Thursday, June 24, 2010


Travel is what makes me happy and always has done. That sounds trite and perhaps happy is the wrong word. Travel is the thing that keeps me going; it's like fuel. Getting on a plane, arriving somewhere and roaming, discovering new things, just sitting and feeling the atmosphere of a place. Once you know what a place is like, no one can take that away from you. Whatever kind of life slump I've ever been in travelling has pulled me out of it.

When I flew home from India I met some English travellers at Mumbai airport. They were the first non Indians I'd seen apart from our group of friends since boarding the plane at Heathrow on the way over, so that removed my usual social reserve and I got chatting to them. I learned that some of them had been roaming the world for two years.

Classic remark: "I've been wearing these shorts for two years, I just wash 'em in the sea about once a month. You gotta skank 'em out."

Apart from being incredibly deeply tanned and incredibly chilled out, they had a sense of ease not just with each other, but with everyone. I wondered what the boy with the shorts had been like before he left on his two year trip. Another guy had been in the Himalayas for 6 months, staying in villagers' homes. The usual barriers between two English people were dissolved and we passed the time on the plane together like old friends.


Some good friends have also been roaming the world lately. One, I will see next week and I intend to wring out as much as I can glean and vicariously live every story he has to tell about all the places he's been in the last 6 months or so. Another friend is about two months into the most amazing adventure and she's even managed to regularly update a travel blog with beautiful pictures and posts from remote islands and mountains. I have found myself searching "aesthetically pleasing backpacks" a few times after checking in there. It really makes me think, when I'm so excited about others' travels whether I could do it. I travel: I go and visit friends in Europe, spend time in Paris, I love doing that but you can't do it constantly (well I can't). But to put everything you need for a year into a backpack and just go - not knowing how long for or even exactly where - just to discover the parts of the world you haven't yet seen...

Where would you start?

{photo: Greg Kadel}


Lizzy said...

some of the nicest people i've ever spoken to i met on random airplane journeys and in airports, its really refreshing to find friendly people. I'd love to pack my life away and travel around the world. great post :) x

Anonymous said...

I have to admit I would not have the courage to leave everything and be away for years. Maybe I would start with India, at least one has a shock right away from the start.
As I'm going to Stockholm in a few days, do you have any tips for me?
Thanks for sharing!


Mia's sister

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

Hello Mia's sister! It's good to hear from you... Oh yes, in Stockholm there is Skansen, which I'm sure you've heard of. We didn't have time to go there - you need a whole day I'm told. And what would be amazing this time of year is to be on the water - take a boat out into the archipelago and stop off at some islands, go for a swim etc. And in Stockholm there are some restaurants that are old beer halls I think - but very simple, original decor and amazing food. We went to Pelikan in Ostermalm but there is another one...can't think of anything else, anyone who knows Stockholm better than me feel free...I'm sure you'll have a lovely time going in midsummer! x

Anonymous said...

eeee, but what would you do with the cat if you went trooping off around the world for a year or two?

Tory said...

Totally agree. I think you should do it. Wherever you want to go, just go. Doesn't have to be a 2-year affair, just something to appease your wanderlust for a while. Sounds like you're starting with Paris next month. Jalouse! I'm flirting with the idea of moving back there this fall or winter... want to come?

If Jane said...

oh argentina, japan, ivory coast & south africa....anyone and all of them! (and of course a week stop over in paris...;))

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

Anon - Hmm, I don't know. I do have a very lovely neighbour who looks after her better than I do when I go away. But I don't know if she'd be up for full on fostering - though Lola would probably prefer to live with her as she'd get brushed and massaged daily!

Tory - Yes I do want to come!

If Jane - Japan would be my starting point too...

Anonymous said...

here's my list:

claire said...

I traveled round Argentina on my own for 6 weeks last year - I'd never been 'traveling' before, let alone on my own (beyond the odd weekend break) - and absolutely loved it. I can wholeheartedly recommend Argentina as a safe, friendly place for a single girl. The landscape is just stunning and the food incredible.

Lowe Alpine make the most aesthetically pleasing backpacks imo though in the end I borrowed my friend's skanky old one and it was perfect.

ashley said...

I have the exact same feelings about travelling. i always need a little trip planned to keep the day to day a bit more blissful.
my big dreams of travels include:

oh travel dreams...