When I travelled in Tasmania as a teenager I experienced an interesting illusion that derived from my having grown up in Western Australia’s vast distances. I relived it in and around the North York Moors National Park, surprisingly, England’s most wooded national park.
Looking at the map, I would estimate the time it would take to get from one town to the next. I no sooner looked up from the map, than we were upon that next town – fifteen minutes early. Prior to leaving Australia, I discovered it’s only about forty-five minutes north-south along the moors. My brain was curiously resistant to this information. It’s as if there was a little section off to the side in there having its own conversation, rather like a coffee room of insubordinate gossips: “There’s a whole green patch there on the map with lots of towns in it and some big open spaces. It must take longer than forty-five minutes. We’ll take no notice of what the local bloke says. We’ve never been there but we know better.” Continue reading