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Mapping Out the Journey


Dear Jim,

I'm writing this to you, because often when I'm writing, I feel like I'm writing to you anyway.

Even though it's been a long time.

I like to imagine how you might respond. What stories you would want to hear.

I'm going on this journey, though I'm not quite sure what it is yet.

In its simplest form, it's anthropological.

I am researching the affects of climate change in remote areas, documenting indigenous communities.

But it's always more than that isn't it?

It's about discovery, about stories, connections, searching for something, being with the land.

My first destination sits around 950km above the Arctic Circle on an island called Sørøya (I have no idea how to pronounce this yet).

Getting there is a bit of a feat in itself - 3 flights and a boat.

I think there will be around 8 other people who I will be living and working alongside.

I had to look back on the proposal I wrote for this, as it was so long ago.

I talk about documenting natural environments and people's stories that make up the landscape.

I question how we communicate the urgency and importance of sustainability.

I worry about parts of our planet disappearing without a trace.

I want to express these concerns in such a way that makes people care enough to instigate change.

But I don't think scary facts or long articles are enough to make people care.

I don't even know that beautiful photographs or pictures are enough to make people care.

I think that stories make people care.

Which makes me think about what I want to go to observe.

Sure, I want to know if the ice is melting and if there are still fish in the sea.

But I also want to know what you dream about?

If you feel lonely?

How would you define happiness?

How to describe beauty?

With Trump, and North Korea, and Pauline Hansen, and the plebiscite, and global warming, and domestic violence, and aggressive diseases, and terrorism, and homelessness, maybe we are just asking the wrong questions all the time?


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© Alisa Tanaka-King 2020