Amidst the unfamiliar countries and uneasiness of travel the markets are where I find a connection to the people, to the landscape. Although I have a deep and passionate relationship with food this is not why I seek out these places. It is the everyday-ness of the market that I crave.
Disconnected from family, country, home and all that is familiar the markets are a constant in our travels. The world over people grow food and make goods and sell them in a common space. The produce sold, the faces smiling back at me and the colour of the money changes but the routine is always the same. People coming together to sell food, buy supplies and socialize. Unlike the tourist I am not looking for the exotic, I am searching for the familiar.
On the remote island of Nuku Hiva in French Polynesia I would wake at 5am, before the dawn, and dinghy across the harbour to go to the Wednesday morning market. You had to get up that early, at 9 degrees south business is done before the wilting heat of the sun brings island life to a halt. After weeks of long passages and limited fresh vegetables I was excited by what might be there to buy.
We just returned from a trip to Australia-hence the silence on the blog front this past month.
At the end of August Steve was finishing up his work contract overseas and I was finishing up the time on my Fijian visa- it seemed like a perfect excuse to meet in the middle and reconnect. It had been three months since we’d seen each other so we treated ourselves to a nice hotel for our rendezvous in Melbourne. After a couple busy days in the big smoke we repacked our bags (bulging slightly after ticking a few things off our “We can buy that in Australia” list) and boarded a train north to visit family.
We had a great time catching up, then we rescued the motorbike from storage and got some serious kilometers under the tires on a three week road trip. It was another great adventure, one we both agreed could have gone on as long as we had a decent road to ride on; break downs, flat tires and all. But vacations can’t last forever, so here we are back on board adjusting to the humidity that is the pending rainy season in tropical Fiji.
I didn’t realize until we returned how much I missed the boat, how glad I would be to finally be home after weeks of being away, and how big of a void Steve’s absence had been for all those months.
Traveling has always been an exciting experience for me; I enjoy the constant movement, the changing landscape, the chance encounters and new cultures that I meet on the road. But there is nothing better than coming home, unpacking my suitcase for the last time and relaxing in the space that we created for ourselves.
Perhaps I have been spoiled by sailing these past years; after all I get to travel the world from the comfort of my own boat, no luggage to drag around or strange beds to sleep in. Or perhaps I am just getting older and prefer the comforts of home; however strange and small they might seem to others.
They say “it’s not a house, it’s a home” and that “a man’s home is his castle.” Well, I don’t own a house but I certainly feel like our boat is my home. And it surely must be a castle, because you should see the size of the moat!