Seemingly infinite, it never ceases to amaze and fascinate me how many different places there are to visit on earth. From the deserts of Atacama to the glaciers of Patagonia, stark contrasts were apparent when I was lucky enough to travel in South America twenty years ago. In the UK too, there are so many beautiful landscapes to view in National Parks such as the Lake District, or the Yorkshire Dales. We can even take a journey into history on the the post-industrial towpaths of Birmingham and the Black Country. Literally, if we have the means to do so, the world is our oyster.
In 2020, Covid travel restrictions may have closed the skies for a short while, but a journey into nature and a corresponding chorus of birdsong, peace and calm brought the limitations of our material world into sharp focus. For some, lockdown revealed an epiphany of realisation: there are other ways of living. Many of us can work successfully from home and we have appreciated our neighbours, friends and families, more than ever. Some of us might be fitter and read a lot more books; gardens may be tidier than pre-lockdown and parks have been well-used. We have journeyed detached but infrequently alone.
Simultaneously, this year has brought a certain darkness to others: bereavement and grief have touched many and economic heartache has caused anxiety and worry for those losing work or employment. The ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement has thrown a spotlight on the inequalities that exist in our world and as Jeff Bezos’ net worth tops a whopping $200bn, nobody could deny that the myriad journeys through life experienced by humans are infused with huge variety and stark contrasts.
As we emerge from the summer and embark on a new academic year, there teeters excited anticipation about being ‘back to normal’, combined with knowing COVID-19 is here to stay and our normal is new. We float many questions: How will the NHS cope in the winter season? How will children feel about being back in school? How will the economy fare? To name a few.
We move forward with trepidation, yet also with a quiet, buzzing resilience to plan as best we can and embrace our journeys with positivity, for tomorrow is a new day.