Monday, July 21, 2008

"Where you've been is good and gone...

...all you keep's the getting there"

I really can't figure why some people hate travelling, and why they'd do anything possible to get every journey over and done with in a heartbeat. I love travelling, have infinite patience when it comes to sitting on coaches, ferries, trains, buses etc. It's not an adrenaline-fuelled thrill ride I know, but there's just something about being on the move that makes me feel contented. Maybe I was born to be nomadic.

All of this links nicely into Adventure Racing, I think - it's all about the journey, not just the destination. I've just come back from the Hebridean Challenge, pottering around as a marshal-cum-journalist, and I have to say it's one of the most amazing races in the British Isles. The atmosphere, the people and the terrain are just amazing, and the whole race reminds me how beautifully barren and wild some areas of the UK still are. You get to some checkpoints which are way, way off anything people in the mainland are ever going to experience. I first visited the Hebs ten years ago, just out of 6th form, 4 stone lighter than today, with bright purple hair and a fantastic range of Hawaiian shirts. A decade on, with almost annual visits since, and I'm still seeing places and things I've never seen before. And while most of those visits have been spent concentrating on a big Adventure Race one way or another, you can still always find time to look around and see what's out there beyond your own personal sphere. If you choose to do so, it's amazing. Past "oh wow" moments have included seeing dolphins leaping clear of the water at the Butt of Lewis, waking up on Eriskay beach to see seals playing in the water, paddling alongside basking sharks off Benbecula, eagles on South Uist, sea otters, sunrises and sunsets over the Atlantic and the Minch. Just beautiful...

And I'm going to potter off again with another lyric:

"When first I came unto this land,
And the roads lay bare before me
And the miles and miles of eagle-feather wind
Blew through the singing valley

If I'd seen then where we are now,
would my path have been a straight one?
Into the heart of the nameless wild
To live and sleep, not lonely, but alone."

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