So how was it that tango found me and stole my heart? It tracked me down at 2.00am in the Casablanca bar underneath the Bayangol Hotel in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. Determined or what? It travelled a hell of a long way to get me…
Two weeks after my husband left, he and I were due to leave on a seriously tough off-road adventure across the Gobi Desert. This was inspired by ‘The Long Way Round’ and was of course his idea. Well girls, how many of you would choose to sit on the back of a motorbike in forty degree temperatures and ride across rock and sand for two weeks? Mmmmmmm, thought so. However, even back then I did have some fighting spirit . I knew that Mongolia would be an incredible place to see, so I was willing. As it turned out I needed to be…
The day before our flight to Mongolia I learned that if I was going, I would be going alone. Yep – no husband, no travelling companion. So to go or not to go (bearing in mind I cannot ride a motorbike myself and I had never travelled anywhere without a partner)?
Only one answer for a girl in such circumstances – GO!
I found myself stepping off an ancient Russian plane on July 9th at Ulan Bator ‘international’ airport, exhausted, terrified and having to explain to a 24 year old Mongolian that there was no-one to actually ride the motorbike…
After that there was nowhere to go but up.
I rode like a princess in a jeep through spectacular lands, my every need catered for by the gorgeous Mongolian (well perhaps not quite every need…), while we watched a fantastic English enduro racer called Matthew churn up dust ahead of us. At night we slept under the stars in traditional gers. By day we climbed vast dunes, walked on canyon glaciers, drove through massive landscapes. I fell in love with the space and with my own space. I learned I could travel alone and survive.
In the Casablanca on my last night, Chuka (the Mongolian) and I wrote lists of what we would do with our lives. I had salsa on my list. He had tango on his. I said, “Tell you what. I’ll cross off salsa and put tango. Then when we meet again we can dance tango together. Yeah?” We laughed and struck the deal.
And so it was that I came back to England, typed ‘tango southampton’ into Google and signed up for the October class at TLC. I had no idea what tango was, or even what the music was like.
The tango had sought me out and I was to fall for a dance.