I can’t sleep, so I must write. This is nothing unusual, and it still excites me to be up late into the night, or in the early hours of the morning, writing about nothing in particular and thoroughly revelling in it.

Some sort of perversity makes me look up pictures of arid deserts and shaded souks in the shadows of towering mountains, when I should actually be making the most of one autumn/winter I actually have the opportunity to experience. I’m not homesick, but I have begun wanting a little warmth in the sunshine, and to think longingly of the streets of Yemen (where I’ve never been). The lust for travel, which I thought had died a sudden death thanks to a few instances of disillusionment, seems to be rearing its head again. I’ll welcome it with open arms- there is nothing quite like dreaming about places, and ticking them off as the dreams eventually materialise. There are the wild, improbable-sounding ones of course, like the desire to travel into the depths of Mongolia to listen to Khoomi singing, or to stand on the edge of a forest in the middle of nowhere and be treated to the spectacle of the Northern Lights. Three years of uninspiring work almost thrashed the imagination out of my head: slowly but surely, it is starting to return, to reinstate itself firmly and put itself over practicality.

I’m glad I’ve come to England now, at an age when I’m not old enough to have outgrown being bookishly romantic, nor green enough to be entranced by things that shouldn’t enchant. I wouldn’t want to put the clock back, but I do want time to slow down, to linger for as long as it can and then creep stealthily towards wherever it wants to go.


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