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.
There are some places in the world that are defined by their colours, or their lack of colours. The city of Cairo, for example, remains muted and dusty in my mind, its smells and sounds the predominant senses. Havana, on the other hand, was bursting with colour: fruit spilling out of cartons, graffitied walls, outfits of the brightest oranges and yellows and reds, and, of course, the cars. I couldn’t stop taking photos of it.
There’s a time in most adolescent lives when everything starts to change, when the things you did last week now seemed juvenile. We all become misfits for some brief, difficult years, lured by the different and the dangerous. We become obsessed with something with the zeal that only teenagers possess, purposefully ostracize ourselves from the adults in our lives. Some kids turn to music. Some kids turn to drugs and alcohol. My obsession became the world itself.
“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.”
There are probably a lot of you who are not going to click this link, and that’s okay. I understand that not everybody else shares my sick fascination with all of the weird and wonderful bugs we encounter along our travels. And while the following stories come from faraway lands, I have just as many stories from home. Hell, I just found a giant spider in my room in London last night.
Other creepy crawlies (I feel like my kindergarten teacher saying that) like snakes, rats, mice, leeches, frogs, and so on, will be saved for later stories (and yes, I do have stories about all of them, sadly). If you are offended by the killing of bugs, I suggest you stop reading now.
Here are, in no particular order and not necessarily with accompanying photographs, some of the grossest, weirdest, cutest (they exist), scariest, most annoying bugs I have ever encountered… Part One.
When my mum and I first arrived in Belize, we drove along a bumpy road for about an hour before reaching the river; once there, we caught a boat that took us deep into the jungle, near the Lamanai ruins. Somewhere along that first road our driver stopped and picked us cashew apples, or cashew fruit, which I had never seen or tried or even heard of. I guess I never stopped to think where cashews come from; I certainly didn’t imagine they grew this way, one to a fruit.