First and foremost; how is everyone doing? Like, really? It’s been a crazy couple of years hasn’t it? Take a moment to be kind to yourself for surviving one of the most turbulent times our generation has had to face. Well done you! I must admit that it’s been a crazy time for all of us here at camp Cromie. However, it’s also important to point out that the kids and I are all well and safe. The pandemic has changed the way we interact with our world – but not nearly as much as most. Being an introvert who works from home and retains social interactions for a select few – the lockdowns, isolations and social distancing hasn’t been too hard for me to master. I almost feel more comfortable in many ways. As for the kids, the older two study from home and are likewise home bodies with online social interactions dominating their free time. My youngest has probably been impacted the most. Having to study from home on and off for nearly two years is no easy task – for him or me. I am grateful to Seb (my eldest) for stepping up and handling much of the home learning.

For context, I live in Melbourne, Victoria – the Australian city that has just set the world record for the longest amount of days in lockdown since the pandemic began. Our government took the brave and thankless position of focusing on the health, wellbeing and survivability of our people. They did so over budget and economical concerns as in this day and age, no one should die in a hospital waiting room while gasping for air. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been easy. And I know plenty of people who have struggled emotionally, mentally and financially. But, at the end of the day, we are NOT dodging bombs falling in the street or wasting away due to famine. Before I get to the point of this blog, the near future is looking much brighter. Our populace have finally embraced the need to double-vax against the virus and as a result lockdowns will soon end and other freedoms will become available.

Getting to the point of this blog, one of those freedoms is the ability to travel again. At first it will be small trips outside of a 15km set radius, then to regional Victoria and finally on to interstate travel – I have friends in almost every corner of Australia that I dream of seeing again. And of course, who can forget, my constant desire to return to Japan! My last trip to Japan was in mid-2019 – a solo photography trip to Tokyo with a night spent north in Nikko. While I’m aware of how spoiled I sound, it has been far too long since I was there. I miss my spiritual happy place where my creativity, passions and nerd-persona run free.

Now that the future is brighter, and the prospect of travel is part of our roadmap out of the pandemic, I say ‘Fuck it! It’s time to start planning a return to Tokyo!’

I have some short, mid and long term plans about future travels to Japan. The short term plans involve an immediate return to Tokyo as soon as it is both safe to do so and without a risk of being stuck there due to a lockdown. I couldn’t imagine the stress for me and the kids if I was locked down in Japan and couldn’t return as I had planned. Although, my devil’s advocate is suggesting that a longer forced duration in Japan may not be such a bad thing after all. Another key part of that plan is to return to Tokyo with my new found love. No, I didn’t buy another camera or lens. My new found love is very human and very real – at least the voices in my head tell me that she is real. What’s most delightful about this relationship is that she is just as crazy in love with Japan as I am. We talk often about the experiences we want to share and the discoveries we hope to make.

As for mid term and long term Japan travels – that’s probably a little too pre-emptive. However, future travels still include running photography tours with small groups of photographers. Just as I had started to plan before the pandemic hit. We will have to wait and see what shape group travel takes in the future but I can’t see why it wouldn’t be an option. For the time being, I will strive to keep a regular blog here once again about my hopes and dreams for many more trips to Japan. Until then, stay well and safe and be sure to look out for one another. Happy Shooting. G