Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Like a hurricane

After 49 years I should have had life pretty much worked out and been prepared for anything that it could throw at me. Instead it seems I'm less prepared now than when I was a naive teenager. I've spent almost every waking moment of the last 3 years planning and dreaming about spending the next 5 years travelling around the exotic places of the world and leaving behind the temptations and pitfalls of London life. I'd left behind a great job, said a sad goodbye to family and friends and put my thoughts and savings into camping and cycling gear which would protect me against every possible danger and unexpected circumstance. There wasn't an instance I hadn't considered, an action I hadn't thought through. I'd bored everybody senseless with what I was doing and where I was going, and offered a sly smile when colleagues offered best wishes tinged with jealousy. I had it all worked out. The next five years was already written. It would make a great blog, a book maybe, but definitely an adventure of some shape or other.

Then along came a little hurricane that knocked me off my feet. After that came a monsoon which put me upright again. The mountains and valleys weren't breath-taking, just cold and wet. The hardship wasn't romantic, just tiring. The open road wasn't liberating, just restrictive. I'm sadly forced to admit that when the going got tough, I got going - home. Suddenly I didn't want it any longer, not enough anyway. I'd voluntarily turned my life upside down to go travelling and then turned it inside out a month later. But the end-result presents a nicer picture which I couldn't have imagined.

I've upset too many people by leaving and probably disappointed the remainder by returning but it is what it is. My long-planned adventure is over, but there are other adventures. I've come home and started down another sunnier road, and I'm happy to go wherever it turns. Thank you to everybody who offered their support and comments via this rather truncated travel journal. Now I need to get a job.


  1. It's not impossible that after all these years of planning that you have already gotten everything out of the project that you wanted. It's like writing a book to solve a problem and discovering that after you have figured out the answer that you don't need to finish the book.

    I have made preparations for several major trips that never got taken, but I consider all of it time well spent. At least one of them I now realize was quite hare-brained and could have ended badly for me at several points.

    See if you can find a use for some of your preparation. In the course of preparing for one of my trips that didn't get taken I learned of a place that had been well known since antiquity, but seemed to disappear from the world's consciousness about 400 years ago and today no one is sure where it was. I am not sure what I am going to do with that, but I think I will someday do something, either go specifically looking for that place or perhaps using it in fiction.

    It's understandable that you might feel bad about this at the moment, but keep your notes because you never know what the future holds and people who in the end accomplish great things often fail a few times before they find their footing.