. . . or not

Photo by Roman Nguyen on Unsplash

When George Orwell aimed his gun at the elephant, his finger tentatively feeling for the trigger, there was a lot going on.

He was a symbol of Empire, colonial brutality and the ultimate irony of tyranny. He was also a man grappling with his own masculinity in a desperate search of his balls. Unfortunately for the elephant Orwell decided this search lay in the firing of the gun.

Later, in writing the story Shooting an Elephant, Orwell admitted his fears and self-hatred. He acknowledged that his face grew to fit the mask of a tyrant. But he is not alone…

A salute to the silent language of the road.

Photo by Anna Utochkina on Unsplash

The car sighed a little as it reached the crest of the hill. I could see the road stretch to the horizon like an endless black ribbon unfurling across the land. It had been hours since I had seen another car, but then in the distance, I saw a van headed my way. As it approached, I raised my finger from the steering wheel in the time-honoured salute among road trippers. What was the response? Nothing. Left me hanging. “Rude buzzard,” I said to soothe my hurt ego.

Then it happened…

Granny’s Depression Era hacks to look good, eat well and thrive in the 2020's economic misery.

Necessity was the mother of invention in the 1930’s home. Photo by Pablò on Unsplash

The International Monetary Fund has warned us to brace for the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Luckily, I had someone on the inside of that catastrophe who relished any opportunity to share the tips and tricks that got her and her family through. My Granny.

Eve Walsh turned eighteen the year the stock market crashed. Ten years later when she was twenty-eight World War 2 was declared and she was living on a 1000-acre farm in outback Australia. …

A journey of hope and love and the kindness of strangers.

April 8: Quarantine — Day 13.

Probably should have started this thing a while ago, but like so many others in this situation I have been three-quarters pissed since entering mandatory 14-day Quarantine: I’ll call it Q as I can’t be bothered with all those letters. It’s amazing how lazy you become after a couple of weeks of doing nothing. My husband, Andrew and I have slipped very easily into this hedonistic lifestyle. We’ve been loving on a constant diet of alcohol deliveries and 1980s soap operas, streamed directly into our ever-decreasing brains.

I imagine this new lock down life…

Travel writing in the Covid-19 era may seem counter-intuitive, but it is important in maintaining a positive frame of mind and healthy optimism.

Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

We think we’ve got it bad but consider those poor folks who lived through the Great Depression of the 1930s. Between 1929 and 1933 the US unemployment rate jumped from 3.2% to 25%. There was little government intervention to help people until FDR’s New Deal. Millions of people were made homeless and many lived in makeshift shanty towns, Central Park became one of the biggest. The average family income dropped by 40%. People died of starvation. Relatively speaking we’ve got it easy.

It was against this backdrop that people turned to a world of fantasy, romance, comedy and music. The…

Witnessing Covid-19 at the two ends of the South African spectrum

Soweto is home to more than one million people. Photo by Marc Steenbeke on Unsplash

South Africa has just begun a 21-day lock down. It is a desperate bid to halt the spread of the Covid-19 virus before it reaches areas of poverty, overcrowding and vulnerability. However, prevention may not be better than the cure in this country of extremes.

It is well documented that a duality exists in South Africa that would make Dickens salivate at the narrative prospects and that division is about to become even more apparent in the face of Covid-19.

I am one of the lucky ones. I made it out of South Africa just hours before the borders closed…

Disheartened by the sweaty bustle of the streets of Chiang Mai, I headed to Lampang (pronounced Lampung).

Locals and expats had told me that Lampang is the last paradise in Thailand, so obviously I had to go. It is a 2-hour train journey south-east of Chiang Mai and far from the tourist track.

Although it is the third largest town in Northern Thailand, it is considerably sleepier than the hectic pace of Chiang Mai, especially on a Sunday when most shops are closed and the streets almost deserted.

Carriages and Temples of Lampang source: Flikr, Thsnate Tan

The train trip was interesting, and third class was good. Ladies travel…

As Henry David Thoreau said: “It’s not what you look at that is important, it’s what you see.”

Ripples lapped the edges of the gorge as the boat made its way deeper into the heart of the ancient ravine. Cliffs of vivid ochre flanked the river, made brighter by the brilliant blue sky. A hush descended over the throng of tourists as they drank in the scene, you could almost feel the ancestors watching you, a stranger in their sacred place.

Movement on the bank drew our attention. A crocodile slithered into the water. A collective gasp escaped us as we watched the reptile glide towards us. Tension gripped the air.

I saw our guide watching with quizzical…

It’s not as outlandish as it sounds.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

Why not engineer your life to create the adventure you crave?

According to various studies in USA, UK and Australia we will change our career several times over our working life. These studies from Linkedin, Investec and ABS show that reinvention on a global scale is the new work order.

Working overseas, means you’ll get paid while you travel, live like a local, experience the true nature of a place. It seems like a no brainer.

The world now is a global village and working overseas may not be as daunting as you might expect. You just need to have…

First, they bought the resort. Now they’re mining the water. Next they want a granite mine. A cautionary tale of greed, stealth and colossal stupidity.

Australia has permitted a Chinese company the right to extract, bottle and sell nearly a million litres of water a year from a severely drought affected area, despite pleas from nearby farmers.

But this case goes deeper than the aquifer in question. It highlights how far governments have been willing to prostitute Australia’s finite resources for a quick buck. It also raises the question of whether these mines were China’s end game all along.

Parts of Australia haven’t seen rain for years. Source: K. McGuinness, ABC

Australia is the driest continent on the planet. Compounding this is the worst drought in the country’s history which, according to the monthly drought statement, will…

Anastasia Tyler

A teacher, writer and traveller, but not necessarily in that order. Writing on life, both real and imagined.

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