A Wild Anniversary

Five years ago today I left behind the life I had fashioned for myself, left behind England and the city I had lived in for nine years, left behind friends and lovers, and all the streets, buildings, parks and ginnels I had adopted as my home.

I caught an early train and headed north, with only a vague idea where I was going. I did not know at which stop I would clamber off the train; I made that decision on the last train of the day, somewhere near Hogwarts.

I walked out into the wilderness and stayed there, alone, until December.

I have already shared this adventure, detailing some of what filled my days, showcasing photographs and blog pieces and answering questions where I can. Yet I have not truly shared the deeper whole — what it meant to me, why I thought I did it at the time, why I really did it. I have spent a lot of time since trying to work out what made me leave behind one life in search of another, pages of journal entries are dedicated to this decision, and the subsequent years of mostly hiding away from the world that followed.

The wilderness home I built, using only local natural materials.

It is tempting to blog about this, at length. This is certainly what I have done in the past, sharing thoughts and adventures for free. However, I think it is time to turn this into book form and craft a manuscript to sell. A book does things a blog cannot; it is a different experience entirely and, as conceited as it may sound, I think a book of this adventure may even help people — as the experience helped me.

As I write this I will leave the tumblr of this adventure open to all. It is primarily a visual record, photos speaking to the viewer with the accompanying snippets of text merely complimentary, a bonus. There may well be photos in this book — but it is the prose that matters most. In my world, the act of writing about an experience is almost as important as the experience itself. It condenses and distils, it boils away extraneous detail and reveals the core truth — sometimes a truth very different to that initially imagined.

The Author and Campfire

But… I want to share this anniversary with you. Hence this brief piece. I also want to share the process of writing this book too, but I am, at present, unsure as to how to do so. I cannot syphon off too much of my writing time (thinly spread as it already is — blogs, novel, novellas, short stories, articles, and more, all jostling in the queue), but I think that by talking about this project publicly I am more likely to complete it (I talk a little more about public sharing of goals in my blog piece on the 15th of September — tomorrow, as I write this).

For today, I think this will do. I have other words to write, but I wanted to post this before I could talk myself out of the idea. If you want to read more about my wilderness adventure, just follow the link.

Originally posted on Medium.

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