“So put me on a highway and show me a sign
And take it to the limit one more time.” Take it to the Limit: Eagles: 1975.
The open road is such a cleansing experience. Everything left behind with only the future ahead, a future that is as exciting as it is unknown. Jersey in the summer of 1976 was a learning curve. The Master as he has now been deemed had agreed to take me on his forthcoming trip by camper van through France into Spain, culminating in Gran Canaria for a winter of spearfishing. He made it clear that it was his way or the highway and set about re-educating me in the ways of ‘man.’ Boundaries and integrity were foremost, but boundaries and integrity had their grey area when, late one night, he ‘acquired’ an inflatable complete with an outboard motor. Jump a few months to September and we were on a French highway heading across country to Portbou, Spain. We parked on the front by the sea and within an hour a VW camper pulled up alongside. A rather large bearded man jumped out, opened the back of his van, spat at it, kicked it and called the engine names that I couldn’t possibly repeat, but it was something to do with fornication and the dubious parentage of said engine.
‘Ask them if they are Australian,’ said Master. ‘You ask them,’ said I. We didn’t talk to strangers in Bradford and although I didn’t say it, I thought the Kangaroo stickers on the side of the van gave it away. He quickly established they were two Australian brothers on the Europe tour with a smoking VW engine. Tables, chairs, wine and beer were quickly set out and it became apparent that Portbou was a popular place to stopover as the first Spanish town south of the Pyrenees. By 7pm the Master, two Aussies and I were joined by six Germans, three Welshman, a young couple (English boy, French girl) and a Moroccan girl who appeared and disappeared without any of us knowing who she was. The Welshmen ended up running around the beach naked, two Germans fell from the sea wall after nodding off, they were uninjured in fact one of them stayed asleep. If this was what travelling was all about then I was definitely ‘in.’