Monday, October 10, 2011

How I Travel (Not Well)

I'm heading down to Plymouth this afternoon to visit a school. It's roughly a 3 hour train journey, overnight stay in a nice hotel and 3 hours back.
It's not a big journey. Many have managed it before me.
Meanwhile, my ladywife is about to go to Uganda for 2 weeks to film a documentary. Her trip will involve treks through rainforest, tracking down locals who don't want to be found, conspiracy, danger and wild animals.
And how do we prepare for our respective journeys?
I started packing 3 days ago, panicking about my itinerary and assembling my essential travel kit. My essential travel kit includes:
4 "luxury spiced" hot cross buns from M&S
A packet of biltong
An innocent fruit smoothie
2 notebooks
2 pens (2 particular pens)
3 different bars of dark chocolate
3 packets of tictacs (various flavours)
Sanitising hand-gel
The novel I'm reading, plus a back-up novel and a back-up-back-up book in case I need some non-fiction.
Elastic bands. I don't know why.
A typed itinerary. It's quite detailed & includes the word 'Plymouth' 6 times.
That's just the start of it. There's plenty more, but you get the gist.
I researched my destination (Plymouth. This is a trip to Plymouth, remember. A 24 hour trip to Plymouth) even though I've been there twice before.
I studied a map of the town so I could identify the snooker club and the sushi restaurant. I visualised all the possible journeys between those destinations and my hotel.
I visualised them again, this time pretending it was dark.
I practised, aloud, asking a cab driver to take me from Plymouth station to my hotel. I'm not exaggerating here - I practised it aloud, while being well aware of how ridiculous this was.
Meanwhile, the ladywife has a shower, throws some clothes in a bag, grabs her passport... and she's off.
I don't even know whether she's planning on getting currant buns at the airport or at the station. Or whether he has any elastic bands.


Arianne said...

Oh, Joe. Only three books?! Are you fasting?!
It's customary for me to bring at least five EVERYWHERE. The one I've just finished reading and may want to skim through again; the one I've just started but am not quite and into yet - which obviously means I have to bring a third one, in case I don't like the second one and need to go onto something else. Then there's the fourth one, which is the one that's there in case I finish the others, and finally the fifth, which is the humble back-up.
And let's not forget I'm also bringing one or more of my notebooks, a steady supply of some kind of junk food, and quite possibly, a cat or two. Those are optional though. And I never seem to bring enough pens...

Robin said...

Could you imagine the chaos if you both fastidiously spent 3 days getting ready. Tripping over each other and looking for the same things?

Life would be no fun if you were both the same, although, I suspect the debates would be interesting, if not bloody.

Anonymous said...

hi joe, you have just visited my school and i thought your talk was great! i am now determined to read your books and to continue to read your blog.

Kat and Ferrett said...

hi joe, i am from the school in plymouth that you have just been to, we were in the first talk and i thought you were amazing. my friend was the one who,when you were doing your diaster story, suggested that he finds out his uncle is hitler.(she is obsessed with hitler? LOL!)Hope you come to our school again sometime!!!

Ferrett said...

hi joe i was at your school in plymouth i was sat in the row next to the guy who said narnia in the first talk !!!!!! You are very funny !!!lol!!!!I cant wait to read 'lifters'Hav you met any other authors bofore?Do you know Chris Higgins?I am writing a book at home and I always loose my pens!!!!!!

Ferrett said...

hi kat

Joe said...

Thanks for the great comments everyone! It was fun meeting everyone in Plymouth and well worth all the stress of travelling. I really need to learn to get out of London more and not be such a wuss about it.

ferrett said...

hi joe hope you are the lifters book the start of a new story ?

Liou said...


Anonymous said...

Hi joe I am offically in love with your books and am
Determind to read your blog every day as well as reading all of your books