How a gift from his twin inspired Gorleston man to travel the world
PUBLISHED: 11:32 17 January 2019 | UPDATED: 12:15 17 January 2019
A Norfolk man who lay ill in bed for a year when he was a teenager was inspired by a gift from his twin brother to travel the world.
Malcolm Metcalf, now 83-years-old, has been nicknamed the “Michael Palin of Gorleston”.
When he was 19, a serious illness kept him confined to bed for more than a year, but his twin brother, Trevor, bought him a book on travel.
Unable to leave the bed, Mr Metcalf read the book everyday and made up his mind that when he recovered he would go and see the world.
And now, sixty-six years later, after having realised his dreams, Mr Metcalf has written a book on those travels, during which he has visited more than fifty countries.
‘My Adventurous Life’, a self-published hybrid of memoir and travelogue, describes in vivid detail and a straightforward conversational style the author’s explorations of the world.
He based the account on the journals he wrote at the time.
The book, divided into three parts, narrates Mr Metcalf’s epic overland journey from England to Australia, his 10,000 mile north American train journey through 29 US states, and his more recent journeys around England on his bus pass, when he passed through 33 English counties on 125 buses in 29 days at the age of 82.
Most striking about Mr Metcalf’s travels, especially when compared to the world of Skyscanner, TripAdvisor and Google Maps, is their spontaneous nature.
When, in 1970, he left England to hitch-hike overland to Australia, he had only £250.
The luckiest day of his life was April 13, 1970 - it was to be his last night in Istanbul, he was intending to leave the next day, but just after midnight, another traveller, Nigel, arrived in the hostel.
Nigel, from Sussex, was driving his Volkswagen to Nepal and suggested that Mr Metcalf might accompany him and share expenses.
“I am sure I would never have successfully completed my journey but for Nigel,” Mr Metcalf said.
They drove through Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, where they parted ways, and Mr Metcalf continued his journey through Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia to Australia.
The book is available to buy from the author.
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