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Imaginary Travel As The Time Draws Closer, Or, Saturday Morning at 9:27am

I know some of you, maybe many, are beginning to plan real travel. I’m not there yet. But in the way of pandemic mood swings, today I’m optimistic and ready for vistas.

I think about Africa, having never been. While I’d like to see the creatures, I am also curious about the terrain and the trees and the light. In other words, this.

And how about Montenegro? Some of the people I follow went there before the pandemic and I was struck by its beauty and the feel of hidden history.

I’ve never been drawn to Japan, as many are, but South Korea? I’m so curious. And to travel out beyond Seoul into the countryside? Apparently they have a Rose Festival.

But also hills, which would appear to be the true theme of my yearnings. Before the pandemic, I wanted to experience other cultures at ground level. Now I want to see beyond. To rise above. To be surprised by a larger horizon.

And if not a view from above, I want to reencounter the intimately familiar. I’d like to visit my UK friends. For them I do not need a hill or valley. The vista opened up by communication with those whom you love but whose lives you do not share in concurrent space, now that’s something.

I’d like, in my imaginary travels, to reserve rooms for friends here at the Royal Crescent Hotel in Bath. My imaginary travels are very expensive.

In real life, I would be happy with an Airbnb with enough bedrooms that everyone sleeps to their hearts’ content, and a large enough kitchen and living space that we can all gather, tuck our stockinged feet under our seated selves, and talk until we can’t anymore.

Have a wonderful weekend. Today I am quite hopeful. Anyone else with real or imaginary travels in mind? I’m happy to come along.

19 Responses

  1. So many places I’d like to go to, some new and some for return visits. However, no travel planned even though I’m vaccinated….too many variables and unknowns to make it very appealing (other than in my imagination) at this moment.

  2. For the continent of Africa, I’ve been to South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. In fact, the Namibia through Zimbabwe part was to celebrate my 50th birthday a couple of years ago. If you are interested in a safari/national parks vacation, I highly recommend using an outfitter to organize your itinerary. We don’t normally go on group tours, but having someone else handle the driving and all the logistical details leaves your time and energy free to soak in the sights and sounds.

    Hopefully our next visit to that part of the world will see us in Kenya and Tanzania.

  3. Luscious alluring images. More taken by your text though. I’m longing more for my people than for places at the moment. The dream of gathering our far-flung family in a big rental house, somewhere conducive to walks or strolls. Talking, laughing, eating together… when we can do that, I’ll be thrilled.

  4. This summer I will travel to small towns and bigger towns along Lake Michigan and spend a few days on Mackinaw Island. It is an area I have long wanted to visit. I will be solo and it will be an adventure. This past year has taught me that time is precious, life is fleeting, and now is the time to live.

    1. @lee, My family has had a week-long reunion every two years somewhere in the Saugatuck/South Haven area. It’s the most beautiful place, clean white sand, clear water with big waves, charming towns. I hope that you have a wonderful time!

  5. Both Japan and Korea are wonderful places to go. I lived in both countries many years ago (6 years in Korea in Seoul and Pusan.) I visited in 2012 after 52 years. From a desperate refugee situation in Seoul, as it was then, to see the modern cosmopolitan city of today took my breath away.

    The Fall around October was my favorite time of the year. The colors are changing. In the rural areas perhaps the traditonal season for making winter kimchee (called Kim Cheong) is still observed. Women used to gather in the courtyard and process hundreds of heads of cabbage by separating the leaves and filling them with garlic, red hot pepper in one form or the other, and other goodies. Then the cabbage was buried in vessels and left to ferment. I love kimchee! In Seoul, someone told me that most families buy their kimchee now.

    Many people speak English now but in the early days of my time there few did. No books were available to learn Korean. Little by little I gathered vocabulary words to add to my notebook and just kept talking. Some months previously spent in Japan helped because the grammatical structure is similar to Korean.

    I moved to Ecuador 5 years ago and started the process all over again to learn Spanish. I live in the Amazon area of the country in a city of 25 thousand but there are not many people who speak fluent English. That helped me because it is either sink or swim.

  6. Oh Lisa, you are traveling virtually. I wonder if the future will be like that. I lived in England as a child and am afraid to deal with the change that has occurred since England in the 1950’s. I would have to give up the fantasy that I left my heart there never to be retrieved. Even Queen Elizabeth is still alive but so much else has likely changed. Africa scares me as I would have to deal with animals eating one another. I can’t bare to see that. My own backyard is like the Serengeti. All I have to do is feed the birds to see life and death before me. Go where your heart carries you and I will watch from afar.


  7. Lisa, My first trip will be out your way, to see my son for the first time since he moved there in July. I’m dying to visit siblings and cousins. And my sisters and I had been planning a walking trip in Ireland for this past summer – canceled, of course. I hope that everyone here gets all their wishes!

  8. Echoing KSL. Received second Pfizer dose Thursday. Have so many places I wish to go, but none I’m willing to go at the moment. The thought of an airplane interior does not make me happy. A drive across the US, up the West Coast and into Canada, or down the West Coast and into Mexico, do begin to call to me. I miss NYC, and would love to visit my friend Nan in the South of France, though she’s in the U.S. for the duration. I’d like to travel in Europe, Western and Eastern, for a year, just roaming from place to place, but I’d like to get there via a luxury liner circa 1910.

  9. Great minds? I’ve just finished arranging the bones of a trip to Boston/Montreal/Quebec City in the fall for our 40th anniversary. If it turns out the border is still closed we’ll tool around New England which will all be new to these west coast babies.

  10. We stayed with friends in an AirB&B like that in Arroyo Grande, California a few years ago (which was kind of funny for us, as I also have a cousin there).

    We are going to Pinnacles NP in April. And I’m most interested in seeing 2 of my kids and my cousin, in appealing places like Colorado, Sonoma County, and Arroyo Grande.

  11. A part of me wants to see places I’ve never seen, but another part of myself is weary of traveling. That could simply be that I am not yet ready for major travel. I am not sure I am ready for travel at all, but you idea of an airbnb with plenty of space to sit and talk sounds wonderful. I think that is what appeals to me the most right now, the idea that at some future date I may be traveling to see friends. All I know is I will head out to see my mom and aunt sometime this summer, once I am fully vaccinated. I am not yet certain how much independent exploration will occur on that trip. So much remains up in the air, at least in my mind.

  12. To paraphrase Dr. Seuss, “Oh, The Places We’ll See”.
    Like one of the earlier commenters, I visited South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe with my husband almost 25 years ago. It was only a few years after the dismantlement of Apartheid so we observed the sociopolitical changes as well as the natural beauty. And that beauty is spectacular and humbling.
    I will receive my second vaccine in five days along with my 88 year old mother whom I care for. However my 71 year old hubby still cannot get an appointment. So travel plans are on hold until that is addressed. I read that 2020 has resulted in our average lifespan being shortened by a year. The pandemic is a substantial but not the only reason. This consciously and subconsciously increases our collective urgency to live life more fully.

    We all look forward to a time ( one hopes this year) when we can go places, do things and be with each other without boundaries.

  13. I hope we’ll be able to visit my daughter’s family in Italy before the end of the year, and I’m glad that the kind of travel we do doesn’t require much advance planning, so we can wait to see how the situation evolves.
    Even more fervently, I hope that we “developed countries” are developed enough to prioritize getting the vaccine quickly to the rest of the world before the virus uses those poorer populations (Africa’s included) to change into something that sends us all back home. Sorry. But I hope our travel dreams include these considerations. . .

  14. I must echo Elaine Ness and encourage Japan and South Korea. Both are extraordinary places. Once you visit Japan you will be astonished by your lack of interest. The country is soul-changing.
    Visiting the Korean countryside is easy and a sheer delight. All the young people speak English nowadays. Busan is a great town, often overlooked.
    Africa has turned into a big park, expensive, and feels tourist trappy :( Heartbreaking really.
    Moderna #1 in arm :) Ouchy for the first 24hrs.
    One down, one to go!

  15. so ready to travel emotionally but not intellectually. (poor wording but hopefully, you get the gist.)

    meanwhile, i sit. and wait. and indulge in vicarious travel through the instagram accounts of people who had the good fortune of being locked-down in more interesting (to me) places. (the grass IS always greener.)

  16. I have been to south Korea and would recommend it. We visited Seoul – and popped over to Japan as it is just a few hours away – which is an astounding city. Literally like nowhere I had ever been before. If I could go anywhere now for a holiday it would be: Greek island, beach, beachside taverna and bar, beer, sunshine and paddling. That’s it.

  17. Ahh, travel – quel reve! Since I had to cancel ten days in Paris (March) and two weeks in England (July) last year thanks to the pandemic, I have plane tickets (well, credits) burning a hole in my pocket – but little chance of using them for the foreseeable future.

    So my real travel dreams are slightly closer to home. First, a visit to a friend who lives five minutes away, who is in recovery from a stroke and in strict quarantine. Once my second round of vaccine has taken effect, I can see her at home, or perhaps on her deck, with masks and distancing. Second, a train ride into Manhattan w/hubby, to visit a new exhibit at the Met and walk in Central Park with our children and grandchildren.

    But next year – let’s hope the sky’s the limit!

  18. I dream of walking the Camino de Santiago. I am, however, unemployed due to covid and the likelihood of flying off to Europe to walk for several weeks is slim. But it doesn’t stop me from dreaming.

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