There's this great Ben Howard song called Depth Over Distance, it has the lines:

"Depth over distance every time, my dear
And this tree of ours may grow tall in the woods
But it's the roots that will bind us here
To the ground"

"hold on, though we may be too young
to know the ride we're on".

You can apply the essence of this to a lot of life. I've chopped and changed my surroundings so many times and at each place you have to start from scratch, trying to build some kind of home and community. Something that stretches beyond a routine and into a way of life that you feel nourishes you and builds you up.

From my experience, community is a rare thing. To find a place where people move beyond being a collection of individuals and into somewhere with a kind of shared, selfless purpose. I've been lucky to find it at PSF and in some of the churches I've attended over the years. It can also be found in more transient environments such as the Camino. The sad thing it is missing from a lot of the world.

When I next get pedantically get asked what I want to do after university with my degree in Philosophy and Italian, I'm tempted to reply to simply base myself in a rewarding community somewhere. The obvious drawback to this is that it would encourage stereotypes and would either entail silence or further irritating questions. It's much easier and socially acceptable to say you want to move to London and work in the city. For a lot of people those answers are mutually exclusive, I don't think they necessarily are if you have a less simplistic view of the world.

I had a good chat this weekend with a New Zealander who spent 5 years living in Amsterdam with his family. We bonded over our shared belief and experience of English being far less proficient than people and the media make it out to be. This is particularly the case in Western Europe where the vast majority of people have mastered surface knowledge language skills and promptly progressed no further. The kind that happily points a tourist in the direction of the Pantheon or enough to survive basic greeting formalities.

True communication stretches far beyond this, particularly if you are staying somewhere long term and not just a weekend visit. You want to be able to share thoughts and opinions in depth. While my Italian skills are working to fill that void in ability, in the short term it can feel a little daunting and alienating not to be able to fully communicate. Not to stretch beyond surface level.

Language even in this day of dictionaries and wikipedia is often so nuanced and subjective. Words don't translate and correspond directly. More than anything, words are often merely trying to describe and paint a picture of something that powerfully exists as a separate tangible thing. When we use words to describe our feelings how can we truly explain what is happening inside our brain. Language is also just a component of community, there are other factors that play important roles too, but it also seems the easiest one I can try and fix.

I'm looking forward to a little trip to London this Friday.

A dopo.



  • What 3 words is a fun website. You can find my bedroom using 'scoring enforced climate'. Given the breadth of possibility in the English language, I'm fairly happy with my allocation.
  • I mentioned him at the beginning, but Ben Howards new album is incredible. I listened to it start to finish 3 times this weekend. Check it out.
  • I'm in Italy only for a year. This article helps to explain why the novelty of pizza, gelato and old buildings can wear thin for Italians who have their long term future here.
  • Finally, this video will make you want to go to Canada: