Zoe founded CirqueScape after retiring from international performing. Her touring career spanned more than a decade and saw her ice skating, juggling, and aerial dancing across six continents. Her guest blog posts will give an insight into her experiences over the years. You can check out her performance background at www.zoebaldock.biz
If you want to catch up on the previous instalment, we’re picking up the story from here.
Circus diaries… having second thoughts?
As I inched ever closer to my destination on the two long-haul flights it took to get me there, I have to admit that doubts started creeping in. Was it really a wise decision to trot off solo to the other side of the world at the grand old age of 22? Was this adventure travel at its finest, or just unnecessary risk taking?
Despite all of my research to prove the naysayers wrong, it was only just dawning on me that I really had no idea what to expect once I landed, in a way that I had never experienced before. If all went to plan then I wasn’t going to be alone in Samoa. But that didn’t necessarily mean that I would feel safe, or comfortable, or happy.
Too late for regrets
When the plane doors opened in Apia I choked on the heat and humidity, even at barely 5am. I was busy wondering how I was going to cope with ice skating in a tent in this kind of weather as the arrivals hall cleared out around me. And my ride to the circus base in the mountains was nowhere to be seen.
I realised I had no local currency, no working phone (it was 2006 – if anyone remembers what a tri-band phone was… I didn’t have one) and was approximately 10,000 miles from home. So I gathered up my suitcases and sat myself down in a corner with my headphones on, feeling slightly bewildered and very jetlagged.
As I waited, I wondered if anyone was actually coming for me at all. Maybe this was all just some strange and elaborate joke?
I quietly watched the remaining taxi drivers milling about and chatting to each other. Every one of them was wearing a sarong, which I would later find out the locals called lavalava. Both women and men wore them all the time in Samoa. But it was an unusual sight to me. I vaguely mused about whether David Beckham’s so-called fashion faux pas of a few years earlier (anyone remember the “skirt” controversy?) had been inspired by a trip to Samoa.
Just as I was starting to pluck up the courage to ask someone for help, my chaperones finally turned up. Bang on island time. A good half hour after everyone else on my flight had left the airport. But my anxieties melted away as the circus strong man grabbed my vastly overweight luggage, hauled it out of the airport, and put it into the back of an SUV.
He hopped into the driver’s seat beside his girlfriend (fire foot juggler extraordinaire) and gave me a huge grin as he hit the gas. We pulled out of the airport car park straight onto the coastal road. Cruising east towards the capital, I watched as the rising sun glittered off the Pacific Ocean beside us… And so my very first circus adventure really began.
To find out what happened after they left the airport, check out Zoe’s next post, Let the adventure begin
The photos you see in this post are Zoe’s personal photos from her travels! Feel free to ask her about what it was like to join the Samoan circus by commenting below.