Friday Reflection: Derailed plans

I am beginning to feel a little cheated of my good years to travel.

John Lennon famously said that: “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”

And of course, we all know the dreadful irony of those remarks on the outcome of his life.

Haven’t we all been touched by this concept as we have navigated our way around the last two years of unprecedented change and uncertainty?

We plan to see the grandkids – nah, the borders are shut. We plan to go to a friend’s wedding, buy the new dress, the shoes, only to shove them back in the cupboard. Once the wedding is back on, will our feet even fit into those high heels after spending months in Ugg boots and sandals and will the dress fit the ever-expanding waistline disguised by the tracky dacks?

It seems the days of planning that trip to Bali, surrounded by a few thousand other Aussies, or heading off on an extended travelling tour around Europe are long off. Lately, the focus has been on what places we can visit, all within the boundaries of this great land.

But even travel here has been stymied.

I took for granted jumping in the car and making a road trip to Adelaide. Recently we became victims of ‘the plague’, barred entry at the border. Changes were made, but the rigamarole of pretesting and lags in test results have even made that border crossing too difficult. I just can’t be bothered.

My horizons are closing in and, to paraphrase John Donne, the world has contracted thus. A trip to my local beach might be nice, so long as no-one sits near me. A seat on a bench in my local park, watching the ducks flap around, looks more enticing by the day.

As age creeps up on me, I am beginning to feel a little cheated of my good years to travel: the years when travel insurance is still available and my geriatric bones can still prop me up.

I’ll probably end up like the many elderly folk I remember on a trip to Oberammergau years ago. They’d come to see the once-in-every-10-years passion play of the life of Christ. They managed to last the distance watching the play over two gruelling days (and of course we all know the sad ending) but they couldn’t climb the stairs to most of the palaces and historic buildings that were part of the itinerary. They had left their run too late and ill-health was affecting what they could do.

Will this be me in a few years as my chance to be overseas dwindles into memory?

What is the solution to the ever-changing travel tapestry that is unfolding in front of me?

Friends of mine who’d taken up the concept of mindfulness, with great gusto, once told me their mantra was “to live in the moment”. It was an idea I must confess I tended to scoff at, but not so much now.

I am trying my darndest to appreciate the little things: the smell and taste of good coffee in the morning; the bike ride to the shops; killing two birds with one stone as I exercise and appease my climate change guilt-ridden conscience, or playing rummy with my grandkids as we surreptitiously teach them the notion of permutations and combinations. And they get it.

The moment is all we have – and at least I do have it – rather than having a life cut short by this or any other disease.

Friday Reflection is your chance to write on any topic that stirs you. Simply send your contribution to [email protected]. Published authors will receive a $20 Prezzee digital gift card that can be spent at more than 120 retail outlets.

Do you feel your best travel years are behind you? How do you manage to sate the travel bug in these trying times?Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?

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