Wannabe Bruce Chatwin with a Moleskine

I need to invent a fancy theme for posts like these, something like Off-Topic Wednesdays (it is Wednesday today isn’t it? Me and time have a weird relationship) but for now this’ll do:

It’s off-topic day, not about my photography for a change!

Bruce Chatwin from the cover of the biography by Nicholas ShakespeareI live, eat and breathe photography but also love writing and I write a lot when I travel. As I get ready to embark on another photo trip to Australia the travel bug gets me. I long for travel, long for doing photography all the time every day in new locations every day in an alien yet familiar outback landscape on the other side of the world. Eternal Restlessness.

The closer I get to travelling the more travel novels I read. I am somewhat strangely obsessed with everything Bruce Chatwin at the moment after having re-read his novel Songlines twice in one week. I forgot what a masterpiece of literature that book is and how good a writer he was. Also quite a fascinating character! I am presently reading the biography and a few of his other novels.

I love writing while travelling. I do write at other times but nowhere near as much. The first few times I travelled abroad I wrote in classic diary style, “I did this, I went there, I saw that” etc. Mind-numbingly boring to read now! But the last many notebooks are written travel story style with a mix of thoughts, reflections, observations, history, humour and anecdotes. Trying to put the reader inside my head (scary place!) Still boring probably but at least somewhat different! I now write in the gorgeous Moleskine notebooks of course, the sure sign of someone desperately trying to be creative. I’m no Bruce Chatwin but hey, I use the same notebooks he did!

Flemming Bo Jensen notebooks On the right is a photo of the travel notebooks I have written so far. After I began blogging not only do the notebooks have to suffer my words but so do the internet as my Travelog page demonstrates! Who knows, some of my old stories buried in the notebooks on the right might make it online someday. Or someday when my photography makes me rich and famous I can publish these! Maybe not, I reckon I should stick to photography!

Moleskine. It’s pronounced Mol-e-skin-a if you feel like attempting some Italian (the company is Italian).

5 Comments on “Wannabe Bruce Chatwin with a Moleskine”

  1. Well its Thursday here, and restlessness is a part of being creative.I sure hope those moleskin notebooks are not made of the leather of our kangaroos.The Italians import an awful lot of it.I am a bit ahead of you, I can take off now whenever I get the yearning, you just have to wait till you get a bit older and,you have done the hard yakka to butter your bread.Then FREEDOM….cheers Birte

  2. Fortunately the Moleskine covers are made of oilcloth-covered cardboard and not any sort of leather. Envy your total freedom, once I become the next Peter Lik haha, I can do the same.

  3. So, have you read my book about Australia?

    As for the restlessness, it is part of the love of travel, part of our quest for heaven. It is one of the reasons the poem "Ulysses" by Alfred Lord Tennyson always resonated for me:

    I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
    Life to the lees: all times I have enjoyed…
    I am a part of all that I have met;
    Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
    Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades
    For ever and for ever when I move.
    How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
    To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
    As though to breathe were life. Life piled on life…
    Come, my friends,
    'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
    Push off, and sitting well in order smite
    The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
    To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
    Of all the western stars, until I die.

  4. Haven't read it yet Cynthia, but definitely plan to get it! Love the poem, thanks! Funny thing about me and travelling, I love going to new places, but don't like people generally, why I love the desert 😀

  5. It’s Wednesday here (Winster, N Derby’s, UK) but not for much longer. I purchase a green leather covered Moleskine notebook about a month ago as the one in my camera bag was full. Mostly the covers are a black card. I’m also a fan of the Filofax and my black personal sized one has been all over the world with me but not too disreputable yet. I’m not a wannabe anything, I’m just me, a 46-year-old gay photojournalist covering mostly environmental stories and investigations. Men like Bruce Chatwin and Paddy Leigh Fermor inspire me and encourage me when things get tough. Our world is very different to their heydays, different methods of working, travel, threats etc. Talking to my neighbour recently, he recalled the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 when he was 12. He impressed on me how frightened they all were. I wonder what Bruce and Paddy wrote in their notebooks at that time?

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