Self Doubt On The Straits; or Out of Spain and Across to Africa.

The days that followed Redbeard’s departure were a sombre affair. I walked the streets of windy Tarifa alone, and ate overpriced pizza in an empty restaurant. I drank a little, just enough to ween myself off, and made polite small talk with the other travellers – but it felt forced and my heart wasn’t in it.

I hadn’t anticipated this when I’d planned my journey – if the meagre prep we’d done could even be called that. Everything finished with Redbeard’s exit and I was adrift: unsure where to go next, strung out and lonely. I’ve talked of yin and yang before and this was the rebound I had earned. We’d pushed so far above normal levels of contentment that it was inevitable, or at least apposite, that there would be an equal but opposite reaction. Newton dictated it.

For all my melancholy it wasn’t all doom and gloom, or at least shouldn’t have been. I was still on the road and adventure beckoned, but I felt purposeless. It was as if I’d had my thrills, fulfilled any unstated goals I might have had and in a strange unprecedented way, was ready to go home. It certainly would have been the easy choice: back to the familiar routines of home and uni, never too far from my comfort zone. But this wasn’t meant to be a year of easy choices.

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On New Year’s Eve; or Another Inebriated Tick of the Global Clock.

Our Thai New Year’s Eve itself is typically anti-climatic. Fortified on ephedrine we down enough Chang to make an elephant tipsy, and lurch around on the sand with the rest of the singleted, shifting to the pulsing music. It is hectic, and we are soon divided.

Brother Fox and I dig a hole just back off the beach and bury our jandels with a small bottle of rum before heading into the mêlée in search of our brethren. We tell some Australian girls that the fireworks above are just a warm-up, and that the countdown will be soon. Obviously we are wrong.

We continue on, the sharp smell of gunpowder signalling the arbitrary switchover that we have gathered to celebrate. Finally, we find Brother Tijo. He is unapologetically hammered, caught up on a nihilistic bender. His stamina betters that of Fox, and we return to our sand cairn to reclaim our treasure.

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On Beginnings; or A Mission Statement of Sorts.

So. Here we are. This is a project that I have meant to start for a long time now; a wee social experiment, with myself as the subject. I’m not aiming too high, and hope to avoid a lot of the indulgent self-infatuated pandering that flies across cyberspace on a daily basis. My goal is simpler than that of the blogging narcissist, but it is certainly not a unique one.

What is the appeal in taking your private moments, your special anecdotes and perspectives, and casting them adrift in the vast sea of the internet?

Anonymous blogs provide a unique opportunity for self-reflection. They seem to sit at an intersection between the honesty produced through anonymity, and the clarity of thought demanded by a discerning global audience. This creates an environment that helps to facilitate the truthful reflection that is normally only accorded in private. But it is more than this. The pressure of knowing that someone will read your work, even if you do not know them and they not know you, creates a demand for quality that raises the stakes beyond that of the humble journal.

The shift from private recollections to published perspectives has made a happy bedfellow with narcissism, and much of the moaning about the pointlessness of social media reflects this. But while the mechanisms of the internet have been sufficient to produce these outcomes they are by no means predetermined.

What is the role of the writer? Social commentary, to record and reflect, reason and treason, to question the nature of reality and reveal profound truths about human nature and all our deviations. Or something. You get the gist, right?

So long story short here I am, testing the solidarity that the internet promises those claiming honest insights. Practicing my writing while travelling and living – being a wanyasi. Here goes nothing.