Sunday Life's columnists tell where they want to be when the world is safe once more.
Lockdown left us over-Zoomed and under-groomed. With flights of fancy our only current mode of transport, I'm daydreaming about holiday adventures. Top of my list are the Galapagos Islands, if just to visit a place where the creatures are even weirder than I am. Followed by scuba in Cuba. And dressage in Vienna. (To be or not to be a show jumper, that's the equestrian.) I'm sure, like me, you have endless places you want to explore. Our post-corona-crisis motto? To carpe the hell out of diem.
Ever since I spent a ski season in Whistler, Canada, in my 20s, I've dreamed of taking my kids there. It never seemed the right time: not enough money; the travel story I was working on fell through; I was waiting until they were old enough to appreciate it. Naively, I assumed it would always be there. Now I taunt myself with an image above my desk, dreaming of never-ending slopes, storybook snowflakes, husky sleds and high-mountain air. It doesn't even have to be Canada. I'll settle for any ski field.
Tjuwaliyn Hot Springs
I want to go to Tjuwaliyn Hot Springs in the Northern Territory. About 200 kilometres out of Darwin, down a red dusty road, it's a paradise on the Douglas River. My family and I will camp there, screen-free, playing and splashing and soaking in the hot springs by day. And at night the stars will blanket us as we eat and chat and laugh. It'll be a blissfully slow holiday with a soundtrack of native birds, bubbling water … and my kid whingeing endlessly about missing her iPad.
I'm literally dreaming most nights of my favourite place in Bali. I'm pining for its comfort, peace and warmth. I want to wake to the sound of the ocean and stroll barefoot on soft green grass to a poolside table for a late breakfast. I want the hardest decision of the day to be which kind of massage I'll have, and to spend the late afternoon reading and dozing in the shade of a big tree. Most of all, I want to hear the discreet ringing of the bell that announces half-price cocktail hour has begun.
Last November, for my husband's 65th birthday, 10 friends joined us in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand. We went to Black Barn Vineyards and hired two cottages (and when I say cottages, I mean tasteful, spacious, architect-designed dwellings) next to each other, with breathtaking views to the sea. The weather was perfect, the company warm, funny and interesting. Old friendships were re-affirmed, new friendships begun. The food and wine were delicious. Of all the places I can think of, I want to be there more than anywhere.
Take me away to the place of the midnight sun. I picture myself cruising across the Arctic Circle, bathing in that golden half light as the vast sky briefly shuts its eyes. Breathing in the ice-cold air, my head feels clearer here, on top of the world. Puffins, gannets and gulls whirl high in the copper-coloured sky above rocky outcrops. Eventually, I fall asleep, but when I wake I hurriedly shove back the curtains, as our ship cruises into a deep-cut fiord, its blue depths hiding ancient coral reefs and other secrets of its glacial past.
Hawaii is my happy place and I spent a great deal of time in lockdown fantasising about being poolside in Maui with a burger in one hand and a cocktail in the other. There are many places I wish to visit – Japan looms large on my bucket list – but Hawaii, to me, means relaxation. The air smells sweet, the locals are friendly, the ocean is warm, and the cheesecake slices are enormous. My best friend and I holidayed there for our 50th birthdays and I cannot wait to experience that joy and peace (and cheesecake, and burgers) again.
On board the Ghan
Isolation had me hankering for nature: big open spaces as untouched and remote as possible. Like a camping safari in Botswana, just me and the wildlife and the stars. Or exploring the Canadian wilderness, hopefully spotting a bear. Or finally making it to Antarctica, before we humans spoil its majesty. But instead of looking overseas for such a spiritual experience, I am determined to realise a dream, long on hold, to travel from Adelaide to Darwin on the Ghan across the magical Australian desert heartland.
This article appears in Sunday Life magazine within the Sun-Herald and the Sunday Age on sale June 28.