SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELLING JENNY

Travel has always been about escapism for me. Internally wracked by a debilitating first world anxiety to ‘see more of the world’, it has been my escape from such terrible plagues as the school term, the Winter blues, uni assessments, the clinical surroundings of a 9-5 cubicle desk job, or a moderately balanced diet.

It was January 1996 and I was splitting a smile that threatened to explode off my face because it was my FIRST TIME ON A PLANE and better still, I was going to SINGAPORE and HONG KONG. #exotic

I will always remember moments of that trip with vivid clarity and intense nostalgia. It was the era of the Panasonic camcorder (or Sony for the cool families). There was the time I reported live from a ferry en route to Tsim Sha Tsui, toothless in a boy’s Chicago Bulls hoodie; the moment I walked up a waterslide, distraught that I’d lost my plain white flap hat on the way down; the fluro pink bumbag that I sported through the markets as I gaped in awe of headless chooks and kitsch knick-knacks I desperately coveted; the flocks of people admiring my glossy, golden helmet haircut with wide-eyed adoration and envy; and the dreaded ‘sharing of the bed’ with my older brother, waking up every single morning hanging precariously over the edge as he spread-eagled like a greedy sleep monster beside me.

That trip ruined me forever. Soon, I would be pitching my own itineraries to my parents and the travel agents at Harvey World Travel West Gosford, where I spent literally hour upon hour engrossed in glossy brochures for an assortment of dazzling destinations. I’d circle hotels and research cities. I’d familiarise myself with flight costs and sing the Qantas theme song to myself in the shower. I rigorously campaigned to add Las Vegas to our 1997 USA expedition, so entranced was I by glittery images of The Strip: hotels shaped like pyramids and endless casinos and lions in lobbies and magic shows. The same trip ticked two major cities off my 8-year-old bucket list: Disneyland and New York City. I couldn’t tell you how much of my childhood was spent poring over books and maps and movies about those dream destinations. And it’s a love affair that has continued through my teen years and into adulthood. I’m like a walking encyclopedia of completely useless facts.

Airports were my jam from a significantly young age. Seen here wearing a koala print jumper flanked by my posse.

Airports were my jam from a significantly young age. Seen here wearing a koala print jumper flanked by my posse.

I still chase the same sense of euphoria in my travels today -- always looking ahead to the next one while painstakingly seeking to wholly appreciate the moment I'm in. I love the sudden recollection of an alleyway in Paris, or the thrill of a rollercoaster in Japan, or the joy of a Manhattan rooftop. Intrepid nature explorer, I am not. I do, however, painstakingly seek out precious moments to store up for a rainy day so I can turn to my husband and say, “Remember that comical tiny tour guide with the lisp at Neuschwanstein Castle?”, or “How funny was the man who stood silently outside our tent in the Serengeti and diligently filled the water tank while we showered?”. I can walk into the St George bank branch in Crows Nest and mysteriously smell Disneyland (the scent of money combined with the next door bakery equals The Happiest Place On Earth). I can voyage on lengthy burger tours with the sole purpose of comparing them to the delights of Shake Shack. And when people ask me where I got my watch, I can smirk obnoxiously and describe to them the cobbled street in Venice where there existed a very universal Swatch store. “Oh this old thing? I got it at the most gooorgeous little no-name in the Ikebukuro region of Tokyo!”. Smug.

Anyway, I could harp on all day about this. Book a holiday. Go camping in Port Macquarie, road trip the Great Ocean Road, irresponsibly lock down that criminally low fare to Thailand. I am beginning to sense a time when my holiday will be ten minutes alone in the car blasting Justin Timberlake while my future kids are at soccer, so we all may as well dream big and plan something! Anticipation is often the best part.

 

JENNY WEBB

Jenny is a classic travel snob with a particular fascination for bright lights and burger stores. Her first port of call upon landing in a new destination is trialling the bed and seeking out a suitably breathtaking rooftop bar. She is also the Communications Manager at C3 Church in Sydney, married to Matt and living the life in Narrabeen. Read her rather insipid blog here.