On the run ... barely a digital nomad
It's all glamour this travel writing malarkey. I'm frittering away time at Cairns domestic airport en route to frittering away even more time at Melbourne Airport before a 23 hour flight back to London via the shiny malls of Dubai Airport reassured in the knowledge I can purchase a Louis Vuitton manbag at any hour of the night.
I left England in late January for a long 5-week trip that involved flying out to the Cook Islands for a feature for the Daily Telegraph and then travelling to Cairns to join with a cruise with Discover the World up the remote Sepik River in Papua New Guinea. As I boarded my plane from London I got a call to from The Indy to write up a feature about Liberia - it helped pass a long flight out and the story was published the day after I arrived on Rarotonga.
Cyclonic weather has been with me for the entire period - so many electrifying storms and cascading rainfalls. Also PNG has been wracked by earthquakes although I felt no tremor in the remote Sepik River region.
I experienced so many wonderful highlights from witnessing the crocodile skin tattooing of the Sepik River men and sitting on the back deck of our catamaran in the Bismarck Sea sipping mint tea during a tremendously energising electrical storm. It reaffirms a lifetime spent on the road.
Both those trips were hosted as were my flights but in between I spent eight days at my own expense in between Rarotonga and Cairns writing up and attempting to keep my travel writing show on the road. The term digital nomad is very in-vogue among writers as is the overly pretentious moniker of 'travel influencer'. But I am neither of these. My dinosaurian instincts ensure I grumble about posting an Instagram or tweet each day - heavens above, not least one featuring my own rather jet lagged physog. I still share a personal passion for long trips based around seeing the world through my own eyes and relating it through my writing and photography. I don't want people to know what I am doing every second of my journey nor do I want to shamelessly plug products.
Because actually life can be rather prosaic on the road and not at all worth documenting. I wash clothes in my hand basin to save on laundry bills to perfect a perpetually crumpled look, which is my stock in trade. I often have mosquito bitten legs, not pretty, nor something I want to show, and I fret whenever I trash my equipment, which is frequent and costly. In fact my Nikon D800 is held together by electrical tape (not a shameless plug to Nikon ... but if there are any executives out there reading this?). Meanwhile my smartphone took a swim in the Pacific Ocean on this trip. It fizzled and died cradled in my palms.
Even though many of my trips are hosted by tourist boards and tour-operators, for whom I am profoundly grateful, I still travel and work things out for myself within the framework of my trips and pay for many things myself. That is why most of my trips function as a loss financially or I break even. Pensioner poverty is career choice entirely of my own making and I wouldn't' have it any other way! Carpe diem is rather overused but as it's one of the few latin phrases I know I shall settle for that.