If I had immortality

If I somehow had immortality thrust upon me, I know exactly how I would deal with it. I would buy a plane ticket to Italy and I would rent a house in Siena. After a lifetime or so I would move to the next town and live out a lifetime there. In this fashion I would slowly work my way around the globe, becoming a regular in tiny cafes and being known to local bakers. After thousands and thousands of years I would have lived in every town and city in the world. At which point I would move back to Siena. And start again.
I think science fiction has immortality wrong. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by how much there is to see and how little time I have to see it in. I feel almost panicked at the thought of all those place which I’ll never visit, the things I will never experience, the food I’ll never even try.
Almost exactly two years ago, my family and I spent two and a half months in Europe. It was the first (and is still the only) time I’ve left Australian shores. We travelled a lot when I was little and I’ve been some places myself, so I’ve now set foot in 66.666667 per cent of Australia. Ok so that’s mathematically misleading. What I mean is the only states/territories I haven’t visited are the Northern Territory and Western Australia. I’m proud of that. And I think it’s important. But international travel is something else entirely.
It wasn’t until we travelled that I realised how strange Australian culture is. We’re so young.Australia (as we know it) has existed for such a fleeting amount of time. When you compare our culture to somewhere like Italy or Spain, it’s almost laughable that we have such a sense of entitlement when it comes to our heritage. We’re a teenager at best. Those cultures are old, and wiser for it.
Travelling gave me such an awful lot of perspective. I remember on our very first night in Rome, placing my hand on the wall of our dingy apartment and realising that this was the oldest object I had ever touched in my entire life.
The thing I miss most about Europe, and the thing which most frequently causing a craving to return, is food. Gnocchi with mushrooms in a restaurant that had paw prints baked into the clay which made up the ceiling. Flames licked out of the kitchen as two old men grilled a medley of meats on a stick and then stood in the doorway and watched us eat them. A different cheese every week. English Christmas when you eat enough to sustain you for a full day in one sitting. Proper Spanish chorizos which bleed deep red oil when you cook them. Tortilla, vacuum wrapped and sold for loose change, which remains my favourite breakfast food. Whole suckling piglets, so tender it was carved with a plate. I ate the ears of that piglet and in doing so scarified any right I ever had to be a vegetarian.  
We just don’t get food like that here.
Because we live in Australia it isn’t a simple matter of popping across to Croatia for a weekend either. There is almost no way to satiate the bi-monthly craving I have for that vacuum packed tortilla (we’re talking the Spanish potato omelette here, not those flat bread things). International travel is big and scary and expensive. It takes months or years of planning and saving. Most of all it takes decisiveness. You have to turn those vague dreams and cravings into a reality by simply saying ‘yes’.
For the first time in ages I guess I’m thinking about travelling again. About all those places I want to see. I finish uni at the end of next year. With nothing on that horizon, I’m thinking about ways to fill the days. Lately I’ve been dreaming about the time beyond studying. It’s only just occurred to me that I’m old enough and independent enough to just make my dreams happen. And suddenly that vague list of places I want to see, the fuzzy map of the world that has sections shaded in, has solidified into something real. Something achievable.
I’m not immortal. I guess I should probably start soon.

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year