I’ve been chained to my laptop for almost two straight weeks now trying to catch up with work. But, as always, that elusive finishing post stays way out of reach. I don’t really mind that part, it means that there are lots of projects on the go and that fact in itself keeps life spicy and interesting.
But, as I type, my feet are twitchy, I catch my fingers drumming out an impatient rhythm on the table and every so often my eyes drift from the screen to gaze longingly out of the window at some undefined spot in the distance. They want to be elsewhere…places new, doing things that thrill, educate and even scare them. For two weeks I’ve done nada except write and, as much as I love writing, I feel I’m going a bit cold turkey. I crave action and adventure and I want to meet new, interesting people. I’m desperate to do things that I haven’t done before and it’s making me terribly restless.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been spoiled by new experiences whilst gathering great material for our latest website Buzz Trips as well as other travel sites; some have been little things like eating Palamós prawns in a fishermen’s hut overlooking the most beautiful of bays at Tamariu or sitting on a rock in the Picos de Europa tasting blue cheese matured in a cave.
Others have been hi-octane experiences such as free-falling from the heavens above Costa Brava and manoeuvring through a sea cave in a zodiac to reach an enclosed lagoon in an uninhabited island near Lanzarote.
Then there’s been the moments of pure luxurious decadence that I’ll probably never get to experience again; wallowing in the comfort of a suite on the Transcantábríco as it gently chugs through the Asturian countryside and having my taste-buds pleasurably assaulted over and over again with 19 courses at the world’s second best restaurant, El Celler de Can Roca in Girona.
Possibly the most memorable experiences of all have been the people I’ve met. Apart from those who share an interest in…well everything. There have been those who impressed with their passion and commitment and reminded me that there are people out there who put their altruistic objectives before themselves.
Finally there were a couple of extra special individuals, people who are blessed with a quality that draws your attention to their every word like a moth to a flame – Ferran Adriá and Antoni Pitxot. Funnily, after I’d researched Ferran Adriá, hailed by many as the world’s greatest chef, I expected someone who might be annoyingly pretentious (blasphemous words in Catalonia) – instead I found a down to earth man with an zealous passion for his art whose eyes twinkled with amusement at our attempts to ask him questions he’d never been asked (except for maybe a zillion times before). But the person who made the greatest impression was painter and close friend of Salvador Dalí, Antoni Pitxot. Antoni Pitxot is an absolute sweetheart of a man; funny, open, talented, fascinating (this is a no-no word in writing terms at the moment but I’m using it anyway) and about as instantly likeable as a person can be.
A tour through Dalì’s house at Portlligat with Antoni Pitxot narrating and throwing out anecdotes galore was one of those extra special moments in life. He performed magic and brought Dalí back to life amidst the surreal décor. It was an experience that will be difficult to top.
And that’s the thing. Having new experiences, great and small, is incredibly addictive. Once you unlock the door to that fact there’s no going back and, like any drug, you need to feed the desire on a regular basis.
It’s the reason why I could never spend a holiday simply lazing by a hotel pool. For me it is the key to what travel should be all about…even if the journey is only a few kilometres from your front door.