I’ve always loved airports. I was six years old when we flew from Zimbabwe to England and I remember thinking that the whole world can fit in an airport. You can hear snatches of every language, you can see people of every culture and you can drink at any time of day. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed that the phrase ‘It’s Five pm somewhere’ applies the most poignantly to the only space in the human world where time is in constant flux; an airport. Obviously, at six, that’s not what I was really thinking about.

Mum blessed and prayed for me at security before she left and two of my best friends woke up at 4am so they could be at the airport with me to say goodbye. The only time I teared up was when I looked at the security scanning machines, duty-free beyond that and the entire world open to me through the sky. That was the first time I’ve ever really, truly felt like I was on my own and the fear was perfectly mixed with excitement.

21 hours later, I had my first glimpse of Australia and had watched pretty much the first entire season of ‘The Good Place’. I got off the plane, into my courtesy car pick-up and had a lovely conversation with my driver Jim about how he and his second-wife of twenty years first met. I felt odd but I wasn’t upset or even scared; I was curious. Probably the most curious I’d ever been about anywhere and I couldn’t believe how wide this place was, how much space it encompassed
and how different it looked to the idea I’d had in my head. 20 minutes later, we get to my accommodation in the west part of the city, Jim makes sure I’ve met the receptionist before he waves me off with a smile and wishes me a happy birthday in November.


The Road to 21: Arriving in Australia

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