Author Dan Richards, who has travelled to the ‘ends of the earth’, says he is now applying similar coping skills to being alone and indoors for weeks
You join me overlooking an empty Edinburgh crossroads, an indoorsman considering my new neck of the woods. Near-empty buses roll down Dundas Street and shush across the junction in the haar (fog). In this brave mute world – a month of Christmas mornings so far – I watch lone joggers and mothers with children, and wave at good dogs. I write to my friends. I check in by phone. “Yes,” I say, several times a week, “Edinburgh’s very nice. Quiet.”
Two years ago, I spent several months travelling for a book, seeking out solitude and remote locations – strange to think now. I visited wild places on the edge – frozen Soviet ghost towns, Mars missions in the Utah desert, shrines perched high on Japanese mountains – as well as spartan structures whose wildness emanated from within, such as Simon Starling’s metamorphic installation Shedboatshed, the writing “Wendy houses” of Roald Dahl and Tove Jansson, and Roger Deakin’s Suffolk shepherd’s hut.