As we said goodbye, she lifted one hand up in a half-wave, her bracelets glinting in the sun. She had beautiful silver hair that nearly reached her waist, and I remember turning around again and again to wave until I could no longer see the flash of her.
My time in South America was nearly over, my bag full of sand and souvenirs, my journal laden with nine months of memories. Like all good things, the trip had gone by too quickly, and I was left with very little time to explore Brazil. I had already spent three months in Central America, bussing from Belize to Panama and then sailing to Colombia, where I started a six month overland journey down to Brazil.
I was on the last leg of my trip when I met her.
I’ve seen Cornwall and the Isle of Skye, the Causeway Coast of Northern Ireland and the major cities of Wales. I’ve partied in Leeds, watched football in Brighton, driven around the Lake District, shopped in Newcastle, and eaten delicious food in Manchester. All in all, I’ve loved my time exploring the UK… but none of what I’ve done holds a candle to what Emma Higgins of Gotta Keep Movin’ has done.
Here, then, is my review of her travel journal A Year in the UK and Ireland… with the chance to win a copy of your own!
I can remember holding you for the first time, your tiny pink hand slowly clenching and unclenching around my finger. By the time you were walking and talking we were inseparable. When you were old enough, we’d go out on long bike rides, riding to the convenience store for Slurpees and five cent candies. We’d then whip around the neighbourhood, going as fast as we could leading up to the hill down Crescent Drive, toward the golf course. People joke that you can watch your dog run away for three days in the prairies, and we had to make the most out of every minor hill, every chance to feel the rush of wind on our faces. We’d race each other through the pathways of Wildwood Park, stopping in each playground to eat candy while sitting on the swings. We knew those streets like the back of our hands, knew every crack in the sidewalk, every low branch, every yard that had a dog that would bark as we zoomed past. When it would be time to go home, we’d cycle down South Drive slowly, seeing who could ride with our hands off of the handlebars the longest, both of us showing off.
I arrive in Osaka on a humid afternoon, my bags bulging with light grey office-wear and books by my favourite authors. I stand on the yellow footprints at immigration, waiting to be fingerprinted and photographed. I take a bus and then a taxi to my new apartment, led by an American representative of my company called Bruce. He has bleached hair and a sweat-stained polo shirt. I go to shake his hand, but he bows instead.
We walk down a long arcade filled with glowing shops, air-conditioning blasting out their automatic doors. I see rows of unfamiliar vegetables, walls of colourful stationery, a casino whose plink and plonk of slot machines resounds out into the night air. We stop at an inconspicuous building with a brown door, my new home.
The apartment’s larger than I thought it would be, although everything is steeped in brown and beige, the furniture chipped and dingy. Many people have lived here before. I pull back the sepia curtains and step out onto the balcony, looking over a sea of low buildings, the dim of lights stretching out as far as I can see. The air feels sticky, flat. It’s my first time in Asia.
I used to wear a Danish krone around my neck. It’s the perfect coin to do so, really – it has a hole in it already. I also kept a few spare kroner in my wallet in Canada, just because I liked knowing the extra weight came from those foreign coins, jangling around thousands of miles from their home.
This is a story about travelling, about falling in love, about growing up, and, ultimately, about going back to Copenhagen.
Blogstock, according to their website, is “a place for pioneering new bloggers, established veterans, vloggers, YouTubers, foodies, tech-heads, travel addicts, and social media junkies to meet, learn, experience, and party”.
I attended last year on behalf of my job at Expedia, and I had a great time attending the talks, meeting new people, and hanging out with my friends. Blogstock 2014 got rave reviews. And this year, for Blogstock 2015… I’m speaking at the festival! Keep reading to find out what I’ll be speaking about…