Two weeks ago, I turned 30 – Boo. I don’t know why exactly I wrote ‘boo’, it just so happened that I could not have had a better day if I tried, having spent it in Ho Chi Minh City. But for one reason or another, the word thirty has a slight negative connotation, when applied to me.
It’s funny how words can have such different meanings when combined with circumstance or even sound. Take the word ‘beetle’ for instance. If I hear this word today, although spelt differently, I automatically think of four young men in suits, with screaming girls fainting in the crowd. You wouldn’t want to be a beetle (the bug), any time after 1960 – the poor insect has played second fiddle to ‘Love me do’ ever since.
Then there are words like ‘travel’ or ‘plane’. Put them next to “the red-eye flight” or “work presentation” and you’ll have a slightly harder time selling it. But combine the same words with “holiday” or “sightseeing” and everything changes.
I relish in the prospect of a holiday, the really long ones that last four weeks or more, in far-off places that seem to belong in exotic novels. With fragrances, sounds and tastes that are out of this world. These experiences have the power to change a day of the week such as Monday, from ‘blue’, to “What day is it today?”, when all you have to worry about, the majority of the time, is where you’re sleeping, what you’re eating and the sights you’re seeing that day (and perhaps remembering the insect repellant every few hours).
Although I sometimes find it challenging, I absolutely love the culture shock, the history overload and general exquisiteness of a place so different, that every moment seems like an adventure.
So long as the words ‘ash’ and ‘cloud’ are long forgotten by the time we head home, I’ll be happy. Funny – It’s only been 15 months since we were stuck in Rome with the last ash cloud.
Déjà vu… Now there’s two words that are just plain eerie.