Follow my Journey
From Brighton to Belgium, London to Los Angeles, Madagascar to Muscat. This is my story from from around the world as I remember it, not as I wish I did.
Hitting the Road
I’m more of a road runner than a jet setter. I’ll know I’ve made it when I have a VW Camper and can drive continent to continent, coast to coast, dawn til dusk.
It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.
This is more for me than a travel blog, it’s a compilation of the memories and ideas which have made me who I am and that I therefore wish to share with those who care.
My friends, my lifestyle, and the things I see on occasion. This blog is an accumulation of the stories which make up my world.
An honest opinion on the England I’ve grown up in, for better and worse.
Wandering the World
On the things I’ve seen and the things I’m going to.
With Family and Friends
The stories I dare tell about mates, dates, and family.
I’ve posted several articles to my site; however, I am conscious that nobody really knows anything about me other than the glimpses I have given. This post aims to give a little context to the events of my formative years and hopefully set the scene for some of the stories and experiences which I will lay down on this blog.
I was born outside Brighton, in Haywards Heath, West Sussex, to Mark and Suzanne, a lawyer and an air hostess.
At one I left the country for the first time, visiting Australia.
At two, my little sister Emily, was born. She is indisputably my favourite person in the world, although several others run her close when she gets under my skin. A skill she’s been developing pretty much since she could talk.
Between five and nine we frequented Cornwall, France, and Spain. At these family holiday destinations, I caught lizards, blennies, crabs, salamanders, beetles, and just about anything else I could. I loved nature and history with absolute passion, these rubbing off from my father. I believe even my biology and history teachers got utterly sickened by my consistent interrogation-like questioning, fuelled by my consistent thirst for knowledge. I also played football like a little maniac and would eventually become a regular in the swimming pool and on the rugby pitch.
At ten, I visited the United States for the first time. I saw Wekiwa, the Florida State Park, and was told about the devastating impact of invasive species. Since then I have sponsored Amur leopards through WWF and taken part in various conservation activities. I also visited SeaWorld, not entirely understanding the plight of Orcas and captive animals. To this day, I am sickened by what I saw and couldn’t yet entirely understand.
At eleven, I moved from a small primary school to a renowned public school, Ardingly College, in the West Sussex countryside. I struggled to fit in a little and threw myself into adder spotting, fossil hunting, and cultivation of our school wildlife garden.
At twelve, my friend Ben took me to the lake district, and we hiked the hills. This was my first true experience of travelling independently of my family and I caught the bug for it.
At thirteen, my soon-to-be best friend Andy made his journey from his childhood home in Oman to England, to board at my school. We played rugby, football, hockey, cricket, and squash together.
At fourteen, I visited Oman for the first time with him. I experienced my first entirely foreign culture with alien dress, language, and customs. I was entirely enthralled as Andy showed me the Indian Ocean, the desert dunes, Wadi Shab, and the Aj Hajar mountains. Then we ate shawarma made by true artisans and not at greasy kebab shops, before swimming with turtles and watching dolphins flip out of the water in the dusk half-light. All in all, this was a surreal experience and my first international travel independent of my family. I decided internally, now voiced on this page, that I would continue to go further into what was, by my standards, the unknown.
At fifteen, I went back. Then, when the heat of the Omani desert had ignited my desire to travel, I went to Iceland, and I was engrossed by the haunting beauty of the cold primeval landscape. I resolved from here that I would travel and see whatever I could afford to.
At sixteen I took my GCSEs and when they finished, I decided to travel. First, I went to Belgium, staying with Paul at his home in Brussels, and then went on to Bruges. Then I went with my friends Caitlin, Lara, and Benedict, to Italy and interrailed the length of the country. We saw Naples, Romes, Florence, Garda, and a hundred other places. I developed a keen interest in Roman architecture and history which had been nurtured through a classical education and which serves me to this day, even driving my choice of degree.
At seventeen, I travelled to Kenya with my school and helped to build educational facilities there. We met some of the loveliest and happiest children I have ever met, and I felt the purest sense of purpose, and least amount of stress, I had ever experienced to that point my life. Then we moved into the Maasai Mara and later the Serengeti in Tanzania. In Kenya, whilst everybody sat around the campfire, I was sat amongst a dark patch of trees, listening to the forest. All of a sudden, an animal crept down a branch just a couple of meters from my head. I turned to see great big eyes, a long-banded tail, a spotted coat, and pointed ears. He was the strangest creature I’d laid eyes on in my life and was utterly stunning. After a few seconds he scampered through the canopy and I heard my teachers and fellow students chattering about the glimpse of a rare genet cat they had got as he moved around overhead. I never mentioned the encounter to my friends. It was the purest moment of connection I’ve ever had. It was just for me. This priceless experience reconnected me with my eleven-year-old self, jump starting my renewed fondness for nature.
At the same age I took up martial arts and boxing, disciplining myself and finding an outlet for my high energy personality and a way to dissipate the anger which could easily overflow because of my nature.
At eighteen I completed my A-levels but wasn’t happy with my choice of law. Feeling consigned to a degree I would hate; I rejected my place at Durham and went into work. I took a job and began working. I decided that I should fuel my long-term interest in ancient history. After 3 months, I took a spontaneous trip to Madagascar. I joined a conservation project and saw the devastation of pollution, climate change, and deforestation. I realised again how serene my mind could be with no external responsibilities and a true connection to the nature around me. I also finally paid the price for every animal I’d ever caught when I scorpion got me whilst I slept.
At nineteen, whilst still in the rainforest, I fell in love. I met a girl, a doctor ironically sick with malaria she contracted because of not taking her medication. She smiled at me through her pain and to her I felt immediate warmth, something I don’t usually experience. Then she broke my heart, leaving me to return home.
I left Madagascar and for the first time I travelled betwixt European countries, crossing border after border, with my friend Douglas. We traversed Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia, Croatia, and Italy in a few weeks. Taking in a lot but deeply experiencing very little, I resolved that, in the future, I would spend time in every country, not only that I had already visited, but across the world. That is the full extent of my bucket list and all else is a bonus.
I then attended Durham and began my degree in Ancient History, making great friends, but I was still hung up on the doctor.
At twenty I met a strong-willed girl from Preston and a student of Sociology. I began to date her, but stupidly without ridding myself of my love for the doctor. Then my parents took the family on the trip of a lifetime to California. We travelled between Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Yosemite, and San Francisco in an epic road trip which I’ll never forget, no matter how many stories will follow in the coming years. In the same year I managed to fracture vertebrae in my neck playing rugby, damage ligaments in my ankle kickboxing, and then tear my ACL, LCL, MCL, and meniscus in my knee resulting in surgery. I decided competitive sport had to be taken down a notch.
At twenty-one, in Summer, I flew to Romania with Andy and joined Paul, resolving to drive to Belgium, but upon running out of money, I bowed out early, taking a flight home from Slovenia. This was my first road trip with friends and developed a hunger for such travel which I believe may never be satiated. It also developed a subsequent thriftiness to the way I travel which I pride myself on. I’m hardly a fancy jetsetter.
At twenty-two I took my girlfriend to Iceland, but I still couldn’t bring myself to love her and, on our return, on finding out she didn’t love me either and had found comfort elsewhere, we broke up. I finished university, graduating from Durham, and accepted an offer to study Law at the University of Law. To start summer, I joined Andy and Paul on adventure. With Paul needing to drive his car to his father’s home in Romania, Andy and I ventured with him from Brussels to Slovenia.
Now I am mid-degree, unsure of my future path; however, I have decided to earn some money, modify my car and drive from Brighton to Beijing as soon as I can afford to. It is at the planning stage of this expedition where my blog begins.