The Road Goes Ever On and On

In order to demonstrate my worthiness of receiving a Jeep so that I can travel the world, I will now proceed to relate what I plan to do in order to prepare for this undertaking.

  • Step 1: Learn self-defence so that the pirates in Somalia don’t get me. (Yay! Another reason to do Krav Maga!)
  • south-african-passportStep 2: Get passport up to date (Errrm, kinda let mine lapse 5 years ago – better head down to Home Affairs and get it sorted)
  • Step 3: Learn basic geography
  • Step 4: Learn a couple more languages (Swahili, French, Portuguese, Greek, Italian, German, Spanish, Mandarin. That should do!)
  • Step 5: Invest in huge canister jobbies for transporting fuel and water. Label them carefully so that I don’t confuse fuel and water.
  • Step 6: Acquire a shotgun and the skills to use it (yet another good reason to go on this trip!)
  • Step 7: Investigate Global WiFi hotspots. Or satellite uplink thingy.
  • Hypodermic-SyringeStep 8: Get my immunisations (is there one for Zombieism yet?)
  • Step 9: Invest in a proper digital camera (or get one sponsored – @Nikon: you interested?)
  • Step 10: Find that co-pilot/mechanic. Any offers yet? (Own sonic screwdriver required)

Around the World in 80 Days

I HAVE A NEW PLAN!

The shop is all very good and well and awesome, but want I want to do RIGHT NOW is get a jeep and drive around the world. Look: I even made a route map:

RoundtheWorld

(More details available here:  Route Leg 1 (Cape to Cairo); Route Leg 2 (Northern Africa)Route Leg 3 (Europe Part 1)Route Leg 4 (Europe Part 2)Route Leg 5 (Russia & Asia)Route Leg 6 (Alaska & Canada)Route Leg 7 (USA)Route Leg 8 (Central America)Route Leg 9 (South America).)

Of course, I am completely and utterly broke, so my grand scheme is to get sponsors via a social media campaign. Like Jeep, fr’instance. If they could hook me up with the vehicle and a bunch of fuel, I’ll totally rave about them on the blog of my adventures. Which everyone will read of course, because it’s so awesome. Like a unicorn. Or Pickwick the Dodo.

JeepRubiconAnd I’ll need a travel buddy who can also fix the car: applications now welcome!

So I’m going to try and get a Twitter trend going with #GirlinaJeep, and hope that the big dogs get interested.

Help a girl out, would ya? Share with your friends!

The Road Less Travelled

Forks_WA_Hoh_National_Forest_Trail

This is not in fact the road less travelled: since it’s in Forks, Washington, one can probably not move for all the vampettes and werewanters.

For too long, I have allowed myself to become enslaved to my routine. I only buy certain groceries. I only browse certain authors at the library and bookshop. Even last night, when I sat down to write this post and had that first line running through my head, I very nearly gave up simply because my laptop decided to go all Skynet on me and refused to respond to my commands. I completely forgot that I actually happen to keep pen and notebooks beside my bed at all times, and for a moment thought that I would have to wait until morning after my computer had decided to get over its snit.

This habit-formed rut is especially noticeable in my choice of reading material. As I mentioned in my previous post, I love to read; I love the tangible feel of actual books in my hands and the smell of the paper as I turn each treasure-laden page. I love the flow of the written word, and the emotions it can evoke and images it can conjure with a well-phrased metaphor. I also love the depth of choice offered by ebooks, not to mention having an entire library that can fit in my handbag. However, for the longest time I have limited this purest of joys (for me, at least) by only reading my tried and trusted favourite authors. Terry Pratchett, obviously, features largely on this rather exclusive and somewhat limited list. Also Mary Stewart, JK Rowling, Dick Francis, Lee Child, Nora Roberts and JRR Tolkien (naturally). Unfortunately, that was more or less the sum total of the authors that I would even consider. My thought processes have become stagnant; calcified in the path of least resistance.

When I was in high school, I couldn’t get home until hours after school let out, as both my parents worked and no one else in my school lived close enough to me to enable a lift club. As a result of this, my sister and I spent our afternoons, when not involved in extramurals such as drama rehearsals and fruitless music lessons, at the public library one block from the campus. Ostensibly, we used the afternoons to do our homework, although my sister was always far more conscientious in that regard; whereas I did just enough to ensure a B average, she put in hours of extra research that resulted in at least four distinctions at the end of matric. What I really did with my “free” afternoons, however, was explore the offerings of the relatively well-stocked (for the East Rand in Gauteng) English fiction section of the library. In those years I read more adventurous and advanced and just plain MORE books than I have read in all the years since. At that time I would happily take a book off the shelf at random and read it merrily. I probably read material that was way innappropriate for a fourteen or fifteen year old, but I still remember those books with clarity and pure joy. Among other titles, it was at this time that I read “Foucault’s Pendulum” by Umberto Eco, a somewhat disturbing and deeply moving book that still affects me to this day. I’ve always identified with the character of Belbo, who wanted desperately to be a writer but lacked the talent, and so ended up being an editor instead. Somehow I always pictured that to be my path.

It was also there that I was in fact introduced to Terry Pratchett, and one of my other favourite authors, David Eddings. I read Ursula le Guin, who, I must admit, I never really got into, Anne McCaffrey, and some book about a holocaust survivor’s experiences in Auschwitz. I read Athol Fugard plays and Barbara Cartland smut (ack ack, gasp, choke, spew). As much as the cliché tells us how not to judge books, I did read just about anything with an eye-catching cover.

Anyway, the point of all this is that I have slowly, as I have aged, stopped taking chances. When I was younger, in my tweens, I think  I was less afraid to take risks. Some of my experiences at that time were probably on the scary side of risky, but I was always open to something new. Now, after some personal and professional setbacks, I find myself stagnant, and my motto has become “rather safe than sorry”. I will no longer order scallops or lobster or quail at a restaurant just to see how they taste, I don’t ALWAYS take a different route when I walk somewhere, and I will no longer pick up a book at random to see if its any good. I’m not actually sure when this change, this settling, took place, but I know that it ended yesterday, when I followed a bread-crumb trail of links from my Twitter feed and ended up reading a young adult novel ebook by Sarah J. Maas entitled “Throne of Glass”. And it was GOOD, as evidenced by the fact that I started it yesterday afternoon and finished it four hours later. So now I will bravely face the pile of unknown authors and titles in my ebook collection, and give some of them a go, too. There are whole worlds that I have not seen because I allowed myself to fear new experiences. And so, like a Scalextric car bravely steering off the groove on the track, I will boldly mix metaphors no man has mixed before, and leap into the unknown. There will be gems, there will in all likelihood be quite a lot of boring dirt, but at least it will all be new. Or most of it, because let’s face it: some things you have to stick to because the classics are classics for a reason.

Lost in a Good Book

Thus far, in my grand total of 4 previous posts, I have expounded upon coffee (mostly). While I love and adore coffee (glugging back fourth cup of the day), my first love is and always will be books. However, I sometimes need to be reminded of this fact, especially after protracted series marathons (most recently “Battlestar Galactica”). Usually, all it takes is one well-written book to bring me back into the fold.

One such book was “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card. I’d heard that they were making it into a movie and decided to read the original before it was blighted by Hollywood. (Yes, I take issue with film adaptations. Yes, all of them. Yes, that includes Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. OK, How to Train Your Dragon was fantastic in film and in fact much better than the book, but that was the exception. Tangent over.) Anyway, it’s a truly fantastic book. One of those that, when you finish reading it, leaves you feeling like this:

Emotional traumaMost recently, I started reading “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak, and it’s also one of those that can just completely change your perception of life.

One of the things that defines a good book, to my mind, is good use of language and imagery. For instance, Terry Pratchett is one of my favourite  authors of all time (37 out of 40 Discworld novels line my bookshelf – go me!). His use of metaphor is unparalleled; for instance:

“Poets have tried to describe Ankh-Morpork. They have failed. Perhaps it’s the sheer zestful vitality of the place, or maybe it’s just that a city with a million inhabitants and no sewers is rather robust for poets, who prefer daffodils and no wonder. So let’s just say that Ankh-Morpork is as full of life as an old cheese on a hot day, as loud as a curse in a cathedral, as bright as an oil slick, as colourful as a bruise and as full of activity, industry, bustle and sheer exuberant busyness as a dead dog on a termite mound.”

What more can I say? Having just reread “Monstrous Regiment” and “I Shall Wear Midnight”, I am once again awed at theLongWar amazing scope of his vision and depth of his thought. And, of course, great big belly laughs are the best ab workout! I have also read “The Long Earth” and am looking forward to getting stuck into “The Long War”, too. And, as usual, the pile of interchangeable books beside my bed (and on my eBook reader) just gets higher and higher and higher.

And tempting sites like this just make my predicament worse!

Pilgrim’s Progress

As I journey towards finding out all about coffee, coffee shops, bookshops and so forth, I’m going to need inspiration and direction. One of my inspirations thus far (and yes, I am aware that it’s only been a week or two) has been the relatively new Coffee Mag. Their latest issue includes a number of interesting tidbits, including reviews of 8 cafés and an interview with doctor/comedian Riaad Moosa.

The back cover ad features a coffee app which I would LOVE to have, but unfortunately my woefully technically-challenged personal communication device doesn’t support it. iSad 😦

Anyway, with material such as this to spur me on, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to learn what I need to know to create the awesomest coffee/book venue!

CoffeeMag