Shouting from my shed

Get the latest news, updates and happenings via my shed-based newsletter.

 

My Midsummer Morning

In 1935 a young Englishman named Laurie Lee arrived in Spain. He had never been overseas; had hardly even left the quiet village he grew up in. He was searching for adventure and chose Spain simply because he knew one phrase in Spanish – ¿un vaso de agua, por favor? His idea was to walk through the country, earning money for food by playing his violin in bars and plazas.

The book Laurie Lee wrote – As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning – is my favourite travel book of all time. It made me fall in love with Spain – the landscapes and the spirit – and with his style of travel. He travelled slow, lived simply, slept on hilltops, relished spontaneity, and loved conversations with the different people he met along the hot and dusty road.

But there was one massive obstacle standing in my way. I cannot play the violin, nor any other instrument. A large part of the appeal of Laurie Lee’s experience was that he was singing for his supper, living from hand to mouth, with little idea of when he would next earn some money to buy his next meal. For my own story to feel authentic, I needed that uncertainty in my walk.

And so, for many years, my fantasy about undertaking this journey lingered as nothing more than a dream.

Then I decided to do something about it.

I bought a violin and began learning to play. I had never played music in front of an audience, and that is one of my deepest fears.

I am appalling at the violin! It promised to be a hungry and embarrassing journey!

I headed to Vigo in northern Spain to begin following Laurie’s route, on foot, through Spain. I played my violin to earn the money I need for food.

I did not carry any money with me: it was the violin or bust. I found this vulnerability extremely un-nerving at first. But is the essence of adventure not to seek out that which scares you? To risk failure and uncertainty? I was more excited and more frightened about this adventure than anything I have done for many years. That is a good adventure.

For 15 years I dreamed of retracing Laurie Lee’s footsteps, following his route and seeing his Spain with my own eyes. I knew that it would be a fascinating journey.

And now, at last the book I wrote about my trip is now available!

 

Read Comments

You might also like

No image found My Motivations for Busking through Spain Google hiking the Camino de Santiago and you’ll find 2,680,000 results. Even the Wanderlust website has 13 articles about the famous trek. And with good reason: it’s a fine adventure in a beautiful part of the world. I have spent […]...
No image found A Night on a Hill with Friends Problem: Too busy working? Friends dispersed far and wide? No time to enjoy hanging out together? Solution: Meet on a Hill (For more ideas like this, and to make your own microadventures, maybe you’d like to buy the Microadventures book?)...
 

Comments

There are currently no comments. Be the first to post a comment below.


 
 

Post a Comment

HTML tags you can use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

 

Shouting from my shed

Get the latest news, updates and happenings via my shed-based newsletter.

© Copyright 2012 – 2019 Alastair Humphreys. All rights reserved.

Site design by JSummertonBuilt by Steve Perry Creative