Sometimes dreams are over the sea but I believe in them. As I flew over theSea of Japan, a Japanese girl dressed in purple and wearing glasses sat at the window seat in front of me. I could tell by her expressions that she loved looking out the window at the make believe world below. I was in a perfect place to take a picture but sometimes it’s not always a good idea to take a picture of the moment. I knew this moment was hers and I got to witness it and commit it to memory. I knew I felt just like her.
Earlier that year, I travelled alone for the first time fromIrelandtoSouth Korea. I stood in the airport bookshop, looking for some book to keep me company. I found a shelf full of Roald Dahl books. A few months before, I had bought and read many including Matilda, The Giraffe and thePellyand Me, George’s Marvellous Medicine and Danny, The Champion of the World. My eye found the title ‘Going Solo’. I thought that title sounded like my situation. When I opened it, there were tales of flight involved but Dahl’s adventures were as a fighter pilot during World War II. I read the book fromDublintoGermany,GermanytoChinaandChinatoSouth Korea. It was a gripping read. I had no one to tell me what my facial expressions looked like but I remember being involved in a variety of them.
I think it is interesting why one makes the decision to travel. If I told you my reasons, maybe you might not believe me. The truth is I don’t think I’d have had the courage to go solo without the art I made to inspire it. On a cold Sunday inIreland, March 2009; I stood on a chair beside my friend Seiko, wrapped in a costume and covered with yellow face paint. I couldn’t have imagined that day of make believe would lead me over the sea to Seiko and her home inTokyo.
My next journey is in the making. It came from a gold frame in an antique shop. Inside the frame, there was an embroidered cloth. I kept it in a purse I carried. In a hostel inCork, I met a girl called Zoe fromChina. I showed her the cloth and asked her what the writing meant. She said it was the name of a silk weaving factory called Du Jin Sheng inHangzhou. She opened her bag and showed me many scarves wrapped in plastic which she had bought inHangzhou. She brought them with her to give as gifts. She gave me a white scarf with yellow and green leaves. On the tag there is a symbol ‘HZ-DJS’.Hangzhoumeans ‘Heaven on earth’. When I go toChinato meet Zoe, it is with these leaves that I will travel over the sea.
Lena O’ Connell graduated from the Limerick School of Art and Design in 2009. She specialised in fine art, sculpture. Lena currently lives and works in Daegu, South Korea. She teaches English and is involved with a children’s art group