Squeezing reading into my everyday life was a new years resolution of mine, which hasn’t been kept to that religiously but not too bad. My most recent read was Tom Anderson’s ‘Grey Skies, Green Waves: A Surfer’s Journey around the UK and Ireland’. Maybe I’m sticking too much to all these outdoorsey/watersports type when I read but this book was so brilliant it doens’t matter – so long as I read something different next time!
Page 9 offered my first piece of gold-dust opinion in the form of this paragraph: “I’d often wandered why someone concerned only with that quest for adventure hadn’t just emigrated – but things would never be that simple and I knew it. No journey would be a journey, if you catch my drift, if it didn’t involve returning to a home of some kind, and for a while now I’d been trying to make more of being a surfer in Wales – or rather in Britain. I’d become too much of a snob, though, and it was getting harder to figure out how to turn it around”.
Tom did a lot of international travel after leaving university in the quest of ‘the perfect wave’. He acheieved degree in English at the University of Glamorgan, where he was lucky enough that the Student Loans Company funded a large proportion of the travel which inspired his writing of the Magic Carpet storyline.
(A little off on a tangent now) I googled The Magic Carpet surf story just to find out a bit more about it and on the Amazon review page for the book (which was in essence a story about A Surfer’s Odyssey to Find the Perfect Wave) I found a comment : ‘Surf travel is one of the few ways left where you can be a genuine explorer in this connected world, looking for places and waves never ridden, and Tom has captured the feel of always wondering if there is an undiscovered Kirra just around the next point, and the reality of hardcore surf travel – the hours of slogging away in a menial job just to get money for your next fix, poring over nautical maps and bathymetric charts trying to work out where might be the next undiscovered world-class wave.’. The viewpoint of this person is being even more specific than I have been so far, I have spoken generally about travelling, whereas here specifically surf travel has been pin pointed. And what the comment above is saying is incredibly interesting. It argues that in essence, travel is the only way that you can feel ‘connected’ to the world, by seeing as much as we can of what we live on is the only way we can truly experience the world and be fulfilled by what it offers us. The idea of having a day to day job might only be made bearable because it is being done so that in the future we can do what we want – and isn’t that the same for everyone? Of course we all try to get jobs that we enjoy, but then isn’t the main reason for this so that when we retire we can wade in our pools of hard earned money and finally do all the things that we want to do? But it’s equally important to enjoy the process of this journey to ultimate happiness (in this case, when we retire) and not to just use the dream of future plans as escapsim for the present.
This then in turn reminds me of one of my favourite quotes from one of my favourite books ‘Looking for Alaska’ by John Green:
I agree but also disagree with this, because I think that if you work hard enough and you beleive in the things that you do and they are right for you- then you can achieve anything. Short term escapsim is fine, but not long term, you can’t run from things but you can temporarily (and sometimes permanently) detatch yourself.
Anyway back to Tom Anderson and his quest for waves – He learnt how to stop using escapsim and realise what he really wanted in life, he did this by getting odd jobs to keep financially sound and then travelled his own home country of the UK in his search for the perfect wave.
And this is what is paramountly important – Tom gave up his international wanderlust and exchanged it in order to learn how to love what he had – which was his own country. And by doing this he gained new found freedom and amazement from what ‘home’ has to offer. He learnt that you don’t have to necessarily travel the world to find fulfillment, he just travelled at home instead, but he still travelled. And maybe he was only able to find happiness at home because he had already experienced the rest of the world. This leads me on to a another quote much further on in the book – “travel, it seemed, especially foreign travel, had always been behind all of my best memories, this year I was tempting my dependence on foreign travel atleast…”. So whilst Tom looks back on his fond memories, it was travel that stood out to be the most poignant of them all, but with each day comes a new horizon, and with Tom he found that when his travelling days were over, he was equally happy being at home.
Tom travelled, yes, and that made him happy. He’s another one of my researched people that has found complete and true happiness at the hands of moving about and travelling, but I stress again, it’s right for him, it’s right for many people, but people with different beliefs and thoughts means it’s not right for them.
It’s a matter of opinion I suppose.
If we were all the same we would be boring.
And now off to analyse another questionnaire that I received from Jorge and Jess Gonzalez!