November 16th, 2021 - back off track
May 16, 2012 is the day I set out for my journey, so in theory I send out a monthly newsletter around that time. In practice, this fickle newsletter is sporadic at best and you never know when it’ll hit you. If you want these unpredictable updates delivered straight to your inbox, sign up here:
Salut, Ciao, Hallo, Yassou,
I was gone there for a while and if you decipher these four greetings, you can venture a rough guess where I've been hiding. My life has been a zigzag recently, and, as a fan of change and uncertainty, I hope yours has been too! I have failed at my sabbatical because my hands felt empty without a pen and camera, so here I am, back off track, where I belong.
the Paris you live in
They all said it's different when you live there. Paris. Worse they meant, but when I lived there it was better. The best. The Paris you live in is the best Paris. Those who were born into it don't understand the Paris that is Paris by choice. Paris is alive with frenzy and filth, smells so so good and so so bad. Paris is dense and loud and full. A never-ending story with every happy ending in the book, but first you gotta twist with the twists and wade through the grime.
My solo exhibition INTO SPACE at 4M2 Gallery went as well as wellbeing, and the vernissage was a great opportunity to meet people and find parents for some of the artwork, including the centerpiece:
They lifted the lockdown just before Bastille Day, so everybody threw out their masks and gathered for the fireworks without a worry in the world because the virus didn’t worry either.
Venice is Venice
Venice was Venice, and there is neither reason nor justification to say anything else about it.
time taking a break on Föhr
Caribbean of the North they call it because the sea that washes up at the island's shoreline is sheltered and calm like balm. And time seemed to hesitate there for a moment, unsure whether to move on or not.
Greece, Europe's anteroom
If Turkey is Europe's refugee gate, Greece is the anteroom. Take off your shoes, put your identity on a hanger, let's see if we have a reservation for you. I currently live on the Aegean island of Samos, a mile off the Turkish coast and a landing for asylum seekers who want to enter the EU. It is also the first one of the five Greek islands in immediate proximity to Turkey to hold asylum seekers inside the EU's brand-new closed camp flagship facility, which resembles a prison according to MSF as well as all other local actors, anybody in it, and anybody looking at it. The day I arrived in Samos, they moved the remaining refugees from the old camp to the new camp, where they traded squalor for freedom. "Living conditions" at the old camp can be more aptly described as "survival conditions", but at least there was freedom of movement, and the camp was only a walking-minute outside of town. The new camp provides more humane facilities, but people are severely restricted in their movements, not least because of the camp's isolation, 8 km from Vathy, the island capital. There's much more to say, and I will say it soon.
Samos / Greece · 2021 old camp
Samos / Greece · 2021 new camp
Samos / Greece · 2021 Three layers of razor wire fencing, watchtowers, police patrols, metal detectors, and body searches are how the EU welcomes refugees at the new camp/prison.
Samos / Greece · 2021 The isolation of the site and limited public transport mean that refugees might have to walk 8 km one way just to cover their basic needs in town.
Sentiments towards refugees among the local population are mixed and fluctuating within the complex and dynamic context. Many locals never fully recovered from the financial crisis and livelihoods are threatened by decreasing tourism. Last year's devastating earthquake and forest fires didn't help. With the number of refugees at the old camp matching that of the island capital’s population at its peak, right-wing populism built new inroads on fear, but refugees have also made welcome contributions to the local economy when tourism collapsed.
Samos / Greece · 2021 off season
Samos / Greece · 2021 decaying dream
Samos / Greece · 2021 remnants of a forest fire
latest content – Miles grown up
Those of you who have followed the evolution of MilesAstray over the years might have noticed that a lot of the country pages were only teasers because my writing was playing catch up with my living. I started this project four years into the journey, so my experiences had a head start on my words. And while the non-fictional nature of my writing demands that it remains retrospective, always lagging behind my experience, I am now inching towards my own heels. I’ve spent a dizzying number of hours on this latest makeover, turning teasers into tales and retouching every existing page, photo, and word. Of course, with a million thoughts and stories waiting to break out of my cluttered mind, Miles will always be an evolving organism; but with the teasers gone and the existing content groomed, there is a sense of partial completion, not unlike adulthood. Stop by now to find plenty of new content, revisit old content with new looks, and indulge my visual and written escapades.
your walls, happier
If your walls are bored, cheer them up with some turquoise Aegean molecules. Check out the monthly steal and rob me of this print with 25 % off:
where to next
Nowhere quite yet. It's warm here.
Salut, Ciao, Tschüss, Yassas,