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bags for life

Photo: A bag for life*. Vi elsker Mad på dansk, på engelsk "we love food".

November 2013

“When setting out on a journey do not seek advice from someone who never left home.”


Another version might be, “if you have never left home don’t even think of offering advice to someone about to travel”. As much as I would like to rant about how nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I won’t. Well, a little. Some people, with all the visual acuity of Mr. Magoo, told me I was “running away”, a stunningly insightful observation.

Remember the fight, flight or freeze human response? If you freeze, you die, the rabbit is splattered, the impala consumed, the human deleted. If you fight and don’t win, you get bone weary tired, and eventually succumb to hopelessness, and then you die.

Adventure might hurt you but monotony will you.

Marcus Pervis

When we are young, we are told we have to stick our ladder up against a wall and begin to climb. When we are older, from our new perspective, some of us wish we had chosen our wall more carefully. It is at this point life is hinged, do we continue the climb or descend and start again? I am not an adherent to the “sunk cost fallacy” *.

Photo: me on the Val d'Isere *via ferrata*.

I chose to descend, and (this is the important bit) accept the consequences of my decision. I left almost everything behind, family and friends, house, possessions, car, job, even my dog.

I could have stood on the outside deck of the ferry and watched the Isle of Man disappearing behind me as I wallowed in my self-generated self-pity. Instead, I chose to relax in the Premium Lounge, sipping my gratis cappuccinos whilst staring out on the placid Irish Sea in front of me. The future was my concern, not my past.

Photo: On the Steam Packet Ferry coming in to Liverpool.

My immediate future was pretty simple, precarious but simple.

Under my table I had a small holdall to see me through the next three weeks of sofa-surfing. I was to rendezvous with three bags which I had stashed eight weeks earlier in a friend’s garage loft. One of those bags was a large poo coloured suitcase containing my seasonaire and winter sports gear which would take me to late April 2014. In May I would return to the garage and swap the poo suitcase for the smelly rucksack. This was my hiking trip around Europe for six months. In October (ish) I would decide whether I needed my third bag for life, my re-entry to a “nine-to-five world” bag.

Not much of a plan but …

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”

“I don’t much care where –”

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

Lewis Carroll

#pilgrim #austria #seasonaire

* Bag for life

I have so many bags for life I will have to become a Buddhist to use them all.

* The Sunk Cost Fallacy

The phenomenon whereby a person is reluctant to abandon a strategy or course of action because they have invested heavily in it, even when it is clear that abandonment would be more beneficial.

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