Sunday 17 March 2013

Tidy! (Also in the Gavin & Stacey sense)

Though I always say I'm not a proper journalist, having sneaked into travel writing through the back door, I am one in the sense that I really need a deadline in order to get work done. Or perhaps that's just my own personal procrastination in operation. Whichever, though I've filed all my commissioned stories now, there are others I could be writing on spec; but it's hard to sit down and get stuck in without a definite goal. As I'm nearing departure day for my next trip, 10 days in Southland including a 3-day hike, I've anyway moved into tidying-mode - getting my affairs in order and leaving the house clean and tidy for the burglars (even though I'm going on my own and the house will not be empty - just thought I'd mention that...).

The focus this time is the room I use as my office, which has been piling up with papers and sundry stuff for ages. It's been a bit of a mission: sorting through the bags and bags full of the press packs, brochures, CDs, memory sticks, maps and itineraries that I accumulate on each trip and never seem to have time to whittle down while I'm away, so dutifully bring back, all that glossy paper weighing heavy in my suitcase. Most of it is so beautifully produced, and clearly expensive, both in paper stock and in the time spent by the PR people justifying their existences, that it seems wasteful, not to mention rude, to bin it as soon as I'm given it.

However, binned it mostly has been now, and not only do I have the reward of clear decks, but also more tangible benefits: like finding the lens cap I thought I'd lost two years ago and have been missing ever since; and a bar of camel milk chocolate with dates in from Dubai; and a handbag I had completely forgotten buying that will make a fine replacement for my current tatty number. I also found my little Bose CD player. It now seems so antiquated that I doubt it'll get any takers if I try to sell it on TradeMe, but I remember being so delighted with it back in 2005 when I was driving in my rental car along the Stuart Highway from Darwin to Katherine, the music cranked up loud as I swooped along the long, long road that led straight to the horizon, blue sky above me and red dirt either side, donkeys and kangaroos, termite mounds and gum trees. And at the end of the day there was a boat to a barbecue with stars and a crocodile, and finally a bed in a rammed-earth homestead.

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