Brugges in Autumn
“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta
The truth is, we have all become a tad more boring over the past year. Lack of stimulation in lockdown, and I say this tentatively, has increased skills of baking and the like, but what do we really talk about now since the world went into freeze the tape mode? I for one, almost fear the C word conversation now, it’s negative and boring and look forward to being able to JUST GET OUT and experience things.
Like a walk through a gallery, or sitting at a sidewalk café, being able to talk about a route taken, a plan make, a holiday laid forth, which is why I write. We are being allowed glimpses of foreign holidays in the near future, but are we really? Will we make plans and then be disappointed? What do you think?
Camps Bay, South Africa.
Next month was supposed to see me sitting at Lake Como. Not going to happen. So today I thought, ok, we’ll move it to Autumn, still a beautiful time to visit the Lakes. Or Brugges, or Paris or …
And I begin. Flights. Have vouchers and look at dates. I begin to lose my nerve. What if this is going to end up being cancelled, all over again? After the previous, plentiful cancellations, I find myself fearful of dashed hopes. Interestingly enough, looking at dates for Varenna, the hotels are surprisingly full, which indicates that others like me are hoping things will resume some sort of normality again. Maybe I should just get those dates in, imagine waiting for the green light and I am stumped for accommodation? She ponders.
Then I begin to wonder about the thought of having to wear masks in public, in restaurants, on public transport. Will that still be required – how is it going to feel when one goes exploring for hours on end, only to have to breathe through cloth for most of it? Will it be the same, will I be tentative of every entrance, a crowd of people, buying a ticket? How anxious am I really? Do you feel the same? Have we become so fearful of the unknown virus that it will keep us from living full and curious lives, indefinitely?
Left bank. Paris.
The braver amongst us will be on the next flight. Cheap as chips, anything to mix and mingle and party into the night. I remember that energy, I wish I still had that bravado. Families will staycation, but when you are a single, solo traveller like me, later in life, it is the cities and culture you crave, more than a suntan, in my case anyway.
It is the storytelling in travel that takes hold. Witnessing cultures, art and drama. Tasting new flavours and hearing new languages. Stories all. The days are different when we are not at home.
As much as I yearn, and itch to travel soon, I myself am still in quarantine – facing hotel quarantine and a million COVID tests. South Africa will be a long time in receiving the vaccine and so the months are spent patiently waiting, yet burning to immerse myself in airports, cobbled streets, beaches and castles again. How will things look though, and how will they be? Another day passes and I withhold for final bookings, payments are withheld, like the dreams of being able to collect more stories in my life to share.
Yet, we can follow the rules, be careful and courteous and still push ourselves, or trust ourselves to take the chance. We need to support tourism, we need to widen our horizons once again, and we need to travel.
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine
Afraid I am not much company at the moment. My stories may be getting a little tired.
For me, it is not the fear of the unknown so much as the fear of moving forward from the known.
And I cannot make Banana bread and tell one more person about it.
How do you feel about travelling again?
Images: Travel pockets