Backwards Progress

31 January 2011 Bournemouth, UK

Well that was strange.

The previous two times I’ve been in the northern hemisphere, I’ve always left via Bournemouth, where my grandparents live, for obvious reasons (family, ease of packing et cetera).

You know that feeling when you’re waving goodbye to somebody, usually family or family friends, as they drive down the street away from you? What I always used to do was wonder what they would be talking about after they had left. What would they be thinking? What would they be doing?

Well this phenomenon happened to me – backwards. That moment when the trip ends, when you turn around the corner and head to the airport, didn’t happen to me. My wondering of what those other people would be doing & thinking as they go back into their house was answered for the 1st time ever, and Christ it was weird. Usually marking the end of the trip, it has marked the opposite, putting an end to one of the few phases of my 2011.

I helped my Dad with his bags, and his only, into the worst of the small hatchbacks that we’ve rented - a 2011 Vauxhall Corsa. I wished him well and hoping that the flight back wouldn’t be as bad as the Corsa, and the service at Heathrow wouldn’t be as bad as it is 99% of its open time.

So I went back inside and wondered what to do. Instead of putting my liquids & gels into a 20cm x 20cm plastic bag, I was still in Europe, with my backpack only just recently unpacked from my time in London. I thought I’d embrace the situation and behave as anticipated; to spontaneously sling on a backpack and go somewhere.

I wanted to get in contact with, quite frankly, a friendly acquaintance, who for an unknown reason was in the UK. The opportunity was there and the whole point of the trip is to take things like that without any worry or hesitation. So I decided to contact Henry, who lives in Brighton, the bit of coast directly south of London. It’s London’s beach, apparently.

Before I even knew if I could stay at Henry’s place or not, I got my bag out and went through what was becoming very familiar; sleeping bag at the bottom, then socks & undies, then the rest rolled up and placed in at the top. Then, of course, I packed myself, and got into bed.