A Conclusive Ferry Ride
This is it. This is the last stop on what has been a pretty crazy trip. Before I get all emotional/sentimental/analytical, let me take you through Hong Kong.
I had briefly visited HK before doing THE EAST BIT but it wasn’t enough. I decided to take some advice from a wonderful friend (and local) Bonnie. She was currently in London finishing off her studies at the RCA (you can follow her beaut insta here) but after a few brief messages, it was decided that I would go and explore the local local bits up near the Prince Edward market.
It was a strange feeling: when you meet someone in your home country, and then you’re in their home country, each missing the local land the other is on, on the other side of the world. An exotic clash when we think about the East and West: we are seeing as each other through the eyes of a non-local. Anyway, she gave me a fabulous list that led me on a walking tour from the Star Ferry ports.
The Star Ferry was one of my favourite things. Although taking probably less than 10 minutes, the ride was spectacular. Night and Day. It’s like writing a fucking fabulous essay that you had been dreading writing, and you’ve absolutely nailed the intro and conclusion to the point where even you know what you’re talking about.
That’s what the ferry ride was about. It concluded and introduced everything about Hong Kong, and maybe this trip in general. My old history teacher Mr. Clarke said that if you were tired of reading/researching a whole bunch of essays, just look at the conclusion and if it was good enough, it’ll hold all you need to know - broadly speaking. HK couldn’t be understood without the ferry ride. It was like a conclusive full stop, or maybe more of a conclusive-exclamation.
It sways around into place and all makes sense.
The ride across was a mere 24 pence. Accessible to almost everyone.
There’s something very satisfying about exploring a new city by foot. It’s the same with London. Things piece together when you walk around the surface. There’s also a process of reflecting on your own culture when you’re so far away from it. It’s difficult to understand you’re doing it but it’s almost constant. You’re reflecting, you’re analysing the differences. In HK it was easy because a lot was similar to the UK. Not visually speaking, but in a more polite-customs-sort-of-way. Probably had something to do with Britain nicking it in about 1847 and not technically giving it back to until 1997.
The markets were the absolute dream. In between some run down buildings, people were just getting on with their daily lives. I saw no other (identifiable) tourists, which was great.
As Hong Kong bought this spot of travelling to a close, the impact it has had on me has been phenomenal.
There were things that I learnt about interaction, about culture, about the everyday nature of art and life.
There were parts that I could never experience anywhere else in the world.
There were parts of this trip in which I also found myself incredibly alone.
All of this is pretty self indulgent though so i’m going to try hard for this to be less about meyahtravellingme, and more really some advice.
There were times where I had so much potential in material I was so excited all I wanted to do was draw and write and share. Strangers don’t have much of an investment with you as-a-friend so that’s why Susannah, Sarah and Megs were all such a large part of the trip. I learnt how to contain and understand my excitement (all positive vibes). There were times in the 3 months where I cried after yet another rejection to an open call, a super-cool residency or even a part-time job. I would soon realise that rejection is a fucking massive part of being an artist, and you have to deal no matter how far away from home you are.
There were also times I couldn’t believe how fucking lucky I was to be doing this.
Things take time, the pressure you put on yourself, the people you surround yourself with, the material you work on all need to be balanced.
I’m still learning of course and these posts will continue, obvs. They’re an exercise for me to think about something, write about it, analyse it. In a way the process has given me a lot more out of the trip. You guys reading it is a massive bonus for me, so thanks for sticking it through.
Even if it’s a basic post about recommending books, I encourage everyone to do it, even if you think you’re a solid 1/10. Jo (an old tutor of mine) once told me to look at writing as an exercise and that’s exactly what i’m doing. I’m also looking at my practice. It needs to settle. It’s fucking difficult. I feel like at times I have no fucking clue what I’m doing. I feel like at other times I have every clue and i’m ON TOP OF THE WORLD. Things pile up, they pile down. They sweep you up or they make you want to go and punch someone in the face, or draw to gather your thoughts. That happens. This trip was about all of that. I have collected my material. Now i’m finding the time to understand it.
TIME IS SO IMPORTANT and is completely necessary for something to be good.
I kept a travel journal as you know, and I often read back my old journals which I’ve managed to keep on-and-off since I was about 6. One from a trip to Egypt (in 2000 I think) noted that Mum allowed me into KFC for a wee and I was so excited because I had never been into a KFC before (it was a big deal, believe me). This was a KFC right outside THE PYRAMIDS. I wrote a couple of lines about the sites, but the food seemed to interest me more. As a kid, what is more amazing than a hotel buffet breakfast??