I hate to be a cliché and to fall into an unoriginal, predictable mould but whenever I am asked which of my world ventures I have found the most spine-tingling and which journey cast the greatest “was I really there” shadow, I have never needed more than a moment’s reflection.
I once thought there could be no answer other than the first time I stepped off the train in Manhattan, armed with my first pay packet, sandwiched between skyscrapers, knowing I had finally arrived in New York City, a destination I had always dreamed of.
The Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia, in all its lucent splendour will always remain a serious contender for the title. And more recently, the confetti-like layers of fragrant cherry blossoms, as they retired for the season, harmoniously layered on the soils of Tokyo’s tranquil gardens left a genuine and un-exaggerated longing to return to a country within just moments of arriving home.
It was our honeymoon though, our off the beaten track luxury safari in Tanzania followed by a week of proud and unashamed laziness on the beaches of Zanzibar, that harbours the most treasured and intangible memories of all. The details are crisp in my mind and yet a tiny corner of me still struggles to truly believe we were there.
Did we really have to crouch to get into a miniscule plane that landed in a dirt track somewhere in the vast expanses of Selous Game Reserve? Did we genuinely come face to face with a giant hippo on land that had seemingly just been in a fight? Was the sand genuinely so white? Did I really stack my breakfast plate with passion fruit halves that were larger the size of my fist and play Scrabble on a sun lounger with my new husband whilst listening to the soothing sound of the waves?