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Leaving London

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Chapter I from the book DESTINATION DESIRABLE

Paula was looking at the picture displaying her and her boyfriend Walt. The afternoon at a friend’s home in Beirut in 2015 when a friend took a photograph, the weekend they had met for the first time. Paula was working as Social Worker in the Lebanon, and Walt worked on a Freedom project for the UN as Human Rights Officer. Both worked for three years on the same mission, and they shared the same love, Asian food. That’s how they had met in an Asian food store in Beirut.

In 2018 Paula was pregnant at the time, they had decided to move back to London, but later on, she had a miscarriage.

Paula now wasn’t sure if she would want another child. She had an offer for a new project, again in Lebanon. In contrast, Walt wanted to stay in England and hung on to family planning. He also was about signing a new contract for an environmental project with an office in London.

Standing at a crossroads, both had agreed to take a holiday to get a clear mind before deciding.

So, Paula had just booked an exclusive cruise around the Gulf of Thailand with the Seven Seas Explorers on the Star Clipper.

A trip that would start in Bangkok move on to Thailand, along Port Klang in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Singapore to Jakarta, Java, Indonesia, with the final destination in Bali. They would spend the weekend before in Bangkok and with an extension week in Bali, where they would enjoy a week of chilled Island and beach life to allow their souls to recharge.

Paula was packing, she had travelled to many countries so far, but it had often included moving. So, packing for a simple three weeks holiday was different this time. But she was ready, and in the evening, they would depart.

Walt had arrived. He was arranging the last bits still on the phone, making arrangements about the ongoing work offer. The taxi was already waiting outside, and finally, he made it at 7:30 pm. They were ready, together on the way to the airport.

“You remember the last time we sat together in a cab?” Paula asked. Walt was looking deep into her eyes. He did indeed, and it hadn’t been a fun ride.

They had been on their way to the Beirut airport as Walt had a trip to Kabul and Paula wanted to accompany him. As they travelled through the back streets, bullets smashed against the car’s windows. A sniper had had his focus on them. They had sat in a bulletproof vehicle, but they were aware that the number of shots the car could take before the glass would break was limited. One of Walt’s experiences led to the decision to move back to England.

Bangkok 24 h

Twenty-four hours later, including an almost twelve-hour flight, they already spent the first impressive hours in Bangkok. They had kicked off the afternoon in the infinity pool surrounded by floating candles, champagne, and a sweeping view over Bangkok…

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