Ben Winston

Not your average travel blog

Lust, love and holding hands on a river bank

Due to wild beasts crossing my path or invitations to the crack den corners of the US, I was sure that I would venture off my prepared course more than once. However, I had never proposed to lose myself quite so far from my checkpoints and while hitting the spots that were designed to mould my mind with lust for the American wilderness, I was finding wonderfully, that my route was becoming increasingly like Mr Tickle, and not Mr Funny. More and more land morsels than I had ever come close to imagining were now expanding my slightly weary, but oh so contented wanderlust.


Ever since I was nine years old, I have dreamt about experiencing Montana, and with a two day drive across the longest stretch of big sky country that I think I could possibly find on the map, I travelled across the state which I had romanticised about for over twenty years.

I knew it would hit me, at some point, soon, soonish, anytime now, just another hour or so…ok, so it was a slow burn and she was a girl that had to grow on me. Admittedly, the romantic spark and thunderbolt of first sight love which I was expecting with her, wasn’t quite there between Montana and I.

Although beautiful and lush, it took two days to roam across her rather outstretched legs from the east and (similar to the Midwest) the cold, yet sun-drenched, flat stomach of her state. There was also a rather unfortunate evening of discomfort when I attempted to sleep in her in a rather unfortunate position, and woke up to her shouting at me.

It wasn’t until I reached west, further along her horizontal, to the areas of her majestic white mounds of bountiful mountainous peaks, which bolted up from the horizon and provided the jolting, breathtaking, soul piercing blow that I had so long been eager to feel.

So prominent and definite was the change in her landscape, that I could almost walk straight up to her chilling peaks, and respectfully reach out and feel them (stop it, I’m talking about mountains).

I had arrived; I could see in front of me the landscape which I had been exposed to at the age of nine. By the pages of Norman Maclean’s book, and through the screen production of A River Runs Through It, my youthful heart was poetically reached into, and with a landscape which seemed so far from home, my boyish benevolence had immediately developed feelings for her.

My excitement into the native peaks grew with every mile. Sometimes you expect things to be wonderful, to be deep and meaningful, to be more than just a kiss from a gregarious girl at a night club. Sometimes you expect to be in the middle of a school disco and hope that your expectations of your whole world will change in a moment when you leave the noise behind, and find a quiet spot next to a big oak tree with the enchantingly hypnotic girl who’s eyes sparkle as she looks deep into your soul. Forgive my analogies, but from nine, I honestly expected Montana to effect me like my girl would in a teenage moment outside an old country pub on a river bank. Stood together next to a rusty, rain-affected fire escape, with the sky’s stars lighting up the rickety metal and the silent water flowing by us; whilst feeling her hand slip into mine and having my whole being enveloped in humbleness, I would pluck up the courage to kiss her, but be oblivious to the fact that it had started raining. That, is how I expected my Montana moment to be. Quiet, peaceful and overwhelming.

I didn’t stand on the mountains and feel anyone kiss me, but I did feel something inside that I know nowhere else on earth will be able to replicate. Oddly, it was the simple persuasion of a film by Robert Redford, that influenced a boy who liked fishing and the great outdoors which was the catalyst of my desire to come here for so long. I hadn’t planned for this epic journey to take me any further north than Wyoming, yet with my expanding wanderlust taking over, I knew anywhere could be possible with just a little gregarious behaviour along any river bank, with the right landscape taking me by my hand.

Before the true dream could be realised, and to reach the part of Montana which I was so smitten with, I eloped into some new imagination, and into a new challenge. I wonderfully wandered into Glacier National Park…


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Where am I now?

After extensive work and tours through Southern Africa, most of my time is spent between Malawi and Europe.
Go Untamed Safaris was striding into top gear, but volatile poitics in 2019, Covid in 2020, the impacts of Russia vs the World as well as insesent corruption forced my hand.
The dust is now settling. Everything has changed. New chapters are about to be written.

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