Cycling in Sandles

The Diary of a Returned Traveler

Part 1: A Short Introduction

Hello. My name is Joseph and I am a traveler.

Most recently, what that means is that I made my way through Europe back to the place of my birth, the UK. England specifically. My return to Europe began when, after two years, I flew into Wein, the capital of Austria, which we call ‘Vienna’. (I actually think that on this occasion the Anglicised name is prettier, yet I like to employ names in the native tongue, whenever possible; seems only right). And from there I made my way westward to the German border, and crossed over on a ship sailing along the Donau (Danube). Many significant events took place in that country, where my newfound humility and tolerance were put to the test. My reward was The Netherlands, through which I made my way before boarding a ferry across the channel back to England.

Before that was Nepal, where I was made small.

And before that was Malaysia, where I reconnected with an inspirational friend.

And before that, was New Zealand, where I first learned to Live.

***

And now I am returned. I work in my local city, Sheffield, and each day I cycle into my local town, Chesterfield, to catch the train to work. It is summer now, and it has been a good, hot English summer crammed with long evenings of elderflower and honeysuckle scents. Often I cycle in sandles. Recently, looking down at my feet as I cruise along, I have realised two things:

Firstly: that I have an insatiable adoration for the sense of freedom which the bicycle grants, and

Secondly: that my battered sandles, calloused feet and ragged ankle bracelets trailing in the breeze are an embodiment of a emotional desire.

They remind me of who and what I am, for they hold stories; as if by some magical magnetism they are able to encapsulate memories. One bracelet started life as clothing, the elastic of which was stripped off by small Sri Lankan hands, given as a gift, and then again given to me to keep long hair out of eyes whilst navigating Bali on a scooter. Another is in recognition of my membership to a rather exclusive organisation known as The Barefoot Club. The third marks me as one of seven adventurous souls who together completed the Annapurna Circuit.

Sometimes we need reminding of even the most blatant of things.

***

So that is the story behind the name. And this is how we’ll begin:

Part 2: The Point of it All

“So what’s this all about then?” I presume you are asking, and quite rightly.

This will be The Diary of a Returned Traveler. It will document the most unusual of experiences for a traveler, which is: to Return. It will openly discuss my own thoughts and considerations of this experience. It will contain many anecdotes of Life’s adventures.

I hope you will all find it entertaining, though I doubt you will find it all entertaining.