Maria, Mary, Miriam. Her name is a little different around the world, but she herself is the same. The Holy Mother, who gave birth to Jesus. I am working on a book about her, a novel, where I follow her from childhood till old age. I read what I can find. The Bible. The Apocrypha. Legends. Novels. And wherever I go, she is with me.
Not only in my heart and mind. Not only in the written words. But also on a tiny road somewhere in Ethiopia. On her way to the market, together with her beloved Joseph, with the gem of her heart Jesus and with her dear old donkey.
Sturdy Joseph, always to be trusted. Jesus with his mind elsewhere, the faithful donkey who never complains. Maria´s heart is light as she walks towards the market with her husband, her son and her dear animal friend. At the same time it is heavy. A deep sorrow she know is waiting for her, today, tomorrow, next year or in twenty hears. She can already feel tears pricking behind her eyes.
While walking, her thoughts wander to the night when the angel came. With the impossible message,
to the strength from Elisabeth´s embrace when they shared their secrets,
to the long, difficult flight to Egypt, when the baby, the man and the donkey were her only weapons to fight insanity.
Maria had known all her life that joy and sorrow were to be her companions. Joy and sorrow.
A refugee. A queen. A mother. A wife. A woman.
She looked up and let her eyes rest on Joseph´s strong shoulders. Love filled her, and with a smile she turned and met the eyes of her son.
Photos: two first one from a town somewhere in western Ethiopia third from Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa two last ones from St.Mary´s church in Lalibela
For most of my life I have written travel journals. Mostly words, but also pictures, drawings, postcards, tickets, bills, pressed flowers, small souvenirs....
Usually I write from one travel, continue in the same book with the next and so on, but from my London travels I have a special book; an old travel books, "Walks in London" which I bought a few years ago at an antiquarian. In between the words and the drawings on the book, there is more than enough room for my own words.
I am posting this from Schiphol Airport outside Amsterdam. The airport taxi picked me up at 4am this morning. Two hours to Amsterdam, transfer here and soon I am on my way to Istanbul.
I am starting a new travel journal on this trip. I January I started a new series, Østenfor sol og vestenfor måne, East of the Sun, West of the Moon. Twice in Iceland, once in Nepal, once in Barcelona and the book was full. Today I am starting Østenfor sol og vestenfor måne II.
Hopefully I will be able to blog from Istanbul. Sure I will be able to write my journal.
Sometimes I wonder if there is anything new, anything fresh to be said, another window to look though, another mile to walk.....
This is my post 2885 in BrittArnhild´s House on the Woods on typepad, then I had a few posts on blogspot before that, and I have hundreds of posts on The Blue Garden, The Blue Cafe, My Year in the World, Caffe Avec, Trondheim Through All Seasons, Life Close to the Cathedral, The Blue Bookshelf and most recently Blaaklokkeveien.
We are moving forward. Blogs are old fashioned now. It takes too much effort to find the blog and check if it has been updated since last you were there. Now you want "the news" directly on our phone, twitter, facebook, instagram.....even facebook is moving towards the old fashioned category. An image on instagram, 140 characters on twitter.....that´s about all we can take......because there are so many, we have so many followers and people and groups we follow, we can´t miss anything......
I am on twitter and instagram and facebook myself, and I know on my own body this rush of things.....why read a whole newspaper article when you can read only the frontlines?
Why write a whole blogpost when you can post an image on instagram and get 50+ likes in an hour?
The answer is easy.
I don´t want to stop blogging. I don´t want to quit my time in the early mornings looking though my photos, deciding on a theme, searching for words. Then looking forward to comments and emails from you though the day.
I want to be old fashioned. Like Ingrid told me many years ago: "Mamma, you are so oldfashioned, sometimes I wonder if you were born before God!"
Is there anything new under the sun?
Yes, as long as I can set the cabin table in a new way there is. And I will continue my daily blogging.
I spent a few hours yesterday updating my travel diary. Now I have "returned home from Nepal" and I am ready for another travel.
I have written diaries all my life. I still have the first one which I started at the age of five. I have always traveled, and remember making travel books with my brother to prepare for our next go. We visited travel agencies downtown, carried armfuls of colourful brochures home, sat down at the kitchen table, cut and glued, using homeade glue made of flour and water, making the most wonderful travel books. I can´t remember if I ever wrote while we traveled, but I guess I did.
Some time in my teens I destroyed a bunch of diaries.
In 1991 I started to write special travel journals. In the beginning from every travel, then after a while only from those abroad.
Today my travel journal, travel diary, is a dear travel companion. I write every day, page up, page down, but as the travel unfolds, it is impossible to keep the journal up to date, and I continue with keynotes in my regular journal.
And I have to do the update when back home.
Since I don´t journal my travels in Norway any more, I have not written from our week in Lofoten, which is a pity!!!, and I will not write from the weatern coast of Norway travel we start tomorrow.
I think it is time to change my mind. I think it is time to include the travels in Norway in my travel journals.
I am working on some travel writing from Nepal. Will use it several places, first out is a day I will have with the deacons in my diocese in a few weeks. Hopefully I can have it published somewhere as well. It might be a chapter in my book about travels. Together with the writing is a power point.
Last night I wrote about my excitement when seeing Tansen for the first time, and my experience of challenging myself out of my comfort zone when I left the group at Chitwan National Park and continued to Tansen and then further on to Pokhara all by myself. In an unknown country, far from home.
To set myself in the correct mood, I read my travel diary, my blog posts from Nepal, and then the part in the book about Ingeborg Skjervheim where she reaches Tansen for the first time. Back in 1955.
Ingeborg came on a small plane from India, and landed in Bhairahawa, just as I did. There she was met by a Swedish missionary who told her they were to wait for a car to take them on. They were lucky. Soon afterwards they found a lorry, and got a ride. To Butwan it took two hours on extremely bumpy roads. This same ride took me half an hour by taxi.
From Butwan they had to walk. To hike. To climb. For two days. From Butwan I took another taxi. A small, quite uncomfortable one, with a smiling, talkative driver. My ride took four hours.
When Ingeborg finally reached Tansen, she was given a tiny room with only one window with dark shutters to give light. No electricity of course. No running water. The floor was hard soil. (the room with the open windows)
When I reached Tansen, a room was waiting for me at White Lake Hotel. Two beds, a cabinet. A desk. My own bathroom with a shower and a flush toilet. Hot and cold water. Wi-Fi in the lobby.
You already know the start. The amazing not Annapurna nor Himalaya but my own perfect view of sea, sky and mountains. We had a long, slow breakfast, and soon afterwards Terje was out, doing carpentry. From time to time he called my name "BrittArnhild, I need your help" and all of a sudden I found myself up in the ladder, or down on safe ground, giving a helping hand. But most of the time Terje was busy with his tasks, I with mine.
My task was mostly writing about Nepal. With the help of notes in my journal, I traveled back in time. I remembered, I reflected, I stopped to remember again, I smiled, I prayed, I longed back.
At midday it was time for a break. A work in the cabin garden break. Spring is late, something I am very happy about. No spring while I was away. Now I can enjoy every minute of it, from the very beginning. Looks like several of my cabin roses have died during the long, hard winter. And only a few daffodills seem to have survived. But the cherry tree looks strong, and a group of white crocuses looks like they plan to enjoy their lives fully. For a long time.
Lunch outdoors. More writing. A nap. Coffee. Words again. Time traveling to Nepal. And more words. Making dinner. Eating. Doing the dishes together. Finishing a book for my upcoming reading group.
The slow life. The good life. The peaceful life.
And I know, deep in my heart, that the change between travels and home, between busy and slow, between alone and together.......that's the tapestry which gives my life beauty.
While searching the net to find a place for us to stay the first nights of our drive around Iceland, I was charmed by the tale of Anna, a dairymaid born in the tiny little village of Moldnúpur in 1901. In 1947 Anna decides to travel, and this leads to years of exploring the world. Back home she wrote travel books, publishing them, 7 in all, by herself.
Moldnúpur today is a tiny little village, on the mainland south in Iceland, looking directly out to the Vestmannaeyir. The village consists of a church, a few farms and Hotel Anna, named in tribute to the dairywoman who became a world traveler.
As soon as I found Hotel Anne online, and read Anna the Traveler´s tale, I couldn´t resist. Could I? I sent an email to the hotel, asking for a double room, but heard nothing back. I wouldn´t give up though, and after a couple of days I had my sister in law call the hotel. And "yes, they had a room available for us for two nights"
Our two days there turned out to be a dream. In the little hotel, with only 7 rooms, we were the only guests the first night, the second night two other rooms were occupied as well. The kitchen was splendid, and on our second night we took the chance to eat an Icelandic speciality - horse meet. Oh my, it was delicious.
But back to Anna. She did publish 7 books through her lifetime (she passed away in 1979). One is translated into English. I think I must learn Icelandic to be able to read the others.
Anna from Moldnúpur was born in the Icelandic countryside in 1901. She was energetic and eager to learn but her curcumstances did not allow for the possibility of long-term schooling. She worked at various jobs in Reykjavik and the countryside, and also practiced weaving, eventually leaving behind many woven treasures. After her first trip abroad Anna was always on the move; during the following years she made six long trips to Britain and mainland Europe, and in the summer of 1964 she traveled around the USA for more than three months. Anna wrote detailed novels about her journes and published them at her own expense. The voice of Anna from Moldnúpur is unique in the history of Icelandic literature and is a valuable witness to the self-image and the life experience of a common Icelandic woman of that time period, no less than to the countries she visited. From the back cover of Anna from Moldnúpur. A Dairymaid Travels the World. Publisged by Hotel Anna www.hotelanna.is
Anna wrote her books from memory when she came home. She had a most excellent memory!
Most of the female travellers I read wrote as they went, and before computers they used to write letters home and then using the letters as base for their travel books.
Travel letters is a dying art. I still do write a few postcards, but no letters anymore: Of course we must live in our own time, and today is the time of the digital nomad. But what will be left after us?
I write my blog at least once a day when I travel. You can call it my travel letters to the world. But will the blog still be there in 50 years? In 100? 200? Like letters I read today in my travel book collection?
I want to do my share to keep the travel letter writing alive. Starting from Iceland, I want to send one handwritten letter to one of my readers during every travel abroad I do.
Do you want to be the receiver of one of the BrittArnhild´s House in the Woods Travel Letters? If so, leave a comment on this post and tell me why you would cheerish a handwritten travel letter from me.
All texts and photos by Britt-Arnhild Wigum Lindland
I am living in a red house surrounded by a blue garden near Trondheim, Norway. I love everydays and post about my steps through life. Britt-Arnhild's House in the Woods is open to everybody. Welcome over!