Bill Bryson is an extremely popular travel writer who is known for his humour and bitching. His latest travel book is called The Road to Little Dribbling, in which he finds out that the longest possible line across the British island runs from Bognor Regis on the English Channel to Cape Wrath on the Atlantic Ocean. He states that he wants this line to become known as “The Bryson Line.”
The only problem with Bill Bryson as a travel writer is that he doesn’t travel much. His books are almost always spiced up with events from the past, because Bryson himself never does much more than visiting museums, checking in to hotels, and finding a place to eat. The man wants to be comfortable, as he stated in one interview, and as an American, he is mostly comfortable being in places where they speak his language and/or resemble his culture – Australia, the United States, Britain, Europe. His magazine article-length African Diary talks about experiences he had amidst Western aid workers.
The Road to Little Dribbling is his second book on the United Kingdom. Bill Bryson gets in rental cars, drives to some place, and treats the reader to a great anecdote from either his own or somebody else’s past. He pinballs all over England and Wales, and, essentially, only the first and last chapters have got something to do with the Bryson Line. The anecdotes make for great, humorous storytelling, and I loved the book, but I kept wondering what it would be like if one travelled The Bryson Line in one go, almost religiously.
And therefore I have chosen that short trip – Bognor Regis to Cape Wrath is 914.4 kilometres in a straight line; indeed, that’s the length of the Bryson Line – as the premise for my next travel book. Not only do I like the idea of getting to know England and Scotland by touching upon villages and cities either on or in the vicinity of the Bryson Line, but it’s also interesting to have a look at the country from a Dutch perspective. The United Kingdom is across the North Sea, which is thirty kilometres from where I live, and yet I have only seen London, Colchester, and Glasgow.
A better look at England and Scotland, while journeying through them on foot, with a tent and a sleeping bag, and trying to open up a people known for being reserved, will make for a fascinating trip and travel book. And yes, it will be my next travel book. Stay tuned.