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An ode to arriving

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Updated: 13th December 2021

Touchdown. Hello, Privet, Gamarjoba! It begins again…

That fleeting feeling of first setting foot in a new nation – the scents, the flavours, the unknown words, the unique culture, the stories of your life being written in real-time.

The coat hanger-level grin as you breathe in the ambience and dark-night air of what will be home for however long this journey calls you. Each light, star, and noise you’ve seen so many times before suddenly feels like the first encounter.

The sound of a passport stamp and the humdrum of a taxi forecourt. The night lights of a land you’re yet to discover dart past the bus window as the unfamiliar words of the radio echo in your mind.

Those little moments you witness as you catch eyes with your fellow passengers and try to guess their tales, gauge local fashions, explore expressions, salutations and neighbourhoods.

The half-guessed route to the hostel door, followed by the signature hellos to the faces of strangers who may end up a forever fixture in your life, or at least an unforgettable part of this chapter.

A blurry shot of Tbilisi at night, with the light and shape of the fortress and river bridge
Night lights sparkle in Tbilisi, Georgia

The first sip of beer, pomegranate wine, home-brewed liquor or spiced chai, as you meander through the maze of new streets, senses all dancing like they are high on acid. The air of the city kisses your ears with its exciting sounds.

The random conversations with a barman, mispronounced words you’ll study again later, the weary feet but buzzing mind when you finally snuggle into the blanket that’s yours for now. The night feels too good to end, but tomorrow’s blank page is on the other side of insomnia.

Nothing can compare to those first steps into the unknown, the magical, the next chapter of your myth forever being written – and I’m reminded, once again, the world is the best playground we will ever have – and it’s just outside the door of our routine.

Welcome, you’ve arrived – and what comes next is that big, beautiful unknown that keeps calling us back to the road.

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