6 August 2011

Introduction

At the foot of our garden, when I was growing up, there flowed a shallow brook which wound its way through an overgrown patch of suburban wilderness. For me and the other children who lived in my street it was a lost world, hemmed in by fences. It was a private playground in which to build camps, fish for sticklebacks, and search for buried treasure, like some other unwritten version of R. M. Ballantyne's Coral Island, or even at times William Goldings' Lord of the Flies. I spent the majority of my summers out there, honing my "survival" skills in the bush, building camp fires (on which I'd cook lunch), whittling sticks, climbing trees - indulging in the exploits of an amateur naturalist, or fancying myself an explorer in search of some fabled lost city ...

At this time too I was losing myself in books on travel and history. Leafing through copies of the National Geographic Magazine. I loved to watch documentaries on ancient civilisations and far flung parts of the world. In time I began to volunteer in museums and go on archaeological digs. When I completed my A-levels I went on to study for a BSc in Anthropology. I was also fortunate enough to land myself a job in one of the UK's largest national museums whilst still only an undergraduate. My job has since allowed me to develop and indulge my own academic interests, whilst simultaneously giving me the great privilege of direct daily access to priceless and fascinating treasures of art and antiquity. And even more fortunately, my job has evolved over the years to include regular stints of travel for extended periods overseas, working in a diverse array of museums and galleries around the world.

I have published a few articles, and I'm also working on a large on-going research project relating to China and Tibet in the early twentieth century, which - I hope - will eventually become a book. My various researches and travels I have poured into numerous notebooks, taking snapshots as I go. It's always been my central belief that our world is worth recording in whatever shape or form that best suits ourselves; for this record is not just an expression of who we are, it is also a picture of the ever-changing world at a certain point in time.

Wherever we go, it's my personal credo that people, places, history, nature - these are all things which we should study and explore. There are wonders to be found everywhere - from the smallest corner of a suburban garden to the wide vistas of great mountain heights, to the vast expanses of the world's oceans, to the infinite space of the night sky overhead - if only we take the time to stop and look ...

Waymarks is intended to be a journal of sorts. An open notebook in which to jot down thoughts and impressions, in which to pursue themes and tangents of personal interest. It will be loosely focussed around my travels and personal research projects; the places I've been and the places I want to go to; the books I've read and the films I've seen - in short it is intended to be an exploration, a personal exploration of the world at large.

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