20 life-changing journeys – and how to do it for you

I recently got a WhatsApp from my friend P. “What am I doing?” he wrote. “I barely have any money in my bank account, I’m just buying a house and I’ve just booked a vacation in Mexico.”

“What?” I answered. “When you go?”

“It’s Thursday!” She replied. – I asked you!

Made? I backed up our messages. It was true. He sent me a link earlier this week that I forgot to click on. I just clicked on it. My iPhone screen immediately blossomed from the blue sky, the bluer swimming pools, and the happy people drinking cocktails. “Good for you,” I wrote, adding a smiley emoji, a cocktail emoticon, and a sunlight emoji. I was really happy for him. It’s been a difficult year. Before a harsh, gray British winter, which of us wouldn’t want to get out for the day?

January is a sad month. No wonder people start planning their summer vacation. Although, who am I kidding about: I usually start guggling hotels on December 27th, right after I put my Christmas cheese down. This year, the words of poet Andrew Marvell come to mind more than ever: “But behind me I always hear / the winged chariot of time is approaching.” Or the words of the Queen to those who are more populist: “Today is forever / Who will wait forever?” If there’s something positive that’s gotten out of the epidemic, it’s a reminder to seize the day. Nothing values ​​your freedom more than being taken away from you.

If the closure was characterized by everyone sending cheering memes to each other, then after the closure, everyone would send each other links to exotic holidays. They are my porn. Forget watching the latest episode of The Tourist: I’d rather spend an hour on i-escape and plan a visit to Western Australia where the film was shot.

My desire to vacation in remote places is so strong that I forget the vow I made as a child, never to fly for more than 10 hours. Who was that blinking kid? A child who was afraid of flying has clearly grown into an adult who believes that life is too short to live in fear.

My childhood wasn’t exactly full of long-term vacations. Or even short-term vacations, as my mother was afraid of flying. Our family’s first vacation abroad was in Spain, with a 36-hour bus that was so laborious that it was no wonder she didn’t shy away from a trip of a lifetime. When it came to exploring the world, my mother’s shock shook me: while all my friends spent their holidays in France or Peru, I immediately went to college. It wasn’t until years later that my migration flared up, thanks to a work trip to New York. Driving across the Triborough Bridge and seeing Manhattan show up in front of me — so tall, so exciting, so alien — changed my life. We all have a special place that was missing at the time of the epidemic, and New York was mine. How much I longed to chat in the trash with a taxi driver on the way to Whitney or walk down the High Line to the Chelsea flower market, where I feast on lobster rolls, Clamato juice and matured white cheddar popcorn. Anyone who thinks the world has globalized has not yet attempted to order brown rice and steamed pak choi — not fried — to take MSG-free Chinese out of Manhattan.

Like many people, I’ve spent too much of the last few years with my head folded over my phone and flipping through old memories of recent holidays. Did I really go to Iceland? In what year was Marrakech? Did I really go straight from Ibiza to Venice in 2017? Joni Mitchell was right: you don’t know what’s up until you run out. Now that the journey we have taken for granted has resumed, it would be wrong not to seize every opportunity. After all, we have to make up for almost two years of stagnation. We can’t hold back that time, but we can maximize every moment to come.

And we will. We roam more than we ever thought – so far our refrigerators, sofas and bathrooms that really need to be rearranged are distant memories. We cycle in the Dolomites, play golf in the Algarve, stare at the Taj Mahal and marvel at the pyramids. We are making that much-promised safari trip to Kenya, although we are afraid of spiders. We visit an old school friend who emigrated to Vancouver in 1992. We will climb Machu Picchu or, failing that, take a photo. We drink mojitos at Copacabana Beach, which has preoccupied us since hearing the Barry Manilow record, because why would Lola-she-a-showgirl have fun?

In addition to the distant new pastures, we may also visit our favorite old places: the cities of our honeymoon; about our school trips to the ski slopes; and the beaches of that catastrophic backpacker vacation where we lived on beer and shrimp for three weeks and fell in love with a tour guide named Somsak. We are older and wiser now. We are also less impoverished and do not have to live in a youth hostel. We will roam further and better, with an open mind like our horizons. We won’t be so tense even if things go wrong. What if we sit next to the toilet on a long-haul flight? It’s all part of the journey. Remember when we couldn’t fly at all?

We will never forget. Instead, we will remember even the smallest details, all the sounds, sights and smells that our destination gives birth to. We will travel differently, learning and respecting new cultures attentively. We will talk to the people we meet and listen to. we will learn. We learn that tanning is great, but sightseeing nourishes the soul.

We will be most grateful: for the opportunities life has to offer and for the reopened world that allows us to bask in the wonderful sunshine or rain. We don’t know what the future holds – it’s just that he’s out there asking us to fully experience it.

Admire the Iguazu Falls

The northern tip of Argentina’s Misiones Province, first named after Jesuit missionaries who settled in the region in the 17th century, is one of the few surviving subtropical broadleaf forest areas in the country. Within this, the Iguazu National Park is home to bright-beaked toucans, colorful parrots, raccoon-like coats and howler monkeys, as well as harder-to-spot jaguars, ocelots, tapirs and giant ants.

Central to the park is Iguazu Falls, which includes about 275 separate waterfalls on a 1.7-mile-wide fault line where the Iguazú River crashes and joins the mighty Parana. The Devil’s throat – the tallest, noisiest fall – is almost 500 feet wide and 270 feet high. Gravity-lying palm trees cling to vertical rocks, swifts fly in and out of falling waterfalls of brown tones, and thousands of butterflies fly around the spray. The promenades above and below the waterfall facilitate access, and although bathing is prohibited, there is plenty of soaking on a boat trip or standing at the foot of the waterfall.

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