Words and images by David Barnett
(Intro: A cheeky, witty travelogue from a writer we really need to hear more from. — Charlie)
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Ah, the summer of 2005 — what a time to be alive that was. A few months prior, I finished my tenure at the University of Wales, Cardiff, studying Journalism, Film, & Broadcasting. My lifestyle was a dynamic mix of sleeping, eating, and pornography, and yet, I wondered was there something more? Well, dear reader, there was. You see, I can’t say I live in a terribly diverse cosmopolitan locale. A day out around here usually means going around the shops, going to the cinema, or feeding the birds, tuppence a bag. No wait, that’s Mary Poppins, but you get the idea.
Not that life in Wales is boring, you understand. Endless shops, endless fields and mountains, and ah! singing coal miners, I’m reliably informed. I’ll take the moral high ground for a novel change and not draw attention to the sheep jokes often made about us, though. I’m often reminded how beautiful and peaceful it is, but quite frankly, its charm has long been lost on me. Like the average black hole, you come to Wales, but you never leave, or so that was the case for the majority of my life. Apart from one dire school trip to France and brief family trips across the border, I had never really ventured anywhere on my own. The shocking truth of a geek in life experience deficit mode.
On top of it all, I was in the midst of truly wondering what I wanted to do with my life, a dilemma that was killing my initiative in seeking gainful employment. Oh sure, in theory, journalism sounds like a great career where I could just type at a keyboard most of the time and think to myself how great it is that I’m serving the public. Heck, that is the prevailing rationale of a lot of those who do it; problem is they don’t really. So, life was uneventful even more so: no schoolwork, no actual work, what’s a guy to do?
So, I got thinking; dangerous, I know, but I had to risk it. A grand journey: I would explore locales of great repute and esoteric spots of hidden delight. By foot, by wheel, and by rail, I would explore these Great British isles on a journey where I would grow into the man I am: steadfast, tireless and moronic to the point of spectacle. Suffice to say, it didn’t really turn out that way; it didn’t turn out a fraction of that way really. But this be the tale I tell. Continue reading