After pausing to capture this moment on camera, I proceed through the car park and take the first left. This takes me, promisingly, back down to the high street and to within a few metres of a cosy-looking tearoom. This road zigzags behind the houses on the high street and takes in a building site before coming out in the Tesco car park. I hope that some of these attractions will turn out to be on my route through the town I park the car and, on foot, take the first right. This involves taking the first right, then the first left, then the first right, then the first left, and so on until you end up in the sea or against a wall or get bored.Tenterden is a picturesque town with a nice line in antique shops, a steam railway and a museum.
However, I suspect these were in short supply on Shackleton’s voyages as well. I consider explaining to these bystanders that I have embarked on a challenge no less daring than those undertaken by the great adventurers of the 19th century, but I fear they may not understand.Driving on towards Tenterden, I consider the progress made so far on my pilgrimage to Arcadia. And the lack of refreshment does not stop me from clambering up to the moat’s edge, turning my back on the castle and taking a photo of an air-raid shelter, an oak tree and the car park.While this photo is unlikely to provoke envy among my friends when I return from my travels, I certainly amuse two elderly gentlemen taking an afternoon stroll. The holiday snaps I took while blindfolded aren’t up to much, however.My father soon falls by the wayside, muttering about “better things to do”. Reflecting that adventure is not for the faint-hearted, I drive on into Sussex, through dull villages I’ve never had reason to visit, and which I’ll never visit again.
I remind myself that experimental travellers never deviate from the chosen path, however deviant it might be.About 20 miles further on, I drive past Bodiam Castle, a 14th-century fortification. This, of course, is a conventional tourist attraction, but experimental tourists are permitted to visit such places, as long as they indulge in contretourism. This involves turning your back on the monument in question and taking a photograph of the view in the opposite direction.Arriving at Bodiam, I notice that it is shut for the winter; an occupational hazard for the experimental traveller There will be no tea and cakes for me. The latter, about 40 miles away, is a very small village just outside Tenterden in Kent. Will I be in a state of travel-induced bliss by the time I reach Arcadia?At Devil’s Dyke (where it’s even foggier and wetter), I try out one of Henry’s other ideas. Cecitourism involves blindfolding yourself and letting a trusted companion walk you around, describing what you’re missing out on.