A Travellerspoint blog

Somewhere In Between

10th July 2008

I was despatched. An emotional farewell.
Through the gates and ready to start my mini-adventure. My severe lack of planning meant I had managed to arrive at the departure gate without a guide book. I have one or two slight misgivings about guide books as I often find that they are written in an instructive tone of voice rather than a suggestive one.

“You must visit Plaza Real as its interior features a classic façade of neo-Barique architecture” etc. However, I had to admit to myself that I actually would need some form of guide book in Chile. So with that in mind, I pleaded to the female assistant who told me flatly that I could exit the departure lounge to buy my book, but if the gate closed (which it was due to in 5 minutes), then it was at my own risk. I decided to chance it... 10 mins later, out of breath but clutching my guidebook, I was the last but one passenger to board the plane.

The 2 hour flight to Madrid was fairly uneventful. I chatted with some teenagers who I noticed were also headed to Santiago. Turns out they were all around 16 years old and were part of a larger group going out to help an indigenous community build a disabled toilet of all things. To me, this sounded like a great project to be involved with. I wondered whether, if I had the time to prepare I might have chosen something more interactive for myself. I’d like to think so! (For reference, their project was arranged by a company called ‘World Challenge’)

Some of the things these kids were doing to raise sponsorship was incredible. One young man called James told me how he raised £3,000 by playing concerts in his village hall. Others had similar stories. These were/are mere children who were achieving and doing more than I ever did at their age. When I was 16, I spent my time reading Smash Hits, dreaming of Kylie and looking forward to the next Aston Villa game.
I was certainly not spending my spare time giving piano concertos to raise money in order to go out and help those in need. It also strikes me, that today’s kids have far greater access to opportunity than my generation either had or could afford.

James’ story would not be the last time I was confronted with people half my age doing amazing things.

Posted by Simpler 03:13 Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

Heathrow Airport (Terminal 2)

10th July 2008

overcast 18 °C

When I was younger, I always wanted to fly. Not in the meta physical sense of the word: “Fly”, but the practical do-able sense of the word. I wanted to be a pilot.

Although my ambitions were thwarted early on by
a) a lack of height (min. requirement 5ft 10 inches)
b) short-sightedness (20:20 vision)

…I still become excited when visiting airports.
Whether it be to drop someone, collect them or say goodbye, the anticipation of taking off for a distant land, still somehow fascinates and excites me.

On this occasion, I was neither dropper nor collector nor collecteee! But a traveller. A nomad without company on a quest to South America. To Bolivia and Chile but not necessarily in that order. To a place where I have no memories, to a place where nobody knows my name. Where I could, in a different sense of the word, – “fly”.
I have an over-active imagination that has for some time longed to be delivered across oceans and posted in a foreign land. And yet despite the yearning. Despite the dreaming, the anticipation was strangely absent. Maybe it was because so much had happened to me over the last 8 months. Or maybe it was because this trip was so hurriedly put together whilst doing a zillion other things. I was in the middle of sorting out a job, letting out a flat and organising a 60th Birthday party amongst other things.
Whatever it was, I sat on that plane and didn’t feel like I was really going anywhere.

And it had nothing to do with the fact we hadn't moved.

Perhaps it was this that prompted my comment to Smitty that “it doesn’t seem real”. We were at the departure gate. Me on my way to Santiago, Chile, her, heading back home with Mum and Aarti.

It was the last time I’d see her for a month. It didn’t seem real. We had grown closer, much closer since getting engaged. And here we were saying goodbye.
A pause between episodes.
A mini break between a joined up life.
Sort of. Kind of.

This will be the longest period we’ve ever been apart. As Smitty might put it: “A self-imposed separation”.

Her incredible gesture at letting me go like this without putting up much resistance is so great. I’m so lucky to have finally found someone who gets it. Or rather gets me. To have a partner in crime that understands that being together and being inseperable are not necessarily the same thing….In fact they are definitely NOT the same thing! The act of loving someone enough that you can let them go, is something that fills me with enormous security and I hope I never betray it.

Back to anticipation. Thinking back. There was little time to plan what I wanted to see or decide where to go. A new job starting in August meant I had to act quickly and decisively. I found a semi-organised tour run by a company called GAP adventures. 20 ish days in South America covering all sorts of activities. It sounded like fun, so I booked. Cheap too! £500 covered the tour, the organisation, the transportation, accommodation and some meals.

Yet as I mentioned earlier, the anticipation was not there. And I have another reason why this might be. There was a plan. GAP had outlined where I would be and when I would go in a nice and neatly laid out document. It took the stress away from finding accommodation and travel. But what it also took away was the unpredictability of travel. I was, I realised, going to have to find more creative ways of getting my kicks.

Posted by Simpler 15:04 Archived in England Comments (0)

(Entries 11 - 12 of 12) « Page 1 2 [3]