In Transit

On ships they use the term “in transit” in a rather unusual and somewhat confusing way.  It refers to people who are not getting off the ship, but are continuing on for the next leg of the itinerary.  To me, it seems that the ones in transit are the ones getting off, the ones in transition from one place to another.  When I stay on, all the transiting I do is between my room and the buffet, or if I am unusually good, the gym.

I am now in transit in the usual sense of the word, as I sit in the Sydney airport waiting for my flight to Christchurch, New Zealand.  When I wake up in the morning, I will be in yet another country new to me.  Some day, I will make a list of how many there have been, but most of them still lie ahead in the next couple of months, if the fates agree.

I am going to New Zealand to do a little hands-on preparation for an assignment a year from now that will take me around Australia and New Zealand several times. I will be giving talks that are a little more focused on the ports and surroundings (history, interesting people, main sights), and though it is possible to do this kind of talk without having been to a place, it is just a much nicer comfort zone to have visited at least once.

So off I go!  I will be interested to see the progress Christchurch has made in recovering from the devastating earthquake a couple of years back.  The coastal railroad from Christchurch north was destroyed by landslides from the earthquake, and it just opened last month.  It is one of the great rail journeys in the world, and (lucky me) I will be transiting it in a few day’s time.  Then on to Picton, across the Cook Strait to Wellington, and then back to Sydney for a few days.

Most of my thoughts since I last posted are not about my journey, but my country’s.  Hard to know what to expect, but if the animal world is any indication, boxed-in animals tend to bite, claw, and do whatever it takes to get away. Hopefully the most we will face is some nasty snarling without much teeth, but who knows, when the trapped one has the full power of the executive branch, and a spineless party to fight back with?

At any rate, I wish you all a Happy Blue Year from the land down under.  May it bring much for all of us in transit, in one way or another, to cheer about.