Sometimes life has a very sweet symmetry. This weekend I travel to Mexico, to stand on the Mayan ruins of Tulum. Last weekend I stood in Sudeley, a honey-stoned English castle set among fresh green fields and doused in the history of the Tudors (it was the home of King Henry VIII’s final wife, Katherine Parr, and once had Queen Elizabeth herself running around the place in the days before she inherited the Q word.)
The link, in each of these cases, was one good friend from years gone by (I’m talking travel links here, not the Tudor laws of succession.) A friend who stood in the small parish church that lives at Sudeley to begin a lifetime of adventure with the words “I do.”
And that same friend who stood with me on the rocks of Tulum, getting on for (cough, splutter) thirteen years ago.
I’m curious to see what awaits me in Mexico. The last time I was there I took overnight buses, camped by the border of Guatemala and was given a machete from locals for the purpose of self-defence.
Though an “experience” now, I’m rather hoping it doesn’t happen again.
This time I’ll be travelling for work, rather than student adventure, and staying at the luxurious looking Viceroy Riviera Maya. There’s no doubt that the accommodation looks better: jungle villas with hammocks and plunge pools rather than a tent in the middle of nowhere or the splendours of a police-checked overnight bus.
Yet I hope that the thrill of seeing ruins on the edge of the ocean won’t have diminished at all. That the chill of the sacrifices that took place there isn’t lost in the beauty of the place. That the joy of travel remains.
That the photographs I take will be better.
And most of all, I hope that the friendships I make there will be even half as good as those that were there before.
I’ll see in you in Mexico.