life and only a few people would ever realise I had done anything so heinous.

And so Electric Holy Road needs to appear in paper. Ink on page remains. Memory in ink remains solid. That’s one of the many reasons I’ve returned, after months away, to Spain.

Here We Go Again

The last time you heard from me via this blog was some time in April, just after the Easter celebrations of Holy Week and Bando de la huerta in Murcia. After that week of explosive festivity, I returned to Australia to continue working, writing and wrestling with my self over my next move. I ended up abandoning the inevitable piece about the return journey, intending to finish Electric Holy Road with a silent punctuation point on a high-note. Now, months later and again in the country that has come to be the home of my second self, I see that was a mistake. Not writing about the departure made it unreal in my mind. The quiet punctuation wasn’t enough to wrap up three months of intense experience. It was left un-wrapped, open to speculation and concern.

The months in Adelaide passed in that awful quick-slow pace that we all seem to acknowledge yet never take measures to fix. In those months I continued to write for profit, work in retail for the same and stress over my next moves. After some time slopping back and forth between my desire for Australian stability and adventurous European opportunity, I finally said “fuck it” and booked my first ever one-way ticket. I needed to wrap up the story, after all, didn’t I?

I arrived in Spain at the beginning of October, just in time to catch the sun and clear blue skies that I hadn’t seen for far too long. During this month, I’ve rediscovered the groove I carved in Murcia and have been slowly settling back in with the most important human being in this long, corny love story.

Not much in the way of tourism or spectacle has presented itself yet, other than the overwhelming wave of “real life” that I have suddenly come face to face with. I can say a few things though: That Spain is just as beautiful, troubled, sun-scorched and orange-filled as I remember and that the month has definitely not passed without novel-worthy emotion, romance and drama. It’s just been a different type of experience so far, more of a “realisation of potential” than “experimentation with experience”.

Madrid by night

The Blog, Man! What About the Dang Blog?!

Truth to be told, I don’t think Electric Holy Road (as it is now) will last forever. I’ve already reached points with it where I’ve wanted to leave it in the dust, but somehow it always ends up coming back to life. I honestly thought that my last trip to Murcia would have been the end of it, but look at us now!

I’m writing this from an old wooden desk, by a slowly frosting window and drenched in yellow light in an old villa outside of Barcelona. Invited on a partial grant to write and work in the residency, I am on day one of my short stay at Can Serrat.

How dreamy is that?: Writing in a mountainside villa, with only you mind and tools to occupy you (and Netflix, of course, but this is a chance to get back to work). As I’m writing this, I’ve only been here for six odd hours and am already feeling the creative juices flowing, or being forced, back into my veins. Months of struggle and worry has led me to a seemingly ideal place to practice my art.

It’s been a bit strange though, I must admit. I walked into the quiet villa on All-Saints day to find everyone at leisure and everything dead quiet. The experience of dragging my suitcase along a strange road and into an empty reception, having to find my own way around, took me straight back to my arrival in Mannheim. I felt the same rush of novelty, the fresh air of possibilities out there and also the nerve-wracking tension that waits to be broken over beer and chat at the start of a new venture. Though I’ve been in Spain for almost a month already, it only now feels like I’m arriving.

The project for this month of residency is the complete transformation and rebirth of the very words you are reading. My aim is to look back at my experiences as described here, read through the tens of thousands of words on this site and flick through the file of pictures collected to try and distill truths out of them. Surely, somewhere within all this, there is a thread that will lead me onward and make sense of the experience of travel, for me if no one else. In such a complicated mess of social-media ego-maintenance, oversharing, travel-planning and overwhelming experiences there should be lessons to learn.

Electric Holy Road will be reborn as Holy, Holy Electric Road, a tangible, ink-on-paper look through my experience of travel and my understanding of the complex web of industry and social factors that surround it. I will seek to go further than ever before. I need to, to wrap things up in a more appropriate manner.

So don’t worry, devoted reader (there has to be at least one, right?), I’m still on the Electric Holy Road. I’m not quite sure where the road will lead me right now, but I think I’m slowly finding my way.

Onward, to change. Embrace the fear and make it work. I’m going to squeeze every last bit of ink I can out of it.


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