An English Wally's Guide to ....Intro
There are two types of traveller.
There are those who have been there, done it, got the Caftan, and taken the malaria tablets. They've been to remote corners of the globe that I could never claim to have seen, and as a result acquired a vast experience and wisdom of the world.
And then there is yours truly. I am the other type.
I am, by my own admittance, the true embodiment of an English wally abroad, even in reasonably tourist-friendly places. I am quite comfortable with this, I see it as an almost affectionate view of myself.
I am comfortable with it because it tells me that I'm learning, and that is what travelling to foreign places is all about - it can be an education.
Turning a street corner in strange surroundings can be like turning the page of a text book.
Every place in the world has a " Wally Rating ". The higher that rating, the more of an English wally you are whilst in that place.
It begins from the moment you step out of your door. At this moment, you are king of the castle, ruler of your domain, however you care to put it. This is where you can stand proud, familiar with everything around you.
This is where ( if you really wanted to ), you can stand on your doorstep and shout mightily to the rest of your street.......... " I have a Wally rating of nought out of ten! "
The nosy old cow opposite may well peer through the net curtains, whilst saying " Bert, that man at number 27's being a weirdo again....mind you, at least he remembered to put some trousers on this morning... ".
But to you it matters not.
You have eaten a banana and become..... Ultra-confident and non-wally man!
Pleased about this, you decide to take a brisk morning stroll into town.
Already, in a literal sense, you are travelling.
Already the Wally rating begins to inexorably rise.
An inexplicable trip, followed by a glance behind in search of a non-existant jutting paving slab.... takes it immediately up to nought-point-one.
A mis-judgement of an oncoming car's speed, resulting in an abandonment halfway through of crossing the road, a tooting of a horn and an unnecessary middle finger from the driver..... and already you're up to nought-point-two.
Before you know it, you're up to nought-point-five before you've even reached the shops.
Nevertheless, your home town centre should hold no real threat to your pride and non-wallyness.
You know where everything is. You know where Sainsburys is, should you have one of those moments of enlightenment where you stop dead in your tracks, slap your forehead and say out loud, " Oh damn, I mustn't forget I've run out of pickled onions. "
So it is likely that by the time you return home, the Wally meter hasn't gone much past the 1/10 mark.
That is unless you managed to slip on a discarded grape in the supermarket, in the process taking half of the tinned vegetables aisle down with you. ( At which point I believe you have to fill out several forms before you can have your " Wally Rating " legally reset to nought again. )
So what happens when you discover a passion for foreign travel? And what happens when, whilst exploring that new-found passion, you also realise you possess a certain travel-naivety?
What might your English " Wally Rating " amount to then?.............
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