As I write this entry I am somewhere over the North Atlantic about 4 hours away from London on a 13 hour flight. A few bumps on the way, which is normal crossing the equator. The trip is starting to sink in, as is how lucky I am. There is a full moon out my windows and fluffy bubbly clouds below very clearly lit with the great expanse of ocean. The moonlight has cast an almost greyish silver effect and with all the cabin lights off only my computer is a source of light in the area around my seat.
My thoughts have started to drift on all the journeys I have been blessed to take over the last 15 years. I have now successfully walked on every continent on earth and many of her glorious islands. I started with absolutely nothing in my journey all those years ago and was not given a penny by family or friends. This journey and the ones before as well as the ones to come are all mine and mine alone and very much earned. Travelling has given me a perspective that I dare say could never be taught in any university in the world.
It is also very interesting that with each holiday or gap year break I have taken in my life, there is a fantastic cumulative effect. Sometimes in a quiet moment a memory of the Himalayan mountain range can be coupled with a memory in the outback of Australia and then suddenly people I have encountered flood in. Today one person in particular jumped to the front of my mind. 14 years ago I met a fantastic lad who was nicknamed “Dutchie”. He was from Holland … not too original a nickname really. I do not remember Duchie’s real name and I never saw him again after our journey, which took us to Ayers rock.
This was a time before Facebook and blogging and Hotmail was only still relatively new for many. Dutchie has been lost to memory but what a memory. We travelled from Melbourne to Alice Springs in a bus with about 35 other backpackers. One day in a camp site a few miles from Ayers Rock we found a communal swimming pool for all the campers and hotel guests at a connected lodge. All were welcome to swim there.
As we sat in the blazing Australian sun with a pool in front of us and ice cold beers in our hands, Dutchie looked over at me and said something I have never forgotten. “We are right now at this moment the richest two men in the world”.
There was a beautiful pause of understanding and I can still remember the absolute silence around us as the slow realization emerged in my mind that he was absolutely right. Here I was with a fantastic new friend that I only met a few days earlier and yet seemed as though he had been with me as my best friend all my life. Here we both sat on loungers in the middle of the Australian desert and in my field of view was the scorched red earth of the outback and yet at my feet was a clear blue pool of water. The beer was impossibly cold, as we had just purchased them 5 minutes earlier. In my memory it seems that it was just Dutchie and I in the whole of the world. We were backpackers, young and moving around Australia working to pay for more travels. Yes we were rich … and he is a beautiful person I still think of at 35000 feet after having just visited Antarctica.
Interesting because about 10 days ago I was on the bow of a ship and the most beautiful woman full of energy and love smiled at me and chatted about life and love and how she felt we were drawn to each other because we are both so full of life and joy. Her name is Michelle and she gave me many “Dutchie” moments. Now I have “Michelle” moments and this time thanks to our leaps in social media and digital connectivity we will not lose touch. And I will hold on to her.
Dutchie … if you are out there I am thinking of you … the moon is out and I am above the clouds … thank you … and you were right.