This story starts on the 2nd of October 2019.
Let’s kick off the travel blog!
Please forgive me for the initial lack of detail on my first few travel entries. I’d been excited for weeks leading up to this day, mesmerised by the concept of leaving home. I didn’t take enough time to record my thoughts at first, and now — almost a year later — I’ve forgotten parts. There’s that sieve of a memory I mentioned earlier. I’ve tried to fill in the blanks, to add comments and reflections where necessary. Here goes nothing.
I awake in my room and realise: I won’t wake up here again for a long time
I meet my friends at the fantastic Unthank Kitchen for a send-off breakfast. We reminisce over some of our favourite times together, all joining in to throw our anecdotes into the conversational highlight reel. It’s a very British thing to struggle knowing what to say when someone is leaving — to laugh away tension, to throw around platitudes. I know I’ll miss them, though. I drive off smiling, watching them in the wing-mirror as they wave and shout.
Today was the last day I’ll see my family for a fair while, too. I feel a bittersweet blend of sadness and joy; excited, but sentimental. Everything is intensified, as it often is on the threshold of a sudden change in your life.
Once back home I say goodbye to my dad, mum, brother, sister — everyone. It’ll be the longest period of my life I’d spent away from them. Emotions running high. Mum drops me off at the station to catch the megabus to London, waves me off.
I make my way to Pinner and meet S before heading to meet up with other friends at the pub. We ordered pints and pitchers, chatting the night away without a care in the world.
Suddenly, S cuts through the laughter with an uncertain voice:
Why does my ticket say that we were supposed to fly tonight, and not tomorrow?
Everyone stops and looks at us, dumbfounded. I asked him if he was joking — no, I was certain he was joking — until I read the confirmation email on his phone. We’d genuinely booked the wrong dates for our flight.
We were supposed to be on the plane as we were speaking.
All you can do in a situation like this is laugh at yourself — and laugh we did, a lot, alongside everyone else. We were lucky enough to be able to quickly book a new flight for tomorrow, the 3rd of October, for £300. Truthfully, it could’ve been so much worse: last-minute flights could’ve been priced sky-high.
Regardless, this doesn’t bode well for the rest of our adventures…
Our spirits took a bit of a beating; S and I felt like complete knobs. I try to not to let it hamper my last night with K. Altogether a hectic ‘first’ day, which preceded some incredible months of travel.