Life at the moment is so weird. In some ways it feels like I’m watching life through a lens, like we’re all in some kind of dystopian movie, one that gets more ridiculous day by day. Everything and everyone feels so distant, I’m struggling to sleep properly, wake up with no idea what day it is, and have lost all sense of normality and routine. I know this isn’t unusual, but as this weekly blog is meant to be a diary of everyday life, it shouldn’t go unsaid.
I am enjoying my daily government-approved walks exploring my local area, I don’t mind working from home each day, and I’m fortunate that I have a garden to tend to for my nature fix. But change, especially the significant change we’re all facing at the moment, is hard to deal with. I guess brain and body are not dealing particularly well with the enforced stopping, and I’m worried about what the next few weeks might be like. I’m sure we’ll all get the hang of this extreme social distancing thing soon (did you read my post about One Hour Outdoors during lock down?), but in the meantime, I’ll continue to muddle through.
In episode ten of my weekly blog I handed over episode 11 to you, by asking for your questions for a Q&A. I’ll be honest, the reason I did that was was because I was due to be away for three weekends in a row, enjoying various outdoor adventures. As with everyone else’s plans for the rest of March and April, that all had to be cancelled, and so I could have written a normal weekly blog after all. But in the spirit of doing what I said I would do (even if it is a week late), I’ve picked out a few of the questions you asked me. And some of them are a little odd…
What’s the hardest part about growing up?
Question from @sunroad.my via Instagram
Thought I might as well start with a deep one… and I have to say, the hardest part about growing up for me is the physical side of aging. I hate the numbers going up each year, I hate that the aches have started, I hate that it’s harder to keep fit and healthy, and I especially hate that I don’t bounce when I trip over any more. I mean, someone as clumsy as me could do with that young-person’s bouncing ability back! It’s okay though, as the things I love about growing up are way better than any of those negatives, so I’m good!
What’s the worst movie you have seen recently?
Question from @travels_and_wandering via Instagram
Okay, first up, one person’s great movie is another person’s bad movie, so this one will be very subjective. Also, I like to avoid “bad” movies if at all possible, and I am not worried about turning one off or leaving the room if something I’m watching is boring me. It’s one of life’s important lessons, I feel – learning that it’s okay not to finish something like a film or a book if you’re not enjoying it. I have very much been enjoying Disney+ since it launched this week, and don’t mind admitting that I’ve been catching up on a few Disney movies I missed at the cinema including Dumbo, Mary Poppins Returns and Ralf Breaks the Internet. Having said that, I did do a quick Google to see what other people say the worst films of the last couple of years have been, and I remembered one that we did see at the cinema… Men in Black International was a pretty pointless watch. It wasn’t completely terrible, I didn’t feel I’d wasted my evening, but it was rather lacklustre to say the least and I certainly won’t bother buying the DVD.
How do you go about planning expeditions?
Question from Roddie on weekly blog episode 10
A big question Roddie! But an excellent one. In your comment you were asking about the medium sized adventures like my two day walk around Cheltenham (which you can read about over on Thryve) or some of my motorcycle road trips. For me, these trips (which are adventures to me) always start with a desire to simply go somewhere, whether that be a specific point on a map that I want to see with my own eyes, or purely the yearning to travel. Those two things – the destination and the mode of transport – are what get me started. And then it’s a case of working out how, which involves answering questions such as when is best to go, how long I’ve got, what the exact destination or route should be, how to get there and back, and what gear I need. I don’t have lots of time and money to spare, and so planning adventures will always involve careful consideration and compromise, which is probably the bit that takes the most time (and means my list of future trips is very long indeed!). I think this topic deserves more words and I’ve added it to my list of blog posts to write (which you would think I could catch up a little on given the current situation) – so consider this the short answer and I’ll come back to you with more detail another time.
What’s your favourite travel destination?
Question from @novatravels_ via Instagram
Not counting Great Britain, because I think we’ve got a lot going for us here (read my 50 favourite places post for some suggestions), my favourite place I have travelled so far is Canada, closely followed by the USA. I think the fact that North America is so vast, it’s easy to find empty places to visit and beautiful scenery to enjoy all to yourself. I would dearly love to go back for more motorcycle adventures over there, there is so much more for us to see and do. I also fancy some camper van adventures over there, too, especially in some of the back country areas of Canyonlands and Arches National Parks which we couldn’t explore properly by bike because it was just too hot to do anything in bike gear. One day I hope to get right to the tippy top of Alaska, but that might have to wait a little while… As for very specific travel destinations, I’m going to say Whistler and the surrounding area, Jasper and Banff (and specifically the Icefields Parkway that joins the two together), Yosemite National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Oh, and the Petrified Forest in north east Arizona, because it’s such a weird landscape – I’ve used one of my images as the weekly blog photo for this episode.
Why is abbreviated such a long word, and why does monosyllabic have five syllables?
Question via @bpackingbongos on Twitter
Okay James, I think you’re playing silly games… no? I remember a work live chat once where one of the questions we were asked was “What is the terminal velocity of a swan?”. At least I could Google that answer and get something sharable. Alas, the English language is universally unfathomable, and some questions are best answered with a shrug of the shoulders and by moving onto something else. I’m sorry James, I genuinely thought the internet would provide me with a suitably witty answer (seeing as I am decidedly un-witty on my own). I’ll do better next time.
A Question for You!
I quite liked my little Q&A post so maybe I’ll do another one sometime. Don’t think you’re getting away with it this week, though – I still want to set you a question for you to answer… and in the interests of finding positive things about our current period of extreme social distancing, I want to know:
What has been your favourite thing about staying at home this week?
The fact that I have a nice comfortable home to be in at a time like this means I am very fortunate and I’m very grateful for that. But to be more specific, I’ve really enjoyed having my teapot close to hand at all times and being able to wear my comfy clothes to work in. Yes, there are negatives, but I’m very much up for finding good and happy things in every situation. How about you?
If you enjoyed reading this blog, if you think my weekly blog series is a good idea, and especially if you got to the end of this episode, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. And I mustn’t forget the vloggers’ catchphrase – please like and subscribe for more posts like this in the future! Come on by next Sunday at 6pm (ish!!!) for the next in the series.