Europe Is Calling
“Next bay! Head to the next bay!”
There’s a clamour and a clatter. Doors slam. The raggedy engine turns over and a cloud of dust fills the air.
We’ve sliced off another tasty morsel of freedom. Me and my partner in crime. Last night we parked up in darkness, shared a bottle of red and drifted off to sleep to the rhythm of nearby waves.
This morning we’re seeing our surroundings for the first time. Bright light filters through the campervan windows, a dazzling sunrise against the sea. Orange-red cliffs hurtle down to the water’s edge. Massive, untouched bays yawn for countless miles in either direction.
The surf is pumping.
We rattle along the cliff edge on the advice of a passing stranger. Nothing worries us but the unwashed pots and pans clanking in the tiny sink. Where are we? Who cares?
This day could be better or worse than any other day of the year, but that’s the best part of it. We’ve got no idea what comes next.
Nothing beats travel. In whatever form it comes, new dawns and new experiences fill me up with wonder.
My ultimate dream is to adventure. To lose track of the days. To struggle through conversations where English won’t cut it.
Sometimes I dream of crystal waters and that type of sun-drenched afternoon that goes on and on, music and BBQ sizzle drifting on the air. Other times I can’t hold back a toothy grin for the simple things. Bathing in streams, cooking in forests, wandering in cities, draining a beer to sun and surf.
Every morning, in my flat in the South West, I’m greeted by a surf map of the world. I sleep at eye level with Europe. It taunts me. Thurso East, Hossegor, Stavanger, Bunkers, Saltburn Pier. Waves upon waves. Some famous, some infamous, some unknown.
So right now my itch is to trace a line along the West facing coasts of Europe, from Norway to Portugal, waking up as often as possible without any idea of what the morning view will bring.
Where the water is icy cold and I imagine the locals would just as soon be hiking and hunting as they would crowding around a family fireplace.
Surfers from these countries tell me the waves are worth it. I’ve raised an eyebrow and doubted it too many times. It’s time to check.
Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Wales, England.
All on my doorstep, but they might as well be strangers. I hear stories of far flung waves, tiny communities and landscapes that have to be seen to be believed.
France, Spain, Portugal.
Old friends on the surfing circuits. I’ve popped my head in here and there, like coming out from different stops on London’s underground. I see places in isolation, with no idea what lies above ground. Who knows what or who I might find between each stop?
And though I dream of surfing, there’s much more that excites me. I want to smash it down the coast and learn whatever I can on the way. I want to help out in gardens and sing with strangers… I imagine planes, trains, automobiles. Favours, food, weird new animals, broken English, found stories.
There’s a tingle in my stomach when I imagine the passport check. A fizz in my brain when I wonder at the unknown. Oh, to travel.
Every day that I wake up in my English country house I look at my map. Every day I wish I was lost in it.
Europe is calling.
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