As you ascend the B-gate stairs in London’s Heathrow airport a large billboard with a slinky girl walking the gangplank into the ocean announces that
“We travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us”.
I meant to take a picture of it, but my phone had died en route so I can’t check my memory, but I think I remember thinking that the girl looked like she was about to escape life so the words did not quite match the picture. I could be mistaken as I’d just come off a flight on which I involuntarily shared my small seat with a man who kept flip flopping his fat onto my side of the arm rest amidst noises and other things that shouldn’t be let loose in a closed, confined space. Needless to say my judgment could have been be clouded.
None the less I liked the slogan and indeed, in my determination not to let life leave me too soon – either dead or alive – I have done more than my fair share of travelling this year (this life).
I love to travel, I just don’t like getting there. Planes aren’t my favourite but hey, a first-world problem that’s soon forgotten when I’m here, there or every where. Right now the odds are stacked with me as I live in the flight-centre of the world and have a job that works us near to death but rewards most generously with vacation days. Thank you Dubai and thank you teaching.
I’ve found out that the world is big, but it’s also small and the people that inhabit it are mostly lovely and all the same.
Same–same but different. Maybe the colour, the culture and the cause differ but people are people – usually with one head, two arms and a couple of legs. All have hearts and the same longing to belong while trying their utmost to make if from one end to the other of this mysterious thing we call life. I love that travelling shows up the diversity and beauty of men and women in all their many forms…but mostly in the food we eat.
Food is one of travels greatest pleasures. I’ll eat anything anywhere and am always game to try new things at any time. I cannot stand to think that I may just miss out on some astonishingly delicious culinary creation as it quietly percolates in a bent out aluminium pot over a street fire in Kapala. Or a fried egg and cabbage on a chapatti called a rolex. Or honey coated fried tarantulas in Cambodia. Or the sickly sweet Snickers cupcake only America could conjure up. And nothing beats the thrill of the three-for-one that comes with picking fresh berries in Oregon. Three for me, one for the bowl, three for me, one for the bowl… Yum! And then there’s Indian food. OMG – I close my eyes now and try to think of India. I cannot even. India cannot be contained in darkness behind the eye lids of a mere mortal. It’s too loud, too colourful, too smelly (good and bad), too vibrant, and altogether too tasty for words. Oh India, you stole my stomach and I can still smell your curries and I continuously dream of the puffed up flakiness of a poori – mouth fireworks of what tastes like a deep fried croissant disguised as perfectly puffed up deliciousness, the size of a plate and usually eaten with chick pea curry.
When I die please, please bury me in a poori.
On the opposite end of the scale, super-healthy Jordanian breakfasts take the cake. Halva cake that is. This ultra sweet mixture of tahini, pistachio nuts and honey, a melt in the mouth sensation served alongside boiled eggs, the sweetest tomatoes and cucumbers with strong black (not so nice) coffee.
And then there’s coffee. All over the world.
In my next life I want to be a coffologist. (I don’t know if that’s a real word but you know…) Ice cold coffee from a street-side hatch after a long bike ride in Vietnam is as good as the home made, Martin-move-over-Starbucks latte served in a thick hot glass, slowly sipped while savouring the exquisite view across the Puget Sound in Seattle. And please take my word for it, Ikea’s bottomless coffee is oh so satisfying too. Maybe that’s because it comes with a very agreeable price tag. Just another thumbs up for Ikea. (If you don’t already know of my love affair with this magnificent store click on blue above!)
The street side cafe’s in Sydney, the coconut ice cream of China, the freshness of the fruit in Skopje…. I could drool on and on, but the next plane awaits. It’s nearly take-off time for the Philippines and if I don’t eat myself into that afore mentioned poori, I’ll soon be back here with some more purple-words of wander. Please watch this space, I’ll be back after filling my face.