Friday 28 February 2020

Mental travel can send you, well, mental...

I do realise that things have been pretty quiet on this blog for some time (sorry), and was hoping that next week I would be able to liven it up a bit with a quick trip to San Francisco. I was invited by Air NZ to help publicise their new venture into consumer-friendly food, which they will be launching on March 12. The details are under embargo until then, so I can't elaborate, except to say that it's a follow-on from their Impossible Burger, and also a slightly shocking product to me, as a staunch and traditional Kiwi. More detail on that later.

The junket has fallen through though because the travel section of the paper they wanted me to write for has rejected the idea since Business is already covering it. To be honest, although of course I like San Francisco and would have enjoyed another visit - though brief, I reckon there would have been time for an e-bike across the Bridge - my disappointment is leavened by quiet relief that I won't be potentially exposed to coronavirus. Having caught the flu last year on the plane to the UK, which was a really miserable experience, I'm nervous about risking getting a much nastier bug - and I won't be the only one. Tourism globally will be taking a huge hit.

Already, with the sudden dearth of Chinese tourists, there's a movement here to encourage people to travel domestically - which, having just been up to the Bay of Islands for the first time in ages, I can thoroughly recommend as a rewarding experience. That goes for wherever you live, pretty much. Foreign tourists to New Zealand (probably quickly realising how much it pleases us) gush about how beautiful it is here - but every country has its own particular glories. It's a beautiful world. (Which, oh dear, we should be looking after SO much better...)

Keeping it local is one very sensible reaction, then, to the current looming pandemic crisis. Another is to sit back and remember the places you've already been, and to try to re-live them again. That's something that, for me, is both a pleasure, and a penance. The tiresome bit is trying to remember exactly where that place is whose image has popped, for no obvious reason, into my increasingly enfeebled and erratic brain. It happens to me all the time, and right now it's a hill I climbed, up to lovely views over the sea. I remember woods, rocks, and a grassy track back down to where there was a historic building and a wooden zig-zag fence along the waterfront, which tells me it must have been somewhere in the US. I was thinking maybe it was when I went to Alaska, but my notebook says no and I can't find anywhere in my files the photo I'm visualising so clearly. So where was it? Honestly, it's driving me crazy - but at least, mentally, I'm busy travelling all over the place, trying to pin down the location. So there's that.

Yay, finally! San Juan Island, WA. Hardly Alaska - but at least I got the coast right...

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