The way I’ve travelled has evolved over the years. In the beginning, when I first strapped my backpack to my back and took off around Europe, I moved quickly, barely getting to know one city before hopping on a train to the next. While sometimes that is the most efficient way to see a lot in a short period of time, I don’t like to travel that way anymore. I prefer, at the minimum, a few days in each place, and to visit at least a few places per country. Of course, it doesn’t always work out that way – I recently only had time for four days in Italy, for example – but, in an ideal world, I would be able to travel slowly. Over the years of adapting a slower style of travelling, then, there have been a few places that have just completely captivated me, or, perhaps, captured me.
The sun was shy during my stay in Paraty. One moment it would come out, round and inviting, turning the waves blue and the sand yellow. Just as your skin would warm, it would retreat, the ocean turning a black snarling thing again, the sand gritty and brown. Still I liked this place a lot, liked its charm and its maze of cobbled roads. I found a group of backpackers I had met in Rio and we sat on the beach come rain or shine. We drank sweating cans of beer and threw our barbecue scraps to the stray dogs who’d scratch and whine, driven crazy by the wafts of meat.
“Captain?” I tried to make my whisper heard above the ocean’s many sighs and groans. He stirred, his eyes finally opening. He was seasick, too. When the captain’s seasick, you know it’s bad. “I think we’ve changed speeds.”
He came on deck to check the dials.
“Yes, we did, thank you for waking me,” he yawned once, stretching his arms out over his head. “We’re just sailing into a squall.”
The last time I saw you, you were waving, grinning, the vision of you on a motorbike disappearing over one last hill. We had spent a week on a motorbike together, sharing the road with rusty trucks and elephants. I’d grip your waist, squeeze on one side or the other to direct you. We got lost, every day, and I had never had so much fun doing so.
I met you on one of my first days on the island, under the thatched roof of a bar that served alcohol in buckets. You were ten years older than me, your laugh lines defined, your smile the kind that lit up your face, lit up mine. My hair was so long I could almost sit on it, and you placed one flower behind my ear, my left ear.
“No, no,” I laughed, taking the flower from my left and placing it behind my right. “I’m single. Single women wear flowers behind their right ears.”
Ilha Grande, Brazil I’d replay the evening if I could. It was one of those muggy nights in South America, when the stars hung low and the moon cast its magic across…
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia The lovely Oneika the Traveller recently did a post about the 5 places she’s never been to and why she’d like to visit them one day. I thought this was…