You see, there’s a small part of me that feels like I may have missed the rite of passage portion of my angsty, chain toting gothic teen years - all because I didn’t take a gap year to go traveling.
This afternoon, on a rustic white wooden sail boat bound for Ilha Grande from Agra, we lounged around with about twenty other optimistic (& slightly sunburned) travelers. As Ian and I park our pasty white derrieres in the shade at the nose of the boat, we gaze ahead in utter awe as we set sail into what feels like an endless ocean of islands, and then I observe how interesting it can be see the ways in which other people pass time.
The ‘Young Set’ (let’s call them that, because I saw it in a 70’s fondue recipe book while I was packing & it’s stuck in my head ever since!) So, other than us and another couple around our age, the boat is pretty much made up of ‘The Young Set’ on their gap years. A group of 18 year old girls coalesce in the centre of the boat and proceed to preen each other like monkeys for the next hour completely oblivious with headphones jammed in their ears, so irreverent about being in the midst of the most beautiful surroundings I have seen in all my life.
Then it suddenly occurs to me - I am so pleased I am not on a gap year.
Like good wine, there are some things best saved for a more mature palette and I feel that this might just be one of them. As we sail out to an island untouched by motor vehicles or ATM’s, I am basking in the shade, and the dawning realisation that only after ten years of studying and working in London is this experience so incredibly blissful and inspiring. Freedom from the constraints of the modern times we live, which until just three days ago appeared so integral to our existence (err she says while typing into her MacBook pro lol, hey, I can’t go complete cold turkey!)
But tonight as the teen gap yar girls tuck into their hostel bunks after cheap cachaça and a snog with José, I’ll be settling into our ‘Pousada’ filled with grilled calamari and king prawns, thinking thank god I had the chance to experience this now, for what was always a regret has now revealed itself as something that the ‘me’ from ten years ago would not have been capable of appreciating.
- By Cass