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John van de Ruit

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

The end of the road

Continuing my travel blog for the Penguins ahead of the launch of Spud – Learning to Fly

Time is a trickster. One minute you stand with weeks stretched out before you, and the next the looming and predictable dead end casts a shadow across the face. Weirdly, Cambodia feels like it was the previous year and i can barely remember Kuala Lumpur at all, and may have to re-read my first blog to feel who i was back then. The added bonus to traveling for unseemly amounts of time, is that home always feels like an exciting place to return to, and yet the wandering spirit that has ruled you for so long desires more time to explore and more experiences to devour.

For the last week my thoughts have been with Spud – Learning To Fly and how the following months might play out. I’ve thought about the book tour and the shift from an extremely private recent existence to something more public and amplified. Mostly though, my thoughts are with Learning to Fly, in the knowledge that the first copies of the book will be arriving at the Penguin Colony this afternoon. I hope to see my first copy upon landing on Sunday morning and will no doubt collapse into a heap in the corner and read voraciously and in a Vern-like manner. That will be the beginning of the next journey and perhaps that one will cast light onto the next and then the next.

So in this, my final travel blog, i would like to thank you all for reading my idle ramblings and hope that you would have in some small way felt like you were taking a journey yourself. I hope too that it would inspire you to plan a trip somewhere unusual and see what Crowded House meant when they sang:

“Give me time, give me time
because i want you to see,
round the world, round the world,
is a tangled up necklace of pearls.”

To conclude, i have compiled a list of genuine items that have appeared on menus around SE Asia. Since many Asian people, and in particular the Thais, imitate the English language phonetically, some weird and wonderful spellings are to be had. I must declare that i have eaten none of the following items for obvious reasons, although Jules and i spent many a meal hooting with laughter over the following:


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