radionotes podcast episodes

Anna Smyrk grew up on a lavender farm in Australia, by 2016 their first solo EP – Song of the Silver-tongued Magpie – was in flight. They have a role in International Development with their latest EP – Swim – drawing from experiences abroad in places like the Solomon Islands and Cambodia.

Anna joined John Murch in a park in Thebarton (South Australia) to have a chat and perform some tunes from the latest release for radionotes.

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The tunes performed for radionotes: The Wait, Benjamin and Pocket Knife.

SHOW NOTES: Anna Smyrk

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Feature Guest: Anna Smyrk

Find/Purchased music – Swim EP:

Next Episode: Cold Sleep

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[Radio Production – notes: ]


Theme/Music: Martin Kennedy and All India Radio   

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Voice: Tammy Weller  

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First version provided by REV team member Bertha L – check to audio before quoting wider

John Murch: Anna Smyrk, Welcome to radionotes.

Anna Smyrk: Thanks for having me.

John Murch: Let’s firstly take you back Scarlett Music. When you picked up your first guitar at the age of 13.

Anna Smyrk: That’s the day that I got my first acoustic guitar. My dad took me to Scarlett Music in Footscray, in the Western suburbs of Melbourne and, we picked out the guitar together. I’d been playing the violin for a few years at that stage, but my dad always played guitar, so I wanted to be a little bit like him I think. And I ended up, picking out a beautiful steel string acoustic guitar, which I played for many years, and that’s where my songwriting life began. I suppose I was about 13 at that stage, and I would sit in my room after school, and start writing songs, and I would cringe to hear them now I’m sure. But, it was the start of a long journey.

John Murch: What was his guitar life experience like, that you saw as a young teenager?

Anna Smyrk: Grew up with a lot of music around the house. Both my parents really loved music, but my dad played a lot of music with his mates, in his twenties, and when he was growing up. In later life has continued to play in, he plays bass mostly these days in a rock and roll, kinda sixties rock and roll band. So a lot of my childhood, Sunday afternoons were spent at the pub with all the other kids of the, people in the band. And we would be dancing to the rock and roll tunes down at the pub.

John Murch: And whilst that was the 60s was this some original music coming through his repertoire as well?

Anna Smyrk: That has been more recently actually. It’s been interesting to see. They were doing mostly cover gigs when I was growing up, but just in the last few years my dad’s also taken on a bit of songwriting. So it’s an interesting new element to our relationship. Talking about songwriting together.

John Murch: What were the conversations like before that? Was it about records, about the music or was it about something else? What guitar conversations were you having?

Anna Smyrk: I guess with my dad, the conversations we’re really always about song. We’re both real lovers of the craft of song, and I grew up listening with him to artistes like Neil Young, and Bob Dylan, and Joni Mitchell. So a lot of the conversations we would have about music would be about, the stories that the songs were telling and how the artists managed to, put you in a place, and put you in a mood, and take you to a certain time.

John Murch: What kind of gigs, if any, was he taking you to apart from his own? Of course.

Anna Smyrk: Oh. That’s a good question. I don’t remember going to a ton of gigs with my dad when I was younger. I do remember the first gig he took me to, was a John Butler Trio gig at the Palais down in St Kilda in Melbourne. When I must’ve been 15 or 16, and that really just blew me away. I thought that, what John Butler Trio is doing up there on the stage, with a full theater full of people hanging on every note. That’s just the coolest thing I’d ever seen. He was the chaperone I suppose. And I went with a couple of friends from school, who I ended up playing a lot of music with later on down the track as well. So I think it was a bit of a spark for all of us.

John Murch: What was the songwriting inspiration during those teenage years?

Anna Smyrk: I’ve always written a lot from my own life, that’s been the starting a starting place. In terms of musical inspiration, at that time I was listening to a lot of artists. I was playing a lot more piano than guitar at that stage. In fact, I was listening to a lot of artists like Regina Spektor, and Ben Folds who have a lot of, piano heavy songs. So I was really interested in that, especially what Regina Spektor does with playing around with, strange sounds, and strange forms of songs, and a little bit trying to, shock or make the listener unsure what’s coming up next. But yeah, later on I came back to the guitar again, and since the last few years I’ve been writing a lot more on guitar.

John Murch: Did you ever get a Nord for yourself?

Anna Smyrk: I have not had a Nord. It’s one of the things I would really like to have in my life now.

John Murch: Would that take you back to the piano even more?

Anna Smyrk: I think it would. I’ve always had a keyboard in my life. I do write a little bit on keyboard these days, but I think it’s something I’m interested in for my next record actually to be riding a bit more on piano, and seeing what that might do to my songwriting.

John Murch: Where was the first piano that you played?

Anna Smyrk: The first piano I played. That’s a good question. It was probably at my house growing up, because my oldest sister played piano. We all learned piano as kids, me and my two sisters. Violin was my first instrument. But seeing my oldest sister learn piano, I wanted to get on board as well. So I learned piano from a quite a young age as well.

Anna Smyrk: I learned classical violin and piano. So it was much more a focus on learning technique and learning interpretation and songwriting. So I think that’s why the guitar at that time when I did pick up the guitar, it, I felt like, because I didn’t have a technical background in that area, and I never really took a bunch of lessons, or anything like that in guitar. It’s just something I’ve taught myself over the years. I feel like, it has enabled me to be a bit more free in my songwriting, because I don’t have that technical critical brain, going on behind the scenes.

John Murch: Did you find the eight years of age a good age to start the violin? Because we hear about kids that start at two three, all this kind of stuff. But for you?

Anna Smyrk: Well, it’s funny, I don’t think I’d ever really seen a violin, least of all played one. But for some reason I really got it into my head that that was the thing I wanted to do, and I just begged my parents for a couple of weeks that if they would allow me to, get a little violin and start having lessons. I must’ve seen it on TV or something. I don’t know where it came from. It was just something, an idea that I fixated on and I really wanted to play. And I think it was a great age to start playing the violin. I think some kids do start younger, and it depends on the kid. For me, it was an age where I was, enough dexterity to be able to put it together eventually, although I’m sure my parents might disagree with that.

Anna Smyrk: In the first couple of years, I think it was probably not a pleasant experience for my family, the first few years of a child learning, violin in the home. I did teach violin to kids as well later on. And I would say that eight is a really great age. It’s an age where kids are starting to really get into music more generally, so they can relate to it at a good level at that age.

John Murch: Talking about that family home, we’ll get back to that point, pick up that thread. Surely the parents were enduring chopsticks on the piano from the older sister, around the same time if not before.

Anna Smyrk: Yeah, exactly right. So I think they were, willing to put up with a lot for us. As I mentioned, my dad was a really great music lover, is a really great music lover. But growing up, he didn’t have a lot of opportunities to learn music, and learn instruments. That was something that he picked up a bit later in life. So I think he was really keen to give us, some opportunities that he didn’t have from a young age.

John Murch: Having those musical instruments or the piano at least. And of course the guitar, I’m sure it was there as well from your father-

Anna Smyrk: You can equate it to something like having books around the home, and that sparking a love of reading in kids. I think it was just around, it was just part of my life. It’s something I probably took for granted at that time that, that’s just what homes look like. They were full of instruments, and people think musical all the time. Obviously now I know that not every home is like that, but, I really think it should be if they can.

John Murch: … We’re currently having a chat to Anna Smyrk. She has just released an EP in 2019 called Swim. I want to know where you are writing your songs, your original songs. During those teenage years.

Anna Smyrk: Where I grew up, was a 10 acre property outside of the small town where I lived in Gisbon, in the Macedon Ranges in Victoria. So I did spend a fair bit of time outside, sitting under a tree and strumming on my guitar. Having that sense of space was probably important. Now that I reflect on it because I was quite shy. I was quite a shy teenager, so I wouldn’t have dared to play these songs to anybody at that age when I first started writing, but perhaps having that sense of space where I could go off and start trying out ideas without anybody being able to hear me was important.

John Murch: The lavender fields, what were they like?

Anna Smyrk: They were very beautiful, we had a couple of top paddocks that were just rows of lavender bushes, beautiful to look at, beautiful to smell. I have strong memories of being a small child, and being woken up by friends of the family, because mum and dad were out picking the lavender before it got too hot in summer. The lavender farm was the hobby farm for my parents, they both had other jobs. But yeah, it was a bit of a passion project for them. I think they would collect the lavender, and turn it into little sachets, and potpourri and things like that and sell it down at the local market, on Sunday mornings. They’d moved to the country from Melbourne, and it was a really beautiful way for them to connect with the place.

John Murch: Did they give you an early sense of what beauty was? Because some childhoods can be quite grey and bleak, but here you are. Or wasn’t that the case that you were so used to it, that it didn’t have that appeal initially?

Anna Smyrk: Again, I probably took it for granted, if I’m honest. It’s the kind of thing you don’t realise that it’s quite special until, you don’t have it anymore, or until you see what other people sometimes, have instead. But I think it’s definitely given me a love for nature, and for the outdoors. I have lived in cities mostly the last few years, but it’s always been my intention to get back to the country at some point.

John Murch: Let’s move on to the big topic of the day with our guests Anna, and that is of international development. What is it?

Anna Smyrk: Whoa, that’s a good question. It’s a bit of an umbrella term, and I think a lot of people would define it in different ways.

John Murch: Good that I asked you.

Anna Smyrk: Yeah, exactly. And to be honest, it’s not a term that… I don’t necessarily love the term, but I think it’s the shorthand for the kind of work, that I’ve been doing the last few years.

John Murch: Well lets re-word it then. What would you call this element of the international you’ve been doing?

Anna Smyrk: It’s taken a few different faces, but I think what’s common to it for me, has been working in an international context. So working in other countries, and trying to work with people to make positive changes. And ideally those positive changes, what the community themselves have identified as needing, or what the country themselves has identified as needing to change.

John Murch: That means there’s a lot of overseas travel. Where is home?

Anna Smyrk: Another very good and complex question. When I think about going home, I think about going back to my parents’ place, back to the farm, back to Gisbon.

John Murch: Back to the lavender?

Anna Smyrk: Back to the lavender, yeah. But home has been many different places for me. And at the moment I’m based in Melbourne, so I come back to there when I’ve been away. That’s where I come back to. But it does feel a little bit temporary as well. So home, I think I’ve been thinking about this a lot the last few years when I’ve been traveling, and I think home is really something that you actively create. It’s a verb to me, it’s a doing word, something that you develop, and you’ve got to invest in continually for it to sustain.

John Murch: Is that why home and love is so close together, that you need to invest in it, that you need to give it time, you need to give it consideration?

Anna Smyrk: Yeah, I think that could be it, you could be onto something there. There’s that old cliche that home is where the heart is, and I think that that’s true. You need to be investing in relationships, whether they’re romantic relationships, or otherwise. In the same way you need to be investing in home, and putting the time in, and putting the care in, to keep them continuing.

John Murch: What gives you that feeling when you go to a place like the Solomon Islands?

Anna Smyrk: It’s always around either people or nature for me. So some of the places and times when I’ve experienced that feeling I suppose, have been where I’ve over time managed to, create friendships with people, and have really lovely just carefree moments of enjoying each other’s company. Maybe having a meal together, sharing conversation. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy. It’s just a matter of being comfortable with people, and then being able to be yourself, I think, which can be quite a challenge when you’re in a different place, in a different culture. There’s sometimes certain aspects of yourself that you, or certain aspects that you might feel you don’t highlight as much, in certain places. And then in a place like the Solomon Islands, the natural beauty is just incredible.

Anna Smyrk: It’s some of the most gorgeous beaches, and jungles, and coral reefs, and things that I’ve ever seen. And it’s pretty spectacular to just be, paddling along in a canoe, in a lagoon somewhere, and there’s nobody for miles around, and the waters the clearest, most beautiful aqua. And there’s islands covered with jungle on every side. It’s idealic.

John Murch: What’s your sense of time when you’re there?

Anna Smyrk: It’s an interesting paradox I think because in many parts of the Solomon Islands, my experience at least was that time has a very different meaning in the Solomons it’s urbanizing a lot, but there’s still majority of the population living in quite isolated areas, in small communities, where they grow a lot of their own food, and catch their own fish, and things like that. So time is much more tied to the rising of the sun in the morning, and the setting of the sun at night and the seasons.

John Murch: That connection between time and the importance of what needs to be done.

Anna Smyrk: That was the thing I really had to learn in the Solomons, was that, sometimes it’s more important to sit down together, and spend a few hours talking, than it is to go and dig up the potatoes from the garden. If that doesn’t happen that day, that’s okay. Things that’ll happen tomorrow. I think there’s a real sense of space around time that, you prioritize people, and family, and community. And those things take time, and they don’t always run to schedule, it is difficult sometimes when I felt a lot of the time that I was stuck between these two worlds. I really love that idea of time being such a flexible, malleable thing. But at the same time I was working with organizations, and governments, and trying to complete things to deadlines, and to budgets, and things like that. And so it felt like trying to make those two worlds, match in some way. It was a bit of a struggle.

John Murch: Was there a level of insanity about that as well? A split personality type?

Anna Smyrk: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, that was a real part of it. Yeah, I think it’s just the nature of this kind of work where, it’s one of the things that I think we can do better at, in this kind of work is that a lot of the time, the way that we work is really based on Western or, models of time and the ways of working that come from countries like Australia or, countries where the money is coming from a lot of the time. But I think we could do a lot better at trying to adapt that to the context that we’re working in.

John Murch: As you said, you’ve been invited to help out. That’s why you’re there. But if you don’t get that time or chance to actually listen to what they actually want you to do, then you end up with just a checklist, and a series of grants.

Anna Smyrk: Absolutely. And in fact, this ties in with the idea of time as well because to be able to listen effectively, you have to taken the time to establish a relationship, and a way of communicating where people are speaking with you honestly. I think it’s very hard to just walk into a place and sit down, and ask people what they need, and for them to be able to respond to that in a way that’s honest and true. I think taking the time to develop relationships is always first step, and then once there’s a level of trust, it’s about listening and trying to respond to that as best you can.

John Murch: As a musician you bring a level of skills that you can share that aren’t necessarily uncommon to the skills that members in that community have learnt as well.

Anna Smyrk: Yeah, music is a huge part of life, especially in a place like the Solomon’s. I think people just grow up singing from day one almost before they talk, they can sing was my experience at least. It’s a huge part of different milestones in life. There was really important times where, a community member would pass away, and there’d be a funeral and a wake. There’s singing for several nights straight while people are watching over the body, and it’s a real moment where people come together, and singing together. In those moments I think can be really, really powerful. There’s a comfort, I think, in that in there being being, certain pieces of music that go along with certain times of life. I think that’s something I think we’ve lost a little bit in countries like Australia, at least in the secular world that I grew up in, that we don’t really have a lot of rituals around, that kind of thing. What I really noticed in the Solomon Islands, in Cambodia it’s the same thing, that around these times, there’s certain music that accompanies these important parts of life.

John Murch: Little cues that let you know where you are, within that beauty that you’re talking about, as well. Anna, whilst you’re in places like particularly the Solomon Islands I’m thinking here, what was your sense of the climate, and how the climate might be changing?

Anna Smyrk: It was a real eye opener for me in fact, because climate change has been something that I’ve been trying to stay quite aware of over the last few years, but it wasn’t until I got to the Solomon Islands that I really saw, how it’s already affecting people now today. They’ve lost five islands in the Solomons. They’ve just gone under water.

John Murch: Let’s highlight that. That’s five islands that have disappeared.

Anna Smyrk: Just gone underwater. Yep, that’s it. And even the islands that haven’t gone underwater, are really experiencing huge changes. I’m thinking of one place where I visited, a very small little community, I had a couple of days off work, and I took a plane out to the closest center, jumped on the back of a truck for four or five hours, and then jumped into a canoe from there, and got paddled out to this community. There’s not really a way of communicating to them from the outside. So they didn’t know I was coming. The local pastor took me in for a couple of days and I stayed with his family, which was super lovely.

Anna Smyrk: But one of the places he took me to, was we were walking, we were doing little circle around the Island, walking around. And at one point we walked out into the ocean. We just started walking into the ocean until about shin deep. And he said to me, “Well, this is the spot where I used to play soccer with my friends after school.” So you know, the waters have already risen that much just in a couple of decades. So it’s that kind of thing, that really just brought it home to me. This is a small island we’re talking about.

John Murch: How did you deal with your own emotions? You’ve got a past here, here’s someone of faith, and you need to communicate with him at that point.

Anna Smyrk: I felt very connected to him in that moment. He was incredibly generous with his feelings to me, and his fears for the future, and his fears for his children’s future. Because in that community, they grow all their own food. So as the waters rise, there’s just less and less land to grow food, and then not really sure what they’re going to do in the next generation. In terms of communicating by that stage, I had a good grasp of the language, the local language, so that really helped a lot communicating across faith lines is something I also got much better at negotiating I think because, Solomon Islands is a very religious country. It’s a very Christian country, several different denominations, and it’s just a huge part of people’s lives.

Anna Smyrk: Personally never been a huge fan of organised religion myself growing up, but it gave me a more nuanced view of the role that religion can play in people’s lives. I think being in, being in the Solomon Islands, it was really interesting to see how people would take their Christian faith, and sit that next to more traditional beliefs, and just have that as being, that they had all these things inside their faith and their beliefs. Sitting perfectly, comfortably together, and I thought that was quite a special and beautiful way of approaching the world, just being very open to different ideas that come along.

John Murch: Did you change your own beliefs through that?

Anna Smyrk: I didn’t change my own beliefs through that. I did become less critical perhaps of organized religion. So perhaps you could call that a change of beliefs. My own beliefs in faith didn’t change or anything like that, but I became a lot more understanding of people who do have that as part of their life.

John Murch: Let’s bring it back to the issue of climate change or even climate fact, that is happening right there. As you were saying, how the local community is seeing that. So when you’re on the ground, as you said, he probably was a pretty good soccer player, I’m sure. I’m sure he was. What the impact was on them, because for them maybe here’s nothing they can do. Maybe it’s just an absolute effect.

Anna Smyrk: Yeah. Yeah. It’s really tough I think because, I was really impressed with the level of knowledge that people had about climate change, even in the most remote areas where, maybe historically a lot of people have had formal education. But everybody is completely on top of their climate change knowledge. They really know what’s going on and why because they have to, there’s no choice. But in terms of what they can do about it, there’s very little that can be done in the Solomon Islands itself. In terms of changing their own patterns of consumption and things like that. It’s changing a lot, but it’s in the eighties. 80 something percent of people, are subsistence farmers and fishers.

Anna Smyrk: So the rate of consumption and things like that, it is certainly far, far less than in a place like Australia. So there’s a real sense that they need world leaders to step up, and for more wealthy countries to step up. They’re looking to their own governments to be pushing on the world stage. But of course that’s difficult as well. The leaders of countries like the Solomon Islands don’t have perhaps the same clout, as the latest from other countries on the world stage. What they do have, I think, are these personal stories of how everyday people’s lives are really being impacted negatively. So I think there’s a real appetite to try and tell some more of those stories on the world stage.

John Murch: When you arrived at the Island, as you said, no one knows you’re coming. Can’t just put in a tele text, or a fax, or something.

Anna Smyrk: Does that happen a lot in your job? It happens a little, yeah. It depends what I’m doing. I try to, in my job, I work a lot with local organizations and try to work with them to be the ones doing a lot of the outreach to communities. I feel that that works a lot better to have local teams doing a lot of the direct work with communities. Then me going in as an outsider if I am going along, it’s always with a team of local people. They tend to have ways of connecting to communities that, I don’t know. They’ll know someone who’s traveling down there a few days earlier, so they can give them a bit of a heads up or something like that.

John Murch: Because my sense is you’re being invited and that they’d put on a plate for you. Yeah. What’s your sense of taste whilst you’re doing these international trips?

Anna Smyrk: I’ve certainly encountered a lot of things I haven’t, in other parts of the world, that’s for sure. Food I think has been a huge part of, connecting to people in different places that I’ve been in. I love my food and I love trying different kinds of foods, so that’s, always a real pleasure for me too. But what’s so beautiful, I think when you do go to these communities, is how much pride people take in providing you with a beautiful meal. And it’s always, food fresh from the garden, or fish from the ocean. It’s really beautiful stuff. And yeah, it’s lovely to be able to sit down with people, and share that with them.

John Murch: Has it helped your own cooking?

Anna Smyrk: Oh, yeah. Probably now that you mention it, I’ve always loved to cook. I definitely learned a few things in the Solomons. Like for example, I learned how to motu. Motu is the stone oven. They cook fish and potatoes and things like that. So you build up a big fire on a bed of rocks and let the fire die down. Then you’ve got the hot stones, and you’d wrap the food up in banana leaves, and put them underneath the stones, and wait till it starts to smell good. That’s when you know it’s ready. Get some bamboo sticks, and move the stones off, and you unwrap the fish, and the cassava, and the beautiful food. Slippery cabbage was the main greens. It’s this kind of like a spinach, I suppose, often cooked in coconut milk. It’s very delicious. Yeah. You unwrap the banana leaves and everything’s cooked to perfection.

John Murch: What are the sunsets like in Solomon Island?

Anna Smyrk: Like nothing I’ve ever seen. They’re spectacular. Especially when you’re on the deck of a little leaf hut in the middle of nowhere, and on a beautiful coastline and you’re seeing the sunset over, completely still blue ocean can’t even really put it into words. It’s spectacular.

John Murch: These travels have been very key, I believe, to the release, particularly of Swim, the [inaudible 00:24:35]. Future releases that I’m sure you’re working on in the background. Are these the stories that are inspiring the new songs, or are there some other topics that have come to mind?

Anna Smyrk: Absolutely. I feel like my songwriting is always influenced by what I’m doing at the time, and things that I’ve been thinking about, and things that have been happening. So a lot of what I’m writing about at the moment is, some time that I’ve been spending in the Philippines. That’s where I’ve been most recently.

John Murch: Is that for the same line of work, or it’s just a holiday?

Anna Smyrk: Yeah, no, it’s for the same line of work, but I’ve been trying to juggle things a little bit better, instead of spending long chunks away from Australia, and from touring and playing music. I’m doing a few months on, a few months off, which has been, really interesting. A lot of what I’ve been writing lately has been about, that shift of moving between places quite a lot, and the way that means leaving people behind a lot, saying a lot of goodbyes. I suppose maybe the songwriting has become less about the eye opening experiences of being in new places, and more about the, feeling of moving around a lot, the unsettling feeling of moving around a lot, and what that can do to your relationships, and what that can do to, your own feelings about a place I suppose.

John Murch: We’ve mentioned home, we’ve mentioned religion and how both have had a sense of change over the years, and have educated you in a way. Has this travel changed your cultural perspective of who you are though?

Anna Smyrk: Yeah, absolutely. I think spending a long period of time and getting to know other cultures, makes you realize that you have a culture. You take so much for granted I think in your own culture, the way that we do things, the way it things that you’re used to are just normal to you. But by experiencing other cultures and seeing how they do things, makes you reflect on your own culture, and where certain assumptions come from.

John Murch: How do you, and answer it as lightly or as deeply as you wish. How do you keep personal relationships strong with the amount of travel that you do?

Anna Smyrk: I guess that’s something, I’m still figuring out and it’s changing a lot, but I think being in a lot of different places over the last four or five years, it was really made me think about the kind of relationships and friendships that I want. I’m very lucky to have some really strong friendships in Melbourne, so every time I’m back there, I feel like I can definitely pick up where I left off, with lots of friends and family members. I’ve been lucky to be able to travel a lot with my partner. He’s in a similar line of work, so that often works out quite well, but not always. And that’s definitely a big challenge. Long distance relationships are pretty tough, but both of us have a lot of crazy, and amazing things that we want to do, and that’s just the way that it goes.

John Murch: Does that also bring us back to time as well, in the sense of time so, “Hey, maybe we’re not together for these number of months even, but when we do, you’ll have your stories, I’ll have my stories, and we have our stories?”

Anna Smyrk: Definitely. Yeah, definitely. I think that’s a part of it. I think it’s really important, for me anyway, it’s really important for both people in a relationship, to be able to be doing what it is that they love, and do it what it is that they want to do. And I think if we didn’t have that, then I wouldn’t be able to continue. That’s just the way I am, and as much as it’s difficult to move around, if I’m in one place for too long, that’s also difficult for me. I think I do need that sense of adventure in my life. It’s really what I love. In terms of other relationships, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that, develop some really intense friendships with people when you’re in a place for a short time, and it’s a place where perhaps you don’t know a lot of people, so you kind of develop really close friendships with perhaps a small group of people.

Anna Smyrk: And then when you leave, often you’re saying goodbye without knowing or kind of knowing, you may not see them again. And, you can always keep in touch these days in various ways. But I have to admit I’m not the best at doing that. Feel like I tend to live my friendships in the moment, but I think I’ve come to some sense of peace with that, that you have a really amazing friendship with someone for a certain period of time, and in a certain place, and you can learn so much from that, and get so much from that, and hopefully, give as much as you’re getting. And then, when it’s run its course, it’s run its course and it doesn’t diminish the fact that it was there in the first place.

John Murch: Does it also help that you are a singer songwriter, that you do have a chance to document that?

Anna Smyrk: Yeah, I think it does. Perhaps it does help. It also helps me to remember, I think when I’m playing the songs, it really takes me back to the places that I’m singing about.

John Murch: Our time today has come to an end with more travels. I’m sure we’ll have more stories in the future, Anna Smyrk, thanks for joining radionotes.

Anna Smyrk: Thanks for having me.