That's only one, of many many reasons that we might cite, for wandering off to the hills for a stomp about.
Being made to feel very small, and insignificant, being shown just how truly tiny we totally are..
Whilst, sharpening our awareness of how very dependent we are on the essentials of food, water, shelter, half decent clothing, and an ability to find the way.
Of course, its a holiday for us pampered westerners, choosing the luxury of privation maybe?
Fully knowing, that given a day or so, we can bail out, and make use of a handy piece of plastic to have most of our whims met, if present conditions don't suit ...
And then, there's the fabulous views, astonishing near natural landscapes, different places and cultures, food and all the rest...
But before you go, you must provision thoughly, and within reason the lighter the better.
|Essential 'things and stuff'|
So before we head off , equipment must be found and fettled. Appropriate for summer mountains clothing selected, then deselected again by at least half.
Good enough food stores laid in. Because bodies which are used to having what might be considered optimum nutrition - i.e. grown right there, outside the door, fresh picked and consumed within hours, or even minutes sometimes ; those same bodies get a trifle narked when offered too much, in the way of substandard fare.
Anyhow, perhaps more of the bits and pieces later, that's not what this prologue is about - already we're getting bogged down in the details.
This is about something more basic than finding food, clothes, suitable shelter, adequate mapping, finding passports, printing train tickets
Something that trumps all of those ...?
And a salutory warning - if you'd like to sashay off, on holiday, in a relaxed style.
Don't have kids, who are off a wandering at the same time!
Earlier in the spring; second born son had taken it upon himself to go excurse about in the Scandilands...
Train, ferry, train, bus, then stay at a few places rural and rustique to work his passage as a farm and building site hand, for some weeks.
And then what?
Well seeing as its there, why not spend a few weeks hitch-hiking, with his tentlet to the most northerly part of Europe for the album cover photo shoot of the band that, who knows?
Might even exist one day.
Musical talent notwithstanding ..
Brilliant - all very much 'Approved of by basecamp' activities... Get out, and do things, see places, meet people .
Before he left, we had a good few discussions, around how there would, very likely be hours, or even days at a time, when he would get bored, tired, stuck somewhere unappealing, and wonder why on earth he was even undertaking this enterprise at all.
It's the nature of unscheduled travelling, or maybe all sorts of travelling?
I even suggested that there was a small statistical risk that he might not make it back at all.
That had to be countenanced, as a tiny possibility, but not be used as a reason not to go ..
X number of youngsters, sally forth a-journeying every year from their safe little homes. And inevitably not all of them make it back in one piece.
It was hardly that he was going anywhere dangerous really, but stuff can happen anywhere.
The suggestion that you could get run over by a bus, on the road outside your house, doesn't really hold much water in our locale.
You'd more likely die from hypothermia, or starvation, lying in wait for an omnibus to do the dirty on you round these parts...
|More reliable for getting about, than public transport ..|
So there we were five days before our own off.
Quarter Master Designate had, as per, been doing most of the proposed trip kit riffling.
Yours truly had been generally scudding round the farm, last minute seed sowing, tractorising, planting, hoeing, making lists of lists.
In order to leave everything in the extraordinarily competent care of three fabulous femme farmsitters
for eighteen or so days... Oh what joy, luck, and relief to have such help on hand.
If I felt anymore grateful of it, I would probably burst, into little bits of thankfulness.
Never any shortage of jobs - to add to the to do list ... Here picking sugar snap peas.
So, all things going along just fine.
Then ; a terse ; and not very expansive message on one platform or another from second born; which was fine; many days, could go by quite merrily without any signs of life.
And this, is the point at which us tedious oldsters will kick in with " Of course when we went off travelling as youngsters, we might not contact the homestead for weeks, on end...Our parents would have no clue as to where we were, or what we were up to (thankfully?)"
But they also knew that a call home, from a far flung pay phone might cost the equivalent of a weeks food on the road, so it wasn't going to happen very often, if at all, perhaps they'd appreciate an occasional postcard?
And of course, previous to that?
Folks might go abroad by boat, or mule, or on foot, and a letter home might take months, or even years to arrive, if at all...
Its all about our parameters of what is currently normal.}
So back to this little electronic missive.
Which constituted something along the lines of-
" Hi i'm alright really, I'm just a bit cold, and hungry, and slightly lost - I'm near a fjord somewhere, my phones nearly dead, but don't worry I'll find a library tomorrow and charge it up, and get back to you in a day or so "
By this time he'd visited the Lofoten Islands on the trip back down the west coast, but had, with that lofty air of the newly well traveled, declared them a bit too touristy and swiftly moved on.
But he could have been anywhere South of there, North of Oslo.
OK fine , not normally a panicky parent, he'll be fine.
Give it a couple of days ..
A sleepless night, the day before we're supposed to leave - Oh great..
4am worst case scenarios, really are the worst
The morning of our proposed departure brings...?
No - nada.
Still; there's seventy or so, veg boxes to be packed on that day.
To be done before catching an early evening train to London, in order that the Friday morn would see us at St Pancras international to get southbound to the mountains.
Midday passes, still nothing.
He's the one on the left - curiously neither of them seem to have inherited their mothers inclination for colourful clothes..
It happened that this particular packing day, all other assistants (Excepting QMD) were of the sensibly child-free persuasion.
Offering very many, totally well meant assurances along the lines of " I'm sure he will be fine, he's probably lost his phone, forgotten what he said" etc etc.
Excepting K' who was very quiet , unusually quiet. Knowingly being supportive in her own way, keeping counsel. Doing the silent magic, imagining her own 'trading with The Universe' as many of us tend to do in these situations.
" If everything is OK I promise I never / always will ..."
She knew that once the primeaval stomach dragging dread, surrounding the welfare of ones offspring has kicked in, there is nothing - absolutely nothing will lift that ... Well only one thing..
Of course, I affected bright and breezy, lets get this job done... In fact its most likely, that never in the history of salad grading, have mixed leaves been stared at with such intensity - you know what they say about focussing on the moment and all that other self help stuff...
It kinda helps a bit..
Anyhoos, we're bored of this now, and its abundantly clear that I wouldn't be writing this if disaster really had struck..
I could have got on the train going east, because that would have been the 'correct' direction.
To do what ? Exactly?
I don't know... Make an utter blethering fool of myself explaining to some efficiently and kindly, yet nonplussed member of the Norwegian search and rescue services, that the youngster in question had last been heard of near a fjord. - brilliant!! - Only within a mere several hundred km stretch of coastline, wearing all black, whilst habiting a tiny green tent?
Hmmn, that narrows it down a bit ...
Doesn't this horribly expose also ? How still ; it's the fear of my embarrassment, at my lack of useful information that has sprung to mind..
I am soo, hopelessly British.
But it would take a wayyy cooler Momma than I, to hop on a southbound train, not knowing the fate of the little fekker..
I can't recall now, what eventually constituted the 'signs of life' at just after One (!) in the afternoon, (hmm - train leaving at four).
Did he 'like' an instagram post? Or even, send a message?
Its bizarre, how once you know that they're not dead, just about all you want to do is strangle the little darlings for putting you through it.
" Oh sorry, yeah i got a bit distracted, i forgot, I'm fine, sorreee ...."
Of course they know they're OK, so what's the problem?
This is how shamefully behind i have got with writing up trips, one from the year before, but time, is eventually being carved out from the schedule ... Turns out doing things I enjoy, just because, is a valuable , even necessary activity - who knew?
However, the upside to all this preparatory angst, is that no matter how well, or how badly ones own trip turns out, its done in the immediate light of 'Child is OK' - That, it turns out, is the baseline comfort requirement.
Not having precisely the right socks, shelter, gloves, food, mapping, and so on, become somewhat laughable concerns, in comparison ..
After all this isn't a polar expedition, or a machete wielding excursion into previously uncharted tracts of rainforest.
It's a walking holibob ...
Lovely, lovely loveley.
Child is alive - Honestly don't have kids, if you don't want to go through this...
They're great, wouldn't be without them, love em to bits etc etc.
But, let's face it, the world really doesn't need any more human beans in it.
Probably the most planet friendly thing you can do by a very long shot, is not to get into the 'breeding more first world people' game.
Trouble is, once you've got em, there is very little you wouldn't do to keep em safe.
But at the same time, they are not your possessions to direct and control.
They are themselves, doing their thing, choosing and taking their own risks, as we must take ours.
If we are to grow, thrive, and learn ..
All we can hope is that we've instilled into them some modicum of common sense, and the knowledge that they are valued, their lives, like everyone elses' are inordinately precious.
But at the same time, cannot be spent, by not being lived, cannot be preserved by staying always in the comfortable places.
Because the truly astonishing places, the most lived experiences are often to be found just beyond that fearful place, that sometimes we'd rather not visit.
Yup, just there...