I haven’t always wanted to travel. Football and music were my first obsessions. I can trace the addition of wanderlust to one particular weekend.
I spent my teenage years in a small commuter town, where three quarters of the population took the morning train to the City, leaving a shell of a place.
The dullness proved too much for some and several friends of mine ran away from home. To this day, I don’t know why they picked Swanage, but there they stayed. I went to visit a few months shy of my seventeenth birthday.
To a kid in denim jacket and a Smiths t-shirt, this was freedom. Over the weekend, I got drunk on cider, stoned on weed and fell in love with a runaway from Motherwell. She was rebellious and beautiful. A free spirit like none I’d known. She was in some sort of trouble and had to leave town. I remember accompanying her on a desperate journey to catch a National Express to London. The ferry from Studland delayed us and the connection was missed. She simply looked at the departure board and booked a seat to another city.
This was about the time I clicked into a different person. I was stranded and due in work at 9am the following morning (at the Bank of England!). I phoned my parents (livid), then a work colleague to explain my absence (amused) and spent a further day in this unregulated new world.
It was a weekend of instant nostalgia, where the furious reaction of my parents was something I didn’t fear and barely acknowledged. I was grounded for a while. No problem, I wanted to spend some time reliving the weekend. My little runaway ranaway again but the others returned from Swanage and joined the commuter stream. Swanage was their last adventure and it was my first.