Gates are locked. Borders are sealed. Airlines have ceased their operations. Our summer holiday plans have gone for a toss. It’s a complete lockdown for us and our dreams. We have voluntarily shut ourselves inside our cosy homes for the greater good.
But that shouldn’t restrict ourselves from letting our imagination fly, From spreading the wings of our thoughts and soaring over our dream destinations. What’s the harm in titillating the pleasure centres of our brain to taste the feel-good chemical dopamine, while lying on our beds, flipping through the pages of our favourite travel magazine for a satiating ‘window trip’? After all, this lockdown, too, shall pass. And we need to compensate for these dull, boring days with trips that will be talked about for years to come. Just like this lockdown. So here is my dream lockdown bucket list – things that I wish to experience once the lockdown is over, and things get back to normal again.
1. Swimming With The Stars In Cambodia
Someone once told me, ‘If you want to reach for the stars, kneel down and touch the waters of Koh Rong Samloem.’ This pristine island, off the coast of Sihanoukville, is host to the fascinating bioluminescent planktons, tiny little marine studs that sparkle and twinkle like the starry sky, as you move through the dark waters. You can also cusp your hands to pick up a few to enjoy your own ‘A fistful of stars’ moment! Now that would be an experience of a lifetime, isn’t it?
2. Set A Lion’s Roar As The Alarm Clock In South Africa
I am not sure if I will be able to shut my eyes while lying on the soft comfy beds at Lion House, but living surrounded by 70 lions amidst the sanctuary surely calls for a visit. This spacious & comfortable AirBnB cottage is a dream come true for crazy hearts like me, who like to travel on a budget. The best part is the patio, where you can sit and watch the lions play, from just a few feet away. Oh… the sheer thought of waking up to the ‘surround sound’ of roars, is giving me goosebumps!
3. Seize My Own ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ Moment At Wadi Rum
“Sherif! As long as you Arabs are a bunch of small tribes, you are a small people, a silly people: greedy, barbarous, and cruel.” This legendary dialogue by T. E. Lawrence from the 1962 British epic historical drama is etched on my mind since I was 14. The spectacle of Lawrence galloping through the red sandstone mountains of the Jordanian desert, draped in white, fluttering robe and Bedouin kaffiyeh headdress and iqal, has ruled my imagination for many years. The Valley of the Moon, or Wadi Rum, is the place where I have to be, someday. And that’s not all. It’s a place where you can live the Bedouin way of life, spending your nights listening to Arabian stories under the canopy of stars. How amazing would that be?
4. Dance With The Fairies At Chandra Taal
Legend has it that fairies grace this heavenly lake on full moon nights or if you happen to play a musical instrument by its shores. Sounds unbelievable, right? But keeping the myths aside, the Chandra Taal or Moon Lake in Himachal Pradesh has been nature’s precious secret, for ages. A couple of my friends who have visited this lake claim it to be a piece of heaven on earth; its ripple less pristine waters reflecting the lofty mountains around in perfect symmetry. After dark, the placid waters mirror the star-studded night sky, giving a new meaning to the age-old saying ‘As Above, So Below’ in the most enigmatic way.
5. Be A Vampire’s Guest In Romania
The misty mountain-top manor. Spooky labyrinth of lamp-lit corridors. Deep, dark crypts. Creepy nooks. Squeaky staircases. Swooping bats and howling wolves. Need I say more? A visit to the famed Count Dracula castle in Transylvania has always been my dream. Unfortunately, I missed the opportunity when Dacre Stoker, Bram Stoker’s great grand-nephew, opened the doors of the Bran Castle for an overnight stay in 2016. Oh, what experience would it have been! Nevertheless, the 14th-century burnt-orange-tiled fortress, looming over the Carpathian Mountains, is still on my bucket list.
While we arrest our movements during the lockdown period, let our mind do the walking. Let our imagination sail through the countless destinations while we lie on our beds and laze on our couches. Because the lockdown is going to end someday. But our lust to wander and experience the new, never will!