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Why is it called The Pothole? And what on earth is it?

Written by Chris Bladon | 29th January 2019 |

Category: Journal

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The eagle-eyed among our regular visitors will have noticed something new at the top of our website. If it's your first time here, you probably noticed it too. It's not everyday you come across a website with a whole section seemingly dedicated to a pothole.

But then we've never wanted to be the 'everyday' sort of people.

We've had a few questions about The Pothole; principally what is it and what on earth possesed us to name it after something universally deplored by society? With so little common ground at the moment, there's one thing we can all agree on - potholes are annoying. So much so that the government have even pledged £420 million to fix them.

In defence of potholes

"We have spent 25 years seeking out potholes - places that are more natural than slick, where everyday life goes on in all its bumpy beauty."

Potholes are annoying yes. More than that, they do serious damage to our vehicles. In a very literal and physical sense, they are rubbish. But, if we can be a bit abstract about it, let's look at it in another way.

When life, or travel, is easy, convenient and predictable, it doesn't challenge us. It encourages us to switch ourselves off, rather than on. The going is smooth.

Then we hit a pothole, which jolts us out of our routine. It wakes us up, forces us to look around, to look where we're going. Perhaps it makes you consider potholes more carefully, leading you to the conclusion that they are created by a force of nature; often the work of snappily-titled weather phenomena like the beast from the east.

In a physcial sense, filling a pothole is necessary. In a more metaphorical sense, it's putting an extra human barrier between us and nature, hiding it behind a veneer of freshly laid tarmac. The bumpy beauty becomes sanitised. Nature subsides and the road ahead becomes smooth, predictable, easy.

Our monthly musings

The Pothole is a space for us to share what we love, what interests us and what we find challenging, without Photoshopping out the bits everyone else does. We like to think our considered opinions provide food for thought, and will sometimes put a smile on your face. They've even been known to make people cry.

In a nuthsell, it's the difference between the slick, smooth roads of California and the bumpy glory of Patagonia's Carretera Austral.

The best of The Pothole is neatly wrapped up in our eponymous monthly email. You can click here to subscribe and, naturally, unsubscribe at any time. We'd love you to join our community and have a voice of your own. In the meantime, I'll leave you with a couple of thoughts that Pothole readers have been moved to share with us. They are a source of immense pride.

"I took a step back from today’s introspective “selfie” driven world to dedicate some real time to read and digest The Pothole. It was worth every click and every minute of my time."

"The Pothole is one of my favorite newsletters and it is the only one I have not unsubscribed from. Very interesting articles and captivating photos."

"I was moved to tears twice. Firstly tears of sadness/realisation on watching the video about friends and loved ones. Secondly tears of laughter reading the wine notes on the tasting. “ like a lumberjack doing macrame” !!! Love it!"

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