At the end of every year, I write a reflection about my travels. This was a very different year and so is this review.
January and February started as planned, with short trips to Paris and Amsterdam, where we didn’t do much other than enjoy all our favourite local vegan spots.
By March, the world was a different place. I had booked trips to Thailand and Japan, and I had many other ambitions plans. Instead, I stayed home and watched the occasional plane fly by, wondering about the lives of the people who were still going places.
This year reminded me that most of all, I love cities. When people started taking tentative holidays to European resorts, I didn’t. My favourite metropolises were never free of restrictions. I stayed in, but still connected with many of the places I’ve visited.
Travel changes us. All the places I visited are now part of me too, and I’ve used my time at home this year to bring those places closer to me.
I cooked Japanese food and drank green tea. I read Elif Shafak’s “10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World”, which made me want to go back to Istanbul. When I saw a Chinook helicopter flying by, helping transport coronavirus patients, I thought of Afghanistan, where they served a very different purpose. I remembered a warm evening by the bay in Beirut when I heard about the explosion that destroyed the beautiful city. I bought panettone as I couldn’t spend another Christmas in Rome.
Travelling is an identity, and it is also a huge privilege. This being a normal year, by now I would have come home from many months of travelling. Instead I’m happy I get to plan future travels for another time.
In the words of Maya Angelou:
You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.
I don’t know where 2021 will take me, but I hope at some point, I’ll be off on a plane again – I can’t wait!
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