I’ve always loved travelling, I think it comes from growing up within a family that are avid travellers themselves. From a young age I’ve experienced the buzz of arriving at an airport and I’ve been immersed in a range of cultures across the world, both within and away from tourist destinations, as far back as I can remember. I love the frantic fumble in your brain to find something familiar in your surroundings, a feeling that is over run and directly challenged by the parrallel excitement of everything being different. Then there is the feeble attempt to navigate within a foreign environment, the difficulty of deciphering words that are incomprehensible to your own brain, the nervous tremor of not knowing where you are or how this new area operates.
My recent trip to Switzerland brought on all of these emotions all over again and I loved it just as much as I always have done. In fact I think I’m actually enjoying the mixed bag of terror and thrill that I get from travelling more and more as I get older. Being able to truly appreciate and narrow down my own itinerary seems to add to the entire experience for me and as soon as I arrive back home from my travels I find myself looking into the future for the next exciting adventure.
Upon arriving in Switzerland and managing to navigate from Basel airport to the train station I was filled with the tremor of the travelling bug. It was the strange allure of double decker trains and the fact that my first conversation with Swiss locals was a group of men on a stag do, a conversation in which the only word that both parties were able to understand was ‘marraige’. A conversation that left me wondering if I had just been proposed to by a local, just hours after stepping foot into the country for the first time. Laughing as I walked away, I was taken aback by the scenery rolling out ahead of me. Watching the houses pass by, with each and every one looking slightly different to the one that preceded it made for a welcome break from the mass produced estates of England, where it would be understandable to get your own house confused with that of your neighbours because there are no true differences to differentiate them. Not only this, but the broken conversations with Swiss locals, the hum of a foreign language and the giggles that come from having to read signs and use machines that don’t translate into English correctly make the entire experience more memorable and infinitely more exciting.
It is these little things that I love most about travelling, before I even get to the outings or to the true exploring of a country. I love the way that they constantly work to remind you that you’re in some kind of unknown land. I love how the little bits that push you out of your comfort zone are the very same bits that are comforting to those who live there. I love that this contrast separates you and defines you as a tourist, as a traveler or as a holiday maker, I love that this contrast is exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time. These are the real thrills of travelling for me. These are the bits that draw me back time and time again to the airport. These are the bits that pull me to a new country year in and year out…