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Home & The Long Way Round

Today was my first full day back in the states. Incredibly tired. I guess a combination of being on the go every day for a week and jet lag. Going the other way was not nearly so tiring, I know.

As I said in an e-mail I sent out to an assortment of people from the airport, leaving was bittersweet. I was tired. I was ready to get home and relax, but every trip to London uncovers more things that I would like to do when I’m there. And each time the desire to travel more returns stronger. One day I’ll figure out how to make desire and life converge.

Yesterday, I got to the airport with plenty of time to spare, which may be why I got frisked by security not once, but twice. I got a longer than normal drill at the ticket counter about the contents of my bags. Could have something to do with the 60 pounds I had on my back maybe? I was amused that I was carting this all over my back across London with relatively little trouble (last time it was more of a hassle). Yet, when I got to Atlanta, they had put a big orange label on my checked backpack that read heavy. So, I check the big bag and zip off the daypack to take on the plane with me. I get frisked on the way through security. No one in front of me frisked, but this is beginning to become the norm for me. Okay, sure, go ahead. Usually ends there. However, when I get to my gate, you have to go through a second ring of security for international flights – same as before. But this time, they searched my bag and frisked me – AGAIN. So yes, I must look like an international terrorist. Who knew!

While in the airport, I checked e-mail and had sort of a brunch. I had not eaten much in the hostel for breakfast and what lunch would be like on the plane was questionable. So, I grabbed a sandwich, crisps, and a coke at Boots. After eating, I wandered into the duty-free bookstore and got a copy of Long Way Round: Chasing Shadows Across The World. Now, I not only had reading material, I probably would have eventually been able to get this at home, but in the spirit of returning from a trip, it seemed right to read about someone else’s travels.

As little TV as I watch these days, Long Way Round was a show I watched last year on Bravo. It features friends and fellow actors, Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. Ewan came up with the unconventional idea of riding motorcycles from London to New York, almost entirelyl on land. There are a couple of points, obviously, that no land crossing exists. It was a six part series that I tuned in for each week. And I will probably get the DVD whenever it’s available.

As good as the show was, I could not put this book down. Even though I napped for a bit to try to help adjust to the time change, I completed the book before landing in Atlanta. While the idea of crossing the world on the back of a motorcycle itself doesn’t interest me as much, the journey itself was the important part. The show was their method of financing the dream, and the process of getting that to come together is covered in the book. I’m not sure how many of us comparative nobodys could hope to accomplish the same thing in the same way, but I guess it goes to show that if you want it bad enough, you can make it happen.

I especially empathized with Ewan’s initial mistrust of the motives of strangers. He blamed it on life in London, but I would go so far as to say that in most first world countries, we learn to question the motives of kindness. We always think that some sort of string, if not worse, is attached.

At any rate, I’m too tired for a full-fledged review of the book. It’s great – I totally recommend picking it up and being prepared to read it all in one or two sittings. If you have the vaguest sense of wanderlust you’ll enjoy it. If you like bikes, you’ll enjoy it. If you enjoy reading about other people and places, you’ll enjoy it. If you like all of the above, then you’ll completely adore it.

The flight was long, and it had the obligatory young and obnoxiously noisy children, seated stratetically close to me. I was glad I had something to read, but sorry that I had packed my ear plugs in the checked bag. When we landed, it still took another hour and a half to get through customs and get out of the airport. I picked up my car and headed south. I got home a little after 9pm last night. Very little of the drive was in the dark. I love Daylight savings time in the summer!

I intended to get some stuff done today, oil change for one, but the flesh is not willing. I’m using today to decompress. My eyes are heavy. More sleep is necessary, but it’s a delicate balancing act trying to also work my way back to eastern time!

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