While everyone rushes to reflect on their ‘best’ (braggable) moments of 2017, here’s a look at what I didn’t manage to suss out over the past year.
- How to pack up in less time than it takes to fly the Atlantic. I take bloomin’ ages in the morning.
- How to not need a wee as soon as I’ve just got comfy in my sleeping bag. Surely this is one of life’s camping conundrums.
- How not to trip over my myriad guy lines when I finally decide to venture out of the tent.
- To stop my tent pegs from wandering off in the middle of night. They’re never all there in the morning when I do the roll call.
- How to rationalise that the snapping twig is not a huge beast, or even worse, a huge human near my tent. It’s just those forest fairies having a bit of a rave.
- To sleep near a stream or river without waking up every time I hear a rain drop to check it hasn’t flooded. (I do this all night until it’s light!)
- To find camping ground that doesn’t look like a ski slope. Thank God for dry bags to shove under my roll mat to make me less wonky.
- To not eat my all my supplies for the next three days within the next hour.
- How not to think of food, followed by point 1.
- To waltz into pubs or cafes and ask for water refills without buying anything far more expensive than the cost of free water. I’m so bloomin’ British in this respect.
- To cook something more exotic than cous cous or savoury rice.
- That a slab (more like two) of Cadbury’s doesn’t constitute a meal. But it must surely add to my calcium intake, right?
- How to have clean hands and nails. Even when scrubbed with soap and hot water (a rarity, admittedly), they still look like they belong to a street urchin.
- Realising I have just smeared mud across my face prior to having a conversation with someone far too polite to point it out.
- Having mud splattered all the way up my trousers is not actually acceptable beyond the hiking trail. Ah, well, never mind.
What I did learn:
- Britain is bloomin’ fab and so are its people. A huge thank you to everyone who has taken me in for the night, donated to my costs, or simply wished me good luck on my journey. You all rock!
I am looking for a roof over my head (shower, washing machine, warm room – can be the lounge or dining room, or even the hall cupboard!) as winter continues. If you think you can help, I’m travelling in South Wales and SW England. You can email me, email@example.com or message me via Facebook.
Hope you all had a great Christmas and 2018 is full of amazing insights.
Jane Batchelor is currently hiking 2,500 miles through Britain, looking at the history of the country in chronological order.