Travelling does strange things to time. How long have we been in Barbados? It feels like we’ve been here for five minutes. How long ago were we in Martinique? It feels like we were there months ago. Was it months ago? Don’t ask about The Saintes – that was years ago. Right?
I suppose travel makes things immediate. It makes a person forget things that had seemed so important before they left. Other things – things they didn’t expect, they miss like crazy. Travelling sort of filters out the bullshit in our lives. Which I suppose is a good reason to do it.
I think I may have a peculiar trait when it come to travelling though. I didn’t think it was peculiar – until recently I realised it might be.
I don’t really get homesick. That’s it. I guess I can’t walk around home in my cozzie all day. I do like to walk around in my cozzie on Quest. Cook in my cozzie. Do some schoolwork. It’s a sturdy green cozzie from Marks and Spencer. Small but crucial bit of tummy control.
Still, when I’m home, I don’t miss Quest either. I walk around in my wet weather gear all day in the winter and I like that too. Is this peculiar? I guess it boils down to not thinking about what I don’t have.
I do know I wasn’t born this way. I had to learn it. When I was a kid, I’d spend summers at my grandparents’ houses. One set was in Poland and the other in the UK. My grandparents in the UK had a very cool thing for me – a calendar clock. It was completely manual where you had to physically change the date. My grandad had got it from his work.
I used to like to twirl the numbers and dates. They changed it to the right date everyday and I would come up behind them and tinker. Good times.
What I didn’t realise until my Grandma Ivy told me years later – was that I didn’t just randomly twirl the numbers. Apparently, I used to change the date of the calendar from the day it was – to the day I was going home. Every single day. She said it with a smile, and she was a tough British lady. The mustn’t grumble kind.
She said I never complained about being homesick when I came to stay. I’d have to stay with them for ages too because I’d come all the way from the States. But though I was amiable on the outside, I had this one crack in my armour. My grandma found it.
I wish I could turn the clock back now and have a good chat with Grandma Ivy. One full of good sense and bristling kindliness. Not sure she would approve of all this travelling we’re doing though.
Knowing her, I imagine she would probably have hoped for a bit of homesickness from me. Homesickness after all, is the string that pulls you back. The breadcrumb trail. One foot after another.