Jilly: Where Would You Go?

Another weekend in lockdown, at least here in the UK. How are you doing? I hope you’re safe and well and facing the corona-challenge as best you can.

This week we finally received confirmation that the 2020 Romance Writers of America  National Conference, scheduled to take place in San Francisco at the end of July, has been cancelled. That’s…kind of a relief, since I saw the writing on the wall a couple of months ago and refunded our plane tickets and hotel bookings. I’m sad it won’t be happening, but glad we won’t be missing out on the fun.

Last weekend I talked about the idea that a cancelled vacation is a double disappointment—you miss out on the trip, but you also miss out on the planning, which may be the best bit. No budget constraints, no logistical difficulties, nothing but good times ahead.

In last Sunday’s comments, Elizabeth said that since much of the fun is in the planning, we should keep working on our itineraries, enjoying the luxury of our virtual trips without being hampered by financial considerations or practical details. I think she’s right.

So. Once this crisis is over, if you could go anywhere in the world, money no object, where would you go?

If I could pick a place in the world to be transported to, it would be Stewart Island—an island off the South Island of New Zealand that’s a haven for wildlife, in particular beautiful birds. It’s been on my bucket list for years, but I’ve been blasé about organizing a trip, because it’s so far away, would be expensive, the jet lag would be horrible, blah blah blah. Now I’m thinking I may have missed my chance to go there, but if I could, I should seize it with both hands.

I’d also love to see the Northern Lights. They’re unpredictable, chancy, and require you to stare at the sky in an isolated, freezing environment in the dark of night and the depths of winter. I’ve toyed with this, too, but I never translated my ideas into action because a trip to Norway or Canada in the freezing cold and claustrophobic darkness isn’t that attractive when the payoff is uncertain at best. Now I’m thinking Scandinavia is relatively close, and I have a significant birthday approaching. I should give this a shot, if circumstances permit.

Closest to home, I’d love to visit the Scilly Isles. They’re an archipelago just off the tip of Cornwall (the most south-westerly point of the UK). They’re sub-tropical, spectacularly beautiful, interesting geologically, and a haven for migratory birds. That one should be possible, if I put my mind to it.

I’ve been lucky enough to visit many amazing places around the world. The corona crisis has made me realize how I took my freedom for granted. If and when the world does open up again, I intend to make the most of it.

So. If and when this crisis is behind us, where would you go, if you could? Near or far, money no object? Enquiring minds would love to know.

9 thoughts on “Jilly: Where Would You Go?

  1. I’ve been to Stewart Island! When I was a teenager my family spent the summer school holidays – 6 weeks – travelling around NZ. Sadly, the only thing I can remember about Stewart Island was the boat trip – the most seasick I have ever felt, and I’ve been to Rottnest several times.

    I’d like to rent http://satelliteisland.com.au/ – but not in winter!

    • OH! Now I’m feeling jealous, though not of the seasickness. I hadn’t thought of that.

      Satellite Island looks amazing. I’ve been to Australia three times and have done some very cool things (bush camping in the Kimberley with just my husband and a guide, wow) but I’ve never made it to Tasmania. That’s also on my list, but not in winter 😉

      • Don’t be jealous! I’ve barely had another holiday in the last ~45 years. Now I’ve ditched the abusive ex (who spent all my earnings and refused to work), I’m hoping to go overseas – to Europe – once I’ve retired.

        The ocean to the south of Australia and New Zealand is extremely rough – the problem was that there was no deck to get some fresh air, and the boat reeked of diesel. I suspect that the current boat is a lot nicer!

        • Good for you, getting rid of the ex!

          I can strongly recommend retirement, and I’m pretty sure 8Lady Jeanne would say the same. I hope you make it to Europe. There are so many great places to see, and it sounds as though you’re long overdue a fabulous trip.

  2. I had planned to take a couple of teenage granddaughters to Florida this spring to visit Disney and Universal and introduce those landlocked children to the ocean. I’m now looking at spending a few hours on the phone extracting refunds from various providers.

    I also had plans to go to a Readers and Writers gathering in Savannah in July. It’s still on the slate but I’ve decided a weekend in crowded hotel conference rooms is not a wise choice this summer, so I’ve opted out.

    All of which has left me feeling a bit jaundiced about making plans to go anywhere.

    That said, you made me realize there’s a bird sanctuary, Magee Marsh, about 3 hours north of here. It’s supposed to be amazing during peak migration periods. So maybe a trip there sometime once public restrooms are open again..

    And one day this week I’m planning to visit Mrs. Aull’s garden, a nearby park which contains a lilac grove that should be in full flower shortly.

    • Sorry about your Florida trip, and about Savannah. I know there are worse problems in the world right now, but still, 😦

      I just checked out Magee Marsh. It looks fantastic, and the best time to go is May. If not this year (I guess maybe not the best idea) then add it to your post-lockdown list. I bet you’d get some fabulous photos. Right now a lilac grove sounds perfect. I’m guessing they’re scented? That would be a treat.

  3. The mini trip close to home: If life were normal, this month I’d be heading over to Holland, Michigan to hang for a few days. It’s got that cute little town thing going that I love. I’ve driven through, but never spent any time there. I’m checking it out as a possible retirement place for the future- in twenty years it will be in the global warming humanity hospitable zone (have you seen those maps, or is that just a wife-of-environmental-professor thing that I see them so often?), it’s on an assured source of fresh water (another env prof wife concern), it’s cute with festivals and art and is a super cheap place to live. Yes, I am a long range planner.

    The realistic, just for fun trip: I desperately want to go back to the Pacific Northwest. My plan is to start at the Olympic Peninsula and hike like a fool for a few days (mountains, beaches, fields of lavender, I love it all!), then head south on the 101 with multiple hiking stops. A day or two in Astoria for a brief dose of town life, continuing south down the coast of Oregon, pics at Haystack Rock (natch) but quickly out of Cannon Beach to avoid the tourists. Hiking the Devil’s Churn area, horseback riding on the footprint-free long white beaches in Florence. Expect to spend 10-12 days on the whole trip, then catch a flight home out of North Bend so I don’t have to go to the boring middle valley of the state to get a plane.

    OK, fantasy trip: I’ve done horseback riding in Banff, Canada (freaking amazing!!!), but I really want to do the six day trip up to Halfway Lodge. All the outdoorsy, horsy stuff I like, without actually roughing it! Best of both worlds and trip of my dreams. Only problem is, my friends and family are definitely not interested. Thinking I may eventually ditch all of them and go on my own. You only live once.

    If money were meaningless trip: If I was willing to blow a huge pile of money spoiling myself, I would definitely spend it on a “7 day journey” at the Mii amo spa in Sedona. This experience looks beyond blissful.

    Thanks, Jilly, this was fun!!

  4. We did our anywhere-in-the-world trip in January. China!!! No, really, we went there. It was never on my bucket list, but by son was studying at Nanjing University for a year (was supposed to be July to July) so we went in the middle of his year. It was amazing. Yes, jet lag was involved, but actually, it was less of a problem than Europe would be. It’s such a long travel day, and I don’t sleep on transport vehicles, that by the time we got there, it didn’t matter what time zone we were in, we ate and went to bed. And, of course, his American university made him come home a week after we got back.

    When this is all over, I want to do a Viking River Cruise through Europe. I was a French major so France will be on the itinerary. I spent a semester in Paris and would LOVE to go back. I spent every Friday in the Louvre (Art class – prof was the curator of the Musee de L’Orangerie), but I never went up the Eiffel Tower. Bucket List! My husband speaks a little German, so Germany would be good.

    But I’m not going anywhere until this thing settles down and there’s a vaccine (please god). Everything I’m reading indicates that this winter is going to be very bleak here in America, partially because we have a lot of idiots who think staying home or wearing a mask when they don’t infringes on their rights. No shirt, no shoes, no service doesn’t bother them, but a mask is asking too much?

    • Maybe we’ll see each other on that Viking River Cruise, Michille. I’ve been pouring over their catalogs for the last few years, trying to decide which itinerary to choose.

      This year was supposed to include New Orleans in mid-March, but I procrastinated about booking tickets for too long, which turned out to be a good thing. My big trip was supposed to be the Garden of Cosmic Speculation in Scotland but–of all the bizarre timing–one of the owners died and so the gardens are closed this year out of respect. Oxford was going to be on the list too, but I decided not to go since the RWA conference was going to be here in SF (at the same time). RWA has been cancelled and I don’t know what the university is planning to do about the Oxford Program. I can’t imagine wanting to be in a plan for 10 hours in the current environment, though I do miss Oxford (well, to be honest, I miss the Bodleian Library, scones, and clotted-cream most of all).

      For now, my fantasy vacation will involve English castles, the Irish coastline, and time in the Scottish Highlands. Maybe I’ll transport myself over to Venice for a day–I’ve always wanted to visit there–and maybe to Provence for a day as well. Ah, a girl can dream.

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