Seeing the world in a grain of sand
Grounded travellers are finding ways to relive past journeys and plan future ones: creating music playlists and artworks, learning new languages, watching birds and planes, and cooking up country-themed lunches
Emirates A380 approaches the runway. From a distance, with a cup of coffee in my hands, I watch it ready for takeoff. Suddenly, the engines roar. My hear begins to race. The anticipation…the excitement…it’s all there. The giant bird shoots down the tarmac, points its nose at the skies and is soon out of sight.
It is going somewhere, this plane. I wish I was on it. Somewhere seems like a destination…I take a sip and console myself. The sight of a plane is comforting. And for some unexplained reason, I am wishing that the plane is bound for Italy. Somedays, of course, I wish differently.
Before it becomes a dot in the sky, my heart launches into Nessun Dorma. I push my hands into the pockets of a salvaged US military jacket I found in Ercolano, Naples and sing along. It is the sound of travel.
Driving to the airport to watch flights arrive or leave is a habit I have developed during the lockdown. Oddly it brings a sense of satisfaction to my travel-less existence.
The world is reeling from a problem that doesn’t have a solution yet – and staying at home might be the best thing to do, but can you imagine the life of a traveller who survives on the sights and sounds of faraway places? The Germans even have a word for such a feeling. Fernweh, they call it, or far-sickness. And that I realize, is real.