I’m a girl in a world of too much to understand; the most I can do with my droplet of a life is to see and hear all that I may, then write it down so I don’t forget these years of freedom. All this university has disordered my headspace: I think too much like an economist, and all of a sudden I can’t understand the spiritual and historical and linguistic aspects of life. That’s an unacceptable way to live (blind to the arts), so I’m going adventuring. Unluckily, I’m a broke student and that adventuring will include very little real travel. So I want to make the most of the few weeks I get in the wide expanse of this earth. My intent is to explore beforehand the stories and the recipes, the novels and the poetry, of each place I am to visit. I want to know a country’s skeleton before I even taste its air, breathe its dust. And then I want to pour real life into this mould: eat the tagine, hear the lilting laughter, meet the children of conquerors. I want to fill up all the stories with sound, sight, flavour, aroma– and then I’ll give them to you. Journey with me, first through the books and dishes and history, then through the living and wandering and finding. Let this collection of writings be your travelling kit: a veritable salmagundi of written life, there for the taking whenever you need it, a constant quiet companion on your own journeys.