1997, climbing in the limestone paradise of the Raleigh peninsular in Thailand, out of the country for the first time and fresh from the education system with little idea of what I was useful for. Youthful part time jobs had shown me that I was happy with manual work and my adolescent interest in self reflective literature had given me the ideal of mastering something throughout life, so those were the conditions in which my decision on a life work path were made.
The climbing in Thailand was like nothing I had ever experienced before, travelling the beautiful country, experiencing a rich new culture and meeting travellers from all over the world. We got used to living in a different way and becoming familiar with new “ordinaries.” One of these was the longtail boats that line up on the beaches and ferry the tourists and carry the fishermen, beautiful pea pod shaped vessels made from the Teak that grew in the forests. It was one of these boats that I was on as we left the road behind us at the beginning of the trip and we rounded a headland towards the paradise of Raleigh beach, and it was one of these boats that took me away again from a trip that at the time I thought would be the first of many, but would turn out to be a single treasured memory where the seed of my future path was planted. The longtails had captivated me, I had no idea how anyone would even begin making something like that but I knew I wanted to learn, it was a reason to master a skill and, to find myself useful.
A few months of lying concrete and I had earned enough money to go to the newly established Lyme Regis School of boat building. It became apparent, to be continued….