Here’s what I was thinking at the beginning of 2008, at the earliest stages of planning:
This blog is about a journey I hope to make. It’s to be a walking journey. The twin destinations are
– my 50th birthday, in 2011
– my home(birth)town, Brighton.
I currently live in Ormskirk, Lancashire, which would make the journey 280 miles if driven. The plan is to walk in sections over the years, in sequence – ie if I’ve reached, say, Crewe the next leg of the walk will resume from Crewe. I won’t fast forward and do a section from further on.
I’ll revisit other places I’ve lived (Wolverhampton! Stourbridge!) and make whatever detours seem fruitful.
I want to have made all the steps to get from where I’ve ended up to where I’ve come from, a journey done many times by car and train. Reflect and record, have a nose around.
Some of it will be on waymarked trails, other parts will be routes I’ll plan myself. The intention is not to seek tourist beauty all the time – hello, suburban sewage farms! Nor is it a physical endurance challenge or any kind of sponsored thing (but if you like the idea feel free to celebrate by being kind to something.)
Words and images will be captured and created along the way in whatever media seem most entertaining at the time (so look forward to telegrams and Victrola recordings being loaded here in due course.)
Writing this with 1434 days to go, it seems like I have plenty of time, but mostly it will be done at weekends and as I proceed the starts will be further and further from home. And if we move I’ll have an interesting time…
Later, having done a few legs, I’m considering how it is a bit like psychogeography: “Psychogeography encourages us to buck the rut, to follow some new logic that lets us experience our landscape anew, that forces us to truly see what we’d otherwise ignore. “Chance and randomness…are what’s exciting.” Obviously it isn’t a purely chance-driven journey, but I’m trying to allow for periods of drifting within the route, to encounter less predictable territories.
Much as I like the cluster of theory, practice and writing around ‘psychogeography‘, I don’t want to treat it as a kind of guidebook for what I’m doing, a sort of artistic/intellectual/occult/spiritual equivalent to ‘The Observer’s Book of Wildflowers’. ‘Psychogeography’ is a contested term and it would be tedious to map out my ‘version’; and I feel I’m not politically-motivated, London-centric, or connected enough (with its practitioners and groups) to want to claim it as a badge for what I’m doing.
My unremarkable journey is its own thing.
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