I remember it so well! It was October 1985 and I’d just spent 5 months travelling around Europe with a mate. We’d had a great time but after a short earning session back in the UK I headed off again. This time alone. Easy. I wanted total independence.
I booked a one way ticket to Tenerife, the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands with the intention of hitching a ride across the Atlantic on a yacht. I arrived mid afternoon and made my way to the address of the first night’s hotel which came free with the one way ticket-or so I was told.
It took a while to find it. A bus ride then a long walk without a map and very little Spanish to help me. But I did find it late into the evening. I was very dehydrated having carried my pack for several hours in the late day’s heat. I was tired from the stress of having to find the hotel and found myself ridiculously distraught when told there was no booking. Apparently any ticket bought like this back in the 80’s used to have to have a hotel name attached for the first night.
I had some money though and quickly booked a room.
Something came over me. I had never experienced it before and have never experienced it since and I hope to never feel the feelings that suddenly without control or reason tore at my heart and wrenched out what seemed like every bit of pain it had ever stored in its small but hopefully strong living muscle.
I stumbled through the door, broke into tears and just had to let the yells out. It was paranormal, unbelievable. I dropped my pack, ran the bath, undressed and took solace and comfort from the water. I cried and cried and cried.
I got no complaints, but any neighbours I may have had would have had total reason to call an ambulance, the police, the fire brigade and quite honestly the local mental hospital.
I probably cried for an hour. Thankfully the water in the bath was both hot and deep. It cradled me. I managed to creep into bed quite exhausted from the racking sobs and fell into a deep sleep.
I awoke the next money, checked out, found the nearest travel agent and booked the next flight back to England. Unfortunately due to a bank holiday and over booking I would have to wait ten days. Ten days of severe loneliness, thick books to read, early nights and a worried mind as to how I would ever leave England again.
I did though. I have travelled on and off ever since, always alone, often penniless, often sad, angry and depressed…but never have I shed tears like that again. Tenerife, October 1985. What on earth was that all about?