It’s been eight months since I woke early on a Sunday late last June. Eight months since I uploaded a post on here and eight months’ worth of travel entries in my journal.
I began in Toronto, Canada, and ended in Bogotá, Colombia. It has been an amazing, enlightening, unpredictable, madcap adventure that has left me with no regrets and a heart full of memories.
Clawing my eyes open, I remember why I’m awake at this godforsaken hour – I’m flying to live and work in Canada today. Flinging the covers back, I dress in record time and am soon being driven to Gatwick airport by my mum and sister.
Arriving at the terminal together, we stand there awkwardly, not sure how to say goodbye. It feels like any other goodbye we’ve made, only this time I’ll be gone indefinitely. Gradually, we settle for hugs all around and several repeats of “Stay safe!” from my mum before I chase down my gate. Although I didn’t need to panic since my eight hour flight was delayed. And, when we eventually set off, I realise too late that I’m trapped in my window seat by two well-fed travellers and with a broken TV screen to boot.
So landing into Toronto airport, with a bladder fit to burst, I blearily head for customs where I’m led to a separate room to get my work visa. I’m called forward by a cheery man in a booth, who questions me about my proof of funds and insurance. Satisfied by my answers, he tells me to sit and five minutes later I have a two year visa for Canada, despite only buying one (extortionate) year’s worth of travel insurance.
Passing customs, I pick up my gigantic suitcase, the Beast, and meander down to the subway. Asking a cleaner how to buy a ticket, he just looks at me and says, “You’re already pass the barriers”. I smile – free ride on the subway it is. After deciphering the overhead announcements, I jump off at my stop (I say jump, I had the Beast with me so it was more a stumble and drag) and surface from the underground to catch the remains of the Toronto Pride weekend, a mixture of glitter, streamers and smudged transvestite make-up.
Figuring out where west and east was, I turn up at the HI Hostel. Suddenly, with no need to run anywhere, I feel apprehensive being on my own and very conscious of my non-existent plans. The feeling overwhelms me. After typing a hectic email to my mum and some old-fashion socialising, I realise the trick is to take it one step at a time – which is what I did.
Photo credit to the brilliant comic, rubyetc.