“In August 2005. Simon Roberts, a freelance Graphic Artist set off…to Kathmandu, Nepal”. Everyone has their own reasons for setting off on a trip like this. The death of my wife Julie from cancer in 2002 certainly played a huge part in why I left that August. We’d traveled far and wide around Europe – our final carefree trip together had been in 2001 to Morocco, “the nearest far-away land”. A wonderful experience. She died twelve months later.
You slowly get used to the idea of traveling alone. At first, the thought of sitting in miserable East European Hotels – alone – after years of traveling together was something I simply could not contemplate. But slowly, you thumb through old guidebooks…peruse old maps …rekindle old ideas…and something bites you. You feel a shiver go through your body and “The Trip” is born.
What follows, dear reader, is what I would call the Illustrated draught of the forthcoming book ‘The Road to Kathmandu’.
As I’ve mentioned already, I soon realised that material was unfolding before my very eyes – incidents…landscapes…characters…and I needed to record it somehow. Photographs were not enough and a scenario had often gone by the time I’d pulled up and got my camera out. Draw it! That was the answer. So, I would often spend evenings in cafes sketching that day’s ‘visuals’ and putting loose cartoon strips together. I’d found the perfect pastime for the lonesome traveler.
Day 1. Bristol to Calais…
The cartoon should tell it all. Every biker knows that smug feeling of superiority that comes over you when you roll off a ferry. You are the free spirited biker. No 4x4 with 2.5 kids for you. No. No saloon car and caravan..just the wind in your hair and the glint of sun on your sunglasses as you ease your way through the backpackers down the ramp…and on to foreign soil. That is – unless your starter motor fails.
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