Here and Elsewhere

On the surface of it, this project was inspired by the simple idea that my “here” is another person’s “elsewhere”.

My “elsewhere” is someone else’s “here”. That one of the miracles of story is that readers can learn about an “elsewhere” without leaving “here”.

And, in this strange year, when COVID19’s travel plans have been more elaborate and extensive than most people’s, we’ve had occasion to stop and think about the world in different ways.

Photo by Jorge Tung on Unsplash

It’s amazing, how easily we can choose to broaden/narrow our experience of the world.

A common misconception is that stories of human movement in the world – of emigration and immigration – are all the same.

But if you contemplate that, for just an instant, you can see how ridiculous that idea is: stories can fill the gaps in our comprehension.

Even in the digital age, we can choose to isolate ourselves, to disregard the aspects of the world which are unfamiliar to us.

With so many people choosing to focus, right now, on what we cannot do and where we cannot go, the opposite is also true.

Anyone who has the resources to create a sourdough starter or experiment with bitters can take themselves to anybody’s “here” or “elsewhere”.

Something as random as a desk calendar, with illustrations of global cities, can inspire you to read and learn.

In 2020, I travelled to twelve cities and read/watched dozens of stories that broadened my horizons: CopenhagenLondonHavanaKyotoParisSan FranciscoMarrakechMexico CityRomeShanghaiAmsterdam and New York City.

In 2021, my focus will shift to stories of migration. Stories of change. We can all learn from others’ varied and layered experiences.