Travel: Living and breathing it.

"Memories like this are timeless." - Our Editor in Utopia

Travel can be a time of absorption. Just last year I was churning out articles for the national and international press. As the autumn leaves began to fall in Western Europe my recurrent thirst for travel and adventure swept me off my feet: paradise was beckoning (as were international projects overseas) and before I knew it I was on a plane jetting off into the sunrise, yes, that’s right- not the sunset quite yet. First stop: 日本. I was off to the land of the rising sun. I have in fact been busy traversing two continents, Asia and Australasia for the past four months, returning briefly to a western winter wonderland before heading back to the tropics: yes, I admit it: I’m officially addicted… Who wouldn’t be? To me, though, the places merely act as a mere backdrop for the company and experiences – it’s about the people with whom you surround yourself on your journey and the beautiful lessons you learn each day. From adventure to relaxation, from work to play, from sleeping under the stars to dining at the finest of restaurants, I have savoured each and every moment.

A poignant moment for me was in fact at Manila airport. Call it a moment of reflection, if you like. I had been travelling for three and a half months and was on my way to Singapore for a week before heading back to London. Saying goodbye to my myriad of new friends at Manila International, who had become my pseudo-family there, I headed through security at the airport. Then, I did something I have not been known to ever do in the middle of a fast-moving security queue. I stopped, stunned with a rush of thoughts hitting me like a tidal wave as my brain registered the places, experiences, conversations and moving moments for me on my trip. A delayed reaction, perhaps. The strangest thing was that I didn’t even realise I was doing it at the time, until my brain surged back to reality and I woke up from the unexpected trance: I was holding up the queue in my paralysed moment of distant absorption and imagination. No, rest assured: I hadn’t been taking narcotics (!) Rather, I was hit by a deeper meaning and appreciation of life, infused with the rush of aviation, having taken over 12 flights, travelling over 35,000 miles. My memory bank was storing each experience, flashbacks thrashing me like a digital camera on burst mode.

I can only say that, Australasia aside, Asia alone taught me a great deal – the people who touched my hearts have quite simply made my heart grow with love for the entire world, enlightening my soul in the process to shed a new light and perspective on what life, survival and people’s values really are or indeed should be about. The true meaning of peace, positivity and calm in any given environment, even in the most urban of settings has taken on an even stronger meaning in my own life. These four months alone have genuinely changed me and I embrace that. The wonderful thing about travel in all its glory is that experiences will always be unique to the traveller, no matter where one goes or what one sees. Subjective perception differs from person to person anyway, but then so does culture and environment. Throw into the mix a tonne of people, places and foreign languages all of which are constantly evolving and you are left with a cocktail of inevitable enchantment on your voyage. But one thing is for sure: memories like this are timeless. And observation and reflection are priceless.

 

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