After another hiatus with this blog I have finally got back on the saddle again, so to speak.
Since April when I last posted, it has turned into yet another whirlwind year reaching the point that as the precious writing moments became so few and far in between, I was forced to make a conscious decision to take up whatever writing time that came my way in favour of the WIP rather than the blog .
Once again it taken holidays, to give me the clear space to spend quality time at the writing desk and so finally the blog resumes its life.
It was actually writing, and a 30 year promise (more on that later), that finds me typing away here in Hong Kong today. Before anyone asks, I must point out that I booked in March, way before the current troubles.
Looking out of the hotel room window watching the traffic and people passing me by as they undertake their daily manoeuvres, the TV news stories of the recent months of unrest seemingly dissipate into the background.
So why Hong Kong, you may ask? As I mentioned earlier this trip is making good on a 30 year promise and also because I honestly believed back in March that to get some of my own writing in I had to get away from Adelaide and the distractions of home life. Given I am sitting at this desk already on my first morning that plan seems to be working.
The holiday writing plan was also very much influenced by my good friend and fellow writer Catherine, who used her long service leave wisely earlier this year to write the first draft of her novel while holidaying in Carcassonne, France. You can follow Catherine’s journey (which still continues) at her blog Being Boomer.
Listening to and reading Catherine’s plans for her writing holiday made me realise, particularly as the writing desk was increasingly getting hard to reach, that this was also a feasible option for me. So as my last holidays were ending back in March, I found myself walking into the travel agent one Sunday afternoon and walked out having booked holidays to Sydney, Paris and Hong Kong. Eventually Paris had to be dropped, mainly in favour of a bigger French trip to hopefully occur next year which will double as a research trip for the WIP. However here I am in Hong Kong with Sydney to follow next week and I am writing!!
So back to my 30 year promise which has also brought me to this fascinating city.
In the late 1990s, 1996-1998 to be precise, I was finishing up my cadetship and becoming a senior journalist at The Advertiser. Among my wonderful colleagues there were some who were already planning their next career moves beyond Adelaide and Australia. At the time the usual path of such a step involved getting to London and scoring a job with a British paper.
However one of our more senior colleagues often entertained us with stories from his time as a journalist in Hong Kong. That, and the then impending handover of Hong Kong from British to Chinese rule, prompted an interest among a few of us to consider Hong Kong, rather than England, as the next step in our journalism careers.
A small group did go on to make that step and I promised I would join them. In fact I promised one of them while saying goodbye in early 1998 that I would be in Hong Kong within six months. I got as far as booking my ticket but in the end that was as close I got to getting to Hong Kong until I finally landed here late yesterday.
There are a variety of reasons why Hong Kong never became my next career step. It was also prompted losing contact with many of that group of colleagues over time, which dissipated the opportunities to plan a visit.
Over the past decade I have reconnected with many of those dear colleagues from that late 1990s period, mainly thanks to Facebook (one of the great joys of social media). However it took catching up in person at last year’s Advertiser reunion to put a visit to Hong Kong firmly back on the agenda.
Of that small group of colleagues that went onto international careers, only one has remained in Hong Kong. Chris moved to Hong Kong in early 1998 to take up a role with the South China Morning Post, little did he know back then that he would continue to call the city home more than 30 years later.
During our all too brief catch up last year in Adelaide, I renewed my promise to visit Hong Kong. This time I made sure I delivered and got my act into gear to make it a reality.
As I write I am waiting on Chris and his wife Sandy to turn up at the hotel. They are going to show me their Hong Kong. Not only do I get to spend time with some dear friends but I also get to finally discover a city that has taken me 30 years to visit. I am sure there will be a lot to write about in the coming days…