Across Continents

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Nation of Convenience

Assuming you’ve spotted the great British Bobby in the closing scene of the last episode of "Nation of Convenience"….

There were rules. Strictly business. Fresh visas, a second passport, a visit to see Laura and The Outward Bound Trust’s fund-raising team in the Capital. Confined largely to London and the Consulates, far from my own home in Somerset. Contact limited mostly to close family. I was here to get a job done, quickly and efficiently, before returning to the fray.

It’s established practice for those on long-haul expeditions to be able to return to their home country once in a while. Of course, some don’t. But, provided you keep it short, and it’s for good reason, that’s ok. An accepted necessity.

Just as the expedition has evolved into as much, if not more, a mental challenge as a physical one, the real issue I’d had to contend with was the psychology of return to one’s home country. Hence the rules, the absolute focus on treating it as a Nation of Convenience. No wandering off, drifting, getting too settled.

A few people, well-intentioned, had suggested I might return in secret, the minimum of fuss. But that would have compromised that most fundamental of principles, the unwavering honesty of the blog, if only by omission. And that’s how the mini-documentary, "Nation of Convenience" came about.

I’d been toying for a while with the idea of making a short documentary for the website. Something new. Fresh. I’d a little time on my hands between visas, thought it might be interesting to explore the political and cultural sides of London as if it was the Capital of one of the less reputable ’Stans. Lots of material. And a bit of fun as well. Thought it would help me stay focused, and, with a few carefully selected landmarks, allow my destination to be revealed gradually.

In practice, developing the storyboard, scripting, shooting and editing took quite a bit longer than I’d ever imagined. Wasn’t exactly finished in the Departure lounge at Heathrow, but close. Not quite as polished as I’d have liked, but it was only ever meant to be a visual essay. Might do another sometime soon. Working title "Enter the Dragon", assuming I don’t bump into Bruce Lee first.

[The author would particularly welcome constructive feedback on the "Nation of Convenience" documentary, his first stab at programme making. But no need to mention one of the continuity errors – the frequent swaps between red and blue t-shirts. Spotted that one! And if you’re feeling brave, see if you can list all the locations, and the landmarks in the background]

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3 responses to “Nation of Convenience”

  1. Claire says:

    Loved the mini documentary – but I should have watched the episodes in order which might have made the “Nation of Convenience” harder to spot! Certainly brightened up Sunday morning reading about your visit and seeing you in shades and t-shirt after the interview with those “high ranking officials” – hope their morale didn’t rub off on you – if anything it probably improved yours!! Keep on pedalling!

  2. Dominic Hall says:

    Loved the guessing game – and as far as the exped goes I thought a perfect combination of mystery, practicality and honesty – glad you are back pedalling away – keep going!

  3. We guessed eventually…. the clue for us was your jetlag, which showed you’d had to go west not east for your nation of convenience. Well done on the visa, hope you enjoy China; just finished drawing your map – it’s a hell of a big place!

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