I woke up the other morning with non-holiday in my head.
We were meant to be away the last two weeks of June, the second of two bucket list trips with my son (last year, after exams, was an island in the Indian Ocean for 11 days).
After many years of annual trips to New York to visit family (this ceased in 2018 with the finalising of my father’s estate), I had decided long haul travel was really not high on my list of pleasures – even though you generally did get to visit some place amazing, different, exciting, whathaveyou. But, years ago, I’d promised we’d go some place tropical after A levels (he said “I want white sand and perfect blue ocean”) and the year after that we’d do another ‘big’ trip. After that, I said, I wanted ‘easier’ holidays (I’m now fantasising about a cottage in Norfolk where I can take the dog as well – see the beach at the end of Shakespeare in Love – that’s Holkham in Norfolk).
Anyhoo, last year’s travel was everything you’d hope for in a bucket list trip (including looking through duty free in Doha airport at 3 AM, hoping to find a bottle of Cartier l’Heure Fougueuse – alas, no joy).
I’ve never been a big duty free shopper. However, there have been times I’ve availed myself of it mostly for other people. And, ironically, I remember most of what I’ve bought: returning to the US after a semester abroad a bottle of L’Air du Temps for my mother from Heathrow duty free; on the return from my first and only business trip, to Paris, a bottle of Hermes 24 Faubourg for a workmate (I also recall being totally charmed by the rabbits that lived on the runway verges at Charles de Gaulle decades ago – wonder if they are still there). I think that’s really it.
I had been planning to try again for the l’Heure on this past non-trip.
People sometimes say ‘a change is as good as a rest’ and given I’m living in a different, larger village while the house-house is being sorted I guess I should be thankful, as during a time when most of us have been quite stuck I’m in a different circumstance than normal. And I am thankful for many things (beyond the most important – that we’re both ok and I’m still working): at least the garden, though small, has jasmine which is now in full bloom; there’s loads of honeysuckle lining the lanes; there are horses (l’Heure Fougueuse again!); the blackberries look like they will be abundant this year (I just bought an ice cream maker as I’m sick of saying ‘I want ice cream’).
I am hoping we’ll return to a state as a society at some point fairly soon when I can pick up the organising again for bucket list trip number 2 and gird my loins for the train journey up to London, the overnight at Heathrow, the loooooong outbound flight. However much I don’t love most of the travel itself I do love the feeling of freedom that sets in the moment I step on to the London-bound train – the sense of a new adventure and the being outside normal life.
In the meantime, I look at YouTube videos (what did we do before YT?) and am mostly satisfied with the toy-train trip along the estuary to the farm shop; the walk from the farm shop to visit the house-house; and Wednesday night thin-crust pizza from the local pizza van.
Were you planning a holiday before the world turned upside down? Now that some places are opening again are you contemplating a trip – nearby or far away?