"Where did the Lighthouses go?"
"Why this site?"
I started this site as a way of keeping in touch with family and friends while on the road for most of year 2000. My intention was to put up a few pictures and write up a story every now and then, but within just the first few days of my trip I realised it was going to turn into a monster...
If you've found your way here by chance, welcome anyway.
"A personal website? Isn't that all very self indulgent and geeky?"
Of course it is. Tough. But I hope you find something here to enjoy anyway! If you do, please sign my guestbook to let me know you've visited.
"Is there anything you would censor from your Travel Diaries?"
Yes: sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. The reader is invited to gossip and speculate on whether I have been obliged to make cuts in any of these categories.
"Why exactly did you jack in a perfectly good job, and go off to see the world?"
Because it was there...
"Smartarse. Then what did you hope to get out of it?"
O.K, a serious answer. I certainly didn't expect to come home a different person. The same person with expanded horisons, a gently streched mind, new friends across the world and a head and photo cabinet full of memories is just fine.
There is nothing unique in this trip. Plenty of people tread these paths every year. The one moment in the whole process that required the greatest courage from me took place months before even leaving home - it was saying to my boss '...I quit', and watching the ball start to roll.
I wouldn't even claim to be a 'traveller' whatever that may mean. It seems clear to me, that however hard 'travellers' try to make a distinction between themselves and 'holidaymakers' (a patronising term), our hosts don't make the same distinction: it is all holidays, but some holidays are longer than others.
"Where was your favourite place?"
I hate this question as much as well meaning distant relatives love to ask it - as it is impossible to answer. Chile, New Zealand and Laos are beautiful countries with lovely people, and I felt very much at home in each of them. Bolivia had the most amazing landscapes (Eduardo Avarova National Park and the Salar De Uyuni), Peru and Cambodia were great travel experiences, and contained the greatest monuments (Machu Picchu and Angkor, respectively). Australia had endless beautiful wilderness, and was a hoot to travel in. The only disappointment for me was Thailand, the areas that I made it to were suffering badly from over-tourism, cross-culture-shock and deteriorating Thai/Farang relations (admittedly nowhere exactly likes tourists, but Thailand was the only country where I was told (twice) to go home). Still enjoyable, but enjoyment came mostly from the friends and family I was with at that time rather than from the country or the travelling scene. And the Khao San road is a cesspit.
"Why didn't you mention this, that or the other in your travel tales?"
I wasn't pretending to write a guidebook, or a travel book, or a social commentary. It's just stories and impressions from my perspective - a 30ish Brit on his virgin world trip.
"Where are you from?"
Concieved in Scotland, born in Wales, brought up in northern and southern England, and since then have lived in Scotland, Wales and England. And I've got an Irish Great-great-grandmother. So I think that makes me 'British'.
But my name is Welsh, and 'Welsh' is always good for confusing people abroad.
"Is it hard travelling alone?"
No. 'Budget' travel is far more sociable than than 'luxury' travel, and the harder things are, the easier it is to meet people - everyone wants to company when the going gets tough. And sometimes it's great having no-one else to worry about, no-one to compromise with, no-one else to keep happy.
The only thing I never really got used to is eating on your own - food should be a shared experience - and in a year, however many people you meet, there are going to be times when you are sitting in a restaurant with just a book to keep you company.
"What is that Lighthouse bit all about?"
My 'long' Geocities site address was previously used by a site on 'Lighthouses of British Columbia'. This old link was still in use by several other lighthouse sites, though traffic has dropped off. I just hope the lighthouse visitors weren't too disappointed - people who go surfing the web for lighthouses could be capable of anything...