Saturday, November 3, 2012

Planes, trains and high hopes...

I never would have hitchhiked to Birmingham
If it hadn't been for love
I never would have caught the train to Louisiana
If it hadn't been for love

Listening to British songstress Adele belt out this wonderful soul piece today, I felt a pang of sympathy for a fellow traveller, carrying their heart on their sleeve.

In my time I’ve jumped on a 16-hour train from Slovenia to Amsterdam, I’ve caught the overnight bus from Edinburgh to London, I've accepted a date made on a flight from Paris, I’ve hit the highway from home and I’ve boarded a last minute flight to Melbourne. That was actually to see someone I lived in the same city with, but the chance of seeing him in a new setting was too great to pass up.

These aren’t surprise visits, my lovers are in on the planning, and sharing that expectation as the kilometres disappear between you is exquisite. Believe it or not some of these adventures happened in the days when mobile phone usage was uncommon, since the mobile has become so ubiquitous though it adds to the fun. Sending each other messages as you get closer builds the anticipation, until you find yourself outside the hotel door, taking deep breaths in a futile attempt to steady your racing pulse before you knock and announce your arrival.

Everything on the journey has meaning. One time, I had an unexpected attack of nerves, not knowing if I was doing the right thing. Just at the point when I could have drawn back and turned the course of events my iPod decided to step in and play me Duran Duran’s Save a Prayer. “Don’t say a prayer for me now, save it till the morning after,” Simon le Bon commanded me. “Oh you are so not helping right now Simon,” I shot back, then laughed at myself and continued on my way.

I’ll be honest, some of the time my inevitable departure is to a soundtrack of a very different tenor, mournful songs now joining me on my travels. More often than not there’s a bruised heart stowed in my overnight case, nestling next to my toothbrush. Unfortunately it can become part of the baggage that takes me time to put away.

But just like the blue suitcase that has been sitting on my lounge room floor since I came home from a Yarra Valley wedding two weeks ago (I tend to just grab what I need out of it until it’s empty), eventually everything goes back to its rightful place.

And then my imagination starts wandering again and it’s only a matter of time before I’m back on the road, maybe even on another adventure that will see me with a companion matching their steps to mine.

So pass me that train timetable and wish me bon voyage! 

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