“Travel… shakes you out of the steady medium of your everyday routine and creates room for highs and lows, for intense new flavours and surprising sights, for experiences that are unpredictable and vivid and extraordinary.”
After two years of living through a global pandemic where the safest thing to do is to stay at home, author Kate Peterson’s observation that travel pulls us out of the “steady medium” of our day-to-day lives jumped out at me. Because that’s what I want out of travel in 2022: a break from routine, an escape from the city, a change of scenery so dramatic that I forget the to-do list waiting for me at home. The monotony of repeated lockdowns and restrictions has made the intensity of travel more enticing than ever.
For me, the pandemic reignited my love of the great outdoors. Being forced to stay in once place allowed me to really see the nature in the city – the cormorants drying their wings by the river, the trees changing colours in their different seasons, the cardinals dancing in our back garden – and made simple activities like going for a bike ride in the fresh air feel exhilarating. In 2022 I want even more time in nature, wherever that may be. I’m dreaming of hikes and cycles in the countryside; the expansive views from mountains and clifftops; and the rush of adrenaline as I swim in the crisp, cold sea.
Unfortunately, uncertainty still rules the day in the world of travel. I may have made it back to Scotland twice in the second half of 2021, when there was a window of relative normality, but now restrictions have tightened again, thanks to the Omicron variant. Travel is still possible, but it requires even more jumping through hoops and squeezing through limitations than before – not to mention preparing for everything to change at a moment’s notice.
This means that firm travel plans are still few and far between. But I can plan for smaller chunks of adventure in the meantime – adopt a local travel mantra, focus on what’s on my doorstep – and save the bigger travel dreams for later in the year.
In the calendar already is a winter weekend by the sea in Cape May, New Jersey, and the arrival of my family in the spring and summer – they haven’t been able to visit since 2019! As always, I plan to return to the Outer Hebrides in 2022. This year I’d like to finally visit Scarp (my original hoped-for destination the year I ended up at the Shiants), and go on a swimming boat trip with Immerse Hebrides. In the rest of the UK, London is high on my wish list, for time with the friends I haven’t seen in far too long, and I’d like to see more of Scotland too.
On this side of the Atlantic, I want to visit a new-to-me part of the USA: a new national park, maybe, or somewhere in the South or Midwest, two regions I’ve spent vanishingly little time in over the past seven years. And finally, I would love to visit a new-to-me country. It’s been more than two years since I was in a country that wasn’t the UK or the USA (when we visited Spain in 2019, where I am in the photo above), and I’m craving that thrill of the unknown that comes from visiting somewhere entirely different.
But frankly, at this stage of the pandemic, I’m not too fussy. Anywhere that gives me “experiences that are unpredictable and vivid and extraordinary,” as Kate puts it, is fine by me. In the meantime, I’ll be focusing on mini adventures, and finding joy in the small details, until moving through the world is a little easier again.