Archive | May, 2011

Ability is nothing without opportunity

19 May

‘The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the ever expanding bureaucracy’

The day of departure is drawing near. I now merely have to wait on the US Embassy for a visa interview. At the same time I’m filling in my Australian visa forms – all eleven pages of them. They have questions such as: ‘Have you ever committed war crimes, crimes against humanity or human rights abuses?’ I don’t understand why that would be relevant – surely the Australian government would be relatively aware anyone who has committed the said crimes?

But either way, it’s winding up. I’m getting to the point of deciding which books to take with me, the minutiae of where in detail I am going to go, what I am going to do. I need to wrap up things in the UK first, a visit to the dentist, sell off a few things on eBay, brush up on my Spanish in case I visit Mexico, stow away large amounts of my things in my parents’ loft. But it is so stressful! I can’t wait until the day I step off that plane and let off some steam in New York.

So, for one thing, I am glad BUNAC are on hand to help with my US visa. A J-1 visa, a DS-2109, a SEVIS form. I need to get a Social Security number, and a bank account in the US. There is so much red tape, so many hurdles to cross and hoops to jump through, I’m beginning to lose it. Gone are the days where visiting other countries required only the will to jump onto a ship. The culture of travelling is getting more difficult by the day.

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Packing

7 May

The neverending cycle of sorting through the interminable dross into three piles – take, leave and throw. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m probably going to have to leave my musical instruments behind, the worst case scenario is I buy some more when I’m out there. Maybe that’s a good thing – I could leave my English musical instruments behind, and invest in some truly unique and cultured ones as I travel around. I have a banjo already, but who can compete with a truly bluegrass one from the Deep South, or a pipa from China, a sitar from India?

One of the things I try to do when I’m packing is fill up my suitcase (or in this case, duffle bag) and then take out exactly half of the things I have packed. I won’t need that many clothes or things, I’m going to be on my feet a lot and I don’t want to get weighed down. It’s bad enough with all the books I carry around everywhere, they weighed me down like an anchor in Africa.

But until then, it’s just take, leave and throw. Take, leave and throw. Ignore the beehive of complaint about the AV referendum. That is completely irrelevant. If it was going to go through, more people would have voted for it. Just like, if Stephen Harper was THAT bad, he wouldn’t have got re-elected! The trivialities melt away when set against a proper backdrop, like the feasibility of getting lost in a limitless expanse of American sky in just a month’s time.