“If you think adventure is dangerous try routine, it is lethal.”
– Paulo Coelho
It’s been 20 years since I travelled abroad. From a UK perspective, Abergavenny doesn’t count. I’m a fair way through life, and though I haven’t travelled much, I have been far. It was exciting, humiliating, intoxicating, terrifying, expensive and, as I emphatically decided, the very last time I’d get on a plane.
With my passport long since out-of-date, I relaxed in the knowledge I’d never do anything so petrifying as visit another country again.
But time has trotted on. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life being scared of everyone and everything. And I also don’t want to be the reason my partner doesn’t get to see the world. Or risk him going off to see it and forget to come back. So I applied to renew my passport. Unfortunately, it was processed at speed and arrived back before I got chance to say ‘must’ve got lost in the post’.
So whilst I wait out the next 10 years until its expiration, I’m visiting the idea of actually using this little burgundy book. Only, I have a couple of itsy bitsy questions…….
- How does one go about arranging to travel abroad these days? Because the other day I was feeling brave and Googled ‘flights and hotels’ and was presented with 7984 foreign cities to make a fool of myself in only I didn’t know where most of them were so I picked one I’d heard of and couldn’t work out what all the airport codes meant giving me no clue as to where I’d have to be to get on the plane or where it would spit us out assuming we got there alive and how do I know what I can and can’t take because I know there are really strict rules and how big can your suitcase be anyway and does the price shown mean for the two of us because I said there were two of us or is that each and why did the cost treble when I said I would indeed like to take a bag onto the plane otherwise I’d have nowhere to keep my lucky coins even though I don’t think they’re that lucky as I had them with me when I lost my job the week before Christmas and that didn’t feel very lucky at all.
- If you’ve already been frisked at Heathrow airport, is that a once-in-a-lifetime thing? Will I have to stand on a platform again, or was that Security Officer specific degradation?
- What should I do if I chose to book at a Travel Agents and find myself overwhelmed by the process? Would a display of violent behaviour be totally inappropriate? Handing over all my hard-earned cash to someone whose sole purpose is to put me on a plane; that’s likely to make me antsy.
- Are cabin crew fluent in many languages, and therefore able to translate my snotty, tear-choked gurgle as ‘More gin please’?
- Will Europe hate me because I’m from the UK?
- Are airport cafe prices like motorway service station prices? Making you wish you’d packed your own sandwiches and how can they justify £27 for a small coffee and a wafer biscuit.
- Do airports have cafes?
- Is there ANY chance I could get on the wrong plane? Because if someone’s going to do that, it’ll be me.
- As someone who takes five types of footwear for four days’ camping, is there an Excess Shoe Allowance one can pay for?
- Should I properly actually really do this?
So. Like I said. Just one or two little points I’d be keen to go over first.
Otherwise I’m good to go.
For anyone who enjoys a travel blog and can’t possibly wait for me to get my act together, leave these shores, cause an international incident and then write about it, you may be interested in the following. These journeys, stories and photos have all conspired to inspire me, giving me a gentle nudge towards new adventures of my own;
Peggy lives in Australia, but it seems there isn’t a corner of the world she hasn’t visited. Peggy’s travels with her husband are currently taking them through West Africa, and she is keeping us updated as and when the internet allows. This is Adventure with a capital ‘A’! This recent post caught my eye, showing the colour and beauty of some of the larger properties along their route, but dip in further as they also meet with villagers in more humble dwellings and experience a community spirit that some of our world has sadly lost.
Rachel and her husband have just returned from India. A year of travelling which was a true spiritual and cultural journey, also taking in some of Asia’s other countries. Continuing to live a simpler life on their barge back in the UK, Rachel is putting together a book of their travels. I loved reading about each leg of their journey. All the senses were involved as we learnt not only of the locals, but what they wore, ate, their habits and manners, the sounds, the wildlife. This post includes many of those elements; Christmas last year.
I follow Heide because her photographs are just stunning. Always very evocative and atmospheric. And she puts her talent to good use, bringing us images from her travels. On the Centenary of the end of the First World War, Heide shared this extraordinary piece about a quarry in France where fighting soldiers would take refuge. A poignant tribute and something I’m sure I would never have known about if Heide hadn’t brought this tale to us.
So, if you have itchy feet, I hope this post has offered some inspiration. If not, your pharmacist could probably recommend a good topical lotion. Although a light-hearted jab at my stupid zero-rated courage, there is a serious amount of cold sweat forming here. Receiving comments is not something I take for granted, always delighted that anyone bothers. But although an obvious place for it, I will probably have a meltdown if anyone regales any travel tales of woe. That is what I’m here for. You have your own blogs on which to write about the time you nearly died from tripping up on the steps of those ancient ruins. I totally defend my right to hold the monopoly on travelling mishaps here. I have a whole section on The Lockwood Echo dedicated to it and I will not hand that crown over without a fight. That was a very wordy way of saying;
‘Please don’t say anything which will make me more scared than I already am!’