A travel moment; stars

There are countless reasons why we are devoted to travel.

For some, itís the hot smell of the street under an amber sun, or the copper clatter of a sleeper train as it storms past emerald paddocks and infants lost in caprice. Others revel in the selfless smiles of unknown faces, the pungent, aromatic swirls of spiced meat roasting at dusk or that alluring, hammocked solitude.

For me, however, it was a very simple pleasure: the stars. My view of these ethereal spotlights previously hindered by the smog of cosmopolitan life, the breath was literally snatched from my chest as lying naked-backed against the warm, splintering wood of a Fijian pier, an endless canopy of black and white stretched out for infinity before me.

To my left lay a wisened and retired drama teacher. At over 40 years my senior, Penny listened as I conferred my growing grasp on the fabric of life. The humidity of the Pacific heat clasped our limbs, while the diminutive island we were calling our home almost throbbed beneath us.

Only hours before I was being transported by boat from a neighbouring Island, a land colonised by a horde of grinding students broiling in a thrilling cocoon of sweat and eroticism and drink. Beside me, a mahi-mahi lunged forward from the sea, racing the vessel that whipped the water as it carried me home.

Sandwiched between the two velveteen bodies of the crystalline black waters and the endless ebony of the sky, I truly saw those stars for the first time, their lucidity echoed in the waves beside me.

The scent of motor fuel and the heat on my skin lulled me into the calmest of reveries. Above, the bespeckled map of ivory constellations scarred the heavens like an eternal fingerprint. It was a cobwebbed tent that seemed to stretch forever: a natural nickelodeon for all if only they knew just to look.

This is the moment.

I had fallen in love with this small, hidden corner of the globe and those eloquent stars above. At that second, they were there just for me and for all who intrepidly explore the bewitching lands below.

D Stagg

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