It seems weird now to acknowledge that until last year I’d not left my home country for over a decade. Not so weird when I remember that in that decade and more my health had deteriorated to the point that I could no longer study for my doctorate, hold down a job or otherwise be a worthwhile member of society.
Then the super lows of 2015, when several friends died young and within months of one another and when my own health was so crappy at one point I seriously believed I might be the next to go, drove a new awakening. With the help of some excellent health-related psychological sessions I gained a greater understanding of the sorrow that comes from feeling my world is becoming too small. I also gained the courage and the confidence to make it larger again, to set off on a few more adventures before it is too late.
So I spent a wonderful fortnight in Ohio in April, a long, lazily brilliant weekend in Paris in August and drove my little car into the depths of Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Wiltshire, Hampshire, Avon and Dorset at various points in between during the first three quarters of 2016.
In the end it exhausted me and the final months of the year were spent unwell and recovering but that spirit of adventure has not left me and I am now only a week and a half away from a return trip to America and hope to take a couple of days away in Dublin with my son when he graduates from Oxford this summer.
I generally dampen down excitement to preserve energy but cannot deny I am beginning to anticipate next week’s travels with a smile and as much of a swagger as my stupid body can manage. I’ve had a rough road the past few months, emotionally as well as physically, but am determined to keep my promise to myself of heading into adventures large and small as often as my health will allow. I’ve no idea how long I have left in this planet, possibly not as long as I’d choose if it were up to me, but I know I’d like to see more of the actual planet before it’s time to leave.