I love to travel.
I have been traveling since I was born. My mother is Spanish and my father is Irish, so in order to meet half of my extended family I had to be put on a plane as early as possible*.
Since then, I’ve been busy trying to visit as many new places as I can.
Unfortunately, I’m not one of those golden-haired, anklet-wearing, hostel-loving free spirits who go traveling barefoot for months on end and post pictures on instagram that make you want to claw your eyes out with jealousy. I’m more of a Dora the Explorer type. Not the new stylised version with the pearl earrings who looks like she owns a Burn Book. No, I’m the OG short dumpy Dora with the bowl haircut that looks like she’d be annoyingly upbeat about everything.
That’s me! I keep a Canon 60D in that backpack. Una cámara!
I love everything about the actual verb part of traveling. I have no fear of flying – I actually enjoy turbulence – and even when it’s exhausting, arriving in a place where everything is a blank slate gives me the sort of rush people usually get from drinking five double espressos back-to-back. The usual annoyances of long-distance travel (limited legroom, for example) don’t really apply, since I am like human origami; I can stiffly crease myself into an astonishingly small arrangement of limbs when necessary.
My only real travel struggle is my ongoing difficulty with packing. Despite many years of practice, every suitcase successfully checked in continues to be a Pyrrhic victory. I rarely remember everything I need and, since the first items to be flung into my suitcase are usually things like my fins or my inflatable donut, it’s difficult to find space for more practical items.
Packing for the return leg of the journey is no less onerous. After finally stuffing my suitcase to the brim with non-essential essentials, I run into real problems on the way back when I want to bring home every kind of portable food. Trust me when I say that it is a true challenge to fit five boxes of tea, a 50oz bag of peanut butter M&Ms and a bear-shaped honey container into a suitcase that is already bursting at the seams; some sock sacrifices often have to be made.
Anything I think is delicious that I can’t find at home goes in the bag. I collect all sorts of delicious edible items when I travel; rainbow sprinkles, pastries, fried tomato sauce, tea, aniseed tortas, rice… I also collect other things. I collect tiny pebbles that catch my eye. I collect business cards from restaurants. I collect train tickets and hotel keycards and cinema stubs and pack all of these things away in my travel box.
… And I collect experiences. I collect memories.
I watched goat brains boil in their skulls in Marrakech, Morocco, and steered a horse-drawn carriage over the cobblestoned streets of Vienna, Austria. I unwittingly joined a pilgrimage in Jaipur, India, and reluctantly visited an onsen in Yamanakako, Japan. I discovered the limitations of air conditioning in Death Valley, USA, and did a drunken good deed in Paris, France. I got lost in thigh-high snow in Bansko, Bulgaria, and galloped past the pyramids in Cairo, Egypt. I’d like to write all of these memories down somewhere, and what better place than here?
This is basically my Pensieve, after all.
So I just wanted to check in with you, see how you would feel about occasionally odd, mildly mortifying stories from my pitter-pattering across continents. I even made a poll!
Thanks! Now go. Have a great weekend. Yes, you. You deserve it.
Even you with the heart of stone.
See you on Monday!
*I’m sure the rest of the poor unfortunate souls on that flight were delighted to have a two month old companion.