As a preparation, I’m printing out Google maps’s walking descriptions together with someone’s blog entry on walking from Leagrave to Hatfield (that person got lost). The weather forecast promises a strong thunderstorm late at night, but some sun, breeze and pleasantness for the entire day tomorrow. This is looking good! Google maps truly is a sweet classic for uncomplicated walks: I have used them for hitchiking from Tallinn to Poznan, and for general directions in Gujarat where the actual subcontinent was otherwise the only reference point I could point to on the globe.
Note to self: there’s nothing more valuable than listening to all the voices in your mind, than listening to all the voices of the other minds, attending to every new day through deciphering the rhythms of the mango leaves in the garden, dancing frantically in the wind, accidentally crazy, purposefully shocking the squirrels on their peanut-traced itineraries. At those moments everything becomes uncomplicated again; every barely tangible element in the moment transforms into a light and endless building block. And I guess it is the summer, and this endless warmth, and these moments full of time that no other season renders. Maybe it is important just to find a small travel in every day, a tiny new dance on every pavement, a new way to come home for 100 days in a row, a new way to make your story elements come together. It is never about inventing new stories, is it? It is all about how to put them together in a new way, and letting the chance in. This is also the essence of travelling – putting your own world together in a new way, every time you go far without any expectations, into the world of unknown pavements with that box of neon crayons.
In my mind, this photo translates to meters of maps (old and new), scrolls (only old), itineraries pinned, guidebooks consulted, route options chosen, weather reports studied, diaries underlined, notes taken (in different colours). Some part of me sees my great plan as an A4 sheet with a calendar for the coming months drawn onto it. Some part of me sees it as described in the first sentence.
One needs a vision, right?
I shall be doing the Lea Valley Walk on July 17, 18, 19 and 20. Do not know yet whether there will be fellow-walkers on this trip, though.
The planned time and outline for the walk is currently this:
– FRIDAY, JULY 17: walking from Leagrave to Hatfield (roughly 20 miles)
– SATURDAY, JULY 18: walking from Hatfield to Broxbourne (roughly 16 miles)
– SUNDAY, JULY 19: walking from Broxbourne to Lea Bridge Road (roughly 13 miles)
– MONDAY, JULY 20: walking from Lea Bridge Road to Limehouse Basin (4.8 miles)
If I won’t get lost, the towns en route shall be: Luton, Harpenden, Wheathampstead, Welwyn/Hatfield, Hertford, Ware, Hoddesdon, Cheshunt and Waltham Abbey. In Greater London, the walk goes through Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.
And for a ceremonial start to all of this, I’ll just… go for a walk. Nothing extreme (oh, how I long for a day when I could call something “extreme walking” and then choke at my own near-twattish copywriting). It will be a walk abundant in great scenery, unforgettable adventures, new sights and budget-friendly entertainments, not to mention the summer weather in all its forms and glory. Um… wait.
What I’ll actually do is the Lea Valley Walk. And it will incorporate some of the above keywords, but probably not all. Never say never, though. The Lea Valley Walk is a long distance walk covering roughly 50 miles (80 km), starting where the River Lea starts (not very far from the Luton airport) and ending in the Thames at Limehouse. Amongst others, the walk passes an agreeable number of towns and valleys, many locks on the river/canal and trendy London suburbs. There is also semi-proper nature involved.
I know that for now and for the next year I won’t have the time or means to go off on long expeditions. That’s why I’m doing everything I can very close to home. Like setting traps for squirrels in my garden for that close-to-home bushcraft experience.
Ok. Here goes. My fifth blog. And completely different from all the other ones of the past. This one will not contain vague poetry, even vaguer references to my personal life, meta-intellectual literary criticism and opinions on culture (I think). This one will be straightforward and muddy.
Institute of Wander is made for research purposes and research purposes only: for interviewing people, recording the findings, taking notes, going on field trips. And for offering insights and some musings for those mortals who find themselves to be similarly configured. (“They are a bit towards the forest” – goes the saying in my mother tongue.)
Mostly, I shall be recording my longer walks in order to shape some of those steps into an essay form as I go along. So, technically, it’s adventure writing but in a cultured (here it is again!) manner. Because adventure is everywhere. Really. Even if you don’t have the time, means or stamina to camp on the Cape Wrath Trail at the very moment, you can just sleep in a tent in your garden. (Which I’m doing right now.) One does not just plummet half-way in the middle of an epic adventure. One will sleep under the stars first, and then decide.