This year had already been quite a good one. It had started off strong with lots of little adventures, then carried on with some even bigger adventures. Putting in lot’s of effort at work had made me feel like I really deserved a proper treat. Luckily for me, my go to adventure buddy was feeling the same way.
With the perfect storm brewing we booked some time off work, and at the last minute headed to a travel agents to find out what the cheapest holiday abroad was.
Turns out it was three nights in a five start hotel in the middle of Venice. Alright then, guess we’ll jump on that grenade.
A few days later my parents were driving us up to Gatwick, and Steve was just about to find out that I don’t do well on planes.
As we checked in and wondered through the airport, my mild apprehension of heavier than air flight was beginning to show. Steve was getting increasingly annoyed, but thankful I hadn’t noticed as I was flipping the fuck out.
You know when you get super nervy and just kind of dance around and start to loose grip of reality? Well I started doing that. It’s probably not the best way to be around an airport, but it was doing me just fine.
Luckily planes come with a handy solution to nervy fliers. This solution being extremely overpriced alcohol.
After a slight blur of wondering why we’re up here and annoying Steve, there was some sort of big building were our suitcase was on a rollercoaster. This was followed by a bus ride were I wondered why we paid so much to travel to a country to ride a bus. England has buses that cost £1.80.
As we arrived in Venice my mind started to clear. Which was unfortunate as this was right about the time that Steve and I realised we had no idea how public transport in Venice works. Loads of boats all over the shop. I regret kicking off about the busses.
By a miracle weirder than that big metal cigar getting into the air, we figured out how water taxi’s work. The trick is to use boats and not cars. We bobbed along the main canal and became a little stunned at how amazing Venice was. Even on a cloudy grey day it was unlike anywhere we had been before. I can’t remember when we started arguing about whether or not every building on Venice is on stilts, but it happened.
We arrived at our stop and took the short walk to the hotel. From outside it didn’t look crazy posh, but once we got inside we realised this was actually a five star hotel. We were expecting the travel agents to have just lied and we were going to turn up to a barn with a minibar. But no. This was a crazy fancy palace. And we had never felt so out of place.
We checked in and I was just waiting for the moment that everything would turn to shit. Like we’d either get laughed out of there or they’d point out that theres no way this hotel was as cheap as what we had paid and we’d have to stump up more cash.
What actually happened was a room upgrade, and two young hotel staff showing us to our room. My previous experience of package holidays had been someone giving you a key then sending you off to find your room like some sort of crystal maze set in a Spanish hotel where the real test was not befriending that fat racist. Here comes the part when me and Steve weren’t sure if you were supposed to tip. It didn’t really matter as we had no money to tip anyone so just stood there and smiled. It totally worked and we were left alone to do a solid ten minute gasp at how shit hot our room was and contemplate whether we’d actually go outside for this holiday.
After sufficiently ogling the room we left to roam around Venice. We also bought pizza because we were in Italy. I have to say, eating pizza in Italy was everything I dreamed it would be. We rapidly realised that having a hotel in the middle of the city was incredible because we didn’t have to lug camera equipment around, we could just leave it in our lush hotel room. We had never know luxury like it. We were both worried about getting too used to this lifestyle, but then realised neither of us could afford this lifestyle so we just stopped worrying.
Over the next few days we filled our little photography boots with everything we could. After spending so much time in Portsmouth working hard to find new shots of places we had been so many times, such incredible new scenery was almost too easy. For Steve. I did my usual thing of taking lots of shit pictures and getting all pissy at Steve for making it look so easy.
On the first night we froze our balls off indulging in some night photography. Long exposures of canals and waterfronts, the warm glow of Venetian lights trapped within the late winter fog. It was absolutely incredible.
the next four days followed a similar pattern. Wondering around the tiny crooked alley ways, walking over bridges and stopping on everyone to make sure you were still amazed, then ditching our camera gear to get eat before picking the camera gear back up to see what else looked like magic at night.
One of the best parts about our hotel was that it was in the centre of Venice. Usually our holidays consist of lunging from one disaster to the next then finding a way to laugh about it later. This time, we arrived at a hotel and were able to just walk around and enjoy everything. No worrying about driving around, no worrying about parking, no worrying about spending money, no worrying about anything. For the first time since we did our first shift together at work and planned our first little adventure, Steve and I had stumbled across the holy grail. A holiday that was everything a holiday was supposed to be. Purely effortless.
Of course, this wasn’t our reality. We both knew that soon enough we would have to go back to normal life. But that was alright. We had been daring. We had gone to a travel agents one Saturday morning and impulsively gone on an amazing adventure. We did it without hesitation, without worry. We had reminded ourselves that there is a whole world out there. We’re both smart enough to know that there’s more to life than work. Figuring out that it’s not enough to be content was the real trick. Knowing that our little trips around England are great to give ourselves a break, but there’s so much more we need to push for.
I’ll end by saying this holiday did what a holiday should. It cleared me. It made me realise how complacent I’ve been, how scared I’ve been. We wanted to do something amazing and we did. And aside from a scary bank balance for a while, we had aimed high and avoided failure.
So now it’s time to carry that on in the rest of our lives. It’s time to aim high, it’s time to punch fear right in the dick, It’s time to grab life by the balls and swing it around a little.
It’s also time to better word my aspirations.
Here’s hoping this feeling lasts.