,,, records in order to forget”. (John Berger) When we set out on this trip, we agreed that we aren’t interested in ticking off the “must see” tourist sites or in seeking out the most spectacular photo opportunities. We like meeting people and getting a feel for the way they live their lives in different circumstances. It was a joy to spend an evening with my cousin Andrew, to meet his wife, Tina, and join them on a short evening walk along the Rhine. It was good to meet Inge and Sigi at the marina near Lubeck and to chat briefly to the musicians on the ferry to Helsinki. But I haven’t posted in this blog since then, partly for technical reasons (limited access to the internet), but mainly because I was feeling that the brief acquaintances we make with the people we encounter on this trip don’t provide us with suitable blog content unless we can find someone to photograph us all smiling together, preferably in an exotic or enviable setting. Then I came across these words about the “burden of memory” from a man who I first encountered in the 1960s, I think, through his BBC TV Series, “ways of seeing” (and latterly through a wonderful collection of essays published shortly before he died last year – Google him to find it, buy it and read it). So I will write a bit about people and experiences want to remember, with or without their photographs.
The day to day account of our travels was posted on a "Psychedelic travellers" WhatsApp group and a "Julia and Ian in China" WeChat group. So postings after October are summaries and reflections. To follow the story in chronological order, work your way back through the archives from March. Why "Psychedelic Travellers"? Because we read Michael Pollan's 2018 book How to change your mind:the new science of psychedelics, and liked the way Pollan likens an acid trip to travelling in an unfamiliar country.