One of the best things of living on a tropical island, surrounded by sharks, crocs and box jelly fish, miles from anywhere, is leaving – then coming back. Jetlagged before I left, pulling the red eye so my wife Vivi could run the paper in my absence, I was in a state of swirling sleep-deprived psychedelic madness by the time I hit the streets of San Francisco 48 hours later. In the space of a week I caught eight planes, two trains, three cars and a boat. I maybe got three half decent night’s sleep the whole time.
My body clock all upside down, when day was night and night was day, I was living on a diet of beer, breakfast burritos, bagels, Beroccas, Advils, coffees as tall as milkshakes and adrenaline. I even managed a stop in Citylights Books, (who first published much of the Beat writers)
A perk of being a writer is occasionally I get invited to speak at literary festivals, and with the re-release of my book Shanti Bloody Shanti in the UK and the States, I was invited to talk at LitQuake last week, one of the most prominent events on the West Coast. Thanks to Arts Tas, who footed my travel expenses, and my US publisher, Roaring Forties Press, who organised my accommodation, a US book launch and bookshop appearance – I got a whirlwind, transcontinental whistle-stop sojourn that both exhausted and inspired. After three speaking engagements, a Hendrix’s Gin drenched opening night smooze (which ended up dodgy Latino bar in San Fran’s Mexican district, The Mission) and a new tattoo, I ended up on a bus to Reno, Nevada, to catch up with some mates I met in the Amazon a few years ago, for some much needed downtime – soaking in hotsprings, cruising in a 67 Mustang, Frizbee golf and generally submerging in Americana.
Everything in moderation, including moderation. So the swirling madness, sleep deprivation and alcohol infused week in San Fran and Nevada was just what the doctor ordered, but its sure nice to be home with my girls again…