Journeying across place and time
In this Issue you'll find a diverse selection of stories about journeying close to home and further afield through the past, present, and future. We explore Ethiopian culinary delights, football matches abroad, time travel, surfing, international art, the Scottish coast and Hebridean islands, writing from a campervan in France, and literary walks and pilgrimages.
Meet Vanessa Hotplate, a small but perfectly formed Romahome campervan. Vanessa has living quarters for two, but for me the van functions best as a mobile office and creative space. I favour laybys in isolated locations for this purpose and this summer, I voyaged all the way from Glasgow to a tiny village in the Midi-Pyrenees in the south of France.
This was a distance of 1277 miles or 2043.2 kilometres to be exact and frankly more impressive. Such a journey is all the more remarkable with an engine of only 1,300 horsepower (though that does seem like a lot of horses...
The thing about pilgrimages, as Chaucer never quite got round to saying, is that where you are going isn’t often as important as the people you are going there with.
For me, it works like that with travel books too. I want more than just a journey. I want even more than finding out what it’s like to live in a place, what the people there are like and what they think about life. On a good day, I can get that from a newspaper travel feature. From a book, I expect more: I want it to be written so well that, when I finish it, I will feel as though I have been on the journey myself. And the very best – the ones in which the writer’s mind matters as much as th...
‘Hogg’s travel journals spoke of magic and mystery; of fairies, witches, ghosts and monsters’
‘Whenever I caught a wave, the fear was replaced by absolute exhilaration’
‘It’s not the winning and losing that counts, it’s the stories’
‘Cut deep into the earth – a firm track, going somewhere’
‘Nothing in Melville’s background predisposed him to the exalted sense of visual drama that emerges in his work’
‘I wanted to open doors to other worlds without writing pure fantasy’
‘The traders are like a family and the market is a lovely mixture of tourism and local eccentricity’
‘Scotland has almost every kind of coastal formation there is’