'Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.' – Cesare Pavese
The following is an account of a recent trip I made to a regional NSW university to oversee the production of on-camera interviews with a number of academics.
4.00am – A quiet Melbournian suburb, south of the river
Up before the birds, I say goodbye to the better half, check-in on the snoring boy-child and then jump into a taxi waiting outside my apartment. Off to the airport for a 6am flight. More often than not I try to strike up a conversation with my cab driver. This morning we talk about coffee. He has one. I don’t.
Upon arriving at the airport, good news! My flight has been cancelled and I’m being put on another, later plane. Not a great thing for the video shoot, but a great outcome for my caffeine intake.
7.30am – Approximately 35,000 feet above the NSW bushfires
I’m not sure what’s worse; zero visibility due to the smoke from the fires or the grip-your-armrest turbulence. At least if we hit the ground with deadly force, we won’t see it coming. Somehow I manage a 10-minute doze.
We arrive at Sydney airport safely. Thanks Captain. As that I’m an hour late already I need to hightail it to the University studio which is an hour's drive South. The taxi driver listens intently to my destination co-ordinates and my request for much acceleration and proceeds to pull over to a side street and phone his boss. Hmmm. Not a great way to start the journey, but we eventually get back on course.
9.30am – Regional University Campus
Upon arrival at the university I launch myself into the throngs of buzzing students and call upon my internal compass and a map to locate the studio. Bad move – next time just use your communication skills and ask the nearest friendly body for help! I finally find the subterranean studio next to the duck pond and am welcomed by the fantastic production crew that will be manning the cameras and wrangling the academics. No rest here my friend; we have six interviews to complete in four hours. Frame it up and GO!
Thanks to the high-calibre quality of crew and presenter talent we are able to nail five of the six pieces to camera, with the sixth being completed while I’m in transit back to the airport to catch my flight out. Excellent work team!
2.20pm – Back seat of a cab on a regional highway
Halfway to the airport the taxi starts making clunking sounds and my driver pulls over in a section of State Forest. He assures me it’s an easy fix and goes to the boot to retrieve an object that I can’t quite make out from my position. Is this the part of the story where I get murdered? Hope not, I’ve got things to do! Thankfully he fixes the problem and we shoot through a blur of contrasting landscapes to reach the airport on time. Nice one.
7.30pm – Home
A return flight, another cab ride and 15 hours after leaving home I finally arrive back in time to put the boy-child to bed, hug my better half, grab a pizza slice and enjoy a frosty beer on the couch. A sublime way to end a very long day.
Being a director and producer for Open2Study is as wonderfully varied as you might imagine. We get to meet all sorts of people, experts in every field and help them to share their passion with the world. And although the hours and kilometres can be long, it’s a thrill to be embracing the journey. Travel-well people.