Life will return to normal after we tame the Covid virus. I’ve done my homework while I’ve had spare time on my hands, what with the airlines mothballed and the restaurants closed. These are the six places I’m going when this is all over.
Chill on Gam Island in Indonesia’s West Papua Province
I’m going to take a sailboat cruise to the Raja Ampat Islands in Indonesia’s West Papua province. There are more than 1,500 shoals, low banks of coral and small islands to choose from but I already have my eye on Gam Island.
I’ll be deep in nature there, with erratic cellphone reception and only footpaths to follow along the coast between villages. But I know the snorkelling will more than make up for the basics as I drift peacefully across coral reefs.
Explore the Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou in Morocco
I am fascinated how people once survived on minimal resources. The people who lived in the fortified 17th century village of Ait-Ben-Haddou in Morocco have moved on, but their earthen walls are still intact.
They were an eclectic society within those defensive walls, buttressed by angle towers and a single baffle gate that admitted one person at a time. The rich and wealthy lived side-by-side with their modest neighbours. Perhaps there’s something to learn from that.
Learn How Dutch Farmers Make Their Cheese
The Dutch make a lot of Gouda cheese, 650 million kilos a year to be exact. Some of it still comes from traditional farms. They roll raw-milk, unpasteurised cheese into balls weighing at least 20 kilograms, and then flatten them somewhat so they fit onto narrow shelves.
They cover the ‘wheels’ with wax to keep the nasties out while the product matures. There are dozens of varieties of ‘boerenkaas’ to explore (meaning made on farms, not factories) so plan to be there a while.
Visit a Cattle Station in the Australian Outback
I want the best of both worlds. I’ve heard there are luxury eco-lodges serving traditional meals cooked in bush ovens, and 4×4 tours to ancient rock art in deep outback gorges only the owners know, because their ancestors have lived nearby since ages ago.
I want to experience this lesser-known side of Australia, and reconnect with nature through the eyes of the first people who lived off the land in this wide open landscape that’s almost unchanged.
Appreciate Rio de Janeiro’s Myriad Attractions
There are loads more things to do in Rio than spend a day in the sun on Cococabana or Ipanema beach. First, I’ll jump on the cable car up Sugar Loaf Mountain while the morning is still cool, then head for the expansive rainforest the locals call Tijuca National Park.
My highlight on my first night out will be partying for a while in the Lapa neighbourhood with locals. Then I’ll find a table in a street café where I can dine on a genuine feijoada, rich bean and meat stew, as the people saunter past and the bands play.
Get Back to the Future at Kennedy Space Center
I am going to drive east across the Florida peninsula from Tampa Bay, until I see the Kennedy Space Center rockets rise like skyscrapers on the horizon. Then I am going to settle down and gaze in awe at the Atlantis space shuttle retired after travelling 126 million miles through space.
I’ll be a passenger looking out through those windows as I preview those places from on high I mentioned. I can’t wait for this epidemic to be over. My travel fantasies will keep me going until I am back. Until then my imagination will fly.