Many years ago more than nine hundred photographs and two fat envelopes of typescript were bound for landfill. The person tasked with taking them away (that is, the friend-of-Sarah-who’s-got-a-ute-and-might-be-free-on-Saturday) was appalled – the boxes came home with him and disappeared into the back of a shed with all the other useless things that it seemed a pity to throw away.
About thirty years later I discovered them when cleaning out said shed, and for some time they occupied an inconveniently large space in the middle of my lounge-room. Now I’m sharing them with you. The manuscript begins:
From the time I used to sit on your knee and talk about going around the world I have been looking forward to this moment. Many years have passed and the trip has actually started, but unfortunately, you are not with me. It will now be my desire to give you a complete story as realistic as my pen and language will permit.
Although you will not be present in my travels I will constantly think of you and I am sure you will follow me from place to place as I tell you where I am going and what I am doing.