Last night, I counted the countries I’ve visited. 29 – now including Colombia. So I’ve decided I can call myself a seasoned traveller without conceit or exaggeration.
But being a tourist? Not my bag.
I used to describe myself as a lazy tourist but this trip has changed my mind. I’m just not one at all. A country’s monuments are important I know. But if there’s a 70 minute queue to take a look at it, I’ll give it a swerve thanks. Natural phenomenon is worth experiencing but if, when you arrive, you’re swamped in a soup of selfie stick wielding humans, I’ll think twice about gifting it my day.
If there is something I’m desperate to see, my strategy is always to be earliest. This works at the Auckland Zoo every time, but shit this world is populated.
So what do I do instead? I walk and I watch. I dance and I laugh. I eat and I flirt. Just like home I guess – but nothing like home at all.
I’ve been spontaneously involved in all kinds of adventures thanks to this strategy: sitting with the bridal couple in Kashmir for the afternoon’s celebration (and being in half their photos) ; staying with a family in a stone hut in Turkey, sharing their olives for breakfast… there’ll be plenty to remember on my death-bed.
We are presently staying at my favourite hotel yet on this trip inside the old city of Cartagena. The night we arrived we walked to and around the wall to take in the legendary sunset. It was apricot and perfect. But, as usual, the best bit for me was the human behaviour in front of it.