The following is a passage from 'A World Away', a short story written by Alison Karlene Hodgins.
" The beauty of backpacking unfolds in the constant ability to move on. Saying goodbye becomes as effortless as uttering hello. Another plane ride took us north of Australia to Indonesia. Bali was a feast for the eyes. The contrast to modern Australia was astonishing and mocking. I couldn’t absorb all of the details fast enough. The muggy air sweated with high-pitched singing prayers that mixed into cricket’s chirps at dusk. An inevitable thunderstorm followed each night without fail. Instead of the fresh smell that flooded Alberta’s plains after a rain shower, the streets stank of damp garbage. Humble abodes constructed from grey stone struggled to contain a hopeless, overflowing population. Every moment was noise I couldn’t comprehend. A chaotic clash of old and new, faded pastels and stone cold temples littered the cement alleyways. Scooters swarmed the narrow streets like infectious, uncontrollable locust. Workers were loaded into the backs of trucks, packed tight as cattle, as oblivious to my presence as I was of theirs for the past 18 years. "
Copyright of Alison Karlene Hodgins, April 15, 2012