TRAVEL: Airports, Food and Instagram

by whitnass

On the train from Osaka to Kyoto, June 2011

With my guilt growing more and more every week I’ve delayed this post, I tried to justify it by asking myself, what exactly has been consuming my time so much in 2012? Aka what excuse can I use to make myself feel better that I’ve actually just been plain lazy. Well, my lame excuse is just as my title suggests: airports, food and instagram.

I haven’t traveled excessively this year but enough to be happy I’m not on a long-haul flight any time soon. This year I’ve been back home to New Zealand, Singapore, USA and Canada, not bad for the first six months. Later this year, I’ll be going back to the USA, going to Jamaica and Tonga for the first time and home to NZ for Christmas, loving the frequent flyer points, not liking the forever empty bank account.

My 2012 boarding pass collection

When I first started traveling in 2008 I started keeping all my boarding passes from my travels, and in those four years I’ve amassed about 40. The bigger the collection grows, the more they’re starting to symbolize to me. Every time I’m feeling sorry for myself, I pull them out and just look through them. It’s like an instant kick up the ass reminding me how lucky I am to have been where I’ve been and seen what I’ve seen at only 26. They’re a great reality check and will hopefully provide a little inspiration to my future children to also want to explore the world around them and be open to other cultures and ways of life.

Singapore Skyline from the rooftop bar at Marina Bay Sands, April 2012

I’ve come to realize that there are four things central to my travel experiences:
1. Airports: the necessity of them, my dislike of them but also what runs through my mind when I’m sitting in them either before or after the trip. I tend to have a lot of “did that really happen?!” moments in the departure lounge.
2. The food I seek out and how it highly dictates my overall experience of wherever I am
3. My tendency to instagram all of the above…welcome to 2012
4. And one I omitted out of the title, the music I discover (or am reminded of) whilst travelling

Shin-Ski and I outside their favourite ramen spot...yes, that's a Dr Dre pic in the background

An example of my last point was when I was in Japan last year. 10 days out from moving to Melbourne I decided to grab a super cheap fare and go to Japan for (wait for it)….three days. Japan had always been a dream of mine and at only $600 round trip I said “stuff logic and all rationale” and went. I’m thankful I did as it was life changing. I saw three cities in three days, Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto, got my first tattoo by a famous Japanese tattooist but best of all, was hosted by and chilled with two of my favourite Japanese producers, Noah from Wonderful Noise and Shin-Ski of Martiangang (!!!). Anyone that knows me is aware of my near obsession with the late Nujabes and here I was in Osaka, Japan with one of his closest friends (Shin-Ski) hearing stories of him and eating at Nujabes’ favourite Takoyaki spot…not a Westerner in sight.

Noah and Shin-Ski

From Australia/NZ to anywhere outside the Pacific is a long ass flight. Melbourne to LA = 14.5hrs, Melbourne to Singapore = 8hrs, Auckland to NYC = 20+hrs…you get the idea. Anyway, I usually have a set of rituals on long-haul flights. One being, I load up my iPod on music I haven’t had the chance to listen to at home and I find I’m always discovering a “favourite”, being just a single track, an album or an entirely new artist. One of these was an EP I listened to on the way to Singapore from a local four-piece Melbourne group called Hiatus Kaiyote. One of my favourite tracks on their EP, Ocelot was picked up by Gilles Peterson on his BBC Radio 1 show earlier this year and they’ve been getting a lot of attention in Europe. Their EP Tawk Tomahawk is very cinematic fusing Hip Hop, soul, future beats into one lil bundle of awesomeness.

My personal favourite is Nakamarra which took my breath away when I first heard it showcasing the lead singers’ Nai Palm’s smoky, sultry voice beautifully. Take a listen to their EP on their bandcamp page.