Like many people, Covid-19 struck at a time when I had intended to do long-term travelling. During my two-weeks of mandatory self-isolation after landing back home, one filled with a lot of sulking and self-pity, I made the best of the situation and picked up new hobbies. One of these hobbies have allowed me to walk the streets of Paris, road-trip through South America, and embark on spiritual journeys among other things. If you haven’t guessed, that hobby is reading.
Reading has been an investment in locations as much as characters. The first time I went to Paris, I was excited because of all the things that I learnt about the city through my french class. I wanted to do the things that you would expect like visit the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Versailles, and all that good stuff. Now having read A Moveable Feast, I am incredibly excited to stroll around the Latin Quarter, le jardin des tuileries, and the cafés that Hemingway and his contemporaries frequented. Similarly, I am excited to tour around South America drinking maté with fellow travellers and strangers thanks to The Motorcycle Diaries. Instead of just backpacking, I have much more of a reason, and more a plan of where I would want to go travelling.
If I am being honest with myself, prior to this investment into reading, the reasoning for the list of places that I wanted to go were weak. “I want to go here because it was in that TV show”; “Everyone says good things about this place”; “I saw it in a must-travel article on the internet”. At least now, I have an avenue through which I can develop relationships with locations, at my own pace and under my own discretion. Whenever borders do open up, and travelling is once again feasible, I have greater clarity with where I want to go, and what I would want to do.