Monday, November 14, 2011

On a boat to nowhere....

 After finishing my JoGLE hike I had planned to visit my former British cycling partner John. John and I had coincidentally met in Australia over 2 years ago and ended up cycling together for 7 months in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea. In September 2009 we split up: I went back to Germany to prepare my next trip and John completed his round the world cycling trip in the US. Over two years we have always stayed in contact and I observed with great curiosity how John was dealing with similar problems I have had: Where and how do you live after such a long period of nomadism?

John has found a great solution for this problem: He lives on a houseboat on the English canals now! Before he gets too upset when he reads this I want to correct myself: He lives on a narrowboat - but anyone who is not intimately familiar with the canal boat scene in the UK will probably not understand the difference between a narrowboat and a houseboat: A narrowboat is a houseboat that is narrow enough to fit into the small locks and bridges of the British canal system.

Me having fun on the boat
When he got back from his 3 year long round the world cycling trip he stayed with family first. When some other German cycling friends (he seems to be stuck with Germans wherever he goes) he knew from his RTW bike trip came to the UK, he went on a cycling trip with them around his home country. As many bike routes in the UK follow tow paths he saw a lot of narrow boats - and decided very quickly that this is the way to go. Without much hesitation (and no prior experience in boating) he bought a boat and started living on it. When I heard about his new investment, I was more than skeptical: John has never showed any interest in boats before - for Christ's sake he can't even swim!!! I was not very keen on the house boat part, but I wanted to see John again and therefore he eventually persuaded me to visit him on his boat after my hike. He promised that I would not have to do anything (especially not walking) and that I could cook 3 course dinners every night on something better than a camping stove. Although all this sounded very tempting I had planned to stay only a couple of days and then fly back to Germany.

Well, things turned out to be very different: I ended up running several kilometers each day between locks (so much for no more hiking) and my stay extended from a couple of days into an entire month - because I started to like narrowboating so much!!! In fact I like it so much and became so interested in it that I will write a couple of entries about it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This sounds really interesting.....