Melbourne, Australia on June 9, 2014:
15,972.10 km or 9,917 mi – that’s the distance between Melbourne and Berlin. Assuming an average flight speed of 500 mph/ 805 kmph and allowing some time for takeoff and landing it would take 20 hours and 21 min to fly straight from one point to the other. This calculation does not yet include wind speed, taxi, alternation from the straight route in commercial air traffic or the still necessary stops along the way. And that is today.
Of course, today Nat is only one click away on the internet. A phone call. A video call. Even the delivery of a real letter doesn’t exceed the waiting capabilities of my impatient self. Well, it almost not exceeds it.
100 years ago however – it was truly at the other end of the world. And yet, the soil of Europe is drenched in Australian blood. While they might never had heard of Messines, Wimereux, Armentieres or Bullecourt they fought and died there, because they cared. And I think they also understood that there isn’t really such a thing as the other end of the world, even back then.
That the heart of Europe today is for decades already a place of peace and prosperity like the legendary Shire of the Hobbits and Europeans were allowed to acquire the bricked up mindset of the Hobbits along with it is as much the accomplishment of the ANZAC troops, as it is of all the other men and women, who were called upon and raced to help from all corners of the planet. In the end, whatever we might believe, we aren’t lone planets. It takes a village to raise a child and a network of friends to pull you through the rest of the mess.
From Berlin with Love I bow my head today to all the Diggers and Vets, made possible through my friend Nat, who completed my dare 15,972.10 km away.