We Travel Alone

Ole Paus is a Norwegian singer-songwriter with a very sarcastic bent – essentially, a Norwegian Tom Lehrer with a guitar and a much longer career – frequently referred to as Norway’s best text writer. This is a loose translation of one of his best, a song called “Jeg reiser alene” – about children shuttling back and forth on airplanes between their divorced parents. I listened to it coming home from Shanghai, and thought it deserves a wider audience:

I travel alone
(Ole Paus, 1994)

I travel alone
I fly over land and town
children used to come with the stork
now they come by plane

I travel alone
I fly over mountains and fjords
from Mommy in the south
to Daddy up north

And under me is the whole earth
where grownups and children have their home
but if you ask me where I live
well, it’s in SK305

We travel alone
a flying army of children
equipped with teddy bears
and a suitcase with clothes

And in front of the plane lives the General
he takes all the children from home to home
and down on earth in the terminal
awaits Mommy or Daddy or God knows who

I travel alone
the stars are coming out
they are many
but we are many more than them

We are so many that you would not believe it
and the purser he is my best friend
and then we land on a spinning earth
and then we go up again

I travel alone
I fly over land and town
children used to come with the stork
now they come by plane

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