Friday 11th September

Not much travelling going on. I’ve arrived early for my shift at the purveyor of planet destroying furniture, so biding my time at the purveyor of nation fattening foods and indulging in a 99p cup of McSlop. It’s actually not bad coffee, it’s the same as the pretend french cafe and patisserie, they’re under the same corporate umbrella, or part of the homogeneous erosion of individuality if you like.

As I sit and write, the window cleaner gets to work ensuring I have a clearer view of the car park and industrial estate. Thank you kind sir.

Same white room

Woke up as usual with my alarm going at 6 despite me not needing to get up and work today. Two days off from the purveyors of cheap planet killing furniture, a job I actually enjoy and a place where I’ve heard please and thankyou more times in two weeks than fifteen years of the city of London.

As usual beautiful morning light fills the empty stark room and this is how I prefer it. I’d rather live minimally than have endless clutter. My possessions are some camera equipment and some books. I’m now reading Into the wild by Jon Krakauer, an account of a young man who gave away his money and headed into the Alaskan wilds. My kind of book.

Morning music: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, and Tom Waits.

Learning how to make a travel video

One of the things I want to do more of is create video as I go. I created a little footage prior and during the camping trip..

I could do with a couple of small cameras (this was a rather large Fuji XT3such as GoPro or cheaper alternatives, so long as they can record 24fps and let me set the shutter speed to 48 for the cinematic feel I prefer. If anyone can recommend anything please do leave a comment.

Home

This morning I woke in a campervan, parked up in a field amid the east Sussex countryside not too far from the coast. It’s so good to get away from London. I don’t think I have any real attachment to home, while I can while away hours on a laptop looking at shit I don’t need, or numb my senses with a playstation or Netflix, I realise how much better use of my time I make by extracting myself from suburbia. Despite the high winds, I was content to sit and read books, and when the phone died it didn’t really matter. I think reading more gives me more inspiration to write, maybe instead of the phone I should have a lightweight stripped down laptop as I feel at home writing at a keyboard. I’m not a notebook and pen type of person.

I have another travel book lined up to read after I’ve finished the last in the Black Coffee Blues trilogy, I think I’ll stick to travel writing from now on when I seek out a new tome, unless there’s something by Ryu Murakami on the shelf, but it’s always Haruki. Aside from that I’ll no doubt collect endless photography books.

I want to travel endlessly, I need to figure how to do this without succumbing to going back to working in the city to raise funds, sitting at a depressing generic desk, listening to the kind of management and aspirant management bullshit that makes me want to reach for razorblades and run a bath. I’m currently working at a well known retailer of disposable planet destroying furniture. The money is OK, my colleagues are great and I’ve heard please and thank you more times in two weeks than 15 years of working in IT for banks in the city of London. So maybe I’ll just work as many hours as I can to create a fund ,then work out how I can sustain an income (writing?, photography and videography that I’ve recently become interested in). My planned money maker – portrait photography seems to have limited opportunity in the current climate.

Smile, you’re travelling

Woke up somewhere in the vicinity of 5am and stayed in the van for a little while before making coffee, porridge and more coffee. Took a drive of the local area and checked out the nearest town, replete with second hand “antique” stores, and the usual tourist tat.

Picked up yet another travel book, I’m in the final chapters of Henry Rollins Smile, You’re Travelling, the last in the most enjoyable Black Coffee Blues trilogy. I like his journaling, his straight talk and dry humour. I think all travellers should read these books instead of the usual dross. I think too many people travel and spend their time with their mouths perpetually spewing bollocks instead of seeing and listening.

Followed the coast round to Dungeness in the afternoon, one of my favourite desolate beach spots in the south, a handful of windsurfers and walkers and that’s about it. I guess the pebble beach isn’t comfortable for sun lounging alcoholics and doesn’t look cool on Instagram either. Great to walk along the coastline without spent booze receptacles and dog shit.

Will shortly get my lazy ass out of this camping chair, collect a fire pit from the site owners and get some meat on the grill. There’s also some Goose Midway tempting me on the table just out of reach.

First camping trip for an age

After much frustration the little Mazda Bongo is back to somewhere near reliable (no vanishing coolant) and I’m now out in the east Sussex countryside at a basic campsite. Camping with a van is a breeze, there’s no hardship and after unpacking a few bits you’re set.

The camp site here is fine, great views of some hills and the sound of birdsong. One tap with fresh water, unfortunately located a bit to near of the pissy portaloos but that’s life. It’s Van life, this ain’t Van Halen.

Still thinking about future motorcycle trips, considering how I’ll be going basic and light, without the comfort of four wheels and a roof, back to a tent, roll mat and sleeping bag. There was also a biblical rainstorm on the way here, I wonder how that will be on two wheels.

Wednesday 19th August. London.

I’m sat at the little kitchen table on the bar stool which I’ve discovered is a comfortable place to sit and write. There is finally some rain in this part of London and it’s nice to hear and long overdue. I’m still waiting on the bike to be delivered, but in the meantime I’ve found some work to top up the bank account, and I’ve been reading travelogues. I nailed Henry Rollins’ Do I Come Here Often?, the follow on to Black Coffee Blues in about a day. I’ve also started on the third book in the series – Smile, You’re Travelling. Also on the go I have the fascinating Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell which is also nearly done. These books are superb and not helping my itchy feet. It will probably need to wait now until next year, but I would like to cross the chanel and ride through Holland and in to Scandinavia. Also I will need to get my full license to ride a bike in Europe. I need to make proper plans, but as you may guess from the title of this blog, I’m not exactly a planner, more of an impulsive and spontaneous traveller.

There’s also the matter of the flat to finish. There are freshly plastered ceilings that need painting, repaired walls that need sanding (and then painting) and probably lots more crap to dispose of to reach minimalist utopia.

The photo I’ve used is a typical street scene from Vietnam, taken in Hanoi.

Thirst never quenched

During this lockdown period there’s not been much I can do except hope things return to normal, and people book me for photography gigs (I shoot portraits and headshots). I’ve done far too much playstation and recently picked up a couple of books. The first being the autobiography of Sonny Barger, the hells angels member who talks frankly about life in the club, how it’s represented by the media and where the truth really lies. I can understand the idea of freedom, not so much the acts of violence that impede on other people’s freedom.

The second book I picked up in the local charity bookstore is The Year of Living Danishly. I’m only part way through, but having visited Copenhagen and loved every minute of it, my head is spinning away formulating a trip on two wheels to explore more of this country. A country where people pay their fair share of tax, and don’t have sneering looking down culture which distracts from the parasites at the top taking all for themselves. Just look at the Liz Truss PPE scandal, and notice that while it’s in the news, a lot of people just accept this as normal politics, an their tax pots will be raided to fund companies registered offshore over and over.

Yesterday was the anniversary of the Hiroshima bomb. In my opinion one of the most disgusting, cowardly acts ever committed. The photo was taken in November 2017 with my little phone and Hypocam black and white app.

I couldn’t stop myself

Having ridden dirt bikes as a teenager, then scooters and semi-automatics across Indonesia and Myanmar last year, the fire of desire was lit. I was kicking myself for a while for not doing my CBT previously, but got it done finally with the excellent Mungo’s of Dulwich.

Yesterday I walked into a motorcycle dealer to take a look at a Keeway K-Light 125, which is a kind of lightweight modern cruiser. I wanted something to build up some experience and miles, and I didn’t like the look of the superlight. After sitting on it, I just thought yes, I want it. Deposit put down, just waiting for the delivery to the store. There seems to be a lot written on motorcycle forums about Chinese bikes – they’re made of cheese, they rust to bits in no time (despite being made of cheese), but I could not find anyone who’d actually said they’d bought a chinese bike and any of this was true. What I could find was plenty stating they’re great value, good quality and just need the same care as any other motorcycle. Also, guess which factories a lot of Japanese brands are made in… Yes the same ones.

The reason for getting a new bike – I wanted a warranty. I could go get a cheaper high mile bike, do the full license and sell it on, but I think a 125 is ideal for the city and a bike I intend to maintain and keep. A 10 year old Suzuki Marauder or Van Van with low milage still would have cost me more and come with no warranty.

Slowly, slowly catchy monkey

Not written for a while, so much for making this a habit!! Anyway I have taken my next step in the direction of where I want to be – travelling on two wheels. Yesterday I got my CBT certificate so I can now ride a 125cc bike and have two years in which I need to take the full test. I have my eyes on something cheap and cheerful like the ridiculously named Lexmoto Assault, or maybe an old Honda/Suzuki. I don’t really like the look of street bikes, having grown up on scramblers, I prefer the off road / adventure styling.

The photo on this post really has nothing to do with motorcycle adventures, but is from my beloved Korea, a place I really want to ride around! You can’t ride on the motorways in Korea, which isn’t really a problem, small roads always offer the best insights into a country or region, why bypass everything good and only see concrete?