Travel Magazine

December Already?

By Tomjd @tomjd

The fact that it is December is kind of blowing my mind. This year has gone by at the most extraordinary pace, blurring together in my memory like the countryside outside a speeding car. Moving from San Francisco back to Sydney, moving into a new apartment, starting a new job, welcoming our son Bodhi into our lives, working hard to grow StartSomeGood into a success, traveling regularly for business and pleasure.

I’m back to Melbourne this week for the Global Shifts Social Enterprise conference, my fourth trip to Melbourne in the last few months, which is completely unexpected. Two weeks ago I was there for the excellent FWD2012, Australia’s first conference on digital campaigning co-hosted by Oxfam Australia and the new Centre for Australian Progress. I flew there directly from Adelaide, where I was attending the Social Innovation Exchange (SIX) Summer School. Both events but particularly SIX have left me filled with ideas and thrilled to have met so many amazing people working in this space. While Social Innovation might be hard to define the people who self-select to join this conversation are unusually passionate, creative, caring and intuitive and it was both a pleasure and an honour to spend a few days in their company.

Going back only two weeks before that I was up in Far North Queensland to see the solar eclipse, which was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The November 14 2012 eclipse outside Cairns has been on my agenda since I was unable to make it to the last full solar eclipse in Australia, near Lynhurst South Australia in 2002. Since then I’ve framed many of my plans around this event: we had always planned to time our return from the US to be able to attend and even with a 3 month-old in our lives, and with the support of the greatest wife a man could hope for, I was determined not to miss it (I’d be waiting another 16 years before the next one in Australia which will be in Sydney in 2028). And wow am I glad I could make it and deeply grateful to K for making it possible for me to do so.

The Eclipse

Watching the moon blot out the sun and the day suddenly disappear into darkness was one of the most moving things I have ever witnessed. It’s impossible not to be awed by the experience, by the sense of galactic scale, the realisation that we are sitting on a little rock floating in space, surrounded by other rocks. The spectacle is unique and magical: watching the moon creep across the sun until, with a final solar glare, it is gone, replaced with a dark ball in the sky surrounded by a thin line of light. We happen to live at the perfect moment in the history of the earth when this is possible, a period of only 20,000-100,000 when the moon exactly fits the sun from our vantage point, before the moon’s inexorable movement away from us at about 3cm a year leaves only partial eclipses possible. I met a guy on the plane to Cairns who was going to his 14th eclipse and now having witnessed one and I understand the instinct. I’m not going to wait until 2028 to see another  – I’ve got my eye on the Eclipse Festival in Oregon in 2017 (heads-up American friends!).

December Already?

The Eclipse Festival, November 14 (click for full size)

And beyond the eclipse itself the week-long music festival held under it’s path was the best I have ever attended (note: burns are not music festivals). Incredible production, inspiring music, good food and, most importantly of all, a wonderful big group of friends there to share it with, many of whom I hadn’t see for many years or if I had only briefly. Spending time with them, and making new friends, was the true highlight of the festival (as it always is).

Bodhi continues to delight and amaze K and I. Every day he seems to have a new movement, sound or ability. This is my favourite new photo of him, from our visit to my parents property this past weekend, if you’d indulge my parental desire to show him off (I have to restrain myself from saturating Facebook with Bodhi photos):


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