Never one to revel in being told what to do, I am dreading the speech this evening by our president Emmanuel Macron. He is probably dreading it even more than me because no-one likes to be the bearer of bad news. We are almost certainly going back into confinement or some version of confinement which will enable him to call it something else. And by the way some people do enjoy being told what to do otherwise life coaches and personal trainers wouldn’t exist.
There has been much talk about how difficult it is for the ‘young’ to be confined and other talk about how awful it is for the elderly. The bottom line is that it totally sucks for everyone and there is no need to pitch us against each other. With all the information we are being given at the moment if they actually try to make us believe that it is harder to be young than old right now, we will just stop listening period!
Personally I think that it is difficult for everyone, not least of all for the ‘travellers’ amongst us. Whether or not you like to plan your voyages, treks, holidays or visits abroad to see family and friends, or if you like to improvise such activities you are out of luck just now, on all counts. Booking ahead is dodgy unless you don’t mind effectively lending money to companies who may or may not go out of business. Waiting until the last minute is probably a better option but you may miss out on the best deals and in any case you won’t be able to plan and enjoy the countdown to your upcoming voyage.
For my many traveller ex flight attendant friends it is even worse. We didn’t have to pay to travel or even decide where to go. The news just came in once a month. At first it was a letter under the door with a roster. A ten day trip to the Seychelles or a twelve day trip to Harare. So you had to pack for a safari or a beach trip and always find room for an LBD (little black dress). Those were the really good old days. Later on the trips came via email and still a month in advance. My destinations changed as I moved from the ‘leisure airport LGW’ to the ‘everywhere airport LHR’. Asia and the middle east were somewhat new to me so it was all good. I used to love the little 48 hour trips to Oman and Kuwait and other quick destinations. Just enough time to get some sun in the winter and catch up with my fellow crew, based out there, hit the gym, browse the local markets and come home.There were a lot more stateside destinations. Oh what I would give for a trip to NY or LA right about now! Alas, as you know, after 20 odd years I got tired, not tired of travelling but tired of not sleeping enough and decided to call it a day.
I wanted a break. Just a little break in the place I call home. I certainly wasn’t prepared for the entire world to shut down and borders to harden drastically. It is horrible seeing certain countries try to profit from the situation and control their people more than ever. At worst some have even used this ‘sanitary situation’ as an opportunity to overthrow their legally elected governments and hope that we will all be too busy to come to the aid of the oppressed.
As I sit at home in my little garden in the glorious sunshine accompanied as I often am by the vent d’autan I do realise how lucky I am. Really I do. On the other hand there is no getting away from the fact that “familiarity breeds contempt”. I miss travelling. I like diversity. I need diversity. I love to travel. I love nothing more than to be somewhere which is unfamiliar to me and watch the world go by. The chatter of a language which is foreign to me. It was both alarming and fascinating to witness airport staff in certain middle eastern countries smoking inside with their feet up on the table and barely glancing at the hand baggage being screened? Actually that was probably more alarming than interesting but you get the drift. I like to see people do things differently. Here on the old continent one does things a certain way. Tradition precludes variety. People just accept things, as they have always been this way. Contrarily, it is when there is any proposed change that people get upset.
I have been unable to avoid thinking about how lucky my cat is. I have been on curfew since the 29th of October, not allowed out past 18h00. It recently changed from 18h00 to 19h00 but with that came daylight savings. Cat, on the other hand, is allowed out any old time and has no obligation to provide information to anyone about where she is going or where she has been.
Strolling through the village of St Félix Lauragais yesterday I was struck that confinement is hard on everyone. Wherever you are, whoever you are, you are not alone. This is hard on all of us. Hopefully we are at least heading into the tunnel from which there will be light.
Follow me to keep up with me on my travels around Occitanie……………à bientôt Christina.