At the start of the weekend I found myself tucked up in bed watching The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and I caught myself thinking primarily about two things: firstly, what a wonderful story The Hobbit is; and secondly, wow New Zealand is beautiful! I can’t wait to see it for myself.
This led me on to think about what has brought me to my own adventures. I can’t remember hosting a wizard and a group of ravenous dwarves that filled me with a desire to travel beyond my own borders but this longing of mine to see the world must have started somewhere.
I guess it began, like all things do, at home. I was around six weeks old when my parents first took me away and I spent my first night under canvas. I’ve had a love of camping for as long as I can remember and I have no doubt that this is because it is something that I’ve always found pleasure in. There are even some aspects of camping in bad weather that I enjoy, like the sound of rain drops bouncing off canvas, even the thought of it brings a smile to my face. I’m inclined to be outdoors where there are constantly things happening and new experiences to expose my senses to.
Two of my family members, a cousin and an uncle, took off on round the world trips when I was growing up. I don’t really remember being that impressed at the time or being particularly drawn to the idea but the fact that I knew that this kind of life was possible can only have given me confidence to take those first steps towards planning my own adventures. The fact that my uncle’s trip is what led me to be in Australia in the first place can’t be so easily over looked. I got my first taste for flying, a prolonged stay in a marginally different culture and a feel for being on the road.
Linking nicely back to The Hobbit I’ve always found myself drawn to books with an adventure or fantasy theme running through them. To this day, The Hobbit remains one of the best adventure stories I’ve read. I built a library of escapism with a large collection of Willard Price’s Adventure series. If you weren’t lucky enough to be introduced to this collection of books, it follows the journey of teenage zoologist brothers Hal and Roger Hunt as they travel the world capturing animals for their father’s wildlife collection. I’ve been exposed to the idea of young people travelling the world, doing what they love and experiencing incredible things along the way right from the off.
Now I find myself reading travel writing that will have me snorting out loud on a train packed full of commuters as I try to conceal my laughter, thanks to Bill Bryson, the blogs of other travelers who always have an interesting story to tell, and the journeys of life like Jack Kerouac’s On The Road. Before I embarked on my travelling, the words of another as they describe the city they had just arrived at for the first time were awe-inspiring and magnificent playgrounds for my imagination. Now, they’re no less inspiring, instead it’s refreshing and eye-opening to hear how somebody else viewed that favourite skyline on their initial approach.
Then there’s the bug itself. Everyone knows about it, nobody seems to be immune from it, once you’ve caught it, it’s almost impossible to shake. What could be more inspiring than the journey itself? Waking up to navigate your way through a brand new city, crossing the next border, hoping that everything is in order when the train guard demands your passport, meeting all of those wonderful people and hearing about their own incredible adventures. How could anybody give that up? I certainly can’t and I guess that’s how I got here. I’ve just got to get away again.