In August 2012 I’ll be leaving a well-rewarded job which I’ve happily occupied for the last 18 years, packing my whole life into 4 waterproof panniers and flying to the Indian Himalayas to begin a 4 or 5 year cycling journey around the world. After cycling across the high mountain ranges I’ll descend down to the Indian Ocean and then eastwards on a winding route through the mainland and islands of South East Asia. From there I’ll eventually make my way to Alaska and embark on a 2 year journey around the entire coastlines of North, Central and South America. My plans get a bit hazy after that but I’ll make my way back to Europe either westwards or eastwards, depending on how much money I have left.
I intend to go slow, stay off the highways as much as possible and explore the routes not on the tourist circuits. I want to spend time in places volunteering with interesting projects or just wandering around towns that I will probably never return to, sampling the local cuisine and trying to pick up some of the language. Everything I need to exist, I’ll carry with me: tent, stove, water, food, transport – what else is there?
In the meantime there’s a lot to do. Visas and vaccines, buying tools and selling belongings, route planning and getting my life into smaller order. Right now I have a plane ticket to Delhi, a great bike and a new passport. As the time to leave approaches I’m feeling more nervous and scared to death but also more excited.
When I decided I was going to travel around the world, the most enticing prospect was one of continually arriving at the edges of the oceans. I’ve always loved the sea. I love being in it, on it or beside it. The junction between land and sea is always my favourite destination. It makes me feel like an excited kid again on a trip to the seaside. I still enjoy the briny smell in the air just before hearing the swash of the breakers that comes just before the sight of the bay.
If I had the choice of anywhere in the world to live, it would be a little cobble-stoned Cornish fishing village with chaotic streets, wooden trawlers in the harbour and the sound of seagulls at first light. The sea can be the end of a journey or the start of a journey, it can be the best day of your life or the last - but it’s a great place to arrive. I’m lucky to live on an island where it’s always nearby. The cities are a place to work, the coasts are the place to breathe. I love the sea.
Please consider supporting the work of the Marine Conservation Society who are trying to raise awareness, before it’s too late, of the potential human catastrophe hidden away out of sight in the worlds oceans.