I wouldn’t call myself well-travelled, much as I might wish that I could. In fact, it has only been slightly longer than a year since, after thirty spent safely within the confines of the U.K. that I made my first trip beyond its borders. The half-week spent in France was enjoyable enough, but ultimately it was still work.
The second trip, only a month later, made it seem like nothing: two weeks in India, this time to meet the family of my soon-to-be-wife (clearly the visit went well.)
A year later, with the wedding coming ever closer, what do I remember most about that time?
All of those little things which didn’t just remind me that I wasn’t in England anymore, but also quietly pointed out just how far away I was.
Not to say that the bigger things didn’t move me, of course. I still fondly remember all of the wonderful people I met and the things that I saw. I remember riding on an elephant, and the view from the top of the hill that took my breath away, home cooked food that made me weigh more when I got home than I had when I left and streets full of colour and life.
How could I forget the Buddhist temple, or the tigers that I insisted that I had to see, or the afternoon at a go-kart track beating everyone there, even though I had never sat in a go-kart before in my life.
I was even fortunate enough to step out of the cities for a few days, and see the places that most visitors to the country don’t even notice, like the villages where people live with so little, and yet are happier and more welcoming than most of the people I might pass in the street here in England, and an amazing school which does so much for the children in such places.
Every day was a completely different adventure.
On top of all of that, getting on a plane for long enough to get there was a big thing for someone who still gets a little nervous when crossing a large bridge.
But those little things were the moments that seem really special in my memory. The times that made me realise how far I had travelled just to be there, and that kept me watching everything, drinking in every detail of every little revelation.
Moments like looking up into a sky a clearer shade of blue than any I had seen before and watching hawks circling on wide wings overhead, when I am much more accustomed to seeing flocks of pigeons in grey skies. Or stepping outside with nothing on my feet to find that the ground isn’t cold.
Or, the time that I looked at the clock on the wall only to be greeted with what had just crept out from behind it…
Now, in England a tiny spider on a wall is a not an unusual sight, but a lizard? While it’s true that there are wild lizards in this country, I’ve never seen one. And that’s not without having tried to spot one.
But how did my hosts respond when noticing my confusion at the guest so boldly sharing the room?
“What? It’s just a lizard on the wall. Oh, but don’t touch it, or it will urinate on you and give you a rash.”
I will never, ever forget how far from home I felt at that moment. Or how much I enjoyed the sensation.
You already know Lex from my rants about the li’l Pea. And as you’ve guessed, that’s not his real name (Which is unfortunate because it would go SO well with his badass Secret Service type look. Every where we went, when he came to visit, people would stop and ask if someone famous was around). Matthew loves video games, my sister and otters and a way with words that I’ve always envied.