The Key

100km north of Alice Springs, Northern Territory, AU

Dear Bines,

        I think it was the tea. I have not felt like writing this entire journey, but only minutes after some pg tips I was ready. 

        The desert is brutal. The Outback is especially harsh. It is hard to imagine that anything thrives out here. Especially with the flies. They are relentless. Even against strong winds they persist, snapping at my ears. It has made writing outside prohibitive. Though, the Keffiyeh you gave me does wonders against them. And in the evening they subside. But I really hate these damn flies. 

        I am roughly 4,500km into the Outback. The driving is lonely. I have limited music, mostly Paul Simon and Creedence. If there is anything that suites an American driving in the center of Australia, it is Creedence. 

        The photography has been slow going, but then again my mind has been elsewhere. If I were to say that my mind wanders, I do not mean aimlessly. I mean aggressively, insatiably introspectively. Sometimes I will dwell on a single personal issue for 2 hours, without losing focus. But then, at the end, when I decide to let go, when I make that final effort to move on, for good, something happens- 

        I believe that deep in the recesses of our minds, there is a treasure chest, and pure, extended, and uninhibited isolation is the key. The longer you are isolated, the more access you have. You may already know and understand everything this chest has to offer, but what it is offering is pure, and undiluted by distractions, and that is worth more than you can imagine. 

        Too often I am looking to formulate answers to my questions instead of just listening. It is hard to listen, though, with the distractions involved in everyday life. This is why everyone thinks better in the shower. No cell phones, no computers- just standing, thinking, and washing. The desert has been like one long shower, except I haven’t showered in about 10 days. So the hygienic aspects do not line up. Not every analogy is perfect. 

        A large bird just landed near me, he doesn’t look friendly but he is. 

        I am leaving the Outback with many great stories. I have met some interesting characters, some beautiful women, and a horse that looked like the devil. Traveling alone is not so bad when you are not alone. 

                                                                            My very best,

                                                                                      J

Source: thekey