For me, travel represents freedom. It is a form of escapism, like reading, or the cinema. That might then beg the question: what is so bad about my life that I need to escape from it? The answer is nothing. I am not running away from anything except perhaps routine. And I have no problem with routine either; in fact, I think that it is an essential part of human life but, by its very nature, routine tends to form few memories; it is the beige blancmange that constitutes most of existence. If I may be permitted to borrow from a sketch in Sean Lock’s excellent sitcom 15 Storeys High, if routine is a spotted dick, it is a lot of dick, and very few spots; whereas, I prefer my life to contain a little less dick and a few more spots. Although, perversely, I could achieve the exact same end by simply leaving behind the analogy and adopting the exact opposite philosophy in real-life!
Enough of that. Before I got side-tracked by traditional British desserts, I was talking about memories.
Memories are another form of escapism to which I frequently like to return, and I find that past travels tend to put down useful markers in my memory that I can instantly recall. Travel memories punctuate the routine memories––like spots in dick––but they also anchor some of the routine memories, making them more accessible. So, for example, I might remember what I was doing before I set off for China, or shortly after I returned from the Lofoten Islands, in a way that I won’t recall what happened during a long travel-less period of time.
It is a fine balance, however. Travel so frequently such that the travel itself becomes routine and there is a danger that the spots will turn into dick, and the dick into spots, and no one wants that.
© E. C. Glendenny
E. C. Glendenny is a few spots short of a dick.