Random excerpts from various unfinished, finished, published and unpublished pieces of fiction and other literary efforts.
I left school with excellent A level results and a guaranteed place to read Classics at Cambridge, but I had a problem. Once I officially became an adult, I felt trapped. I had never been out of the UK and was desperate to spread my wings. It was more than just a desire to leave the family nest. It was something much deeper fluttering around inside me, telling me I had to go. I was born with a traveller’s soul.
When I told my parents I was going travelling, they were happy for me to take a year out but, when I followed it up by saying that I didn’t want to go to university, they despaired.
‘So you are just going to drop out? Dear God, you are just like your hopeless uncle.’ My mother wailed after one particularly unpleasant family row.
‘Well … I haven’t exactly dropped in yet and so what if I am like Uncle Henry? He is the only one in this family who ever took time to get to know me!’ I spat back at her, which resulted in her taking to bed for days, with the curtains drawn.
Despite my mother’s histrionics, my mind was already made up, as I took to the road with my backpack, refuelling my parent’s rage, but with enormous support from dear Henry.
‘Take time to explore the world and broaden your horizons.’ So I did and his advice to take time became my tenet. A year rolled into two, then three as travelling took over my life.
Over the years to show my gratitude, I would take the time to send Uncle Henry witty and informative postcards from all my ports of call and it humbled me when I found out years later that he had kept each and every one. All in date order and incongruously pristine among the chaos that he called home.
I also sent similar epistles to my parents, which they never read. I returned home after 3 years and they both refused to see me. Their rejection only serving to fuel the fire within my nomadic soul.