Part 2: Conceiving the Idea

The travel story

The journey described began in May 2005 and ended in June 2007. During it, I recorded what was happening in four battered, weather-beaten and gaffer tape-reinforced notebooks I carried.

On the Road – Peru

Part of that record became a diary concerning what I was up to and what was on my mind. About once a week, I would find an internet café and email its latest instalment to anyone who’d registered an interest in what I was doing.

At the time I tried to make those diary entries as interesting and funny as possible, and never say a commonplace or familiar thing. Those original communications form the spine of the resulting travel book and constitute an honest and spontaneous two-year stream of consciousness.

And they were raw. Interpret them as you will, I really did cycle across Europe wearing a peace flag bandana and singing Led Zeppelin songs, hitchhike across Australia, work in a Sydney drag club and spend two months on top of a South American mountain arguing with my tent. But, once a week, I got my head together enough to find a computer and write 500 words.


The philosophy

The first part of the adventure was a five-month bicycle ride from London to Istanbul. That bicycle ride put some ideas into my head about the human project, which during and after that phase of the journey I attempted to communicate in my travel diary.

In spring 2006 (for reasons described in the book), I was left at a global loose end. At the same time (for reasons also described), I realised that communicating a way of thinking about the world through 500-word diary entries wasn’t getting my point across.

So I decided to articulate those ideas systematically: a choice which catalysed a process that soon became self-reinforcing and ultimately led to a travel book with some things to say about the human project: The Jolly Pilgrim.


Next: Philosophy in a Travel Book? >


Praise for the end product:

The perfect reading material to get any travel fiend’s blood pumping
- Chloe Osborn, travel correspondent, Redbrick Travel


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