Camels to Morocco

10/01/2011 § Leave a comment

I sometimes wonder why people travel to Morocco. Or Thailand. People come back with suntans and stories, having trekked across the desert or swam in coral-blue seas; and it would be foolish to suggest that they hadn’t enjoyed themselves. However there is still a part of me that thinks this isn’t really travel. Travel means going somewhere that no one you know has ever been, and discovering things that you couldn’t find out from an hour’s chat with one of your friends.

Wouldn’t it be more efficient, I wonder, if they all met up in a conference suite somewhere in London. They could elect one of their number to go to Marrakesh, another to go to Bangkok; then the rest would be free to go on holidays elsewhere – Leyte, Oaxaca, Acre, Krasnoyarsk, Bokhara. Then, they’d all have wonderful, unique holidays they could be proud of.

So it is in a spirit of bare-faced hypocrisy that I’m starting this blog. After all, there are more blogs on the internet than there are camels in Morocco*. Blogging has gone from edgy insurgent to corporate shill. Starting a blog in 2011 is like buying your child a Wii for Christmas – it’s so far behind the curve that it’s almost tragic.

But allow me one moment of self-justification. One word in fact – January. January is a dangerous month, the time when the gap between self-image and reality becomes most painfully apparent. Exercise proves us slothful, abstinence proves us addicted; the brief high of success throws our failures into starkest relief.

For me, the new year always brings a failure of art. Usually it’s a failure to write a novel. This is harmless – all it costs is ink and self esteem. However this year there was a dangerously high likelihood of learning the piano. Pianos aren’t cheap; and I’ve got very few friends who are willing to take them up three flights of stairs.  I need a distraction, and this should be it.

If you actually want to read it, that’s your problem.

*By quite a lot, as it happens. There are 36,000 camels in Morocco, but allegedly over 125m blogs on the net. That’s almost than 3,500 blogs per camel.

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