Five Thousand Kilometres Through France

In the trail of the Young Lawrence of Arabia


THis Project

This project is a piece of contemporary travel writing. It uses the young TE Lawrence’s cycle journeys and his letters home as a lens through which to look at the France of today; it mentions many of the places visited by Lawrence and refers to his thoughts and impressions, but ultimately it is about France seen through the eyes of a British travel writer, James Henderson, in the 21st Century.

Where TE Lawrence sent postcards and Sunday letters home to his family, so I will post journals of my cycle trips and blogs to give snapshots of travelling in France, I will write reviews of hotels and of restaurants and sites to visit. I will post on twitter, facebook and Linkedin, and for the intellectually bereft I will post lots of photos on instagram.

Of course there will be references to the young Lawrence’s journeys - doubtless I will even write about a few cathedrals and medieval castles - and I will be sure to highlight (literally, in yellow text) any mentions showing his interest in physical endurance and his cycling.

But how far do you take it, for authenticity’s sake? I could have ridden a three-speed sit up and beg bicycle made of steel while dressed in plus 4s, but that’s not me, that was his age. There are a few similarities between my journeys and his, but quite a few differences too.