Overland Travel

I have an explanation to offer.

I like travelling overland for a variety of reasons. I can see people; I can actually feel the earth beneath me and know that we are all connected; I can meet people, and perhaps the most important point of all is that it is the only way I have of cocking a snoot at the ghastly intrusions of airport security.

Of course, these intrusions are new, and I have been wandering around for decades, but they area current bête-noire of mine, and the very thought of the scowling and shrill battalions of “security officers” that prowl through Chicago airport (in particular) will keep me driving for some miles to come.

And then I realised that over the past forty years or so, my wanderings had suddenly and finally linked a long and rather interesting journey. I have travelled overland from the remote Orkney island of Westray to Baku in a series of unlinked journeys. In November I will sail from New York to Southampton and extend the journey to Baku all the way to Tofino on Vancouver Island’s gorgeous west coast.

And at that point, I shall write a book. Journeys from 1975 link seamlessly with those take thirty-five years later; rail journeys, sea crossings and long journeys hitch-hiked in the past all weave together to create a fascinating, at least to me, fabric. Cathartic, I hope, self-centered I am sure, but I am looking forward to setting fingers to word processor (thank God for the ability to save and edit) and drawing the strands of my wanderings together.

So now the secret is out; my family were poured onto the Baku to Tbilisi train to satisfy another of my whims. They are only lucky that the ferry from Baku to Turkmenbashi, lying temptingly in Baku harbour, wasn’t the missing link.