In the wake of another significant occasion in my brief time on this planet I ventured on out of the nest and into the big, bad world for a taste of what is what. I had just turned 18 years old and Amsterdam was calling. It was my first time going abroad without a parental figure by my side.
Three nights. Four Days. The long, winding canals dressed in bouquets of colourful flowers and enchanted revellers. The mass hordes of bicycles grouped together alongside the tight, cobbled streets. The charming cafes that we hear so much about, with their brightly decorated exterior concealing the cloudy shroud of smoke hailing from the patrons inside and their funky cigarettes. And of course, the door-sized windows.. advertising twenty minutes of undisturbed bedroom glory as part of many a red-blooded man’s seductive fantasy. This was the Red Light District and for a wee guy from just outside Glasgow it would become the setting for the beginning of one part of my story.
But.. I won’t disclose the details of that trip now. I just wanted to let you know the defining moments that spurred me to pursue greater realities. I dreamed of taking on adventures I’d only seen through the internet, films and books. I imagined myself going to places that those around me wouldn’t or perhaps couldn’t. I wanted to visit towns, cities and countries my grandmother had never heard of just so I could turn up at her door on another rainy day in Glasgow and tell her all about it over a warm mug of PG Tips Tea (Best of gear if I say so myself). In truth this wouldn’t be very difficult. I went to Prague for a few days with my mates last year and she didn’t have the slightest idea of where I was talking about.
‘ITS THE AULD CZECHOSLOVAKIA GRAN!’
She’s partially deaf so shouting is unfortunately necessary.
Despite all of this my main reason was very simple and mostly likely very common with others. I had a vigorous infatuation with the knowledge that I might be someone able to go further than a fleeting desire. I could escape what life had dropped on my shoulders and free myself from the heavy chains of living in that dreary post-industrial fly trap which is all I had ever come to know.
Yes, it’s true. I’m not the first person to embark on a journey like this. A quick search on the internet will show you that there are millions of people like me. With the same destinations and the same reasons to uproot and leave. I’m not even the first person in my family to do a such a thing and because I am still at the beginning of this journey I do not know if I will go as far as my wonderous predecessors.
But I feel it is important to clarify the main point of my writing. As I said there are millions of people, throughout history, who have taken to the road for pastures new. They seek the same feelings that I do. The same experiences. The same sense of fulfillment. But a lot of them never begin to tell the tale. They do what they do and they live on. My writing is an extension of what I have done, what I am doing and what I am going to do.
I’ve dealt with various problems in my life so far and some packed a great punch. To tell you the truth it still astonishes me that I managed to ready myself and embark on an adventure like this. It’s taken more than one attempt but it has never faltered from my mind. In fact as things began to pass into something more difficult the drive to take action and instigate my illustrious thoughts developed as a force I could no longer simply ignore.
And the laws of nature clearly agreed with this after assessing my current situation.
‘La Barbe Froide’ Chard du Beurre, Les Saisies (2018).
I hope to use this platform to discuss more than just the stories of various trips past, present and future. My mental health has played an important role in my life and I aspire to positively contribute to the current fight waging between many factions of our society and the people most vulnerable to it all in the first place.
Through the troublesome moments and worrying stages I have never ceased to push for progress. Even when I felt numb or lost the vivid sensations I had learned to love I strived to win them back and live as I intended to. I was forced to seek out new ways of living and experiencing. Writing became a big part of my ‘rehabilitation’ if it can be described as such. I don’t profess to being anything special but I do believe that what I have experienced, both good and bad, is enough to make a reasonable effort (And I was obviously sick of resorting to writing huge, drawn out posts on Facebook). After recording a journal and practising several forms of writing I felt that bringing it all to life was naturally the next step.
I have carried on travelling hastily over the hazardous junctures that this infinite barrage of challenges we call life throws at us. It is through this perspective that I do not just consider myself to be a traveller of destinations but as a traveller of life and all its wonders.
And so, without further ado, it gives me great pleasure to give to you The Travelling Tales of a Wide-Eyed Scotsman…
‘Les Jeux Aeriens!’ Les Saisies. (2018)