Wednesday, 13 July 2011


I'm finally getting  used to land again. Man that was a long sailing trip. More cruising than sailing because it was mostly backwind with little changes of course and the windvane steered the boat. I wrote another album on the boat about the day to day of it. It was certainly an experience, sailing up the great barrier reef and around the north coast of Australia, but I wouldn't do it again. There are not many interesting points on the coastline and we sailed most of every day. I got sea sick, especially on the 3 day crossing of the Gulf of Carpentaria as there was no respite, and I lost weight, particularly muscle, from no exercise and not keeping food down. That coupled with the guy we sailed with being a 'difficult' character made the trip not the idyllic experience you might imagine. Looking back I'm still positive about it because it renewed my hunger for life – long days of not being able to read even because I had to watch the horizon and just thinking of things I did when I got out. Kinda like being in prison. Thankfully Maria was amazing and didn't get seasick of sad once, the light in the dark. I felt bad complaining once too often when sailings her dream and she was saddled with a landluver and a nightmare of a captain. We took each other on imaginary tours of the world and of the things to see and we'd do there and mostly of things we'd eat, as I was hungry all the time.

Besides that I tried meditation and got many good ideas. One was to rearrange the hundred songs I've written and recorded over the last two years on tour into 'The Troubadour Chronicles'. So rather than grouping the songs by when I recorded them, I'll group them by when and where I wrote them. That means an album for each country or area I've toured through, which is much more logical. There will be 8 albums so far. The preface, with the 'work' songs before I started touring. Then ones for Scandinavia, England, Holland, America, Southern Europe, New Zealand and Australia.

Another thought was to play festivals in the future, and travel the world that way, rather than busking, which is frustrating because people listen sometimes but it is mostly a fleeting relationship. Festivals are hard to get in of course, but with a collection of 12 or more albums in The Troubadour Chronicles presented nicely and sent out well in advance it could work out.

The plan for the immediate future is no plan. Just get to Bali on Saturday, get vaccinations where they're cheap and a tandem and head West into Java. I don't know whether it's too hilly to ride, or too much traffic, and I don't know where we'll sleep or if they'll even want us to play. 2 years on the road and this is my first time out of a Westernised country, so in many ways it feels like I'm only now starting to travel. When I began the journey the dots on the map were shows. I spent a ton of time on the computer trying to get booked into venues, then house concerts, up to 6 months ahead. I could tell you where I'd be months ahead of time. But time and again I was disappointed as nobody came to the shows as they'd never heard of me. So I gradually switched to turning up at bars on the day and asking for a show, and then finally to busking. Now looking back at the map the dots I see are the friends I made and, with The Troubadour Chronicles, where I wrote songs. I've become a true troubadour, spreading news from one place to another. Such philosophical whisperings… you see what three weeks on a boat does to you.

Darwin has been a nice reintroduction to land life and good goodbye to the West. It's so expensive because everything is freighted in. Newspapers are more than twice the price for example. We've been busking everyday on the mall at lunchtime and make about $45 on average which is not a lot but if Indonesia is as cheap as everyone says then it should last us a long time. We're able to save almost all of it now thanks to Darwin's dumpsters. Maria is a dumpster-diving legend. We're staying right in the centre couchsurfing at Jessica's tgether with Stephane, a superduper French guy who's also on a world trip. We celebrated his birthday here last night. Darwin is great for that, it's peak travelling season here with the climate at it's coolest before the build-up in a few months when humidity reaches 80%. We've met so many people who we met travelling up the East coast. Bali should be a good halfway house to start because it's very touristy so will give us a gradual introduction to Asia. We have to stock up on vaccines, diarohea pills, mossy nets, etc, which cost a fortune in Darwin. So that's where I'm at. Thanks for reading and your interest.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Jack and Maria,
    It's a really nice update on your sailing trip, and near future plan.
    Not so surprised after all about your experience on the boat... Sailing around the world on your own requires some characteristics (I know a few "difficult" sailors...), and yes, reality of the see can be different from the poetry is suggests.
    But... the poetry might come from the reflection it allows (or forces upon).
    Your idea of reorganizing your albums sounds very good, and I'm curious to hear it.
    Thank you for sharing your insight on your own progression regarding planning life, and enjoying every moment of it.
    All the best in Asia!