Hubby and I are off on our early summer camping trip this weekend. Travelling up the Ottawa Valley for five days. The campgrounds have opened, with special Covid-19 measures in place for the safety of campers and staff. We’re looking forward to a few days of riding our bikes, fishing, and swimming. With the requisite lolling around the campsite, sipping of wine, and eating of hotdogs. Not to mention the reading of books. Hubby will be golfing one day, so I’ll be lolling all on my own that morning. Sigh. Bet you can’t tell whether that is a sigh of loneliness or of anticipation. Ha.
We will NOT be packing light for this trip. Lots of food and drink. Swim suits, fishing gear, bug nets (hoping we don’t need them this year), our bikes, the canoe, Hubby’s golf clubs… and lots of books.
While we’re there we’ll be reminiscing about past trips we’ve had. We always do this over a glass of wine, round the campfire. We’ll probably be laughing about past camping trips, especially those ones with all the rain or the bugs. And we’ll no doubt be waxing nostalgic about some of our favourite adventures in other parts of the world.
This is because we’re a bit sad that our Africa trip this fall will almost certainly be a non-starter. This past week we have been in the process of unravelling our carefully crafted plans. First we talked to our travel insurance provider, clarifying what we are entitled to, and what we have to do to claim. Nailing down the specifics. This is not the first time we’ve had to do this. When my step-dad died in 2008 we were in northern Australia, and we came home three weeks before the end of our trip. Necessitating numerous cancellations, and new flights home.
This week we’ve been checking out cancellation policies for numerous flights with four different airlines. Reminding ourselves of the timelines for cancellation of thirteen different accommodations in South Africa, one desert safari trip of four days in Namibia, and a four day animal safari in South Africa. As we reviewed each piece of the trip puzzle, saw the name or picture of a particular bush camp or ocean view cottage, we recalled why we had chosen that place, the sights we had hoped to see, the people we thought we’d meet.
It took us weeks of preparation to organize this trip. All the reading, and talking. Then the researching, booking, co-ordinating flights and accommodations… well… you get the picture. We love to plan trips this way because we find out so much about where we’re going, and what we should do when we get there. And now each place so carefully chosen seems hard to give up.
We set aside all of our Africa stuff, the folders of print-outs, e-tickets, confirmations, the guide books, at the beginning March, once we’d finally slotted the last booking in place. Then two weeks later the “you know what” hit the fan. We don’t know what the fall will bring. Even if non-essential overseas travel is allowed when we are scheduled to fly in October, we don’t know if we will be comfortable travelling. We have to make up our minds by August. That’s when we must begin to cancel our bookings to avoid penalty. Or minimize the penalty. If the non-essential travel advisory is still in place by then, we can probably claim some of our losses from our insurance.
Anyway, it will only be money we’ll be losing. And, of course, our dream of seeing Africa. Hubby has long wanted to do this trip. He’s pretty fatalistic that if we don’t go soon, we’ll never go. And I think he’s right.
So as we sit around the camp fire next week, we hopefully won’t be thinking too much about the unravelling of our Africa travel plans. But feeling grateful about the other beautiful spots in the world which we’ve been privileged enough to see. Like the lonely and beautiful drive across Campo Imperatore in Abruzzo, Italy in 2018.
Or our amazing two-day road trip from Salta, in Argentina in 2017. We’d been on some back roads in our time, but this was the most spectacular.
Not to mention the longest stretch of unpaved road we’ve ever driven.
So, while I’m sitting by the campfire reminiscing, I won’t be blogging. But I thought you might be interested in rereading a couple of my favourite travel posts from the past.
I’ll be back with a new post on Tuesday, July 7. Then on Saturday July 11, it’s the big book party!
Don’t forget to e-mail me your pictures and book choices. Please try to send them by July 7.
I am so looking forward to seeing everyone. And hearing what books you’ve chosen. That will be very cool.