Carol’s Wedding was wonderful. An intimate group of 50 people were gathered at the lodges in the Highlands, and I was honoured to be one of them. It had been a while since I had travelled to the countryside, the air was so clean and fresh – I’d forgotten what an atmosphere without smog was like. The food was prepared by a local catering company that specialised in Scottish dishes, the fish was fresh and the beef was a deep red – my soul felt enriched by the whole experience.
Taking a break from the dancing at the party, I had a chance to talk to Carol’s Aunty, a proud Scottish woman of at least 80 years. Her knees had given in, so she was content in watching the merriment from the sidelines. We talked about her memories of Carol as a child and discussed the excitement she had for her niece starting a new phase of her life. Aunty May insisted that times of great change were the best of times for a person. When the world around them shifts, intentionally or not, a person must learn to adapt and thrive in a new situation.
As we watched the ecstatic couple twirl around the dance floor, I thought about my own changing situation. In a day’s time I would be in another country, surrounded by strangers and with no plan. That’s what scared me the most; not the alien environment or foreign languages, but the prospect of having no game plan – just free time.
Although I would have been fine with taking the train down to Liverpool (First class travel is always so hard to resist), I was fortunate enough to run into some old course mates at the Wedding who were on their way back to Liverpool themselves. Sophia and James were a couple that had been together since our time spent at University.
We took our time driving back down South, hitting the scenic roads and stopping off along the way. It had been years since we’d had the chance to properly talk to each other and a lot had changed. On the way down they suggested eating at the Airport before I left to toast the start of my adventure, which sounded like a grand idea. I made sure to quickly book a space for Liverpool John Lennon airport parking, not wanting to sting my gracious drivers with an unexpected charge.
I must have fallen asleep, because when I opened my eyes we were pulling into the Airport Car Park. As they helped me with my bags, Sophia and James happily discussed all the possibilities that were out there awaiting me. During our meal, they mused over the plethora of different people I would meet from different cultures and joked about romantic meet cutes. When I asked if they would ever consider taking a similar trip, they laughed off the suggestion – their adventure together was enough for them.
Leaving them at departures, I left them at the security gates waving me off. I had successfully eased myself in to the notion of travelling the world. The memory of London was slowly fading in my mind, and the anticipation of starting my own adventure was firmly in its place.
Are you sitting comfortably?