As Far Away Places Edge Closer

An entourage from the White House is on a foreign tour right now, and my social media feeds are full of humorous images like the ones I show here. Given my political leanings, I find them funny even while I recognize the gravity of the situations.

In truth, it is more than news reports and twitter jokes that bring what were once far away places into my living room. I’m not the only one in my family infected by the travel bug, and those I am closest to are often far away. These days, their photos catch my eye as I’m online.

Tomorrow, I will say goodbye to my own significant other as he heads to a foreign country for the first time without me. It is an exciting opportunity for him (and a great chance for me to get a lot of writing done.) But he is a reluctant traveler, and the ease with which he heads off reminds me of how much smaller and more comfortable the world has become. Places that once seemed incredibly remote are now merely “two plane rides away” and “a trip I hope to make someday.”

Is a shrinking world a good thing? We now feel the pain of distant events in new ways. The sorrow they cause is difficult, the increased desire to help is laudable.  I was searching for a video of a song to convey that feeling, to stand in contrast to the various videos of “Far Away Places” that I posted on my other blogs.

I found this instead and realized that it was perfect.  Maybe that’s because it’s about the way the world could be. Or maybe, it’s about the way it really is and we just tend to forget..

 

(For more thoughts on Far Away Places see Those Far Away Places Could Be Next Door, Leaving a Light Footprint in a Far Away Place, Caring About Far Away Places and The Courage to Embrace Those Far Away Places.)

I’ve always wanted to go to Greenland.

I’ve always wanted to go to Greenland. Maybe it is because of how I enjoyed my short time in Canada’s Arctic years ago. Maybe it’s because of Greenland’s renowned rock formations, or the fact that giant islands fascinate me. Or maybe it is because I am intrigued by map projections and no place in the world is more distorted on a flat map. It could be something that simple, I think.

northern-lights-02

See beautiful photos of the northern lights here

Whatever the reason, there was no doubt that one of my books would involve Greenland. Luckily I live in a time where I can watch endless video clips and pursue countless photos online while reading accounts of those lucky enough to there go in person. It’s not the same, of course, but you take what you can get. I spent a good bit of time at greenland.com/en/about-greenland planning imaginary vacations to the far north, so when it came time to choose links for the novel, I was happy to give my readers this nudge to visit Greenland’s tourist website.

“So you want me to drop this idea of taking out our clients most influential direct reports?”

“Not at all,” Eoin chuckled. “Up to now I’ve been content to let my client’s private business stay private, but I have to admit that your curiosity is starting to rub off. I want you to plan a vacation to Nuuk. It’s a town of sixteen-thousand, for heaven’s sake, so you ought to be able to find out where in Nuuk Mikkel keeps his people. Don’t be too obvious. Go see the northern lights and ride a dog sled before winter ends. You need to get more acquainted with the north anyway.”

Then, as she looked at him puzzled, he added. “You’ve got a nice direct way about you. You’re not threatening. Go meet the lady that runs the answering service. I bet you can come back from Nuuk knowing more about Mikkel Nygaard than anyone here does now, and I promise that I won’t ask questions about your expense account next month.”

As Eoin turned and left, Ronan gave a little whistle. “Wow. No questions about your expense account for a whole month?”

Fergus added. “I’ve always wanted to go to Greenland.”

“It’s February,” Ariel muttered back. “I bet you wanted to go in July.”