Wherever, whenever and whatever you desire.
My husband got to travel across to America last week. He enjoyed beaches, museums and wineries in San Diego and then spent a packed day in the Big Apple, taking in bagel shops, sampling warm cookies, going up the Empire State building, catching the ferry to Staten Island and cycling through Central Park amongst a dozen other things.
I loved hearing about it all, but felt a pang of sadness that I would never be able to walk round any of those places myself. Another door slammed in my face by MS.
He also told me of the bookstore which had eighteen miles of books! Thinking about that today, I realised I had a way to travel which didn’t demand anything of me physically…
I’ve been traveling that way since I was small. When I was little I let Ladybird books introduce me to magical lands. Later I curled up in my bed to enjoy Prince Edward Island and Narnia. Then in my student years, I huddled under blankets to sample Shakespeare’s Italy, Dickens’ England, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s small town America and Joyce’s Dublin in my freezing flat in Glasgow.
These days I either go to stress-free quaint villages or grit my teeth through a dark, confusing Belfast in The Milkman.
I’ve discovered the best, the premium way to travel in recent years though and it’s to worlds of my own creation. I started in my favourite place, Donegal, braved my memories of Northern Ireland in the early nineties and flew back to the south of France. These days I’m in afictional Scotland where I’m finding the people more than the place to be my main attraction.
So you see, I may not be able to literally pound the streets or climb the steps of famous landmarks but, with the help of books, and my imagination, I can go –
Where are you heading next? Mexico? Florida?
Me, I’m off to the Hebrides.
And then, who knows?
As Jhumpa Lahiri said,
‘that’s the things about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.’