Since being a child, I've wanted two things.
I don't suppose children have 'bucket lists' do they? Does 'being an astronaut' count? But, if I had, then there'd have been two things on it.
Apart from being an astronaut, that is.
I wanted to go to Egypt and I wanted to write a book.
As I'm older (everso slightly, of course), a couple more things have been added. I've, sadly, mentally crossed off my journey into space as, I would think, it's unlikely I'll achieve that one - unless I do a Gene Roddenberry and have my ashes blasted into the place where no-one can hear you do pretty much anything at all. Anywho. I think my chances of reaching escape velocity and escaping the Earth's atmosphere are fairly slim.
A sky dive. That was another one. I wanted to jump out of an aeroplane. I love flying and have taken many flying lessons. It's one of the best bits of overseas travel (sometimes THE best bit). And I wanted to leap out at 3,000 feet with only a tablecloth strapped to my back. Due to a couple of reasons, that wasn't possible, so I was overjoyed when my partner, for my birthday, paid for me to do the next best thing. Indoor skydiving. Brilliant! Floating over a big fan, then having them whacking the power up so you shoot high up into the air and come zooming down again was easily one of my most memorable and enjoyable birthday presents ever. So that's one ticked off.
I want to stand in Moscow's Red Square. I want to buy a hotdog in New York's Central Park. I SO want to see the Northern Lights.
And I'll do my best to do these.
But as a child, I wanted to go to Egypt and I wanted to write a book.
I'm very pleased to say I've done both.
I was always fascinated with the Egyptians. Their gods and way off life, the herculean achievement of building the pyramids and more. I loved the idea of the Stargate film (partially thanks to Eric Von Daniken and his Children of the Gods). It was something I never thought I'd experience though. Life was getting in the way, as it often decides to do.
Life can be like that. It trundles along happily, but then gets sneaky and stands right in front of you when you're trying to see around it and do something you really want to.
So Egypt was a pipe dream. Now I work on a refinery and am very experienced with pipes of all kinds, and I've yet to hear about one dreaming, but, it seems, they do.
Then my partner, as she tends to do, decides to fulfil that dream. Luxor, here we come. It was magical. I still feel emotional now when I think that I walked in the actual Valley of the Kings and took a boat on the Nile (stepping right into it from the garden of the hotel).
Whilst there... was I inspired? I don't know, but something took a hold of me and in that one week I wrote 15,000 words of Sin. After ten years of writing it, I could see the end. I had an idea of what was going to happen.
It was a killer typing up all those words though!
Egypt was in the September. Just after Christmas of 2011, Sin was complete. In October of 2011 I did the indoor skydiving.
Sin doesn't like to stay quiet. Now his book is finished, he still, it seems, has a lot to say. His sequel is already started. He has a blog in which he talks about the people he meets and the experiences he has in his asylum. But his book, the novel, is finished, and a good amount of it was written in Egypt.
I quite like the fact that two of my childhood dreams - in fact (apart from having a NASA payslip) my only two childhood dreams - are so entwined in each other.
And so begins the quest for the Northern Lights, Moscow and New York. Oh, and the Mardi Gras.
Never say 'never' eh?