Dancing in the rain
Many blogs ago I mentioned our friend Ken Roberts who was setting off on a solo round the world cycle ride. We’re still following Ken’s progress on www.acrosscontinents.org and his blogs are becoming more perceptive and fascinating all the time. At the moment, on the brink of entering China, he has been visiting countries that most of us have never heard of or, if we have heard of them, have no idea where they are. Many of them are torn apart by political corruption or civil unrest; none of them feature in holiday brochures, and most of them end in ‘stan. Through the middle of all of this pedals a lone Englishman, wrestling with visas and bureaucracy, unreadable roadsigns, unkept roads and extreme temperatures. What it most striking, though, is not the expected obstacles that he faces, but the kindness of strangers. Wherever he goes people feed him and ask no payment, help him out, offer hospitality. Ken talks in his blog about the ‘many individual acts of generosity, the extent unimaginable in supposedly more developed nations ‘. It gives you faith that humanity, one to one, has a connection and warmth that goes beyond nationality or language and belies the world view that the newspapers would have us believe, that the world outside our garden gate is a dodgy place. Perhaps it confirms the view that life is a mirror to your attitudes; if you expect strangers to be friendly, they will be. If you expect fear and hostility, that’s what you’ll get.
Anyway, the blog is worth a look. It also makes me realise how quickly we have come to take worldwide internet connection for granted; a few years ago we’d have had to make do with the occasional postcard. It will be interesting to see how far the regular updates continue once Ken is in deepest China.
I think I become more interested in other people’s travels when my own adventures are mental rather than physical. Yes, I’m still totally immersed in my RYA marine conservation book, which for a butterfly brain like mine is a major struggle. More than halfway through now, just finished the chapter on coasts and beaches, so next up is rivers and lakes. Apologies to all my facebook friends who have to put up with my regular rants when I get stuck and need to let off steam. The next month or so will see the bulk of the work done, after which I am looking forward to a few days’ sailing, if the weather lets us and if I can remember how! I did enjoy researching rockpools, though. New knowledge makes you look at everything with fresh and more appreciative eyes.