Monday, 8:16am GMT

Sitting in Gatwick Airport, waiting for flight information to flick up on this board in front of where I’m sitting. It’s odd, it says that it’s delayed to leave at the time it’s supposed to leave… I dunno what that’s about. I guess I’ll find out at the gates.

I had a nice long chat with a guy called Pete. He seemed to be a well-versed traveler. Talking to him calmed my nerves a little. It reminded me that people do what I’m about to do every time – all the time. Peter was telling me all about his trips around Europe and about a chef who lives and works in Cyprus. Apparently the chef is from the Republic of Ireland and wants to work in a restaurant in London somewhere having worked with a lot of “top” people in the world. Being from the ROI though, he’s not allowed a British passport and so he can’t work in the place he wants to.

Peter told me that this chef has a rich mother-in-law who is essentially his ticket to working in London. He said that this chef is waiting for her to die so that he can claim his money. I didn’t fully know what to make of all that but Peter seemed nice enough. He’s off to Funchal now, I think. It was good to meet him and I hope he has a good holiday.

Monday, 10:55am GMT (probably)

I’m settled on the plane and we are in the air. I sort of just breezed through the airport with full presence and not a lot of actual thought. It worked well enough though I’m sure I’ll need to think more in the Mexican airports. I think we’re flying over the edge of England at the moment. Goodbye for now England! And hello Mexico!

I’m sat next to a nice family and the flight is smooth thus far. Not 100% about Thomas Cook’s idea of “free in-flight entertainment”. Three movies and random episodes of random shows. Oh well! I guess I should probably be sleeping anyway, rather than watching films. That said, it’s an eleven hour flight (now confirmed) so perhaps I’ll cave later on and buy the “premium” bundle for the in-flight entertainment. We’ll see. We are a captive audience after all… Clever, Thomas Cook, clever.

Monday, Between 1:00pm and 3:00pm local time

I’ve spent a long while on here sleeping. That’s helped to pass the time. Neck pillow, big headphones, eye mask. Sleep was had and I’m not entirely shattered which is good news. I’ve been told by someone that I met at the airport that he was told by a flight attendant that there was not long to go. She told him that it would be about two hours until we land. The [flight tracker] machine thing still reckons we’ve got the best part of four hours left though… I haven’t got a clue. This day is so long. I don’t even- To be honest, not knowing might be helping my nerves a bit.

We were given customs forms and immigration forms. I’m nervous about that. Plagued by Hollywood notions of stop and search, I guess. I imagine it’ll be fine but I am anxious about my medicine – namely my typhoid vaccine pill that I’m yet to take – and also my crystals. I don’t think the airport people will cause a fuss but the uncertainty is on my mind. Also, the forms requested a specified length of stay in Mexico. What I think I’ll need to do is visit a desk of some description, find someone who speaks English – which hopefully won’t be too difficult here – and then explain that I want to stay for as long as possible. Fingers crossed.

The form also asks if I’m bringing any soil with me… Soil?! Does the dirt on my shoes count? And it asks if I’m bringing “merchanise” other than what’s inside my personal baggage… Do biscuits and bottled water count? I checked my shoes and they’re less dirty now. I checked the “no soil” boxon the form though I still need to confirm the merch and crystal/medication situation.

Pfff… I’ll be glad when I get to Rosa and I can hug her and crawl into a proper bed – PROPER BED – not a utility room floor in a sleeping bag on a yoga mat… Not an airplane chair with all of about three subtly different options for positioning myself. I need to eat too, I’ve been eating chocolate digestives to keep me going but we both know that’s not a meal. I’ma dose up on caffeine as soon as I get into the next airport… And find somewhere to eat a full meal…

Oooo… I just saw on the map that we’ll be flying directly over Orlando! That’s cool! I’ll give a figurative wave to Universal Studios and whereall the YouTubers were enjoying Playlist Live recently. We’ve already flown by Halifax (Must be a joke name, can’t be real) and Boston and Manana Island which is where part of my second novel was set in a post-apocalyptic future – only a small part, but still… And we’ve also skimmed Nyew Yawak (New York – lol). In fact, right now, we’re in line with Washington D.C, where the big boys play with big toys. I’ll be waving to the pirates of yonder years when we pass Nassau as well, though we’ll not be so close to it.

I’m going to be keeping this book in my hands at all time to ensure I’m able to tell anybody that tries to talk to me in Spanish, “No hablo Español.” Which I’m pretty sure means, “I don’t speak Spanish.” and then, if it seems really important, “Tu hablas Ingles?” Which translates to, “Do you speak English?” At least the world “no” is the same in both languages… I think I need to get my ‘Citizen of the World’ on and be like “Dis ma home too, don’t cha know?!” but in a less bulbous way of course. I guess I’ll see how it all goes! Time for a deep breath. Time to trust in the flow to get me where I need to be and want to go.

Monday, 8:02pm GMT

I turned my phone on to charge it with the little USB ports they have in the in-flight entertainment things an it’s still on England time which is fun! We’ve got an hour left until we land in Cancun now. I’m feeling tired. I hope I’ll be able to stay awake in the airport. My number one mission: Get baggage, square any confusion, get things sorted with customs then re-check my bags and hunt down some CAFFEINE.

I hope I don’t have to leave anything behind here. In theory, I won’t have to. there shouldn’t be any real reason for there to be any issues buuuut I’ll trust in the flow and see how it turns out. Literally one hours now… Ahhh! I wanna just be there and be with Rosa!

Some guy was looking for a Biro pen just now, for his forms. I worry about this sort of stuff a lot. Never done this before. Hoping this pen is okay. There doesn’t seem to be a note anywhere which specifies to use Biro… It does say to use pen and I did so, it should be good. If not, I’ll find another form and re-do it. Exhale.

When I turned my phone on, I intended to look through my photos of Rosa to reinstate my conviction and adventurous attitude. It worked… A little… I guess that six/seven months in a 6ft by 6ft rooms affecting me.Well, that and the fact that my sense of adventure usually thrives in the forest, England or somewhere a little more familiar and a little less unpredictable. Once I get to the airport and I’m all sorted, I think I’ll find somewhere with WIFI and try and watch some FunForLouis. That will remind me that travel – even alone – can be fun. Well, I’ve learned something about myself so far, I’m a nervous individual.

On a side-note, we’re just passing Havanna now and have about forty-eight minutes until landing in Cancun.

Monday, 18:18pm local time

I’m here! I’m finally here! It took like an hour to get to where I am now – in the “Guacamole Grill” in Cancun’s airport. I went to try and check-in but it turns out four/five hours early for a flight is too early… Makes sense really…

My Quesadillas in "Guacamole Grill". My first genuine Mexican meal in Cancun. It filled the hole and was definitely enjoyed!
My quesadillas and cappuccino in “Guacamole Grill”. My first genuine Mexican meal, in Cancun. It filled the hole and was definitely enjoyed!

I just ate my first authentic Mexican food Regrettably it was airport food and it wasn’t cooked by Rosa but it’s food and it’s Mexican nonetheless. It was thoroughly enjoyable! And the guy who served me kept saying that it was a pleasure to do so. I don’t even care that he was probably told to say that as part of his job.

I’m sitting here with my cappuccino which tastes about the same anywhere in the world I’d imagine – unless it’s like some special recipe. My right ear really went through something intense on the descent to land here. It’s still recovering! And oh oh oh! My bags got searched in customs! That was fun! It helps to be a charming British guy playing the fool in a strange new realm. Obviously it’s not a new realm for these guys, they live here… But for me it’s a whole new world. Cue Aladdin ear-worm. Aaaaand! I have been officially cleared for six months here in Mexico! Buzzed for that! I dunno how we’ll sort things for after that – or even what we’ll be doing – regardless, I (we) are here for six months now. I added that “we” because Rosa and I have agreed that once together, we’ll not be apart again.

In terms of the internet situation here in the airport, I need to buy the little card to access it apparently. Worth doing, I think. At least I can contact Rosa that way. Once I’ve finished my cappuccino, I’ll go and see what that’s all about.

With each leg of this journey, I feel as though I’m getting more confident. First, I was shit-scared about the whole thing. Then I got all shook up about customs – ’cause of that bloody awful Australian airport TV show no doubt. And then the next bit, I suppose, is getting all worried about being in the heart of Mexico (Mexico City, no less) and only having a limited knowledge of Spanish. I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. It’s one of those things that’s going to be whatever it ends up being in the moment. Unlike the forms thing on the plane, this is 100% unpredictable so there’s literally no point even trying to worry about it.

I wanna know if I’ll need to collect my luggage and go through customs again in Mexico City or whether it’s all going to get transferred from my second flight to the third as it’s all with the same airline… I’ll ask that when I check my bag in.

That eleven hour flight was a genuine headfuck, I tell you. Crazy to go through but a rewarding experience in the end. I made friends, learned more about myself as a result of doing it and had fun during. Not to mention the sleep. The sleep was fulfilling. What was funny though, was that this guy and his family were next to me for the entire flight and we were nattering about just about anything that came to mind throughout. It was only when we stood up to alight that we introduced ourselves to one another. We had a good laugh about that.

The next flights will be on much smaller planes, I think. So I expect to feel the effects of the altitude more so. I’ll definitely be taking another travel pill before boarding.

I just realised..! The Mexican customs officials touched my pants! (underwear) Haaaahahahahahahahah!!

Time to pay this bill, hunt down the elusive WIFI connection and enjoy my first ever Mexican sunset here in Cancun. I’ll write soon x

Check back soon for Volume 3 where I fight tiredness in an airport for five hours, reminisce about my last bit of time before leaving England and the people I waved a temporary ‘bye to and have a surprising revelation…

Keep it real,

Namaste,

Live, love and play

-A-

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