On Friday, 1 September, we are going to leave the comfort of our home and our daily routines behind and set out to explore the world. And I promise you this: it is terrifying. But the point of no return has long been crossed. We are going.
It was during a so-called lock down that we decided we wanted to travel more. And that we wanted to go before our son would start school and the bureaucratic hurdles would become too much of a pain. We were clearly “undertravelled” at the time, given that after the joy of parenthood came a pandemic that made any immediate travel plans futile. This was when we decided to do a world trip in 2023/24. We made lists of places we wanted to see and friends around the globe we would love to visit. We glued a gigantic world map to our living room wall and adorned it with sticky notes, each one representing a potential visit. Oh, and we would be following all our passions: hiking, camping, photography, and, obviously, music. Anna could perform the occasional concert, maybe …
Over time, we started connecting the dots and our vague idea evolved into a comprehensive project. But we did not plan this to be just travel and holiday, the more we thought about it, the clearer it became that the chance of deep diving into the work we love on a global scale was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Anna had contacted dozens of friends and colleagues around the globe and asked whether they wanted to engage in some sort of musical collaboration. There are composers who agreed to write a piece for Anna to perform. There are teachers who invited Anna to give talks at their university and teach students about improvised music. And then there are musicians who invited Anna to perform together. Eventually, the stars aligned right in front of our eyes: Anna was selected as a NASOM artist for 2023/24. This was the ultimate calling: This is it. Do it now.
And this is where we are: Our fridge is almost empty; a jar of granny’s homemade strawberry jam, a slab of butter, half a pack of Paw Patrol ice lollies and a few veggies from the garden are left for us to eat up. Are our bags packed? Well, kind of. We do have fancy bags and we do have piles of stuff gaining volume every day. The moment of truth (whether or not we will fit it all while not exceeding the weight limit) will come, eventually. Our bedroom floor, however, is a pretty accurate reflection of our state of mind. The to-do lists still seem to grow longer and we are kind of yearning that moment when we can finally say: Too late. This has to be sufficient. We did the best we could to think of everything. The stuff in the fridge, the yellow fever vaccination, the electricity bill, the licence for operating drones in the US, the ideal type of gas cartridge and the necessity of a new cooker to go with it, international driver’s licences that are valid everywhere (except Brazil), the work we wanted to finish and the people we wanted to meet one last time before our trip … you get the idea.
Right now, we are focussing on what we might be missing while away from home and enjoy Austrian summer to the fullest. We cycled along the Danube (and checked our camping equipment), we relished granny’s Kümmelbraten & Krautsalat, collected blackberries in the nearby woods, swam in in our local lake, took a trip to Vienna and feasted on local cuisine (Geröstete Leber mit Petersilerdäpfel, Schnitzel, and Sommerspritzer), harvested fresh tomatoes from our garden. Tomorrow, I’m going to hit the farmers’ market one last time and fire up the grill. The next post will (probably) be less about food. Most likely, it will be from New York City, our first destination. It will definitely be from a different part of the world, from a different state of mind, and from a fresh perspective. And we are looking forward to all of what’s coming.