The Timmy Gram

23 Dec

DSCF6971After I left university I became the annual recipient of a wonderful missive called the “Ganneygram”, sent by my long time friend and university colleague, Paul Ganney. In it Paul chronicled his year for those of us who missed out.. and over the years that GanneyGram blossomed into a multimedia experience in pictures and videos, appearing on line, on CD and on paper (well, obviously not the video bit, that would be crazy (although Paul may well have tried that)).

But over the years, my friends have been recipients of a briefer missive, sans multimedia experience. It was never called the Timmygram. But it was my year on two pages of A4 and in under 1200 words. Mostly, it’s been on paper. Mostly it got folded into a Christmas card envelope. (This year, due to the purchase of some smaller than usual cards, a lot more folding was required). One year I got creative and presented it as a crossword. People got, not surprisingly, cross.

Last year, they missed out (it’s funny, no-one complained), so this year I had to write two years’ worth. Fortunately, most of the pictures appear on this blog… but here, on line for the first time, for anyone who’s interested, is the 2010-2011 Tim’s Speech…enjoy.

From the desk of Tim Hodgson…..

Happy Christmas to you…. but what on earth happened to Tim last Christmas? No card? No phone call? No email? Where DID he vanish to… ?

Well, some of my friends and those who have been paying attention know the answer to that one… but we need to look back at 2009 to see where this all started. I was working for a friend in Sutton Coldfield, and I’d moved into a flat there – and then the wheels fell off that project. A change of direction was required, and so I found myself, again, out of work. I’d spent 9 months looking for a job the last time, and didn’t fancy a repeat of that – so I decided to retire (sort of!). Working for Unilever had been good for me, and I had a good final pension available. So I took some money out and embarked on a new project… a ’round the world’ tour, inspired by some of my friends who had done exactly that.

So the first part of 2010 was spent planning and trying to sort out how much of the world I could see in 12 months. There were some things I wanted to do, some places I wanted to visit, some experiences I wanted to have. And in and around all that, I took time to go snowboarding in France on a ski and dance holiday (snowboarding all day, dancing all night… perfect!!) and to go back to Mammoth Mountain in the US with David and Jonny. We love that mountain! I took up aikido, briefly – and learned to scuba dive to avoid wasting time on the trip. And Jonny graduated in International Politics (had to hang around so I could celebrate that!)

And, all too quickly, it was time to leave. The boys and I took a trip to Alton Towers to say farewell, and then it was off on the big adventure – first stop Hawai’i. The story of the adventure is well told in my travel blog at – check that out for the details of a voyage across 19 countries, told in many, many pictures, and even more words – but for me the highlights included…

Hawai’i – walking across the volcano floor, and poking a stick into red hot lava.. studying Huna with Serge King.. diving off cliffs and standing under waterfalls (although I should have taken the journal out of my pocket first)…

Oregon – studying with Neale Donald Walsch (author of the ‘Conversations With God’ books)

West Coast USA – touring the national parks on the Green Tortoise bus (sleep on the bus and wake up somewhere amazing) – descending into the Grand Canyon, climbing Angel’s Landing, and visiting some amazing rock formations including the setting of Wild Wild West.

Mexico – a crazy three day bus ride from Vegas. Being held up by Sandanista rebels and the teacher’s union… and deep spiritual experiences in the incredible ancient ruins of Palenque and Chichen Itza.

Cuba – sunsets on the Malecon, and the crazy experience of a dual currency country – and watching the rain pour down while people cleared their houses into the road.

A brief return to the UK in October saw me staying with my friend Heather for a while, and then off again….

Fiji – learning to dive and having quiet sunset thoughts on the pier at Nananu-Ra on my birthday.

New Zealand – climbing Mt Doom and tramping through Mordor in the Tongariro National Park – sailing Milford Sound and lying on deck looking up at the stars… and so, so much beautiful scenery.

Tasmania – more wild and wonderful beauty and a round island road trip – including a visit to Kettering (well, you’ve got to…).

Australia – crazy trips along the Great Ocean Road, and visiting Uluru, Kaja Tjutu and the Red Centre (and Alice Springs) – and then putting all that dive training into practice on a liveaboard off the Great Barrier Reef. Christmas celebrations in Melbourne and New Year in Adelaide.

Malaysia – a desperate race against time to meet my friend in Bangkok – armed with only around £20 to do it. And watching the Malay New Year unfold in fireworks from a vantage point above Georgetown.

Thailand – visiting temples and ancient sites.. and a two day trip down the Mekong River – and some beach time too, visiting James Bond Island and more.

Laos – a quiet time at an Eco Lodge in the jungle – and nearly getting myself married off on Women’s Day – and quiet reflection (and dolphin watching) on the backpacker island of Don Det.

Cambodia – losing my passport and being stranded for six weeks… jungle treks and sadness at man’s inhumanity at Choung Ek – and marvelling at the incredible temples of Siem Reap.

Vietnam – a mad dash up the country to catch up.. but a gorgeous couple of days sailing on Halong Bay.

Hong Kong – learning Tai Chi with Mr Peaceymind on the waterfront, and staying in crazy crap accommodation to save a few dollars. Watching the light show on the skyscrapers light up the sky. Visiting the Big Buddha and the tranquil majesty of the Heart Sutra sculptures on Lantau.

Macau – a desperate dash to see the island in a day, and just making it back to the boat in time.

China – the wonders of Shanghai and Beijing… the Forbidden Palace, Tianamen Square and the Great Wall of China. And losing my passport. Again. Doh!

Tibet – a wild three day train ride across China to get there – then monks, monasteries, pilgrims and the Himalayas.. camping at Everest Base Camp and an escape into Nepal (with a replacement passport again)

Nepal – more beauty, and a time to catch my breath – tramping through rice paddies and climbing mountains… and finally..

India – taking the decision to rush back to the UK to see my ex mother in law before she died… and spending the night on the streets of Mumbai.

And so many, many people that I met on the course of that trip…fellow travellers, locals, tour guides.. a little romance, a lot of friendship and fun…

And then back to the UK – time to catch up with my family and friends. I moved from home to home for a couple of months before taking ownership of Bessie, my camper van – I spent a month sleeping in Bessie before I eventually (in early December) got a small place back in Oundle… time to take a breath, get some stability, get reunited with my possessions (in storage for 16 months) and find some new clothes! Time to celebrate my eldest son’s Master’s Degree and see him move off to Edinburgh for teacher training… and see my youngest son off to Keele to study Ecological Politics for his Masters’.

And 2012? Well, who knows. Time to create some wealth and to rediscover my purpose.. and time to make a difference in the world. And maybe plan another adventure!

Anyway, that’s me and my life.. hope yours has been great too. Enjoy the holiday season… and who knows…we might meet up again this year.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: