Hasn’t it. As the excitement of Florida gave way to the depressing realities of our return to the UK and work, I found it hard to regain the rhythm of writing which I’d managed in the States. I also have to say that I found it very difficult to re-adjust generally to life in Bristol after the weeks in Florida. This may be because, as I suggested in the last post, I haven’t really done this sort of thing before. It may also be because life feels to be at one of those ‘node’ points – questions about the future of my work, uncertainty about alternatives, the sense of entering a new phase. It may be because I would actually rather be living somewhere other than Bristol and the UK….
Anyway, things picked up a bit after that. I’d rejoined the Backpackers Club at last year’s AGM on something of an impulse, having lapsed my membership for 10 years. Indeed, it came as something of a shock to realise how long it had actually been. If I remember rightly, we fell out of regular attendance on weekends and other trips when Zebra Productions folded and I became a van driver for a brief 9 months. I found that the pressure of hours, plus one weekend in every three on call, made it difficult to continue with regular backpacking. Also, I must confess that I am not a joiner at heart – I believe that backpacking is essentially a pastime best enjoyed alone with only yourself to argue with about map directions, getting up and going to bed times, catering arrangements and personal hygiene. The concept of an organised walk without the responsibility of map reading and so on is not something I really enjoy. So, when things eased on the job front I simply went back to camping and walking on my own.
So it came about that a few weekends back Liz and I found ourselves in the Quantocks with a load of other weirdos….or backpacking enthusiasts, as otherwise known. Weather over the 2 days of walking and camping was perfect – hot and sunny with not a hint of rain. Bit of wind on top of the Quantocks but that was fine for drying off damp tents and tarps during the mid-morning stop. All in all, an enjoyable weekend. I doubt that it’s something I will want to do a lot of – there is something a bit depressing about walking in a line with 20 other people and following someone else’s directions, and it is difficult to enjoy the silence of solitary contemplation in those circumstances, but there we go.
And the ‘Rip Ride Rockit’ it most certainly isn’t !