I’ve always wanted to play the guitar. As a teenager I was very envious of those kids who could play the guitar. It was such a cool talent to have at parties. I imagined that being able to play the guitar would make me more interesting and appealing to the fairer sex. Like most teenagers, I preferred to dream than to act.
My ambition to play the guitar was completely forgotten until I was 22. I had left university and had spent a year saving up money to go on a big overseas trip. My plan was to start out in Europe and then to go east to Turkey, India, South East Asia, China and then finally to Japan to see my older brother who is living in the Land of the Rising Sun.
One of the first countries on my tour was Spain. I went to Granada and visited the famous Alhambra. In the back streets of the city I found a small shop that sold Spanish guitars. I bought one for 70 Euros.
For the next few months I travelled around Europe and then headed East, first to Turkey and then to India. During this time I used to practice my guitar whenever I could. I met lots of people along the way to give me free lessons. By the time I reached Madras in the south of India I could play The Times are a Changing by Bob Dylan and Eleanor Rigby by the Beatles. Playing and singing at the same time was tough but I used to try. The people that I met traveling were very forgiving.
After 4 months in India, I sadly said goodbye to the country. It remains my favorite place in the world – so cheap, so exciting and so intellectual.
My next port of call was Thailand. I had little time to play guitar during my first few days in Bangkok. It was a hectic time of sightseeing and drinking.
Next I went to Lamkaen Beach, just south of Khao Lak town. I chose this place because some other people I met were heading there for the surfing. I thought I would try the waves as well. Lamkaen was a really relaxed beach. There were few people around and yet it was only a few clicks into town.
One night I left my guitar on my balcony. In the morning it was gone. I was devastated. The next day I went back to Bangkok and bought a new one. Still I remember that first guitar, and the great times I had learning to play guitar.