Monday, 20 September 2010

What makes a wanderer?

Alan Tilmouth's latest post introduced me to one Jos Stratford, a Welsh birder who now lives in Lithuania. Please take a moment and visit his web site and look at the section entitled 'About Me'. This makes the life of the average MI5 double-agent seem positively sedate and uninteresting. His birding wanderings started when he was barely a teenager. He was scampering over Europe at the tender age of 15. I was, at that age, still having my nose wiped for me and asking for my pocket money so that I could go on daring expeditions as far as, oh let me see, the local chip shop.

I've long been fascinated by my fellow birders who have the character, confidence and burning need to go off on long, distant trips. I'm all the more impressed if the trip has no defined length. A three week trip to Vietnam is commendable, but a birding odyssey that takes 'just as long as it takes' speaks to me of a devil-may-care attitude that I just do not possess. I've always played it safe, gone with the flow, stuck to a nine-'til-five existence, adhered to prudence, sensible budgeting - oh my god, I'm getting bored with myself now!

So, I thank people like Jos for allowing me to go on such journeys vicariously. There are plenty of them out there, either building up a world list or rejoicing in the world in all of its natural wonder.

Now please excuse me, I have a lawn to mow and a gas bill to pay...

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