In two days, I am going to be leaving the bitter streets of Winnipeg, and hopping on a plane that will take me to what looks to be one of the most beautiful places on earth. I still can’t believe it’s happening. I’ve had visions of the airline going under, the ticket not being valid, my Permanent Resident Card expiring, the hotel having no record of the competition, or losing my passport – it’s one of those genuine too good to be true moments, and I don’t think the reality will sink in until I actually set my suitcase in the suite, I pinch myself hard, and I am still surrounded by sparkling ocean and sunny skies. If this is actually happening, there are no words to describe how incredibly thankful I am.
I’ve been lucky enough to grow up seeing a fair bit of the world. Living in England, everything was a mere stone’s throw away – you could see Paris, Spain, Cyprus or Turkey in a couple of hours, and it didn’t have to break the bank. My parents introduced me to other countries, other cultures, and history thousands of years old. I’ve seen galleries housing the most famous paintings in the world, temples dating back centuries, amphitheatres and natural hot springs, castles and cathedrals and national monuments. The seed of the travel bug was planted early and has blossomed big – to this day I seem to have an insatiable appetite to see the entire world. I read blogs from people who live on the road, surfing couches and making a new home every day, and I think it’s incredible. I have friends who travel so often their home is a parking spot for a sailboat, forever at the beck and call of a new horizon; a new city to fill with imagination, storytelling and art. I wonder if, in a past life, I was a bit of a nomad.
To the heart, to the heart there’s no time for you to waste
You won’t find your precious answers now by staying in one place
And I’ve driven across deserts driven by the irony
That only being shackled to the the road could ever I be free
I wonder if Frank Turner’s really onto something. I’m so fortunate to have been able to see so much of the world in my twenty-five years. I have colleagues twice my age going on their first international trip this year, and here I sit struggling to think which countries I’m going to be able to cram in before I start “settling down”. Quotes intentional; I refuse to believe I won’t travel anywhere for over a decade after bearing children. Which definitely isn’t on the horizon any time soon! I have more than a few big places left on the wishlist – Australia, New Zealand, more of England and Ireland, and Prague…. I would love to see India, too. 🙂 Last year, I went on four different trips, taking me to five different countries on two different continents. Do we see a pattern here yet? If not, here’s a hint: it begins with “p” and ends in “oorness”! After next week’s trip, I doubt I’ll be able to afford to go far this year – I definitely plan on visiting Ontario, and possibly Chicago once more – but international destinations are temporarily on hold.
Until 2012. I hope. If I can keep up saving the amount I was each month for the damned wedding, I can use it toward saving for the next big holiday – Italy and Greece, perhaps? And probably a stop in the UK, provided it’s non-Olympic season. (Got to visit home, defined on the first Google hit as “a town populated by 14-year olds and their children“, welcoming visitors with testimonials such as “though 90% of the population are chavs, the remaining 10% aren’t such shits” – I don’t know if an extra 908,000 tourists, coinciding with the predictions of dear old Nostradamus, makes for the wisest timing for a visit…) I’ve only ever seen the Greek island of Corfu, and, being about nine, my interests back then probably lay more in the extra flavours of Calippo than in the Achillion Palace, but these days, I would love to see the sunsets of Santorini… explore ancient Olympia, and hop on over to the wonders of Rome and the canals of Venice. My heart definitely belongs in Europe, and I think this is one trip I can justify saving up for! So next time I’m tempted by January sales or a fancy new camera (which may or may not have been purchased recently…), I’m going to make it a habit to ask myself: do you want an extra top you don’t need? A new nail polish? Or do you want to see the world? And I’m hoping what follows next will be easy. Even if it takes a little while. 🙂
I leave you with the song whose lyrics comprised the title of this post – one of the most desperately romantic and beautiful melodies I heard in all of last year. Turn it up, close your eyes, and dream of faraway places… and I’ll see you in just over a week! 🙂