Friday Fiction – Another World

If you’ve ever travelled alone, you might know what I mean when I call it the most affirming thing I’ve ever done. Some of my happiest memories are of traveling with Jon (and now Sebastian), but there is something special about not knowing anyone when you arrive in a new place.
Back in 2006, I spent 10 days trekking in the rainforests of Brazil and in 2012, I went to Nepal and Tibet for three weeks. In comparison with the gap year experiences of many, they were small and unadventurous trips, but I learnt more about myself in those weeks than I think I ever have in the safety of home and company.
When I saw Bjorn’s photo for the Friday Fictioneers, it reminded me of one of the farms we stayed at in Brazil. Far from anywhere, our hosts heated their water by running pipes past the fire, so showers were an exercise in scalding and freezing by turns. There was no electricity, so we ate by candle and torchlight, having arrived at dusk, then we went outside and sat around talking into the night. This is the story of that night.


Another World
Our hosts knew better than to stay up past sunset, and retired as soon as we were fed, but we were used to bulbs and switches; night was a novelty. Bottoms accustomed to furniture settled onto the ground and eyes that had never known darkness marveled at the stars. Friendships, days old but forged by miles, glowed in the chill air.
A week later, we would walk through the markets of Copacabana and play tourists on the Sugar Loaf cable cars, but Brazil for me will always be Don McLean and a starry night in a farm with no name.


One of the safer-looking bridges we crossed!



Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

24 responses to “Friday Fiction – Another World

  1. Sounds like a fun trip, except the shower part. That sounds miserable.

    • It’s surprising how these things weren’t an issue in the heat (or cold) of the moment. And by comparison to the showers in the Nepali monastery, this one was quite classy!

  2. Wonder if the Portuguese influence make the farms look similar? I also love to live simple, now electricity, just wood to heat and roof to sleep under. Then everything returns of the necessities of being human.

  3. Nicely done Jennifer. Sounds like a great time.

  4. Loved this glimpse into a foreign land-in more ways than one:-)

  5. Oh – I love the visual of friendships glowing in the chill air!

  6. What fascinating travels you’ve had. Love the description in the story.

  7. Dear Jen,

    I cringe at your bridge picture. That would be a deal breaker for me. Terrified of heights. All in all, aside from the showers, it sounds like a wonderful experience. And your last line has me humming one of my all time favorite songs. Well done.



    • Like the caption says, Rochelle, that was one of the sturdier bridges. It’s amazing how much a team of people you hardly know can make you challenge yourself though. And how good it feels when you survive!

  8. This was well done. Trips to new places are always interesting, and one always has a great number of amusing stories to share afterwards 😀

  9. I’d love to get away from all the electric lights for a while so that I could just enjoy the stars…without all the light pollution! Lovely story.

  10. Sounds like an amazing time. I backpacked around Europe for almost a year between my junior and senior years in college and that was an amazing experience, although not as primitive as yours. However, some of the bathrooms in Greece…


  11. I enjoyed your story and the picture of the bridge? It looks like you must have had fun. Thanks, Nan

  12. Lovely piece of reminiscing. Easy to read.

  13. A lovely story of a lovely night!!!

  14. Thanks for taking us along. Starry nights are the best!!

  15. Wonderful how you could bring great memories to bear…

  16. Oh, Jen! The memories I have of staying in Honduras with a family that had no refrigeration and no running water. I remember the nights also being very peaceful and starry, too. Thanks for this. Happy New Year!

    • Cheers, wmq, there is definitely something magical about experiencing a completely different culture and lifestyle. Many, many disadvantages undoubtedly for those who have to do it daily, but many advantages for those of us can visit and leave again.

      • Got to tell you. When I called my mom and dad and told them the family had no indoor plumbing, etc., they both said, “Good for you!” My folks grew up the same way. So, I figured, hey. If they can do it, I most certainly can.

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