For the first time in a couple of years, I find my thoughts turning to my next trip. I haven’t thought much about travel since the pandemic started. It’s as much a coping mechanism as anything, I think. I’m normally always planning future travels, making notes about possible places to go and things to do. But when your dreams keep getting derailed by forces you can’t control, sometimes it seems best to stop dreaming.
I had tickets to the 2020 Wacken Open Air music festival in Germany, a trip which had been on the schedule for six years. It was, of course, cancelled. Trip-planning was in full swing, and much as I understood and agreed with the decision, I was still disappointed. I opted to carry the tickets forward to 2021, and the planning did continue for a little while, but as lockdowns became more all-encompassing and the ‘end’ of the pandemic off in some nebulous future, my enthusiasm died down. Eventually planning needs to lead to booking, and adding ‘Will it even be possible?’ to the mix of things to take into consideration was simply one variable too far.
Wacken was cancelled again in 2021, and once again I carried my tickets forward a year. That all happened last June, and I’ve planned nothing in the interim.
But more and more countries around the world are lifting all restrictions, and it’s also been a week with no restrictions in my province of residence. It’s not changed much of anything for me. I still wear a mask, and socially distance, and stay at home for the most part. And yet, much to my surprise, last week I did something I’ve not done in a very long time: I opened a map.
I still use paper maps. I like the feel of them, and the rustling sound of the paper, and I find it easier to process information from them as opposed to on a computer screen. I spread them out and plaster them with sticky arrows, colour-coded to indicate definite stops versus ones that are only possibilites. Sometimes, when the journey spans multiple countries, the living room furniture gets shoved aside and the entire floor covered in maps.
There’s only one map this time. Ron and I have agreed that, this trip, we’re going to stick to Germany. We don’t want to take the chance of entry or self-isolation requirements changing mid-journey and messing things up. Because as the last two years has shown time and again, who knows how things may change between now and a few months from now?
A couple of years ago, I would have been disappointed to restrict ourselves to ‘just’ one country. Now, though?
Now, bringing myself to dream for as much as one country feels like a victory.