Looking down at my feet, I have to keep reminding
myself Im wearing takeaway boxes as shoes. I curl my toes as I feel
the heat from the tarmac penetrating the not-so-durable cardboard
that protects my feet. I never thought I would find myself in the
middle of an airport clad in such footwear, in the driest heat
imaginable, waiting for a 200-seater plane to finally take me
At the ripe age of 13, I was not like most girls of
today with their nips popping out of their shirts. Rather, I had
pimples popping out from under my horrendous fringe. I remember
lying on my bed with its flannelette, mandala-print sheets,
hopelessly wondering what the world had to offer me in the future
in terms of travel.
I dreamed of sunsets over sand dunes and exploring
vast deserts on camel back, sipping champagne on terracotta
terraces and, maybe, finding love with some foreign prince charming
like in the clich chick flicks I would fill my Friday nights
When it came time to head out on my own, I soon
realised that travelling is not a blockbuster movie. I didnt have a
million-dollar budget; I wasnt surrounded by Clooneys and
DiCaprios; and to be quite frank, camels stink like shit and
champagne tastes revolting. Travelling, like the rest of life, is
just a series of good and bad moments in different places that are
defined by your attitude towards them.
Some may ask if Im qualified to make these
accusations against a multimillion dollar industry that captures
the spirit of the young and the old, and undoubtedly, I am.
So Im standing at the airport, worlds away from my
naive 13-year-old self, with takeaway boxes as shoes. This odd
predicament begins with a goat that I met at an animal wildlife
sanctuary on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. With a
few hours to fill in before my flight back home to Australia, I
figured a quick visit to a local attraction, such as the animal
sanctuary, could do no harm.
Making my way through the animal enclosures, I
noticed a figure following me from one to the next. Enter Jonathan
the goat: a small, pudgy, white-bearded creature that was fond of
my company. Parading around, we took photos, we shared a salad
sandwich and even fed the ducks together at a rather small pond
(puddle) in the middle of the property.
It came time to leave, so I went to exit the way I
came in: through a one-way turnstile activated by the ticket I
purchased upon entry. Jonathan seemed quite keen to accompany me,
and checking with the keepers, they seemed fine with....