By: Blonde Two

Sometimes life pulls you up short and faces you with reality… just when you are least expecting it to. Here are two stories that have recently made me think… very hard:

The Rucksack

I often drive along Torquay seafront at dawn and, one particular day, I passed a swarthy-looking guy bearing a well packed rucksack topped by a neatly rolled foam mat.

‘How fantastic,’ thought I, ‘he looks as though he is off on a great adventure.’

You see, to me, rucksacks, especially well packed ones, make me think of expeditions, teamwork and fun.

I passed the same man the next morning, and the morning after but, to my shame, it took me a long time to realise that, for this guy, carrying a rucksack wasn’t an adventure, it wasn’t a way of making friends and it wasn’t fun. The contents of his rucksack was his home. He didn’t endure cold sleeps in his tent, secure in the knowledge of a hot bath and cooked breakfast the next morning. A cold tent was his reality.

The Bivvy

Mr B2 and I made quite a game out of our snowy Dartmoor bivvy. We laughed during it, showed off about it afterwards and felt that we had ‘achieved’ something.

Two days after this bivvy I had reason to take an early walk through the streets of Torquay. The temperature hadn’t risen and I counted at least three people in sleeping bags on the floor. One of them had a bivvy bag but they weren’t laughing about it, showing off about it or gaining a sense of achievement. A cold sleeping bag, on a hard floor was their reality.