I live to travel. In the last decade or so there has not been a single vacation day in my life that I did not spend traveling to an interesting destination. That stat probably makes me appear more well-traveled than I actually am, compared to an average person, but you get the point.
My lovely wife and I are not spontaneous travelers. I can probably recall a trip or two that has been arranged no more than a few weeks ahead of the departure, but we customarily lay out our itineraries and make transportation and accommodation arrangements months and months in advance. When this year started, we already more or less planned three different trips through the spring and summer, with another potential one being considered for mid-autumn. Expectations of planned travel are undoubtedly the next best thing to actually traveling.
Now, of course, all of those plans are being gradually canceled. The world is seemingly beyond the point of no return in terms of resuming international tourism this summer (if at all this year). And I find myself exponentially more depressed by the removal of the aforementioned expectations. I know conceptually that I will resume traveling at some point in the future, but I have no specific dates to look forward to, for the first time in nearly twenty years.
This is the picture of the marvelous Pont Alexandre III over Seine, with the dome of Saint-Louis-des-Invalides cathedral in the background, taken on a rainy November afternoon over a decade ago. Paris is literally the first place in Europe that Natasha and I landed in to explore when we started traveling, and it is decidedly our first and everlasting love among the grand capitals of the world. That November fell during a period of time when on the strength of residing practically next door in London, we have been visiting Paris with pleasant regularity. Within a year of this picture being taken, we repatriated and since then have managed to go back to Paris barely at all. Our youngest has never been, so this summer we intended to spend time indoctrinating her in our love for all things Parisian. Alas!
I always liked this picture specifically because it deviates from the common depictions of the city as lively and sunny. Today it also perfectly suits my mood. Paris is gloomy because it misses me. I am gloomy because I am not sure when I will see Paris again.
Remembering past travels is undoubtedly the third best thing on this scale. I’ll have to accept that as the only thing available to me for the foreseeable future.