AN ADVENTURE STORY
I’ve been on an adventure and I’ve a story I want to tell..... a story I want to share and one I want to engage you with.
Once upon a time, particularly during these present times, there were days where it’s been difficult to live hopefully, joyfully and adventurously.
But, after experiencing the joy of meeting other people at a local Biker park event, freed from Covid restrictions, we (hubby and I) came home and wondered what adventure we might undertake on a budget. As we try to live simply, within a minimum carbon footprint, we decided our adventure would be via public transport. Together we both said ‘Shetland’, so the assignment was sealed as we realised it was a way to celebrate, having met each other 50 years ago in September.
We’ve never been away without a car before, and never visited Shetland, so felt quite challenged. However within a few hours of Google searching we’d planned and pre- booked a 21 day trip away, with only a rucksack each, carrying and covering all eventualities and weather.
We would leave Hornsea by bus to Hull, just after 6am, then train via York to Aberdeen followed by a 12 hour ferry crossing to Shetland for 5 nights. From there we took a 7 hour crossing to Orkney for 5 nights, before staying in Glasgow for 3 nights and then train to near Hebden Bridge for 6 nights.....then train and bus home. We slept in a cheap hotel, a cabin on a ferry, a bedroom in a couples home, a small hotel apartment, bunk beds in hostels, a small hotel apartment and an airbnb. Everyday we were out walking and seeing wonderful but treeless landscapes, or on public transport visiting nearby towns, cities, galleries and historic sites. We were gifted 2 wonderful and restful days and nights in a cottage on Orkney island of Westray..... we experienced many borders, and lots of different voices.
Through all this, I came to realise that physical borders don’t really matter very much. As humans, we’re all connected and we experienced so much kindness and friendliness from strangers. Everyone is trying to do what is right, even in difficult circumstances. Trust and connections bring out creative conversations and events. We recently became Quakers and 2 days before we set out travelling we were given a contact on island of Westray. Another new friend offered to meet us off the ferry, then took us into her home, fed us and walked and drove us around the very misty island of Whalsay. The local public bus driver who met us at ferry at end of day offered to take us back to our accommodation as his shift ended, but took us to Tesco instead, to buy some food on a wet and windy evening.
Twenty years ago when we visited Orkney, we met a couple who we almost bought an art gallery from. Two days before we left Hornsea, we were given their contact details by our local Quaker meeting and realised our previous connection: they gifted us a wonderful and restful 2 night stay in a cottage at the back of their home. After leaving Kirkwall on a 6am ferry crossing and early arrival we were greeted with freshly baked scones and freshly ground coffee. Then a 2 mile walk, to meet their neighbour, a textile artist, who we discovered we knew from 30 years ago when I exhibited her work in my gallery on Isle of Man. Coincidences .... no, I don’t think so. There are no borders, we are all connected. We had so many interesting conversations with strangers, whilst out walking, or on trains, buses or ferries. We each need to tell our stories and we need to be heard. We need to find a shared story about how we want to be kind and care for each other and our planet. How to unlock the best in us all, through a personal but collective vision; and maybe this is what creativity and the arts can help initiate?
And now home, as we approach November, what are my thoughts? It was a wonderful adventure and I wouldn’t change a thing and I would do it all again. It wasn’t a restful time and we were tired when we arrived home after being out and making the most of every day. I didn’t do any reading, only crossword puzzles as I was so tired by evening time. I hope, but don’t know if next year I’ll be able to carry a 12kg rucksack for almost a mile when I’ll have had my 69th birthday. I love my home and garden. We’re vegan at home, but embraced healthy food, including meat, whilst we were away. We allowed ourselves, and enjoyed one hot meal a day in often damp and windy weather.
Some folks we met didn’t have that luxury. Also eating supermarket meal deals as picnics or in rooms without cooking facilities creates a huge amount of waste plastic packaging. How can communities built around the oil industry such as in Aberdeen and Shetland, or cattle farming on Shetland and Orkney, or the huge fishing trawler factories, transition to renewable energy and meat free?
We saw huge Yorkshire mills that had transitioned into art galleries and corporate offices, but know the pain that transition will have caused along with coalmine closures and deindustrialisation. A lot of folks we saw around the cities of Aberdeen, Glasgow and Bradford are hardly surviving, and so traumatised that the beauty, care and love for Earth, survival and carbon footprints just aren’t on their horizons. But they have their stories that need to be told, and heard, through their smiles and honest eye contacts.
As peoples we need to bring our carbon, borders and voices together as stories in collective visionary voices of hope.
'Resonance' Watercolour painting
I use visual geometric form, pattern and colour to explore, understand and storytell how Quantum physics and ancient wisdom proclaim that everything is entangled and connected through universal energy and resonance. Everything we do and think matters, so we are either part of the problem or seeking solutions. I attempt to share a story of both amazing colourful abundance and destruction through wildfires, droughts, and methane bubbles which know no borders.