Saturday, 2 January 2021

Planning for 2021 ... if you can call it planning

Train trips for the new year

At this time of the year I usually have a four or five firmly-booked trips for the coming twelve months, plus several trips in various sages of planning, including couple of group outings for which I would be consulting my mailing list members about dates and other details. For 2021 it is all different, of course: I do have two holidays booked, but they are two of the holidays that had been booked at this time last year but did not happen and are now booked for the same two months this year instead. They are fairly confidently booked because they are n late summer and mid-autumn and therefore might actually happen, although we thought that last year, too. These are our (no longer) 40th wedding anniversary tour of the Scottish highlands on the Belmond Royal Scotsman and our long-planned Great Rail Journeys grand tour of Italy, postponed twice so far.

It's a long way down to the boat in autumn!
We also hope to revisit the Swiss canton of Neuchatel to continue some ancestor research (we have found another castle near the city of Neuchatel!) and to explore the city itself for the first time. That we should like to do in early summer while there is still a worthwhile amount of meltwater feeding the lakes so that we can see Lac Brenets with rather more water in it than last time! But we do not know whether we shall be able and permitted to travel to Switzerland then. I ought to have had my Covid-19 vaccination fairly early in the process, and my wife not much later, although neither of us is first or even second priority, but what travel restrictions will be in force by May or June we cannot predict. Currently, in England's "Tier 4," we are not supposed to leave our home without a legally-defined "good reason," and there is no end-date set, so we cannot plan anything at all, but while we can reasonably hope to be free by May I am disinclined to invest much money or time in booking anything much. Although Booking.com and some hotel groups keep trying to offer me special deals on rooms and catering, there is no point in taking up the offers until I know it will be legal to travel. Almost all my travel is for leisure purposes or for visiting family and friends and none of these is permitted at present, (and all of my foreign travel is for leisure).

I don't need my love for travel
rekindled: I just need my freedom to
travel given back to me!

So, apart from building my model railway I am finally making "the list" an actual, documented, list of trips to take over the next twenty years, in order of priority in case we are not fit for that long, of course! I am creating a spreadsheet with twenty pages, a column for each month and two rows within each column. Each cell after May 2021 will contain an outline plan for a trip, with more detail being added as the plans are advanced. If this all this works well I hope to make a blog post one day describing it in detail - it will necessarily be fluid, of course, as ideas arise and opportunities come and go. The Great Rail Journeys catalogue arrived with this week with a couple of escorted tours I'd quite like to do, for example, which might bring forward some of the destinations planned for next year ... if we dare book them!