Tapping these keys conjures up a mental image of a heavy-footed walker, shlepping his way through the misty English wilderness. One blind summit, after, another.
You might wonder how I nailed such a mighty image, so early on in my opening paragraph. It’s because I’ve deleted more words than you will ever read in your lifetime.
The ones you are reading, act like gravestones marking the thirty generations of fallen Helvetica which went before them.
And now I sit, waiting for a bright orange rectangle to make this awkward sentence go away by asking…
Where have you been, Ant?
I left New Zealand back in October 2010. Remember those days? Me neither.
My girlfriend, Reb, was already back in England; by her dad’s side, as he went head-first into a series of tests for cancer.
I travelled to Malaysia for three weeks.
With so many uncertains swarming around, it seemed like a compromise.
I got lost in jungles, burned on beaches, and in an unexpected milestone, I met my first travel bloggers since starting this blog, in April 2007. We had dinner and everything.
Then, in late October, as winter was setting in, I arrived back in England.
He arrived back in England? Gasp.
I bounced from an inflatable bed in Macclesfield to a spare room in Loughborough, then another one in north London, another one in Lincolnshire, one more in Reading, and then back again to the one in north London.
In mid-February, I started a new job, as STA Travel UK’s, Online Community Manager. They gave me the keys to their social media accounts. I gave them a knowing wink.
Three days later, Reb’s dad died of cancer.
Seven days later, I moved into an abandoned bungalow in Essex.
You can rearrange those three sentences to suit. They won’t get any easier to digest.
I still have a hundred thousand words to say about my own travels; but with the weight of grief, the buzz of a new job (and a ninety minute commute), and the drain of moving into a new (ramshackle) house, I just haven’t had the words in me to WOW! you.
OK. You twisted my arm. I’ll try to WOW! you
Last weekend, I headed up to Manchester to surf the wave of expectation surrounding the imaginatively named Travel Bloggers Unite 11 (TBU).
I met a dozen movers, and two dozen shakers; a couple of melody makers; money-rakers; one or two fakers; and three or more potential heart-breakers.
There’s a lot I could say about TBU. But I’ll just say this: it was good. I learned some relevant ‘stuff’; and I met a lot of genuine, beautiful, smart people.
I felt assured, that if I wanted to, I could just poke the right buttons, and money will pour out of the DVD drive of my laptop.
I learned that Brand You is applicable to everything. (So I’m stuck with explaining that my name is Ant, and TrailofAnts is a play on my travelling life, and not a reference to an army of small, black insects.)
I learned that the software which powers this blog, WordPress, really is as complicated as I first thought.
I learned that a large bottle of room temperature water is 22p cheaper than a small bottle of cold water in Tesco’s.
I learned that two hours sleep is not the right preparation to an early start, and that British hotel breakfast buffets haven’t changed since I was a boy. Last year.
I learned that my efforts at understanding podcasting, were not far off the mark. I also learned that people do care about good, solid, writing. But not quite as much as making money, or flashing their knickers at Google.
I learned that two hours of listening to a panel discuss the trials and tribulations of working with PR companies and tourist boards, really is as interesting as it sounds. Perhaps even more.
The point I’m making is: I’ve learned a lot these last few months. And you are going to benefit. Somehow. I just need to work that bit out. Just promise me you’ll stick with me, and we’ll work it out together, OK?