Now that we have reached Stage One in the gradual relaxation of Lockdown Rules in England, I have allowed my extended daydreaming to run at full tilt, asking myself: where in the world would I like to go?
It appears the whole travel industry is gearing up for the return of people like me, the inveterate traveller. From glossy images of lime-green Northern Lights, luminescent, practically jumping off the page, to squawking penguins begging for a fight while bouncing down a whistle-white run into the Antarctic Ocean surrounding our mind-blowing Seventh Continent, where I can, I am told, feed my inner scientist by putting things under a microscope, it is tricky to choose which fantasy to entertain.
Things pop into my mind the way they once did when I first travelled to Estonia during the seriously dark days of winter when being so sun-deprived, I had a vivid dream of a tropical jungle (la selva), where globular sunshine fell from one elephant-eared leaf to the next like heavy rain in slow motion until finally reaching the dense tropical floor below. Sunkist® took on a whole new meaning. Some swore it was the Finnish cough syrup I’d taken that included alkoholi among who knows what other ingredients in an almost indecipherable language that still boasts – at 61 letters – the longest word in any lexicon.
So just as I dreamt of sun in a sunless Tallinn at 59º 26′ N, 25º 45′ E, visions of travel now come into my head at odd moments (or sometimes in my sleep) the same way in my travel-poor world. I fancy Venice, the polished mahogany of a Riva water taxi breaking the creamy cold waters; or Sweden’s Icehotel, rebuilt each year out of ice blocks from the Torne River, including even the glasses at the bar. And who doesn’t think of the Serengeti, the Cradle of Mankind, or exotic Zanzibar off the coast of Dar, or a five-masted ship simply plying the waves through a warm trade wind to a verdant, turquoise bay in an out-of-the-way island of the Seychelles?
It’s true. I am not unlike Walter Mitty, a daydreamer, even if not a delusional one. For example, I bite into a seedless clementine, and am transported almost instantaneously to Valencia; at once I am in the Plaza de la Virgen not far from the red agate Santo Cáliz, the Holy Chalice that some believe may be the cup Jesus used at the Last Supper, kept neatly with an inventory inscribed on vellum dating back to AD 262, even though the cup has never been credited with anything particularly transcendent, mystical or new.
Which brings me back to Easter, to spring, to communion, to the reopening of travel in a time of post-Lockdown Rules. The truth is that as I toss my clementine peel into the bin, I recall with supreme delight that in this time of Covid-19, when my travel has been truncated, my most intimate and extraordinary journey has been with those I already know and to the places I have already been.
While I still might Google fantasy destinations and certainly visit Expedia.com to plan an imaginary odyssey, I am deeply satisfied with the place where I already live and with the people I already know in this bright and beautiful place called home.
Wishing you an April full of all things familiar, even mundane, and loved well.
Photo by iStock.com/Albina Gavrilovic