The first time I remember seeing them, I was eighteen. I’d just finished school, and they were everywhere. All over town, even in the suburbs where I lived. People with suitcases or rucksacks. The walked with purpose, eyes forward. Always looking ahead.
I told my parents about them, and they were sad. They said they remembered when they saw people travelling.
‘They’re always there,’ my dad said. ‘But when you notice them …’ he tailed off.
I asked him what happens when you notice them. He didn’t say.
Two nights after I talked to my parents about seeing the travelling people everywhere, I packed a holdall with clothes. I put my guitar in its case. I had a few hundred pounds saved from working crappy part-time jobs. I took the holdall and my guitar and went to the station.
Three years passed. I was happy in a new town. I made new friends, and really got into life. I played in a band for a while, but that went south. It didn’t matter too much, though. Life was good and I felt happy a lot.
A few months after my band split up, I was in a bar with my friends. My feet started to itch, this really persistent tingle in the arch. I took my shoes off to scratch, but even that didn’t help.
I looked across the bar. A guy with a huge rucksack was ordering a Hemingway daiquiri. I looked at my friends. They hadn’t noticed him. I realised there’s a lot of the world I still haven’t seen.