Some journeys you take so often that eventually you stop noticing you’re on a journey. Your brain decides the intricate details of the trip are no longer important and your focus shifts inwards to thoughts and daydreams. In my last year of university I took an hour long commute, and most days I’d step onto the train and within the blink of an eye I’d arrive at my stop.
This jump inward doesn’t just happen while travelling. It happens wherever you go. From the first moment you step into a new environment your brain is training itself to block out details for the next time you visit. This is why new environments can create anxiety. Your brain overflows with information and it doesn’t know how to cope. At home your brain can shut off. It knows everything, so you can relax.
Have you ever noticed how a long walk through a new environment seems to take forever? Your mind is so conscious, taking in all the details that you don’t get a chance to daydream. Walking back you always say to yourself “it seemed shorter on the return.” This is because your brain is less conscious of the environment, you’ve already seen it, so you’ve got more time to lose in your mind.
Continue reading A Conscious Search For Blackberries
This is standing. In the cold. With your thumb up. Praying that somebody is kind enough to stop.
This is hating every mother fucker that doesn’t, because they think you’re a rapist. A murderer. A crack addict. Or just another human being.
This is three hours spent in the rain. Watching people drive along in empty mini-busses. Guzzling up fuel. This is expensive cars. Pick-up trucks. Eighteen wheelers. Motorcycles. Dune buggies. Tour busses. Not stopping. Ever.
This is knowing that there’s no point in putting your thumb up for an RV because only two types of people drive them: old retirees and families – neither of which want you. This is putting your thumb up for an RV anyway, in the small hope that they will stop. They don’t.
This is the police pulling up. This is looking like trouble. This is them giving you a bottle of water because it’s a hot day. This is a “good luck, kid”. A pat on the back. A smile.
Continue reading On A Road
As June comes to an end the strawberries start to go downhill. There’s so many just sitting there in the fields that it would be a waste to let them all rot away. So we pick them all, hoping to make jam. For three hours I toil with some Mexican girls and I just about finish a bucket. The girls speak in Spanish to each other and laugh. I know what they’re laughing about. They’ve picked 4 buckets in the exact same space of time. I feel dejected.
Continue reading Travel Songs 3: Road Spirituality
I’m going on a date tonight.
It’s the talk of the farm. Everyone is whispering about it. Yesterday the big news was the goats escaping – but today I finally have my 15 minutes of farmyard fame. It was a close run of course between my date and the woman who picked 30 pounds of strawberries. I won out in the end though. Tonight I’m going on a date, I’m the top of the gossip hierarchy.
Continue reading Travel Songs 2: Clovers
I go to see so many films at the cinema when I’m home that you’d think that would be the thing I’d miss the most. Not so. The thing I always end up missing while I’m away is music.
Until you live a life without music you don’t realise how important it is. Nowadays we listen to music so much that it’s a major factor in our lives and how we view ourselves. We all have soundtracks that we pick each day – whether consciously or subconscious – to play along while we make our memories.
Some days we feel bad so we decide to listen to Radiohead. Other days we feel good so choose to play a little Alphabeat. Sometimes though we just choose random music – seemingly for no reason – but really there is a reason, we just consciously don’t know what it is.
Continue reading Travel Songs 1: Hoes
Cairo is a smoggy hell-hole, where the polluted air sticks constantly in your throat and you spend the last 10 minutes of every day pulling black snot from your nose. If you want proof that CO2 emissions are hurting the planet – the only thing you have to do is go to Cairo and breathe. You’ll taste the Earth’s pain in your mouth, (if your taste buds haven’t burnt away) and you’ll no doubt wonder “how could anybody live here, let alone come here on holiday?” The usual escape would be a hotel room. A little bit of peace and quiet in your own space. But the ever present car horns of Cairo’s streets travel through even the thickest of walls, and for SOME unknown reason your travel partner has booked you into the only hostel in Cairo hosting an all-day, 72 hour Islamic festival.
Now I have nothing against festivals at all. I love them. The music, the dancing, the drugs. These things are all fantastic and I don’t mind people doing them at all… just as long as they’re doing them nowhere near me! Music is noisy, dancing is for people who enjoy looking like tits and the less I say about drugs the better.
But hell, I’m kind. If you want to play a little music and do a little dancing, who am I to object? Have your festival!
Continue reading Dahab Days
In central Kiev it’s cheaper to get a prostitute than it is to get a decent quality meal. With the former it’s almost guaranteed that they’ll “make good times for you”, with the latter you’ll end up crying into a bitter grapefruit juice, while wretching down jellied eels – after your toga wearing waitress takes your order incorrectly.
Why the hell would your waitress be wearing a toga? Because you’re in a Roman themed restaurant. Why the fuck are you in a Roman themed restaurant? Well it was either that or the pirate themed one. In Kiev the cream of the restaurant crop are all themed. If you want good food, be prepared to talk to somebody dressed in a loin-cloth and if you want a bit of variety there’s always the Jewish-themed restaurant.
Continue reading Peachy Syrup