Dreams are free…

Just like that, Covid-19 changed us; Jack London or Stephen King could have had a field day. We learnt a new language which included: social distancing, Zoom meetings, elbow bumps and self-isolation. Planes were grounded, families were separated across the world, swathes of jobs disappeared, and what was with the dearth of toilet paper? I still can’t get my head around that one.

One of the greatest joys of my chosen career is seeing people get excited as I talk about places, sights, cultures and people that make my heart sing. Lighting a spark as we help plan their own adventures and then making it happen. So Covid-19 also took an essential part of who I am, who any good travel professional is, and snatched it away as we struggled to rebook, refund, replace, refine what we could.

This year has therefore given me time to reflect on some of my favourite places and muse over others still to explore: I remember crouching in silence on an Omani beach as green turtles came ashore to lay their eggs, phosphorescence turning the crashing waves behind us into a lightening show of brilliance in the moonlight. Chatting to a couple of tiny barefoot child monks in Punakha (Bhutan) as they lit candles at the entrance to the Dzong, getting hopelessly lost in the alleys of Cairo and giggling as a guy on a donkey wanted to show me the way out. Spotting a family of 5 on a motorbike in Jaipur, the girls immaculate in dark blue school uniforms, mum in a sparkling sari, baby on her hip while dad negotiated his way around trucks, cars, cows and the odd elephant. And standing wide-eyed in Cartagena as a simply tremendous thunderstorm crackled across the sky, setting off car alarms and rumbling at my hotel window.

I was supposed to be snorkelling in the Maldives at Easter – I can almost feel the sun on my back as the crystal clear water shimmers over coral studded with anemones, schools of brightly coloured fish darting to and fro. I also want to travel by boat to Kiattua Camp in Nuuk, to try fishing with the Inuit and I want to experience the tradition and fun of a Christmas market in Ljubljana.

Dreams are all we had in 2020 – let 2021 and beyond be the time to make them all come true.