UNNECESSARY THEME “TUNE”
Doe. A deer. I got no fear.
I is rockin’ on me toes,
To the land we call Who Knows.
[insert encouraging cheers]
It’s back to the pack,
To the ruck to the sack.
Always looking fo’ward,
Coz we aint going back.
We’re renegade nomads,
With too much to see,
Last through customs,
Coz we really need to pee.
We got no money,
“We no understand.”
We just kickin in your hood,
Coz we like the sea and sand.
Ray. A drop of golden sun.
We’re modern day warriors of liberated Fun.
[insert light boos]
We’re cooky. Crazy.
Totally off the hook.
Tapping at our laptops,
No sign of a book.
Me, a name, I call myself.
Life’s a fairytale;
And I’m the elf.
Hummy, hum hum and I’m…
Word up, Dallas! Free Lindsay!
[exit stage left]
WHAT AM I ON ABOUT?
There are a few timid people shuffling around, but everything seems deafly quiet.
“Where have you been?” I look around to see which of the skinny white backpackers spoke up. It could have been any of them. I think twice about faking Kurdish, and draw in a deep, and painful breath.
“Well, I flew from London to Paris then slipped down to Spain, peeped into Portugal then fled to Holland and Belgium before crossing into Germany, idling through Italy and visiting the Czech Republic.
I darted into Denmark, nudged my way up Norway, then sloped through Sweden, fled to Finland and checked out Estonia, before turning up here.”
The silence in the room suddenly grows thick and hairy.
I think about rapping my way out of it, but it all seems so futile. The lyrics have got me and I hear the words before they’re set free.
“What about you?”
“Well, I started in Scotland, headed through Ireland, whipped through Wales and etched my way through England. I floated through France…”
I try to keep listening, but the thrum of his rehearsed tale is hypnotic.
“…danced in Atlantis. Mixed it up with the Mayans, then fondled a nun in Fordlândia. I sunbathed in Babylon, before going loco in north El Dorado.”
I fix my gaze right between his eyes. “That’s awesome. Sounds like a great trip mate, maybe catch up with you later, then?”
ME AND MY MAN(CUB)
MOWGLI KNOWS BEST
Unlike traditional storytelling — where things get embellished and improved — our route is our route. It’s a fixed line.
On our blogs. In our minds. In our friends’ minds. On Facebook. On Google Maps. It’s everywhere, even when we’re not.
Do you remember the first time you read the Rudyard Kipling’s, The Jungle Book?
Those unadulterated adventures of Mowgli; the mancub who is dropped under the damp noses of a pack of wolves, and forced to accept and explore his new surroundings, before eventually returning to a world of conformity.
That’s how I see travel.
We drop ourselves under the noses of a strange population. A group of foreigners we’ve been warned against because they’ll rip us apart and nag at our kneecaps.
But we learn myriad things from them; we learn to see the world through new eyes, and we use some of this experience to guide us home.
Then we become proud of ourselves because we faced up to that challenge; we stared it down, and we managed.
As with most children’s fiction, The Jungle Book appeals to us because every time we reread it, Mowgli’s slate is wiped clean and we are reminded of his innocence.
We don’t think about Mowgli’s destiny — we think about (and enjoy) his existence.
WHAT HAVE I LEARNED?
Our adventure has happened, and no matter how many times we say it — or rap it — it will never recoil into the unknown like young Mowgli’s.
It’s like when we were kids, and someone asked our name. We responded, before following up with, “That’s my name, don’t wear it out!” Then we all laughed gaily and went back to playing hopscotch and burping.
Being asked where I’ve travelled, over and over again, wears out my adventure. I get bored of hearing it. My hardback, once-upon-a-time adventure becomes dog-eared.
Which begs the question: why do I write a travel blog? After all, this is the ultimate retelling of my travel adventures; it’s a permanent echo. A permanent echo. A permanent. Echo.
WHY DO I WRITE A TRAVEL BLOG?
I want other people to read about my adventures, and get excited when I tell them about all the experiences I had with furry folk in faraway lands. I want these years of my life to be immortalised in words.
I want families to huddle around and suck Werther’s Original while their granddad reads from Trail of Ants.
To achieve the role of Mowgli, I must balance things out by giving something up. For me, I’m giving up the innocent magic of reading my own story.
Instead, I have to hear those incessant travel lyrics of the upper paragraphs, each and every time some skinny stranger pulls my string and asks: “Where have you been? Where have you been? Have you been?”
I’ve accepted this, but I’m convinced that one day a whirling mischief will sweep through that dorm-room silence; and I’ll look him straight between the eyes, and I’ll say:
“I’ve been in the jungle, living with the wolves. Boomshakalaka.”