I have never been a brave man. It is not a word I would ever use to describe myself. In the last few weeks though several people have called me brave, have said that I am brave to do what I will do. It is not something I ever considered and I wonder what it really means. Certainly as my plans have become real, and feel intimidatingly real now I feel a sense of unease at what awaits. I am to travel the EU states and in the true spirit of Brexit I go without a plan.
For quite a few years now I have had the notion of travelling Europe yet I always had reasons not to, whether from lack of money or courage. There was always work and the idea that one cannot just quit, cannot just go and do what you want to do. I nonetheless had this notion that I would like to travel Europe, even though it felt like it was a vision that was slipping away. Then when the UK voted to leave the EU it felt like the vision jolted. It was almost out of my grasp. It is flippant to suggest Britons will not be able to visit Europe after it has left the EU, but the UK as part of the EU has been a constant during my lifetime, it has always been thus, and soon it will no longer be. I discussed with friends the idea of travelling Europe, but whereas some years ago I felt no urgency, now with the political decision made, and being more aware of my own youth passing by, it suddenly became quite urgent. The UK has two years to negotiate an exit. In two years I will no longer be in my twenties. Two eras will come to a close.
When I mentioned the idea of travelling Europe again in recent months, I joked it would be a farewell tour. A friend suggested it would be the Article 50 Farewell Tour. I laughed. The idea of the Article 50 Farewell Tour stuck, and permeated in my mind. Over the weeks that followed I wondered whether I could visit all 27 remaining member states in weekends and holidays in two years, but it became clear that this was not possible, certainly not in any meaningful way. If I was to carry out my vision I had to quit my job and go. So I did. The tour begins.