The long straw
Last year provided me with some great insights on how individual experiences while travelling, which might not seem all that enjoyable at the time (cycling for 50km against 60km/hr winds while being honked at by grumpy Hungarian drivers, for instance, or spending a night trying not to be wide awake while lying on a 45 degree slope above the Danube on the Romanian/Serbian border) amalgamate to conjure up warm and fuzzy memories. The bad moments are recalled as funny anecdotes while, through their retelling, the good times become so good that normal life pales into merely drab existence in their shadow.
Of course, I have had a thoroughly great time in 2010. Following my travels around Europe with the Trusty Steed I returned to the UK and, after some dallying around, settled down to volunteer on the construction of Michael’s self-build strawbale house in Wales.
My time here, in disappointingly un-snowy Pembroke Dock, is coming to an end but, with the start of 2011, comes a new challenge. Thanks, in part, to Michael’s never-end optimism and his ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’ attitude I am jumping into the self-build arena with the purchase of a little bit of land in Sheffield. But, never mind my plans to build my own house over the next two years, let’s just focus on getting planning permission for it first…
While it might well prove a very abortive project (the site has already had permission refused at least once, did I mention I like a challenge?), I hope that I’ll be able to look back in a couple of year’s time and laugh at those inevitable dark moments while sipping a glass of wine with friends in my luxuriously self-built new home. In the meantime it was a New Year email from WordPress that prompted me to get back on the blog and start writing this all down (2,600 hits last year, where did they all come from?) so that, with any luck, we really will be able to laugh out loud at the low points, and reminisce at those magical moments when things slotted together the way they were meant to when I planned it.
And perhaps some other people will read this and, who knows, have a go (or at least a laugh) themselves.
Happy 2011 everyone.