I have recently come back from a 7 week bike and train tour of France, Spain and Portugal. This is part of a bigger mission to visit all 26 other countries in the EU before Britain leaves in 2019 (or 2021 if we have a transition period). I’m writing about this trip on www.thegranddepart.com and have started work on a book. This work has been supported in part with a grant from The Authors Foundation but is mostly being paid for by a redundancy payout from The Centre for Alternative Technology, for whom I finished work as a Publisher in May 2017.
You can read more about my motivation for this trip here but summing it up it is my response to Brexit and to the idea of losing freedom of movement. I am pro-remain and pro-freedom of movement. I know that many people had honest reasons for voting Leave but many of the people I met whilst campaigning to Remain were openly racist and/or wanted to “get rid of all the immigrants”. This is one of many reasons why I would never vote Leave. It is a dangerous path for any country to single out, demonise and expel particular groupings of people. History has provided more than enough evidence that it never ends well! Why would I vote with the people who wanted this to happen?
But these conversations forced me to challenge my own cosy assumptions as well as my settled life in Wales. Since my mid-20’s (I’m 47 now) I have hardly travelled in Europe. A couple of trips to Paris, two trips to the Frankfurt Book Fair, three trips to Portugal. I’ve hardly been participating in the great European vision. I guess I took it all for granted. So with that admonishment of my own failings, and with freedom of movement coming to an end for British people, I’m determined to explore, learn and write about the experience.