That's how far I am from home. It's 10,426 miles, in fact, from my erstwhile home city, Newcastle in Australia, to where I live now, in Alnwick, UK. A flight time of just under 24 hours.
Moving halfway around the world is a bonanza for story ideas. Even apart from warm beer, vinegar on the chips and an abject misunderstanding of the word 'summer', there's so much stuff in the UK that we just don't have at home.
History, for one. Sure, people have lived in Australia for thousands of years. But European settlement only happened in 1788, and unlike Europeans, indigenous Australians didn't tend to alter the landscape to suit themselves. So a lot of their history is invisible, at least to white folk like me.
|Standing stones on the Isle of Arran|
And along with them, we find a rich history of fabulous tales, mostly involving corruption, crime and slaughter, with the odd ghost story and whodunit thrown in.
|Part of Warkworth Castle|
Only, familiarity breeds contempt. You don't appreciate what you see every day. Cool things go unnoticed in the rush of everyday life. The locals in the UK probably think a ruined Roman fortress or a 13th century castle haunted by the ghosts of dead soldiers is boring as hell.
So, yeah. When I get home, I hope I'll pay more attention. There may not be castles and kings and 2,000-year-old Roman relics where I come from. But that doesn't mean we don't have stories worth hearing.
History, in that sense, is a bit like the paranormal. You only see it if you look... Except, of course, in the UK, where you can't miss history, because it's everywhere.
Unlike summer. They don't have summer here. After a few alleged 'summers' like this? Free transportation to Australia for convicts was a pretty good deal. Go ahead, you British folk, beat us in the Olympics and thrash us in the cricket all you want. Our weather is still better. We put tomato sauce, not vinegar, on the chips. And the beer's cold :)