Sitting in my flat by the heater with the dregs of a cuppa, I started to wonder about writing a past-tense narrative of the absolute present, extracting not just a storyline but flashes of vocabulary and what I suppose might be deemed ‘creative bursts’ from my own head and spelling them out (no pun intended) on the screen in front of me. Pale blue dots pierced my vision from below; the stalwart glow of a pair of tiny travel loudspeakers, unedited and vague beneath the bevelled edge of the monitor. I wondered, suddenly, if people from the future would recognise the vocabulary I had used thus far in the mere paragraph of 112 words I had penned — nay, typed — and, while observing the typographic error of using a minus-sign in place of a dash, I realised that I had no fucking idea where the dash key was on my keyboard, a thought of horror and frustration which evacuated all previous traces of thought from my mind.
I’m really excited to have put together this new website for extreme athlete Andy Campbell, who’s planning a 30,000-mile round-the world expedition beginning next year. The difference? Andy’s been paralysed from the waist down since a climbing accident in 2004.
It was on the sixth day after leaving Hatgal that the trail petered out. In its place, a tangle of tiny channels began to eat its way westwards down a long valley floor, paved by fist-sized, weather-rounded stones. On either side of the river basin rose steep, jagged walls of rock enthusiastically smothered in green by the spring’s new growth of larch and pine. A whopping green trout flashed past beneath the clear waters that trickled and filtered down from the lofty whitewashed crags.
But for all its unspoiled splendour, the landscape was accompanied by no soaring Hollywood overture, no epic camera-swoop across the path of a silhouetted hero. All lay still and silent. This was the kind of wilderness that turned a man into a tiny speck, his unseen travails rendered vain and pointless. There was no romance in the thought of spending days passing amongst these pristine peaks. Like much of so-called adventure travel, it was simply a job that had to be done. Smiles and satisfaction would come later.
If you’re planning a ride from Alaska to Panama, or anywhere in between, you could do a lot worse than to check out John Benson’s website, johnbensontravels.com.
John has just wrapped up a ten-month odyssey from Prudhoe Bay to the Panama Canal, passing through Canada, the western States, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica on the way. I’ve just put the finishing touches to this redesign of his travel blog.
John has approached the documenting of his trip in a completely different way to how I’ve always approached it. While I was banging on endlessly about my personal experiences and thoughts, he’s created a selfless goldmine of information for anyone else planning such a trip. Terrain, costs, distances, accommodation — it’s all there, wrapped around a detailed account of the journey itself and thousands of pictures. His story has got me dreaming again…
Check the site out at johnbensontravels.com.
Hello and welcome. I’m Tom from England and this is my personal adventure blog.
As you may have guessed from the name of the site, I do quite a bit of adventure cycling. I’ve travelled by bicycle in more than 30 countries, and I usually have plans to visit more.