This roadtrip was nearly four years ago now. We were all in our early twenties and it shows, in the style of writing and the style of travel. When I go through photographs of all these journeys, this is the last one when the three of us still look like boys. We think of ageing as a gradual thing but sometimes it’s sudden. One year can mark a huge difference.
It was the first time I created a travel log that I actively wanted to mythologise. The question comes up from time to time, what exactly do I mean by that? There is no exact answer. I’m trying to draw out the significance of events or find the narrative links in the things that happened to us. We can view the world through a fairly dull and sterile lens, where we are smart apes alone in a universe with no care for us whatsoever or we can create for ourselves a world of character. The ancients did this. I reckon it’s a good way to go, so long as you keep it personal and don’t end up founding a bizarre hitchhiking cult.
I developed a lot of the concepts that I would end up using to colour the world on this trip. They grew naturally from our experiences and were attempts to make sense of and frame events; probably the same purpose as all mythologies. All those things decided by chance or circumstance can be attributed to the materialistic and mechanistic or they can be attributed to your own pantheon, to meddling trickster forces that reward perseverance, and it’s clear to me which one provides the most fun, if nothing else. This was the journey where we became properly acquainted with the Gods of the Highlands.
You’re more likely to finish those mountain hikes if you think the Gods reward those who seek and dare than if you think the only thing out there is the mathematical realm. You take the lows better too.
On this journey we made it all the way from London to the north western tip of the country, exploring soon-to-collapse derelict hospitals, abandoned theme parks, ghetto art galleries, caves, mountains, lighthouses and the valleys and beaches of Wester Ross and Sutherland on the way.
London to Cape Wrath.
We swing by Ben’s and he loads his stuff into the car. I ask him when he’s at job centre next. He shrugs.
‘You know how long we’re going for. You might miss your sign on,’ I tell him.
‘Fuck job centre,’ Ben replies. ‘They been fucking me off anyway.’
Me and Yuri laugh.
‘I’ve fucked off job centre as well,’ I say. ‘Fuck their shit.’
The atmosphere in the car changes. We sit in excited anticipation. We can taste freedom. We’re going into the wild.
‘Ready?’ asks Yuri.
‘Good to go,’ I tell him.
Later, on the motorway, our journey begun, we smoke some joints with Radiohead for a soundtrack. From the moment that the car starts rolling, if only for a while, the world is ours. What we choose, where we end up, how we get there. That’s all up to us for as long as our money lasts. And all this money, it’s government funded. This is a state sponsored roadtrip. I feel no shame. The government is run for the same corporations that exploit us, deceive us and kill our planet. We’re stealing back a little liberty.