Over the past several months it has become abundantly clear that moss can only gather on a stone that rarely rolls. When I say moss I really mean fat, and when I say stone I really mean me. Work has consumed most of my time over the last couple of years, however mine is not a total tale of woe. If you have been keeping score at home you will recall I have broken free of the shackles occasionally. I have been lucky to sneak away on one or two little adventures here and there.
If you have found your way to this site in the past, you already know that the ramblings of this mad old traveller are all that is on offer. As a man with little in the way of a prowess for anything literary, I hardly fancy myself as being the next big thing in social influence pedaling. When I make superfluous statements that may not be in any way profound, just remember the following. “Life is hard, then you die”. Having spent just over a half-century on this planet I have seen a few things. Some good, some bad. I have met some wonderful people and sadly I have met some horrible ones as well. What is the most important thing to me is that wonderful people exist in much greater numbers. It is that knowledge that pushes me to see more of this planet in order meet more of the same.
Mainstream media did a great job throughout my formative years convincing me that things possessed are ninety-five percent of a good life lived. Over the last 10 years, I have come to realize (much later than I would have liked in retrospect) that in actuality their math was all wrong. People, places & experiences are really the only important part of life’s equation. “Things” are in fact and in deed not important to me anymore.
I hate myself for writing that last paragraph already. I am never going to be that utopian hippy who makes it their life’s work renouncing the west, hard work and upholding the law. Especially if the alternative involves pedaling my “Fixie” to the thrift store wherein I forage for loose-fitting Thai pants and a Mexican blanket hoodie bedazzled with Tibetan prayer flags.
I don’t know which is more aggravating. Those who return to Canada adorned with the clothing of the 3rd world people they just have spent their gap year “posting to the gram” or those who I trip over at nearly every decent coffee shop planning their next adventure solely by tripadvisor scores.
Many of the above-noted people and things shouldn’t bother me, but I am weak & they really do. As you can tell, I have not yet found that inner peace or zen my yoga practicing friends enjoy on the daily. I try to remember all the time I will soon have retirement to become enlightened and tolerant.
As I alluded at the beginning of this instalment I have again slipped the shackles of work and as such I am in the throws of putting together two separate and splendid journeys that will take up a nice portion of the spring. The first is a trip to the UK with Deanna|. We have enjoyed short trips to the northwest of England in the past but this time we intend to get our hiking boots muddy in the Lake District. The plan is to climb from Dale Head Hotel to the top of Hellvelyn. It is a stunning peak in a stunning place. We have a few other ideas for additional hikes but as we knock them off I will write about them in more detail.
We need to keep that Lake District mojo going as we continue our journey all the way up to the Isle of Skye and various other outer Hebridean Islands. All the classic YouTube traveler spots are on the list. As a bit of an amateur landscape photography buff, I have to see the Old Man of Storr. If we tick that box early then we should have a few hours to tour several peat smoked barn conversions and enjoy a wee dram or two.
From there we intend to head south to the unspoiled beaches and parkland of Northumberland. Several nights in Newcastle as our home base will provide us with unfettered access to the countryside and the coast. Our time in the Northeast will transition by way of a relatively long car journey to Oxfordshire and the City of Dreaming Spires.
It is there that we hope to explore the Chilterns by foot in order to get our first sense of the countryside that surrounds Oxford. With the wholesome outdoorsy piece attended to, we have several pubs on the Inspector Morse crawl yet to sample. It is my intention to get back to the Ashmolean Museum, the Bodleian library and sit on the banks of the Isis to take in the 8’s row past at the very least.
My next instalment will document the initial planning phases of travel plan #2. Set for late April and early May, this one has more of a continental vibe.