Thursday, 11 March 2010

Dreamers, Vagabonds and Incorrigible Rogues

Tuesday 9th March, 2010. In an unlikely location in Victoria Station a sizeable group gathers. The Iron Duke is not exactly what one would describe as a romantic venue for the meeting; commuters who wandered in for a swift half before catching the train home eye up the interlopers with bemused expressions over their faces. In reality we too have a right to be here. Many of us are on the way home from long journeys, several others about to leave. Summoned by Alastair Humphreys we have met to share stories, advice, geeky notes on kit and, of course, dreams.

I never really saw myself as an explorer in the raw sense of the term. Although “L'île mystérieuse” by Verne was the favourite settings of many of my childhood games. I don't think our journey is ground breaking or our itinerary original. In fact as much as possible we will stick to historical routes, from the Via Francigena, which connected Canterbury to Rome through the St. Bernard's Pass over the Alps, to one of the many branches of the Silk Road travelling from the Middle East, through Central Asia and out into China, our tyres will roll over ancient ways. And yet here we are, in a room full of trailblazers, ultramarathon runners, polar explorers and a smattering of bicycle commuters. Still, all have this beautifully understated air about them, as if their incredible exploits are everyday occurrences. A man's dreams are another's daily reality. And yet, in truth, I saw you smiling inside ;-)

A message to anybody traveling East: make yourself heard (through our contact form or comments). It would be great to share stories, info or maybe organize a meeting in some random place of the world.

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