The New World
He was in the airport in Baltimore when he realised he’d been travelling for a full twenty four hours. He recalled sitting, hunched over his PC at home in England and thinking he’d got a great deal, flying via Iceland instead of direct. It had saved him a couple of hundred pounds, but added about nine hours to his journey. Still, it was an adventure, and that’s what this trip was all about.
The other people on the second leg of the journey, from Iceland to Baltimore, had all seemed rather absorbed in themselves as they flew over Greenland. He couldn’t tear himself away from the window. It had taken him a while to realise what he was looking at. A mighty expanse of ice filling the horizon, eventually meeting the sea in a giant glacier flowing through a mountain pass. As glacier met ocean it broke into a thousand tiny chunks of ice. Except, they probably weren’t tiny… That’s why it had taken so long for his mind to fully comprehend what his eyes were seeing…his sense of scale had been completely messed up.
He’d travelled before, sure, and had crossed Europe in a minibus to visit the refugee camps in Macedonia during the Balkan war, but this was different. Up there in the sky, seeing the ice stretch away for miles into the distance, until it was impossible to tell where the ice ended and the sky began, he suddenly realised just how big the planet was. It seems trite, almost a cliché, but the world had seemed so small before. He spent his time working with and talking to people from across the globe. The internet had brought the world to his doorstep. But now he realised that the world wasn’t a smaller place at all, it was vast.
For some reason he always picked the wrong queue in airports, but he didn’t mind. He’d been travelling for a full day, and the extra time spent waiting in line to get through immigration really didn’t matter to him. The people shuffled forwards and he watched them, everyone feeling nervous, everyone feeling guilty, whether they had something to hide or not. He reflected on the flight, the sights he’d seen, the new breadth his mind had acquired and wondered if anyone else waiting with him had felt the same. Maybe they did, or maybe they’d been too busy eating peanuts, or reading a book, to stop and look out of their window. Finally the lines dwindled and it was his turn to approach the desk. His fingerprint was scanned and his picture taken, like something out of a sci-fi movie, and the large, intimidating man asked him what had brought him across the Atlantic Ocean. Like so many others the official’s demeanor changed at the mention of comic books, and despite the oppressive security measures he felt welcomed into this new country.
He had been travelling for twenty four hours and yet an evening at a bar, and time spent with new friends, lay between him and sleep. He didn’t care, he’d set out from home looking for a new life, and here, in a new world, the adventure had only just begun.