Well, there goes another month on house arrest. It’s like being tagged with an anklet but without the ASBO (a court order which can be obtained by local authorities in order to restrict the behaviour of a person likely to cause harm or distress to the public.) A travel blog seems pretty irrelevant at this point. Nobody is going anywhere for the forseeable. Indeed holiday hopes have been dashed for millions. Deposits have been lost, dreams have vanished and I predict a tsunami of claims for the losses. As it’s nobody’s fault, I can’t see how it’s fair that bookings and flights should still be charged for. At the same time this state of affairs is putting hundreds, if not thousands of travel companies in a perilous position. It’s a nightmare scenario.
Put in perspective, the loss of life is considerably more devastating. In the last month thousands have left the planet and the number will rise before this pandemic has been vanquished. It’s an unprecedented situation so it’s hard to predict what the outcome will be for the future of the industry. For sure, some companies will go under. Some will struggle to stay afloat and some will benefit. One thing is for certain, people love to travel. So the desire to do so will never be quashed.
That’s the bad news but being positive, there are some heart warming and life affirming things happening. I should point out that the following is my take on the situation and is by no means shared by people experiencing much more difficulties than I am. I consider myself fortunate.
Every evening at 8pm, without fail, residents throw open their windows, shutters and doors. Applause rings out, ships hooters and car horns blast out a celebratory tattoo, along with the whistles and shouts. It’s a moving tribute to the essential workers who keep the wheels turning. The health workers, supermarket staff, refuse collectors, the police and anyone who is putting themselves at risk. It’s a heartwarming five minutes of appreciation for these usually unsung heroes.
Occasionally the peace and quiet of the day is disturbed by a distant aria sung from a balcony or a rooftop. The sound echoes around the district and then the applause and cheers follow. A momentary break from the birdsong and the breeze in the trees.
At first the near silence was eerie but as the time has gone by I’m starting to appreciate the peace. The subliminal sound of the planes departing and arriving every two minutes no longer disturbs. The low hum and thrum of traffic is silenced bar the occasional bin lorry collecting the garbage. The air is clear and the aroma of nature is no longer masked by traffic fumes. I can sometimes pick up the faint scent of the sea. In New Dehli, one of the most polluted cities on earth, where many people routinely wear face masks to filter out the filth, something rare and wonderful has emerged: a pure blue sky. Because there are so few cars on the road, few factories belching out black smoke and almost no active construction sites to create clouds of choking dust, pollution levels have dropped to remarkably low levels. At night there are stars. During the day the air is so clean that, for once, you can’t taste it, free of the usual smoky metallic tang. It seems planet Earth is getting a respite from chocking to death.
There’s time to think, to take stock. Time to do those niggly little jobs that one always seems to put off. Reading is a pleasure that usually takes a back seat. The anxiety of wasting time has vanished. There’s all the time in the world at the moment and once you get used to putting the brakes on, reading or just daydreaming isn’t a guilty time-wasting pursuit. There’s a calm rarely experienced in the day to day heater skelter of ‘normal’ life. I expect a spike in births come December. After all the devil finds work for idle hands.
I hope that May’s blog finds me waxing lyrical about dream destinations but I fear we’re not quite out of the woods just yet. So, in the meantime I’ll continue to make the best of it. Say safe and ‘Wash yer ‘ands”… I can just hear my mother shouting upstairs, beckoning me down for tea. Seems mother did know best after all!
Danny Frith is Director at SkiBoutique. SkiBoutique is a luxury ski chalet agency based in Switzerland.