Originally written by hand at 3.35pm, sitting by a stream at the side of a field.
It’s Friday night back in London. My friends there are heading out to pubs in the city for a night of drinking. I headed out with my book and notebook to sit somewhere quiet in the afternoon sunshine to read and write.
Urubamba doesn’t have many quiet or green spaces – apart from the cemetery – which, nice as it is and as comfortable as I am being around the dead, I fancied being around life on this glorious day.
So I started walking.
I walked to the edge of town, past the cemetery; the road turns to dust here. I walked past the foot of the first mountain outside the town. I walked past schoolchildren on their long trudges home. I walked through the next village. I walked ever upwards past farmers’ fields and nearer the snow-capped peaks and glaciers of the Cordillera Urubamba that cut off the end of this valley.
I stopped to sit down in the shade by the roadside and a curious bull appeared on the other side of the road to look at me. I carried on, ever upwards. I stopped to eat the bread and cheese I’d bought in Urubamba. I stopped in another village to buy a 70c bottle of Kola Real. I stopped to write this.
Somehow the mountains have lured me to keep walking along the dusty, stony road in the beating sun, with quite a heavy rucksack full of books. I don’t know for how long or how far I will go, but I do know this must be complete and true freedom as any human being can expect to obtain in this life.
No one knows where I am or what I’m doing, apart from the country folk I pass. I can walk at the exact speed I wish. I can stop when I want. I can smile and greet anyone I care to. I can go on walking as long as I feel like it. I can return home and no one will ever know what I did and what I saw unless I want them to.
Unless I type this up and share it with you.