On sunny autumn days, the mountain lakes of Bavaria are overrun with families and couples and elderly hardcore walkers getting their last walk in before winter, at which point many of these people will then strap on their cross-country skis and do essentially the same thing...just a bit more quickly. Walking, for them and for me, is a solitary endeavor: a time to learn the rhythm of one’s thoughts.
|Marienplatz in Munich|
You know the adage If you want to find something, then stop looking for it. That's hard to do when you're walking in an extraordinary place bursting with photo-ops. When I'm walking in the mountains, my camera often stands between me and my thoughts. Always looking for a perfect photo motif is like always looking for that great idea. You could drive yourself crazy looking, turning the idea this way and that to get just the right perspective—and in the end you rob your brain the chance to wander. Though there was natural poetry all around, I didn’t take many photos in New Zealand. I think the beauty must have been too big to capture within the frame of my little Nokia camera. Or maybe I just didn't know how to use the camera?
|Auckland, New Zealand|
On the third day when I stopped at a supermarket to stock up on steaks, salad and wine--I wasn't exactly roughing it--I also grabbed a Brooke Fraser CD. I’d heard one song on the radio. I liked the song, but I ended up loving the CD. It became the soundtrack of the trip. I sang the songs as I walked along rivers, through temperate rainforests, up to (and onto) glaciers, up the hill in Queenstown and a small part of the Queen Charlotte Track. I walked and walked, my mind wandering through the lyrics of Crowded House and Brook Fraser songs. The CD still brings back those days in New Zealand, still reminds me that wandering through New Zealand worked ‘an indelible change in me.’
Read more about An Aotearoa Affair HERE.
To continue with I Must Be Off! A-Z, go to R is for Rio de Janeiro.
I must be off,
Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), an episodic adult cartoon about a man struggling with expectations. Allen's award-winning fiction and non-fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in SmokeLong Quarterly's Best of the First Ten Years anthology, Prime Number Magazine, The Best of Every Day Ficton, Pure Slush, Bootsnall Travel and Chicken Soup for the Soul. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize twice. He is the managing editor of the daily litzine Metazen. Recently, Allen--along with editors Michelle Elvy and Linda Simoni-Wastila--hosted Flash Mob 2013 in celebration of International Flash Fiction Day.