Our world is very different to the one my nan described. A nomadic life is unthinkable. Even she lives (very happily) in a bungalow now.
As a child, Damian Le Bas would sit on his great-grandmother’s knee, immersed in tales of the old Traveller ways, told to him in the ancient Romany language.
Now, Damian will discover the secret routes passed through the generations. He embarks on a year-long quest across the British Isles and visits the “stopping places”, the old sites of encampment known only to Travellers.
But can Damian have the freedom that the nomad in all of us craves, or is the old Traveller way irrevocably lost?
In the night I hear tapping- a woodpecker, maybe- and something is touching the van, making long, squeaky whines. It’s keeping me up. I throw clothes on and open the side door, the deep throaty roar of the metal on runners guttering over fields like a lion’s. I jump down, my eyes figuring out the darkness, shapes slowly emerging. I see what’s making the noise: it’s a tall buddleia, tracing its fingers along the roof of the van like a skeletal hand in the starlight. I grab at the branches, snap the sharp ends of them off. Pruning’s good, I think. Then I look up. The stars. There are thousands and thousands. I stare through the deepness. I realize: we’re out here. Alone.