Saturday 7 June 2003

A personal hang-up

Like Marstonճ 6X and Sardinian Canonau, I donմ travel well.

Well obviously I travel well, I can pick my tickets up from my secretary, get on a plane and check-in to a Holiday Inn like I was born to it, but when it comes to sticking a pack on my back and stepping out into a foreign country with nothing more than a sheaf of funny looking money in my wallet and a book of somebody elseճ thoughts on the place I get a dry mouth and itchy palms.

Iխ sure Freud would have a field day attempting to identify the deep-seated reasons for all of this, but the fact is when my destiny is placed in my own hands and I have to do something all on my own, such as finding accommodation in a strange town in a foreign language, I get even clammier hands than normal.

Personal history is not on my side; at 18 I failed to complete two months of inter-railing across Europe (my peers' plan was some kind of drunken Nirvana soundtracked tour of various cheap campsites), opting instead to spend a month lying on a beach in the South of France. At 20 I cut short my geological field trip to Zimbabwe by two weeks and missed out on Victoria Falls and the beautiful Chimanimani national park to go home. At 23 I gave up on a round the world sailing voyage having got as far as Portugal. Now when I travel I have to contend with the weight of memory-derived knowledge that I don't travel well as well as any local difficulties.

Now Iխ alone (I'm meeting Dervala tomorrow), in Lima, in deepest darkest Peru. Oops.

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