I remember once telling my mum that I didn’t want to travel. It was a cover-up. What do I mean by cover-up you ask? I think when I was younger, the things I most wanted to do also scared me to death as well and so as a way of protecting myself, I made it clear that I never wanted to them.
I have a distinct memory of standing between my mum and the front door as she searched for the house keys in her purse. It was tight because the spring screen door was pushing in on us. I was running my fingers along the doorframe and chit chatting as per usual. I said to my mum “ When I start school, I am going to come home everyday and do my homework and practice really hard.” I don’t remember my mum’s response but I’m sure it was a mixture of supportive “that’s wonderful!” with a suspicious tone of “we shall see,” because after all what child can say such silly things without ever having done two pages of math problems, or endless French verb conjugations?
Today, I see that strange snip it in my mind as my own mind protecting myself from failure at school, maybe subconsciously even at life. Truthfully though, we all grow up, we see that school or even life isn’t so scary, sometimes you fail most times you don’t.
I once said that I didn’t want to travel, but today I spend every day working out a new plan, a new strategy that can somehow get me to a new destination with a little cash in hand and time to experience new things. I know that my family and friends are only a phone call away and always eager to chat with me when I need them so what reason do I have not to go and explore this vast world of ours?
In high school, I once, maybe 3 or 4 times actually, read this book called England’s Dreaming, the history of Punk culture and music in London in the 1960s and 1970s. I became completely obsessed with the idea of London, of what it was like, and I carried my book with me everywhere, re-reading underlined passages that I liked the sound of. I had never been to the UK or even Europe but I knew I wanted to go.
This morning I woke up wrapped in a fluffy quilt in my shoebox sized Paris apartment, packed a backpack, rode the metro for 15 minutes to Gare du Nord and hopped on a train to London, England. I only planned this trip 6 days ago and the spontaneity of it all is the best part.
I am now on the train whizzing past fields, cows bunched together, secretly forecasting rain showers, as they do and little villages here and there on the way out of France. Moments ago, we zoomed into the Chunnel, the connection from France to England under water. My childish mind has always imagined the Chunnel to be like those glass walk through aquariums at Ripley’s believe it or not where you can see the aquatic life swimming around. I am sorry to report that its just a black tunnel that amplifies the whirring of the train engines for 20 minutes before it spits you out onto damp, mossy English soil. It’s okay; I’ll get over it. I am in England.