Remembrances of vacations past.

We were supposed to be in Japan today. Virginia had planned the trip for my birthday, including fancy airplane seats and time in both Tokyo and Kyoto.

But, of course, we’re home instead due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and don’t know when we’ll travel again. Through a particular lens, the past few months have sometimes seemed like a parade of trip cancellations, from our wedding anniversary forward through at least October and likely longer.

This morning, I thought instead about trips we’ve taken and how fortunate we are to have taken them. In no particular order, these moments stand out:

  • Everything about our two long trips to Burgundy in 2016 and 2018, especially finding two new wineries that are now among our favorites and all the time we spent just being alive in France.
  • Discovering Prague in 2017, both its architecture (well-known) and vibrant food culture (less well known).
  • Multiple excellent trips to Argentina, possibly topped by our stay in the Valle de Uco in 2017-2018 (or maybe our first trip to Mendoza in 2013-2014 — they were both amazing).
  • Taking my mother to the top of the Eiffel Tower for her milestone birthday in 2016.
  • Driving and walking through Scotland in 2019, including a magical day on the Isle of Skye, as part of a “round the world” trip (we went to Scotland via Seoul).
  • Meandering down the canals of Burgundy in 2005 before a detour to London to see Bob Mould play a blistering rock show.
  • Visiting the Tower of London in 2001 on our first trip abroad and getting as our tour guide the person who recorded their tour CDs.
  • Learning about the joy of baguettes and butter for breakfast outside Nice in 2002, as well as visiting the Picasso museum in Antibes on that trip.
  • Eating our hearts out on our anniversary trip to New Orleans and Charleston in 2010.
  • Being introduced to my father-in-law’s Seoul and visiting Gyeongju (the capital of the historic Silla empire) on multiple trips to Korea (always paired with another destination).
  • Visiting Nelson Mandela’s house in Soweto and experiencing modern Johannesburg and Cape Town in 2019-2020.

We’re still planning trips and trying to stay optimistic about taking them (as hard as that is right now). We don’t know what the “new normal” will be on the other side of the pandemic and hope it includes future adventures like the ones above.

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