For a long period I used to regret the dumb stuff I did. Now I only regret what I did not do.
Friends view life differently to me and by societies reckoning have taken longer strides. But there are no set paths you must follow, and just a limited amount of time to do whatever you find enjoyable.
Before the internet I had a road atlas of Europe. I would pour over it at night, fascinated you could simply drive between all these countries. In 1992 while friends were buying houses I bought a van in London. I patched it up and set off with that well worn atlas to the ferry at Dover.
I have but a handful of images from this trip. I was into video then, the footage now lost. But I managed to drive all over the place, free camping at beautiful lakes and ugly truck stops. This was a different time in Europe, every country had distinct borders but there were less rules and you could do things not possible now.
An Aussie travelling in the extended afterglow of Crocodile Dundee was great. My van papers were never properly examined until I got all the way back to the ferry at Calais weeks later where police informed I was driving illegally lacking any CTP insurance. But then simply directed me to go straight on the ferry and if anyone asks we never spoke.
I lived on street in Islington for a short while, it was a place where people bought and sold camper vans. A little community that existed by word of mouth, we used the public toilets in a park and paid one pound per day to use cold showers in a local gymnasium.
The van sold for a profit and walking past a travel agent I saw a sign ‘Egypt 1/2 price last minute cancellation’. And like that decided to go.
At that time you could, with guidebook in hand, simply walk down steps and explore the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. All long since closed.
After I returned home my grandmother said “Well it’s good you got that out of your system, now you can focus on the important things”. I decided that focus would be motorcycles and went and got my learners permit. Somehow despite riding at stupid speeds I did not die before losing my licence and with time on my hands I went to the USA.
This could have been a turning point in my life. But being capricious in nature while working double shifts loaded with cash, spur of moment I went to Japan.
My grandmother would tell me “Haven’t you done enough. You need to think about the future”. Eventually I did that. The office life. Full of people who had everything but were unhappy. Their lives revolved around buying bigger cars and dreams limited to what post code they aspired to live in.
I’m at Dutton Park cemetery, tending my grandmothers grave and trying to work out what I want to say in this post. To quote Micheal Mann – time is luck. You cannot experience the adventures you could earlier in life once that time has passed. No amount of money or feeling smug can recreate the possibilities. The longer you wait the less things in life are possible. So if in doubt, choose adventure.