I'm writing to you from Carcassonne in the South of France, where I've been reunited with my parents and am being thoroughly spoiled. It was a very uneventful journey down here - the trains were comfortable and on time - so I won't bore you with the details of it. I'm still waiting to hear when my campervan will be repaired and how I can choose to get it down here with me.
In the meantime, I recently read this article in the Guardian provided by an Australian nurse who'd worked in palliative care and recorded the final epiphanies of people in their last stages of life. It's an interesting read.
It struck me immediately how strongly these resonate with everything I'm trying to avoid now and, if anything, it makes me wish I'd started this adventure sooner in life. That big old world out there has a habit of suppressing and controlling people - even when they have the political freedom to choose their own lifestyle - by creating a comfortable, reliable and safe routine to follow. We are so civilised and organised in the UK and the Western world that we don't even see the option to break free. How many people have told me "I'm so jealous" when I tell them about this trip? Jealous of what exactly? Making a different choice? Surely if you want to do something like this, you simply set off and do it. The campervan is pretty irrelevant - hitch a ride or sleep on the night bus, or just take a tent and hike your way somewhere. And if you choose not to do that, you're clearly happier at home and have nothing to be jealous of.
Anyway, number 4 in the article stood out a bit. I do have such wonderful friends - they pop up all the time, everywhere I go. And I just hope that they all know, whether I'm in touch or not, that I love and appreciate them. Whether we meet again or not, those special bonds are with us to the end!