Sunshine Abroad

The trials and rewards of French translation and beyond

(This only works if you're in the Northern Hemisphere. Replace "north" with "south" for Australia and those parts of Africa and South America below the Equator.)

We have so much power. Climb into a car, a simple piece of machinery, really, it's been around for decades going on centuries, everyone has one. Slide a tiny strip of metal into a specific slot, tweak it a bit, and start flying across the ground. Drive north. We hold the power of time in our hands, and feet. The ability to fast forward through the seasons. Dry heat sinks give way to muggy swamps, buzzing with life, which cede to warm sun and cool breezes blowing through red and golden leaves, which melt away into chilly air and bare branches.

No longer at the mercy of the skies are we. Watch the colors change, from green to brown, and fade away. Feel the power under our palms, coursing through the gas tank, tires gripping miles and miles of ribbony tarmac.


Seriously. Guys. Technology is SO COOL. Planes, trains, automobiles. All this fancy mechanical stuff can even help us appreciate nature more. I always request a window seat on an airplane, to watch the sunrise or the cloud-sea or the patchwork quilt of farms. I'd prefer to be a passenger on a roadtrip, not because I don't like driving, but to revel in the trees or the snow or the setting harvest crescent moon.

(Should I try to tie this into translation as a profession? Planes are awesome because you can visit anywhere you want to in the world. New cultures, new people, new food, new sights, new nature. The world is an amazing place. I learned French, and I translate, and I'm working on learning Arabic, because I'm trying to satiate my curiosity for everything that's out there, all the beautiful wonderful things, and share those things with everyone. Complete satisfaction is never going to happen, though. And that's almost as cool as all the cool things out there.)


P.S. Kayaks are also time-travel machines. Thanks, xkcd.