Troupers

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A theatre troupe travel the country by train. Travelling together for two years, the troupers shared a lot of fun memories and so became close friends. The troupe was a volunteer group which performed in refugee camps, orphanages and children’s hospitals.

After 2 years away from home, the tour finally came to an end. The troupers prepared to go their separate ways. Some had families waiting, others were dreading having to start job-hunting. (All the troupers are mid-twenties)

One trouper, Bella, didn’t want the journey to end. The world was vast and she wanted to see it all. She had no interest in settling down or falling into the “normal” pattern of things. Bella wanted to explore, experience things most human being are too busy to pursue.

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Four months before the end of the tour. Bella invested in a second-hand campervan to convert into a little train. The old-fashioned camper needed a lot of love and care before it was ready to travel.

The campervan was attached to a landrover with rail wheels instead of tyres. Customised to Bella’s taste, the Boho interior was brought to life by the warm and cosy colours and textures.

Bella never told the troupe about her plans. She didn’t want them thinking she was crazy.

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When the train pulled into the familiar station, the station where they first set off two years ago, for most the tour was over. In the station garage, Bella’s camper train was ready and waiting to greet the troupe. (not literally)

The girls loved the cool, relaxed vibe emanating from the little train. None of them had ever seen anything quite like it. While giving her friends a tour, Bella explains her plans to travel all over the world in her little train. The entire troupe was surprised, she never said anything before. Bella lit up, explaining her journey so enthusiastically. Her friends couldn’t help but get excited for her. Looking around the camper, some troupers recognised little trinkets scattered all around. Simple things like stage props, postcards and pictures from all the places they had been together. They were reminders of the adventures they shared.

What seemed small on the outside was surprisingly spacious inside. There was a tiny kitchen, sofa bed/seating area, and all the necessary day-to-day services. There was even a trailer attached to the back. Multi-functional as an outdoor dining space and for stargazing on clear nights.

Bella put a lot of thought into renovating the little camper. She knew she would be travelling for a long time, longer than two years. So, the little train needed to feel like a home away from home.

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In the dream, there was an ice-cream van attached to the camper as another carriage. IT WAS AMAZING!!! Nobody knows where she got the money to undertake this renovation project. FYI: the ice-cream van was how Bella planned to earn money on her travels.

While Bella was chatting with her friends, one trouper held back from joining the others. TJ didn’t seem as excited or happy for Bella as the other troupers did. In fact, he looked a little sad.

TJ wasn’t a performer, he was more of a handyman, behind-the-scenes kind of guy. He helped Bella plan and prepare the campervans renovation. He helped her pick materials, find missing parts and so on.

If you hadn’t guessed it already, Bella and TJ were really close friends. TJ was the only one who knew about Bella’s plan from the beginning.

Bella was always smitten with TJ. She could never muster the courage to tell him how she felt. Especially since she was clueless as to how TJ felt about her. On the other hand, Bella was an open book that anyone could read. It’s a wonder how she managed to keep her journey a secret for so long.

Watching Bella pack up the last of her things and bid farewell to her friends and family, TJ realised something. Bella was really leaving. He had no idea if or when he would ever see her again. Only then did he realise how much Bella meant to him.

All packed, Bella turned on the camper ready to set of on a new adventure. After coming to his senses, TJ dashed out of the station hoping to catch Bella before she was gone for good.

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Before leaving the country, Bella decided to visit the legendary troupers. The ones who started it all, founding the travelling troupe over 40 years ago. The retired legends meet at the community hall to play cards and other old-timer activities.

Bella was overwhelmed when she arrived at the community hall. A group of familiar faces stood before her; clapping, cheering and releasing party poppers. A last-minute-made “Good Luck Bella” banner hung on the buttercream painted cement wall. She really did have great friends!

Just as Bella was saying her last goodbyes (for real this time), TJ burst through the swinging doors into the hall. Bent over and out of breathe, his eyes searching the room for Bella. TJ’s chest tightened when he spotted her in the centre of the hall; short wavy amber hair, ocean blue eyes and that adorable freckle under her left eye.

TJ arrived unprepared. He wasn’t one to show grand romantic gestures. Sweat beading on his forehead, TJ  walked up to Bella, looked her straight in the eyes and after catching his breath he said ‘I love you’.

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He confessed everything he had kept bottled up. He loved Bella and didn’t want her to leave. But this was her dream and he didn’t want to hold her back so he never said anything. He really wanted to support her.

Standing in front of the woman he loves, wearing his heart on his sleeve, TJ wanted nothing more than to be with Bella. So he asked her ‘Let me come with you!’

TJ confessed the little train was special for him too. It was something they built together. Bella wasn’t the most resourceful or memorable person on the planet. God only knows where she would end up if she was on her own. And so, like all predictable and cheesy romantic stories, the two set of to travel the world together.

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On their travels the couple met with other travelling troupes and performed small acts in rural communities and villages.

For 5 years, Bella and TJ travelled far and wide, embraced different cultures, tried new food both weird and wonderful. They experienced cities that never slept, seen the vast emptiness of the desert and felt the magic of lush green forests.

After 2 years together TJ proposed to Bella and now (three years later) they were expecting their first child.

So after 5 years of adventuring and exploring, Bella and TJ decide to head home. However, this wasn’t the end. Just the beginning of a new lifelong adventure.

You know what they say! When one door closes, another one opens.

NOTE: This world obviously had as much train tracks as roads.

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