As it is with almost every other person on the planet, we have had to put a dramatic halt on travel for the time being. It’s something that goes against the grain of how we are inherently stitched, to be withheld from the freedom to move, seek and discover beyond the parameters of our own walls. But in a time such as this – and we don’t need to expand on that – we all know what it is – that big elephant in all of our rooms, waving his trunk about, hooking his tusks under tables, knocking over glasses and spilling the treasured rations of wine. In a time such as this, free motion can be put on the back burner for the next couple of weeks, maybe months; we’re not sure. For now, anyway, we have a lot of other delightful and delicious things simmering away on the front burners that require our full focus and attention. Like keeping our spirits high, our businesses alive, our children educated and active, and our saddlebags at bay. All the while munching on a big, plump apple a day.
But that doesn’t mean we’re not free to indulge in reminiscence about all of the wonderful places we’ve been and yearn to return to. Those riotous road trips with a group of our favourite people, gaily gallivanting the Garden Route. Placid weeks beside the dreamy blue lagoon of our West Coast’s National Park, with nothing but books, bathing suits, hot bread with dollops of boursin, and barrels of chilled Blanc de Noir. Exhilarating days – and nights – spent in the thick of the African bush, ensconced in the romance and reality of the wilderness. A gathering of the family – the whole family – on an old country estate, when hugging, kissing and sipping from each others’ glasses was normal practice. In fact, recalling happy memories is an essential act in diverting from the constant conversations about that elephant, and indeed, keeping our spirits high. Every now and then, for a fleeting, cathartic moment, it’s necessary to fuel our wandering minds with thoughts about the beautiful places we know, and oh the places we’ll go.
So whilst it’s a surety that the only places we’ll be physically exploring on the current itinerary are Las Kitchenas – my most frequented destination – or Los Lounges, Costa del Balconia or Porto Gardenas, Saint Ablutiones or Isle de Boudoir, let’s take a virtual trip into our own treasure trove of travels throughout our lives. The places that have left a permanent mark on us, that have inspired us with their culture, influenced our style, shaped our conversations and will forever be harboured in our hearts. Travel will, after all, always surreptitiously stream its way back into our lives, long after the journey. It’s in our albums, on our mantelpieces, in our language, on the dinner table, hanging from the old avocado tree in the garden, above the kids’ bunk beds, stitched into our memories and woven into our imaginations of where to next.
We’ve compiled a creative list of activities that you’re free to do, in the pending weeks of lockdown, for a good dose of virtual voyaging.
- Comb through all of your photo albums (can be digital), and select a few of your favourites. Each must include a significant feature indicative of its location. Show them to your kids/lockdown buddies, and get them to choose one image unanimously. Tell a story about that image.
- Then, sort and sequence all of your loose photos into albums or onto vision boards, into old picture frames or onto the fridge.
- Attempt a daring dish that you sampled and savoured on your travels, and stands out in your mind. You know the one. It could be the basket-loads of Chiacchiere di carnevale you scoffed on at that art festival in Florence, or the amazing Pho you couldn’t get enough of on your journey from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh. Or maybe just a big pot of Paella. With a large jug of sangria.
- Design a stamp with your kids/lockdown buddies of your own independent country you are living in right now – i.e. Mi Casa – and write a handmade postcard to whoever you want, saying whatever it is you want to say. You can send it when the postman is back at work.
- Find that track that takes you there. Dress up, apply the rich red lipstick, put on the Gipsy Kings and flamenco your fabulous selves across the living room or the lawn – wherever you fancy.
- Learn a few words in a foreign language that you and your family/lockdown buddies have chosen. Construct a sentence and use that sentence at intermittent times throughout the day.
- Each person in Tu Casa must select an image of a notable worldly landmark of their choice, to draw – in secrecy. Upon completion, all must reveal each other’s artwork and do their best to guess what and where each other’s pictures are of.
- Open up an Atlas and scan your fingers across the pages or around a spinning globe with your eyes closed. Stop when the time is right and notice where your finger sits. Research that country and share at least five facts about it, with your clan. You’ll be surprised how much fun it is, and how little, or much, you know.
- Make a big jug of lemonade.
- Write a list of all of the firsts you’ll be doing when we are able to walk beyond our walls, and explore freely again. The first person you’ll visit, the first luxury treat, the first walk in nature, the first getaway destination, the first routes you’ll make. Those firsts will never feel as fantastic.
Perfect Hideaways has over 300 curated properties across South Africa as well as a curated collection of family-friendly safari hideaways. If you’d like to stay in one of our hidden gems, contact us on [email protected] or [email protected] or +27 21 790 0972 so that we can help you find your perfect hideaway.