My primary school teacher’s name was Mrs Boyne. She once told my mother, ‘Your son is a complete dreamer.’
Hard to argue. I spent most of my schooldays looking out of the window thinking about all the places I’d go as soon as I was old enough.
I blame my Aunt Ivy. Every Sunday she took the train down from London to visit, bringing with her a collection of Classics Illustrated comics she’d picked up cheap at the local markets.
I was eight years old when I first read Jules Verne’s Michael Strogoff. By the end of that first afternoon, I was hooked on broad canvas adventure.
And I’d discovered a gateway to another world.
I read all of Verne and most of H. Rider Haggard in an afternoon. I also read Homer’s Odyssey, but I never found out how it ended because the last page had been ripped out. In my mind, he’s still out there somewhere, desperately searching the horizon.
As soon as I left school, I wanted some adventures of my own, so I hitch-hiked around Europe and Asia.
But I realised there are some adventures you can only experience through the pages of a book.
It’s also the only way to meet Tyrion Lannister or Alexander the Great; to glimpse Julius Caesar in the sweat and press of the Roman Forum, or to follow Suleiman the Magnificent into the forbidden palace of his harem.
For a long time, the world was largely ruled by vampires, serial killers and boy wizards, and epic adventure was shunted to the sidelines.
But thanks to HBO and Netflix, Game of Thrones and The Last Kingdom, epic action is sexy again.
There is something in many of us that hears the siren call of the impossible and the exotic.
Where will you go in 2022?