Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star’d at the Pacific — and all his men
Look’d at each other with a wild surmise —
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
A while ago I was asked to give a talk about six books that meant a lot to me. I was excited to do this, but also nervous (hence this blog post).
One of my worries was that I hadn’t chosen particularly unusual books. (I’ve listed the books – but not my convoluted selection process – at the bottom of this post.) My first book was “The Worst Journey in the World” which is, of course, by Apsley Cherry Garrard and, as you’ll well know, is the story of Captain Scott’s final expedition.
As I began to talk I realised something amazing: the audience (very cool designers, artists, media types) had no idea what I was talking about. None of them had ever read the book. To my astonishment none of them had even heard about the book! I worried even about spoiling the story if I broke the bad news that Captain Scott died at the end of the book!
I love this book so much. I love the world that it represents; it’s my world of adventure and adventure books. This talk made me realise that so many people have no idea about this world. They may have no interest in it either, and that is absolutely fine. The important thing was this: it reminded me of the thrill of discovering this book. I envied these people so much the thrill of reading “The Worst Journey in the World” for the very first time. To read the magnificent final pageÂ for the first time. It stillÂ makes me well up every time I read it.
So here’s the thing. Take a fresh look at whatever it is you love. That might be your job, your family, your hobby. Look at it again with fresh eyes, as though you were seeing it for the first time and filled with awe and wonder. Remind yourself why you used to love it, why you committed to this route, and how lucky you are to be on that journey.
Incidentally, the 6 Books that I talked about were:
- The Worst Journey in the World
- Arabian Sands
- For Whom the Bell Tolls
- Feet in the Clouds
- As I Walked Out one Midsummer Morning