Hi. Essentially this is what this is what the last four days have consisted of…
Four days of walking my path have given me a lot of time to think, reflect, learn and really bring me back to simple, subjectively important things, things that make me, well me. This very small trip has helped me in one word ‘change’… I mean I didn’t meet many people, but those I did helped me just as much as any teacher, scholar or friend, the beauty in the stories I’ll tell from these individuals is as soon as they were there, they were just as quickly gone.
Let me start with something I scribbled down in my notebook before leaving York on day one, it went “it’s funny actually how I hadn’t been honest for so long. The last time I remember before I was 16 was when I would sit at Games by the Beach and lose Yu-Gi-Oh tournaments to 10 year olds, but, be completely content within myself.”
Since the start of my trip I’ve realised how easy it is to be honest, I identify with climbing trees, being on rooftops, hugging the shit out of people and fictional stuff because I can, because it’s who I am, now that’s a fantastic thought… This walk through its countless hours of strolling, thinking, writing and singing have been a catalyst for me to deepen my happiness and to also clear my mind in the weird and wacky wild.
Now to my first story of the trip because, boy oh boy do I have a large batch of goodies for your eyes and imagination to consume.
Night One – I had already topped my bucket list item of walking through a pine forest by setting up my tent in it to sleep. The night was calm and gorgeous as the sun finally began to sink. I was still jumpy at noises in the woods, as my body got used to cracks, birds and scuttering on the dense, pine needle floor. As the sun hid away behind the rolling hills in the distance I noticed something. An almost castle wall running the length of the field opposite me. Curious as I was I decided to follow it, armed with nothing but my book and drink bottle. It must have been an hour later it became dark, and I mean pitch black, infinite darkness. After searching for what must have been a solid hour back I couldn’t find my tent, gave up and gave in all at the same time. As I rested my head on some poor farmers crops and finally took the time to look up, I realised the captivating, endless and magical show the stars were putting on. It was completely still, silent and the cold I was feeling remained but was worth it… Morning had broken and I woke at the first sign of light in the East. It was an easy 10 minute walk back to camp in the freezing cold, icy morning, I’ve never been so scared of my fingers falling off than I was that morning.
This moment in time when I was so cold, was well worth it. It’s much like when people say “they see something so magnificent it takes all the pain away” I disagree, I think the pain remains forever, however, the pain is worth it when you see something worth seeing, or hear something worth hearing, taste something worth tasting or touch something worth touching… things that fill you with joy, excitement, adrenaline, whatever it is it makes you feel things you either didn’t know you could feel, or maybe just something you haven’t felt for a long, long time.
Alright Day Two was the beginning of something truly special for me; I found a place, not for you, but for me. A place that gave me everything I had ever wanted when I think back to those Location, Location, Location episodes I used to watch with mum of the English country side, dreaming about what if… well what if happened. I sat in the knee high grass after passing through a rickety, old gate with my back turned away from the trees. It was spectacular, green rolling hills that seemingly went on forever, ‘I can picture the giants roaming and the dragons flying’ I wrote in my book. The clouds dispersing and moving at different speeds depending on how close to my eyes they were. Sun shining, cows grazing and birds caught in the open, free air that blew across the valley. This is one of those moments I felt something, I could see my happiness, I actually yelled, all by myself feeling something real, very zazzy I think.
Down the path I met a single cow. No gate. No fence. Just a cow and me. It was quickly apparent to both the cow and myself neither of us was going to hurt the other. I felt safe so did the cow… The cow took the first step, let me pat it and continued to lie down infront of me. I didn’t hesitate, but for some reason I decided I was going to hug the crap out of this cow. I loved the cow. The cow loved me. Then we said goodbye. Quite poetic actually I think…
I feel another quote coming on, because who would have thought straight into my dream job last year I would of been sitting on a hill feeling things I can only remember feeling a handful of times before. Now this quote comes from a guy called Musk who was scared, scared of the dark as a kid. He was a curious kid a scientist at heart and realised that “dark just means the absence of photons in the visible wavelength – 400-700 nanometers. Then [he] thought, well, it’s really silly to be afraid of a lack of protons. Then [he] wasn’t afraid of the dark anymore.” Musk took a fear and made it a strength through understanding. In many of the paths I have taken or ended up on, I have realised of course do be careful, but, what I’m trying to say is, take the chance… what’s the worst that could happen? I did it now look at me, umm I’m not scared of the dark anymore and I am happier and more honest than ever allowing me to see the monsters and fairies in the garden for what they really are, tremendous.
Now I entered the forest early, must of been lunch time. This is where I had my first encounter with other walkers. Mr and Mrs Christmas (personally asked me to call them Mr and Mrs Claus) were in love, they had moved into the area so they could look at birds, butterflies and flowers. They said to me something I don’t think I’ll ever forget, it made me feel wonderful. They said after I asked them what birds they had been looking at through their obviously expensive binoculars. Their response was,
“We don’t know… But, just because you don’t understand something, doesn’t make it less beautiful, does it?”
Those bloody nipples, in one sentence and a quick question made me think, I mean really think about everything all over again. For the rest of that day I didn’t stop wondering about things, plants, bugs, rocks my experiences but I also saw, through a new set of lenses their ridiculously stunning(ness)?
It was getting late on Day Two, I’d seen nothing but forest for hours… when I turned a corner and my second meeting was about to happen. This time in the form of ‘Rob & Mick’ the retired, hobby historians and part time pea growers. They had been searching the forests I was in for tools and weapons from 9000-5000BC after the last Ice Age. They did and they had hooked me, I was so interested in everything they had to say. It had been a while and they were ready to go, they offered me a lift, *Should I take it* *Mum wouldn’t be happy about this* is all I thought, but did it anyway. Now they talked and talked “On this side is where the Vikings came the through, on your right that towering hill is from glacial run off” Mick stated. Now we had driven for a while and they didn’t want to let me out, they were happy telling me really interesting stuff. Eventually they kicked me out… I didn’t know where I was, couldn’t find where I was on the map, compass wasn’t helping either. So I crawled and struggled up a disgustingly steep hill so I could see a landmark… I found one in a farmer of the B-R-O-X-A Forest. A name I had become accustomed with from Micks relentless splurge of information “Yeah Rob, it is here somewhere, the Broxa Forest, that’s a Viking name, B-R-O-X-A”, thanks Mick! The rest doesn’t matter, I climbed a tree and wrote some notes before falling asleep.
Day Three begun, late, but had begun. Somehow everything felt brighter, fresher and more real, I felt like I was falling deeper in love with the Wild. Now today’s journey I’m not going to bore you with. It was a good day, hot with a nice breeze off the sea, first I got out of the forest, then walked across some beautiful green meadows until I reached the moors. The brown, enticing and encapsulating moors, or so I thought. This day I tried to find some waterfalls, I didn’t, so I searched for hours and hours, completely lost on my map… until I met Steven, I hitchhiked to the next town as it was getting dark and I had no idea where I was. An hour down the road to Sleights is where I made camp. What a stunning place, small but enough!
I set up and along came a man, a kid, a bloke, however you want to say it. He told me “Hi my name is Sam”, hi Sam. Now Sam was homeless, I thought he looked only fifteen, he told me twenty-four. Sam looked a lot like a guy I knew in primary school, I mean a little more dirty and rough. He told me of his history, it was intense, it doesn’t matter what he told me, it’s his to bear and it’s done, all I can say is, shitty luck… or if it’s a thing really shitty destiny so far…
Now Sam and I shared burritos he had three I had two and we chatted laughed a lot to be honest. He really like my dads favourite joke “what did the fish say when it ran into the wall?” Ouch? “Wrong, dam…” so did I! I invited Sam to come back in the morning for oats if he wanted to…
Day Four – Whitby was just around the corner and over the hill, no signs of Sam so I strutted my stuff down the motorway right into town, onto the sand and took it all in for a brief moment. What a walk.
Now if you made it this far well done and thanks. I’m still trying to work out three things I’m good at so hopefully that happens. But I’m going to end on another quote, this time Joanne Limburg again from her book ‘The Autistic Alice’:
14. The winner is the child who still has a bit of Curly Wurly left when their sibling has none.
Take your time, slow down, be honest, recognise the beauty in things and be dam[ned] like that fish if you don’t end up with that last bit of Curly Wurly, unless you don’t need it of course then give it to someone who does.