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Notes from a Fucking Enormous Continent: The Voyage

I hate Heathrow. It’s shite.


Nothing about that airport makes me happy. I like hustle and bustle as much as the next bloke but going through customs at Terminal 4 made me feel I’d been ran through by every Aussie tourist on Khao San Road. As I waited for my suitcase to be searched with the same vigour as P Diddy’s Miami mansion, I reached for my head. It was pounding from another evening of one of my many leaving drinks (that my Dad eloquently called ‘The Will Cotton Farewell Tour’). I also thought of the many countless morons that had set sail for the New World. I wanted to know how it felt sailing into Plymouth, Massachusetts in the 17th century. I thought of the Mayflower.


The idea that the whole reason this group of pilgrims left England's green and pleasant land was because 17th century society wasn’t quite puritanical enough for them is fucking insane. I imagine their thoughts would’ve been more along the lines of ‘the free houses are full of tavern wenches, pirates and vagabonds, and James I is a right cunt’. 


This isn’t a history lesson by any means. Far from it. I would just like to say that these nutters set the tone. A brave new world! 65 religious freaks lit the way for 400 years of colonialist fuckery. 


In hindsight you’d think that the decimation of the indigenous people in the Americas, the Salem witch trials would put me off wanting to adventure across the Atlantic. Many people had done it before me but all I knew is that Winslett and Leo definitely would have fit on that door. But the Titanic was not my vessel of choice and I definitely didn’t venture to New York. New York is London on roids. The crackheads have superpowers and all the yankees want to act like they’re just as European as you because their great-great-great-grandad had arancini in Palermo and a pint of Beamish in Cork. They can all swivel.


But back to Heathrow. With customs in our rearview mirror we streamed past shimmering isles of duty free fags. Despite my eagerness to get out of this cesspit of an airport, even the drink didn't get me out of this dispair. The pint of Guinness I sank at Star Light, Terminal 4’s resident Spoons, did nothing but give me the shits on the flight.


I’m not a nervous flyer, but every time I step on a plane I think of a few things. Final Destination, Lost, Castaway, the Bermuda Triangle, and those poor cunts in the Andes that had to eat each other. My antidote to these troubling thoughts is to pop a snus into my gob, get headrush and nearly vom on a group of Japanese tourists. Disaster.


My flight to Calgary was easy. No screaming kids, no heaving men with sleep apnea, just leg ache and a thirst for Canadian lager. An hour of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, four hours of self help audiobook and a Goodfellas later, the plane lands at the second attempt and I clap. Each clap signifies each hour of my life I will never get back. 


I swerve past jolly-looking coppers and a customs full of Aussies (one of the more obvious instances of foreshadowing in my life). My first steps out of the airport were cold ones. 


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Will Cotton is a featured writer for Left Brain Media. You can find his other work here.

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