Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Obsevations On The Subject Of Wanderlust

The weekend, apart from getting me out and about and away from the city for a few days brought me into contact with a couple of people that have given me reason to marvel at human ingenuity and bloody mindedness. Well, by 'contact', I mean I had brief encounters with them and heard their stories in something of a second hand manner. Both people spend a fair proportion of their lives on the move. I heard one of them described as a 'saddle tramp'. Maybe a little crude, but not without an element of truth. Speedy turns up at motorcycle race meetings on a sporadic basis. He volunteers to marshall, which put's him a league above the ringpieces that freeload in with rider entrants and spend the weekend doing fuck all. Cheers! Speedy's a strange sort, a quiet chap with a nervous laugh and something of an independent nature. As a result he's not really acknowledged as race marshall material but that's not what interests me about him. From what I know, he lives in Campbeltown on the Mull of Kintyre, on the west coast and the only race tracks in Scotland are situated in Fife and East Lothian, in the east. Getting to his 'local' circuit is an enormous journey undertaken via hitchhiking and public transport and he can often be seen standing at one of the rural bus stops near the circuit waiting on an early evening bus or the kindness of a passing motorist to get him part of the way home. I'd hate to think what the round journey is. I would salute his indefatigability, but he probably thinks nothing of it. The only thing that makes him strange is that he comes and goes on his own I suppose, just to stand by the track and watch motorcycles going round in circles. This of course is all put into perspective by the the French woman who turned up at the meeting this weekend. She appeared at the same weekend last year. She rides a tiny Motobecane moped that does about 30mph flat out. Maybe 40 on a downhill slope with a tailwind. It would seem that she travels Europe on it, going to bike meets and setting up camp wherever takes her fancy. Where she stores her camping gear on such a tiny machine I have no idea. The other thing that staggers me is how she makes her progress. She can't take her bike onto any motorway, so she basically has to take her fair share of back roads, though I doubt this fazes her at all. If you've resolved to see the world at thirty mph, I doubt very much if a bit of map reading and the odd scenic route is going to bother you terribly. The road miles show on her face, which is bronzed and weather beaten. Though i'm not entirely sure how old she is, she looks both child like and older than the hills. Quite disconcerting, especially when she appears next to you and starts babbling in her rather good Frenglish. So, there I am thinking i'm the bees knees because I go on the odd Gyp. Compared to these two wanderers i'm just a 'stay at home' nancy boy who wouldn't know the world at large if it bit me on the arse. Then again, you all knew that anyway. Cheers!


Rob7534 said...

I think that to compare yourself to two stark extremes is not fair.

Yes, perhaps you are not the rolling stone who gathers no moss, but at the same time you're not chained to your home and neighborhood either.

Can you imagine life on the road like that, I'd get real tired of it after a while. I need to sleep in a bed, and use a proper toilet. None of this sleeping on the ground, and using any old bush and/or hole in the ground!

il man said...

I wouldn't want their life either Rob. I do however have a degree of admiration for them. That's all I was trying to get across.

lextc said...

perhaps they view it as their purpose or maybe they feel more at home on the road; either way, to me, it seems more of a carefree way of life, and probably takes more than i realize to be able to let go of most material things in life.

ill man said...

I maybe paint 'speedy' as being more nomadic than he really is but the French lady really is a marvel.