THE DIARIES OF PAUL K LYONS - 1974
1974 was the year I began keeping a regular journal. I left home in June that year to travel. My journey - often hitchhiking - took me across Europe to Turkey, through Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and across the Persian Gulf to Iran. In Iran (still ruled by the Shah) I tried, without success, to get a job teaching English. I moved on swiftly, through Afghanistan, by a northern route, through Pakistan and into India. I journeyed to Kashmir, and further north to fascinating Leh in the Himalayas, only weeks after the area had been opened to outsiders and was thus untouched by tourism. Also in India, I stayed in Agra, Benares, Darjeeling and Calcutta before flying to Myanmar where I stayed the maximum of one week, and on to Bangkok. Hitching through to Laos I chose to go north to Luan Prabang, impervious to the danger posed by the Khmer Rouge. I returned to Bangkok through the north of Thailand, to continue south to Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra (the wonderful Isle of Samosir in Lake Toba), Java and delightful Bali. I arrived in Darwin in December, and quickly found a job (in a power station). I was just in time for Christmas, and Cyclone Tracy which devastated the town leaving every inhabitant homeless.
I wrote my journal entries in a desk diary (Diary 1), which allowed me half a page for each day (but many entries are extended with continuations on blank pages in the earlier part of the diary). The hand-writing is cramped, and nearly illegible at times, and the writing itself shows little attention to grammar or structure. I have, however, tidied up the grammar slightly. In particular, the journal now reads as though it was all written in the present tense. It wasn’t. It was written in a jumble of the present and the past, without any consistency. This may be because, at the time, I tried to write each entry as though it were being recorded on the specific journal date, even if, in reality, that day had passed by some time ago.
Paul K. Lyons (September 2007)