The Ultimate Fictional Destination
Come with me if you dare, on a journey of fantasy and discovery. If someone offered you a trip to anywhere, at any time you chose, if there were no boundaries, barriers or borders, where would you go? In your heart of hearts what would you do? Where would you visit and how would you travel? The Ultimate Fictional Destination who would you take with you? I think what you choose says a lot about the sort of person you are. I’m setting off right now to find out who I am!
Anticipation is everything to me. I’m not the most spontaneous of people. Sometimes I wish I was but I’m not, so I have learned to live with that. I like to plan my travels meticulously. I need to know where I will be and at what time and with what documents. So the first stage of my ultimate fictional tour involves me … waiting. At my most skint I have saved for 12 months in order to afford a trip abroad and as the time to leave has come closer I have grown more excited by the day. I shop weeks in advance for the items I need and scour my itinerary daily, daydreaming about the treats to come. In the 24 hours before I head off, I get nervous and unbearably excited. I rarely sleep the night before.
On the whole I love all forms of transportation, apart from camels which are hideously uncomfortable I find. So for the first stage of my fictional destination I am going to travel by elephant. I don’t have to worry about whether I’m too tall or heavy for an elephant (I was supposed to travel by donkey once and my feet could touch the floor when I sat astride him, so that was not ideal… I took a taxi in the end) and the power beneath you is just amazing. It is great to feel at one with something as huge and gentle as a trained elephant. If you sit on an elephant’s shoulder blades you have to be able to absorb the movement in your hips, so if you’re a belly dancer you’re laughing!
The elephant will take me and my rucksack to Sinbad’s International Flying Carpet Station. Here I will hire the finest Persian rug I can afford, to fly me in complete luxury to my next destination. I would like a carpet weaved in an array of bright colours, scattered with multi-coloured cushions so that I can lounge around. I would probably fly while lying on my tummy with my head over the edge so that I could watch the world go by. I love long bus journeys sat by the window for precisely this reason, but leg room on buses and coaches is always limited and you end up with a square shaped backside, so a flying carpet it is!
I would watch avidly as we flew over the sea – searching for huge whale shapes in the water, and usually imagining I can see things I can’t. I’d try and touch the clouds to see if they are as marshmallowy as they look. I know they aren’t but oh I wish I could take a tumble off my flying carpet and bounce around on a giant vanilla marshmallow cloud. Then I’d like to swoop down low and skim the top of the mountains; dabble my fingers in the snow as I pass, maybe snatch off a mountaineer’s hat. Just for the hell of it.
Eventually when night fell I would turn over on my back, nestle amongst my cushions, and gaze up at the stars and the satellites and just wink back at them as they danced in the deep, blue heavens above me.
At my arrival point I would like to be greeted by an air conditioned Ambassador car with a slightly crazy Indian driver. The best car ride of my life was in one of these although it didn’t have any air conditioning. We opened all the windows to create some breeze in the stifling heat and ended up dusty and windblown, but it was fabulous! The slightly crazy India driver would be required to drive me safely, but crazily enough so that the adrenaline flows, to my next destination. Ideally it would be a drive of around three hours, with my rucksack tucked safely in the trunk, and a couple of stops at the really odd roadside services you get in Asian, South American and African countries. You know the kind, little more than wattle and daub and yet they serve up the most incredible tea and food. And of course you can buy crisps/chips everywhere! I love to sit and sip a glass of tea at these places and watch the landscape. Invariably there is very little traffic and your attention is drawn instead to a diverse range of insects and wildlife of which you have no prior knowledge. I tend to sit there and wonder exactly how poisonous things are, slapping at anything that settles on my revoltingly pale skin.
Now I need a toilet stop. Well hooray for the shabbiest, stinkiest hole in the floor ever, the kind which offers limited privacy and is open to the elements on a number of sides. If these didn’t exist, what sort of tales would we ever have to tell anyone? A quick photo and I can update my Facebook status. ‘I wee’d here. How brave am I?’
Back in my Ambassador car with its spongy suspension, and we’re soaring now, past villages and stray dogs. The world is full of stray dogs. I sadly send my blessings to them. I wave at all the smiling children I come across and take photos of them when we are stationary. They laugh at me. I smile back at them and we swap names. Some of them ask for a pen, some want ‘one dollar’. I tell them I wish I had one. It wouldn’t take me so long to save for my next trip then.
Finally I have arrived at my ultimate fictional destination. I am by the sea (of course, the ocean is home to my dreams) and yet I am nurtured by the luscious green of the jungle next to me. My hotel is like something straight out of a Dr Seuss book. It’s higgledy-piggledy and as tall as tall can be. Mobiles, dream catchers and wind chimes hang off it. I am, of course, in the penthouse. It’s like being in a tree house with an imaginary fourth wall so that I am refreshed by the sea breeze during the day and can hear the rustle of the trees as I lie in my bed at night. My bed is a four poster with a dozen of the softest pillows ever and the most comfortable mattress ever created. The linen is cool and crisp and the bed is hung with good quality mosquito nets with no holes in them. Ever. The room is hung with pretty, coloured fairy lights and I have the jungle as a soundtrack. Somewhere someone is playing a wooden flute.
The floor is reclaimed wood, highly polished, that creaks a little when I walk on it. A number of coloured rag rugs decorate the place. The bathroom has a gloriously clean toilet and a deep bath that two people can sit in while enjoying uninterrupted views of the landscape. There is a dumb waiter, so I can phone down to the bar and ask them to dispatch freshly squeezed smoothies, and cocktails galore whenever the fancy takes me. There is an extremely large patio area with my own private infinity pool. I like to get in and then stay as still as possible so that the water and the horizon merge into one and there is nothing else around me except blue. I lose myself, mesmerized by this magnificent state. Later, wrapped in a soft bath robe I sit on the edge of the patio and look down into the jungle
and listen to the call of the monkeys and baboons, perhaps the leopards or wild elephants too. Then I start to plan my excursions for the next few days.
I’m a firm believer in never having a holiday that is all down time. Wherever I travel I like to get out and about. I like to rise early anyway, so a trip to watch a sunrise is ideal. Maybe from a pyramid, or a Cambodian Wat. Similarly I love to watch the sunset, and my preference is definitely to see this from a temple. I adore spending time in temples and seeing them come to life as people worship, dance, sing, give thanks and make offerings. It’s incredibly special and fills my soul with joy. In the morning I like to visit markets or places of historical interest, archaeological ruins and such like. I like to avail myself of the services of a really good guide and spend time taking photos.
Then it’s home to the hotel for a light lunch, something Thai possibly, before settling down for an afternoon of reading and swimming or a trip out to watch butterflies spawning near a grove with a waterfall, where I’ll paddle my feet and have my toes nibbled by minnows.
So, that’s my ultimate fictional holiday destination. To me it sounds like an amalgamation of all the amazing places I’ve ever been and all of the wonderful things I’ve ever done, with a large dose of children’s literature! I could probably spend three weeks on this trip before I needed to go home. If that was my everyday reality I would yearn for something else. But it isn’t, so I for now, I’m just going to daydream…
Share your ultimate fictional holiday destination with me here!
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