Words of the Day:
Vagabond – a person who wanders from place to place without a home or job
Terpsichorean – of or relating to dancing or the art of dancing
I’m a child of the earth now. One of God’s people, a free-spirited wanderer. I will go where the wind takes me, and wherever I lay my hat is my home. Life On The Road. At present it’s the Kingsland Road as I’m back in Dalston trying to make a miniature cappuccino last a few more sips.
I bought Jack Kerouac’s On the Road a while ago before I’d handed in my notice at work, sub-consciously choosing what a friend later described as “exactly what you need to be reading right now” (he’s American). I started it in Spain but have made limited progress, largely due to my failed HTML coding efforts and Uncle Bill’s majestic speedos.
Kerouac’s novel is largely autobiographical, and as the protagonist hitchhikes his way across America from one dive bar to the next I have a sobering vision of what my future could be. Poor old Jack succumbed to liver cirrhosis aged 47, following through on his promise to drink himself to death.
I will keep an eye out for the signpost to Alcoholism and avoid that turning. Like many of the gap year students I will encounter along the way it would be easy to treat this adventure as an extended Spring Break party trip. Yes I will drink and yes I will party but as I’ve been doing exactly that on almost every holiday for the last 15 years this one needs to be more than just beach based bar-hopping.
Like the rare occasion that I wake up on a Sunday at 8am without a hangover, I feel this moderation could multiply the time I have available to actually do things while I’m away. But what things should I do? In Spain my mum asked me what I hoped to achieve from all this (both the travelling and the blog, for which she now has the address, eek). After giving her the standard Gump Method chat about not really having a plan, I did come up with a few answers:
World peace, obviously. Spiritual enlightenment. The meaning of life.
While these are all admirable objectives I’ve put them on the longer term to do list and have decided on a few, more achievable, skills-based goals:
- Get good at Spanish
- Get good at surfing and/or kite-surfing
- Get good (even better?) at dancing
Yes, I saved the best till last there. I can hear the sniggering. I’m planning to spend time in South America so by dancing I mean the Latino varieties: salsa, rumba, tango etc.. I’m not fussy and don’t really know the difference but I’ve always enjoyed dancing and have never had a lesson (shocking I know).
The film Dirty Dancing has served as a major source of my terpsichorean inspiration (every day’s a learning day). Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey blended various disciplines under the umbrella style ‘Dirty,’ and their iconic final lift has been mimicked all over the world, perhaps never more expertly than by myself and Jackie (aka Montauk Baby Girl) at Halloween last year in New York. Dressed as David Bowie (I was told it was more Ellen DeGeneres) I performed the role of Johnny Castle and MBG of course played Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman. If you haven’t seen this video before you really should:
I’m the first to admit that there is room for improvement. No one puts baby girl in a corner but I deposited her solidly on the floor. Fortunately I took the brunt of the damage: MBG recognised the impending disaster and expertly adopted the foetal position as I got underneath her, cushioning her fall and sacrificing my right elbow – not all heroes wear capes. She never even thanked me!
With some immersive training I’m hoping to be less Ellen DeGeneres and more Judge Rinder, who impressed the judges on Strictly Come Dancing with his passion and flamboyance. I wasn’t in the UK for that season of Strictly, but watching this video today I immediately understood why so many people compared me to the man (both visually and stylistically):
One last thought which, again, came from my mum (what would Freud say) in response to the speedos post*. She said that once something is on the internet you can’t take it back.
Along with my failed attempt to maim MBG I have now shared my three GGA (Get Good At) goals with the world and expect to be held accountable.
Me llamo Ollie Jones y quiero ser bueno en hablar español (sin usar Google Translate), surf (o kite-surf) y bailar.
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*Facebook took down my link to the speedos post as it broke their community rules. Lolz. You can still see it at Day seven. Speedos and self-reflection