I must admit that the title is a little bit of click-bait – but you will soon understand the connection. Welcome back to my somewhat infrequent blog and thanks for taking the time to check it out. I have a couple of updates to share as well as some hopes for the future. So make a cup of tea – my new poison of choice – sit back, relax and read along. 

In my last life-update, I talked a lot about my transformation from a life of alcoholism and ailing health to a new life of sobriety and happiness. Of course, the making of this butterfly was not an overnight miracle – nor was it ever going to be. And what’s more, the transformation is far from over. But I am proud of myself to report I have stayed on track and maintained my abstinence. And to be honest it has been pretty smooth. Aside from the initial couple of weeks that I reported the last time I wrote, it has not been a struggle. I have not had any urges or even desire to drink – granted we have not been living in a world where social activities exist. However, last night I caught up with some friends and we shared dinner at their house while our boys played. Usually we would have a few bears but I didn’t even think about drinking. 

As for my overall health, all is well there too. I have had a couple more tests and bloods taken and my liver function is improving – the liver is one of those organs that can regenerate to some degree. The doctors also checked out my heart just to make sure – it has had a bit of abuse in the past few years with sleep apnoea and the drinking – but that too is doing great. Tick and tick! Aside from the factual evidence, I feel amazing. Sorry to gloat but when you have not woken feeling alive or well for so many years the contrast is blinding. 

The point to the long-winded story so far is that not only do I feel healthy and energised, but I also feel inspired and creative. This is especially the case with my photography. I have created opportunities to do more photography including product shots, camera gear shots for my work at Shotkit.com and of course to satisfy my love of street photography. The later has come back to me as a burning passion that I am keen to get out and explore more and more. 

While the mornings are crisp, the afternoons are warm and sunny here in Melbourne. Yesterday I got out for a nice walk around my local neighbourhood including Chapel Street. Despite the staggering number of shops and restaurants with For Lease signs, the strip is still quite busy. Plus, at any given time, there are lots of interesting characters out and about. I have lived in this area for 25 years now – I went to university here, met and fell in love with Isobel here and raised our kids here. Being able to stroll a few hundred meters from my front door to such a diverse and culturally rich setting is great. But for far too long I didn’t take up the opportunity, now that has changed. 

Today, I took another positive step and organised to catch up with two of my favourite people. They are a gorgeous couple from the FujiXAus community and we love to get out and shoot together. Today, we headed over to Footscray which lies to the west of the city of Melbourne. Footscray is an old suburb that has an incredible mix of cultures – primarily Asian and African but a little bit of everything for good measure. Plus, there is a great market in Footscray and as you may know, I love a good market. The food, energy and of course photography opportunities are right up my alley. 

We arrived just before lunch and our first stop was for some Vietnamese pork rolls and Vietnamese coffee. At the moment, I am not drinking coffee as a general rule but I made an exception for the sake of not making my friends uncomfortable. It was coffee served over ice and made with sweetened condensed milk – sweet and strong. We spent an hour or so strolling around the streets surrounding the market and then through the interior of the main market halls. While we are currently living in a world where isolation is easing, the call for social distancing is still strong. Let me tell you, the folk attending the Footscray market behaved as though there was no such thing as Covid-19. There was no chance of obtaining 1.5 meters distance between one another. 

We toured the interior of the market and captured images of the throngs of market-goers buying seafood and pork en-mass. Then we took another walk through the surrounding streets. The sun was shining but there was a persistent breeze. We stopped for another food break with two styles of roasted pork. We sat in an open public space and ate from the plastic box – street-food style. The flavours and tenderness were incredible and the meat just melted in my mouth. During our meal, an interesting topic of conversation arose about future travel plans – at the moment we cannot even fly interstate let alone abroad. 

Of course, I said that I would love to travel back to Japan. And when questioned where in Japan, it got me thinking about parts of Japan I would love to see and experience. Places that I have not been to before. Heading further north from Tokyo and into Hokkaido sounds very tempting. As does travelling further south and west of Kyoto towards the Sea of Japan. Since that conversation, I have been thinking that as an activity of interest, I should start to plan my next trip to Japan? Of course, it could be another two years before we can travel again. And even then it may still involve the need to add two weeks of quarantine at each end of the trip. But nonetheless, planning my next trip gives me a long term game-plan for continuing my love of and ongoing experiences within Japan. So stay tuned for some future blogs on my Japan 20?? plans. 

Once we had sat for a while and eaten, I realised I was a little footsore and all the food was making me a little drowsy. We decided to call it a day and made our way home. We got a little lost on the drive home and took a scenic route under the Westgate Bridge and through the industrial areas of Spotswood. It was such an incredible day and we made several plans for future outings. We shared lots of stories and our hopes for the world as we emerge from this scenario. It was probably my favourite day of the 2020 pandemic season so far. 

Here I share with you photos shot with my beloved Fujifilm X70 from both street outings – Chapel Street and Footscray. It feels amazing to be back in the game with so much clarity and passion. I continue to produce content for Shotkit.com and love the work I do for the team there. Things are starting to move along for my new business venture with Leigh over at blogcontent.com.au. He is a marketing genius and I would be lost without his guidance. If you have not checked out our site then head over and have a gander. Aside from that, I hope that you dear reader, and your loved ones, are well and safe and not blinded by the light as you emerge into this new world. Happy shooting. G

Ian and Rena – two of the nicest humans I know.