Thinking about travelling again
Months and months ago we booked a ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff. Our son and his family were going to be in France and we decided we would take the campervan and go and visit them. It all seemed very up in the air and like something that could not possibly happen. At the time it was not possible either to go specifically to France or to travel at all in and out of the UK. The rules kept changing, switching about and moving like shifting sands under your feet. In the end I decided that I wouldn't keep checking and trying to keep up with whether or not it would be possible to go. We would just park the whole idea. We would wait until we were much nearer the time and then, with only a couple of weeks to go, we would be able to see if it would happen. It was just a dream.
So here we are and it looks as if we can go. France is letting in people from the UK who are double vaccinated. The UK is at last allowing people returning or coming in from France not to quarantine if they are double vaccinated. Our son and family are happily in Brittany having travelled without trouble and suddenly it has moved from a vague possibility to a plan. Gulp.
I am not sure I can remember how to travel! Staying home and going nowhere has become normal. When we first drove down the border of Wales and England a few weeks ago to see our older daughter we got quite giddy when we went past Wrexham! Our world had become very small. So crossing the Channel, using a passport, speaking another language - all of a sudden that all sounds quite a big deal. I am glad we will be going on a ferry. I am not keen on flying at the best of times, not as a nervous flyer because fortunately I am not, but I never like the crush of airports, the queuing, the people towing mammoth suitcases, the overheated, overpriced shops. At the moment I think I would not wish to fly but a ferry is a different matter. You go onto a ferry in your own vehicle, travelling in your own little world, and in the campervan especially it is always a little like having your home on your back. Ferries are large and spacious and there is a lot of outside space. I am quite excited about going on a ferry again. Taking a ferry always feel like real travelling. That moment when the boat pulls away from the port and the wake creams out behind you and seagulls wheel overhead is always a time when my spirits lift.
This was the ferry from Oban to Mull in May. Yes, the ferry will be fine.
And there will be croissants for breakfast and the menu du jour for lunch in cafes and bistros. The air will smell different. There will be sunshine and markets and my rusty French will have to unearthed from under the layers of Welsh and Spanish which have piled up on top of it over the last few years. The camper will become home again and we will get used to sleeping on the harder, narrower bed to the extent that we will simply stop noticing. We will pick up the rhythm of moving aside and not getting in each other's way in what, for the first few days, will feel like a very small space. We will travel light and life will become very simple, focused simply at what to eat and where, where to sleep and when to wash up. Books will be read. Wine will be drunk. For so long I have not allowed myself to think about travelling because it has not been possible and it still seems like a dream but I need to wake up and believe it now so that I can plan and pack.
I feel like a child again, seeing the occasional and rare gipsy caravan clopping along with the owner up high in the driving seat. I, a real home bird, would suddenly feel the lure of the open road. I feel it again right now: the leap of excitement, the air moving, the clouds changing, the landscape rolling away under the wheels.
I think it might be really happening.
I need to dig out my sunhat.
How do you feel about travel? Would you think about a ferry and a campervan?