At the end of every year, I write a reflection about my travels. This was a very different year and so is this review.
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!