A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, or so we are told. That's very neat but which step is the first? I was wondering about that today as I sat in the sunshine with a Professor of History from Ljubljana University. We were drinking beer, talking about international borders, tomatoes, research projects and washing machines. We spoke as men do, about things of global import and appliances that leak.
While he texted research students, I texted Tatiana who was, at the time, somewhere near a statue of Alexander the Great in Skopje, Macedonia.
“I've signed it!”
When I got home I phoned Marta, the lady half of my landlords Joze and Marta and she was very pleased for me. She thinks we should have a party.
Which is the first step? Today feels like it.
Apart from leaky appliances the Professor and I also spoke about writing, and how I recently turned sixty. I didn't want to be sixty but now that it's happened I feel quite invigorated. Sixty felt like the sound barrier; an impenetrable wall with nothing but an abyss on the other side, but like the sound barrier, once you've passed through it there is clean air and sunshine.
The first step on this long and exciting journey could have been taken over four years ago when I was standing in a cow shed, or three years ago when bells rang and fireworks lit up the sky. It could have been when I got back from my travels in South East Asia and found that losing something does not always mean loss. But today? Today feels like all those other things were just packing my bags and the first step just happened.
I signed my name today on a document that changes everything.
It will, according to Tatiana, Sarah in America and even the History Professor, be a year of the written word. I have decided that at least a paragraph should be devoted to this journey and you can follow along. My blog posts are always too long and too sporadic for an internet audience and daily snippets are far more suitable. So here's the first.
Tomorrow I'll begin to sketch out the past few years, the “bag-packing” years, the years that led up to today, but for now, as this snippet is becoming increasingly un-snippet-like, I'll just say this:
I signed my name today, and the journey began. I hope you'll tune in to see what happens.
Slovenia, writing, other things