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.

Travelling up the Ottawa Valley with our canoe.
We will be well equipped for recreation with canoe, bikes, and Hubby’s golf clubs.

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.

Campo Imperatore, Abruzzo, Italy in 2018.
Campo Imperatore, near L’Aquila, Abruzzo, Italy

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.

The winding road down Obispo Slope in Argentina, 2017
Obispo Slope between Cachi and Salta, northern Argentina.

Not to mention the longest stretch of unpaved road we’ve ever driven.

From Cafayate to Cachi in Argentina, 2017.
Part of the unpaved part of Ruta 40, in Argentina.

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.


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14 thoughts on “Travelling and Unravelling”

  1. I know how it feels to miss out on a planned trip . Last year I did all the groundwork for a week in Valencia , Spain with my sisters . A place I’d wanted to visit for ages . Lots of research took place over weeks via the net & books too . My pre travel notebook was full of sites , transport choices , trips & eating places . Then two days before leaving I was taken ill & whisked off to hospital . I sent them off with all my books , maps & notes etc & at the time I wasn’t too disappointed. I just wanted to be home & well again . We pencilled in Valencia for this year then the virus changed everybody’s plans . Perhaps I’ll never get there but I am back to full strength again , which is what matters . You might make Africa next year & in the meantime you’ve got beautiful Canada on your doorstep . Enjoy the wilderness – hope the flies & creepy crawlies behave themselves .

  2. I was just beginning to plan a trip the the eastern US when Covid-19 put an end to that. We’d already postponed the trip once due to a sudden decline in my father’s health. I was especially looking forward to seeing Boston and I’m still holding out hope that we’ll get there someday. I’m so glad we did our much bigger trip to Europe last year and for all the other wonderful places we’ve been privileged to travel.

  3. I’m so sorry for your planned Africa trip. It is not my trip but it makes me so sad as well…My friend is sending me clips from my beach everyday, to make me happy, but I only want to cry, and it is luckily for the first time in all those weeks and months …. These are times when oneself has to keep to oneself and find joy in simple things (and your camping trip is a huge joy) and the fact that one’s loved ones are healthy and safe, I know it and understand but still…. . We’ll see how it will be in August
    Enjoy your retreat, share with us all the books you are taking with yourself, I’m sure you’ll visit Africa eventually as well

  4. Christina M Dowler

    We had a trip to Kenya and Tanzania booked for January 2021. Twelve of us friends formed a group to plan. We all agreed to postpone until January 2022 and tour company let us move our reservation without penalty and even gave us a generous bonus credit for not cancelling! Feeling a bit sad after all the planning but something to look forward to and we reminisce about all the adventures we were fortunate to take!

  5. Hi! I follow your blog, but is don’t think I’ve ever made a comment. After reading about your trip to Africa…and whether or not you should cancel, I felt I should share a Facebook post from one of my French friends. Please be careful and stay safe! The Post….”Feeling so sad. An American couple I follow who has been sailing around the world fell sick with Covid, and the husband has died. He was, maybe, a few years older than me. She is weakened, alone, and in South Africa with their boat now, trying to figure out what to do next. And, to add insult to injury, their American health insurance company is refusing any payments for their care. She’s had to hire an attorney. Her husband was in ICU for three weeks on a ventilator before passing, so she will probably be wiped out by this financially. I can’t imagine. Exposed for a few seconds to a virus, and now her whole life is ripped apart, everything she loved is gone.”

  6. I would be absolutely gutted over the Africa trip! Hoping the camping provides some balm for the soul. I had started to plan a trip to Italy that would have been next month, to visit the battlefield (so conveniently close to Florence) where my FIL was captured during WWII. That also feels like something we should do SOON, or won’t at all. As our country has so bungled the handling of the epidemic, we Americans won’t be welcome anywhere for a long time. I’m driving for a low-key beach vacation next month with my niece- hubs is not a beach guy, but a pilgrimage to the ocean is necessary for maintenance of my soul. Enjoy your getaway!

  7. I feel for your loss of the carefully planned trip to Africa as we have also had to cancel an also very carefully planned trip this August which would have taken us to Greenland, Iceland and Ireland. The time, effort and concern about canceling plans is real. We are hoping at some point in the future to be able to do this itinerary. Hopefully your husband’s feeling that if you don’t go now travel to Africa may not happen at all is proved incorrect. We must live on our hopes and dreams and for the time being I shall content myself with our lovely garden and dream of the day we will be able to travel to new destinations again.

  8. Have a fun safe camping trip – safe travels. Thinking of you both and your Africa trip. I sure wish things were different for you and all of us. Your decision will come clear. Looking forward to our book gathering – know the book and outfit! 😊 📖 ❤️

  9. My sister and I didn’t need lots of planning, since we’ve been going to Sanremo, Italy every year for the last five years. The Hotel Royal staff is the same each visit, and we became friendly with many of them. The same with the several small restaurant and shop owners and staff. We miss them all. Instead, I’ am glued to the Web cam images of the central -pedestrians -only Sanremo’s street .
    As usual, people are strolling , eating at the outside restaurant s, shopping. It’s surreal, that we can’t be there. With my unfavorable for travel health situation, I hope the vaccine will be available soon, so I could still get some gelato next year.
    For this year, we can’t find a trip that would be safe for me.
    Enjoy yours!

  10. Enjoy your camping…stay safe. I meant to comment a couple of weeks ago about your hair and makeup. Love your hair, you are blessed it is so thick and coming in a beautiful silver. Wouldn’t change a thing. About color in your face, both eyes, light makeup and dark are wonderful. ….But, how about a Coral lipstick ??? Nothing too red or too pink or orange. Bright, but soft ? Looking forward to book club meeting/party. Hope I figure out how to send my picture!

  11. Oh, the pain of unraveling long made travel plans! You have my sympathy. We should be on our way to Spain and Portugal for a two month stay right now. It took a lot of wrangling to get everything rescheduled for 2021 but finally it is settled. We are very sad to miss a year of travel as who knows how long one will be able to make these types of trips. Fingers crossed that the world will right itself soon.

  12. I know what the loss of that trip means, so many layers, dreams and memories (the concept of memories anticipated, then lost before they were made. . . something there of what travel does for us, and some of that has already happened, long before your flights were cancelled. Excuse me waxing philosophical again, but I’m on the other side of a missed trip, as you know. Although your voyages are always more ambitious than my own, and Africa would have demanded so much planning. . .
    I know you’ll make the most, though, of your escape to the woods. May it feed your traveller’s souls, both yours and Stu’s. xo

  13. Enjoy your camping trip! We too have had to cancel our trip – a meticulously planned 650 kms hike from northern Italy through Slovenia and into the Austrian Alps. We love long distance hiking, especially in Europe where it is possible to stay in accommodation in villages or in mountain resorts / huts. At home in Australia it usually involves carrying a tent and all supplies which becomes less appealing with age! Fingers crossed the world will open up before we are too old.

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