Since leaving Galashiels as a 17-year-old, Doug Gilchrist has spent most of his life travelling the world. Now 73, he advised reporter Isabelle Truscott about his story thus far.
It was his grandfather’s sticker-covered suitcase that helped spark Doug’s curiosity in journey.
After rising up on Glendinning Terrace then Wylies Brae, Doug moved to the south of England when he was about 17 years outdated, working as an assistant skilled at Hayling Island Golf Course close to Portsmouth.
It was right here that Doug met a golf professional who part-owned a membership within the Bahamas.
“He requested me if I’d prefer to go to the Bahamas to work at his golf membership and being 20 years outdated on the time I believed that might be a terrific alternative to unfold my wings,” Doug stated.
And though he loved the expertise, his time within the Bahamas wasn’t like he had anticipated, so after assembly his first spouse (who was American) they moved to Ithaca, New York State.
Throughout the pond
Doug defined: “Her father had gone as much as the native golf membership and requested about, and found that the skilled on the Ithaca Nation Membership was searching for an assistant.
“He preferred the concept of a Scotsman as an assistant – he thought that might be fairly cool.”
After spending just a few years at Ithaca Nation Membership and shifting to a different membership, Doug determined that though he nonetheless loved enjoying golf – a pastime he nonetheless takes half in at the moment – it was not one thing he wished to spend the remainder of his life doing.
So he and a good friend returned to Galashiels, purchased a Volkswagen caravanette and travelled throughout Europe and north Africa for 3 months.
‘It was like Auf Wiedersehen, Pet’
“While we had been travelling, I met this chap who was truly working in Holland, doing dry lining, not that I actually knew what that was, however I gave him a raise,” stated Doug.
“We took the ferry from Tunis to Trapani in Sicily, after which drove to the Messina Straits.
“He was working in Holland on the time and he stated if you wish to work with me I’ll present you tips on how to do it [dry lining]. So after I bought again to England, that’s what I did.”
Doug labored in Holland for 18 months, becoming inside partitions in hospitals and constructing websites. It was by way of this work – which he likened to the TV sequence Auf Wiedersehen, Pet – that Doug was employed to work as a part of the group constructing the industrial runway at Mount Nice within the Falkland Islands, shortly after the conflict in 1983.
“There have been extra contractors than islanders,” stated Doug. “Not fairly as many [contractors] as sheep. I believe there was a couple of inhabitants of 1,800 on the Falklands, and there was nicely over 2,000 contractors.”
Doug recounted seeing the “detritus” of conflict, together with land which had been fenced off alongside the highway the place identified landmines had been.
Witness to battle
From the Falklands, Doug returned to England in 1984 or 1985, and in 1989 he and his good friend Peter turned co-directors of a drywall firm.
Regardless of settling again within the UK, Doug has by no means misplaced his want to journey, and he jokingly explains he isn’t a “seashore and bucket and spade man”, and has travelled to Lake Assal in Djibouti (the bottom level in Africa), Harrar in Ethiopia – the place he fed wild hyenas – and from Moscow to Vladivostock within the winter on the Trans-Siberian Railway.
Doug has additionally seen battle first-hand, as he was on vacation in Baghdad in the beginning of the 2019 protests, and was additionally in Lebanon when their protests started in the identical yr (eight years after the Arab spring of 2011).
Plans for 2022
It seems there are few locations Doug hasn’t been to – he estimates he has visited greater than 100 nations – and as we spoke it appeared we had visited a number of the identical components of the world, together with the Dordogne in south-west France, the place Doug owns a property.
In earlier years Doug would have spent the months between Might and October in France, however because of the coronavirus pandemic, he was solely in a position to spend a short time away from Norwich when authorities restrictions had been eased.
Subsequent yr the daddy of 4 plans to go to the island of Socotra, off the coast of Yemen, which he had supposed to go to on a earlier journey.
Wanting again on his trek of the globe, Doug credit “little bits of destiny” for all of the alternatives he’s had – all of the folks he met on his travels which led to new experiences.
When you have travelled and not dwell within the Borders, please e-mail Isabelle Truscott – or message the Border Telegraph over Fb.