Life and stuff: The (trip) not taken by Louisa Deasey
This is a story about a trip I never took.
It would have been quite ridiculous if it had come off, really.
Lady Luck smiled on me one grey Melbourne Wednesday when I absentmindedly checked Facebook to find that:
A: A luxury travel PR had a free spot on an international famil
B: I got a story on said famil commissioned for a luxury lifestyle magazine within an hour or so of pitching it and:
C: My passport was scanned and my place secured on said trip by 5pm that afternoon!
The next week was spent busily finishing my other story commissions so I would be free to enjoy the Dead Sea, the Bedouin tent, the camel rides in the desert, and the biggest felafel I’ve (now never) seen.
And then it was Friday, I was due to fly out Saturday, and late in the afternoon – too late, alas, to organise a ‘priority replacement’- I learnt my passport didn’t have enough months on it to enter the Middle East. Cue email from travel PR: “Not to be this time, Louisa.”
Of course I was shocked, and of course I was disappointed. But in the grand scheme of my life, I couldn’t really justify being more than a few martinis worth of upset.
So I turned it into a holiday in Melbourne. Friday night was spent doing a bar crawl with a bunch of girlfriends until 2am. I hadn’t given myself permission for such a wild night out in ages.
For the rest of the week I treated Melbourne like the exotic international destination that it is – and without the uprising in nearby Egypt and Libya to worry about. I saw two gallery exhibitions. I sauntered through our Gothic city, randomly distracted by cafes and bookstores not berating myself for the diversion to any itinerary. Just like a traveller.
I popped in on my favourite Japanese restaurant in Middle Park – Mizuso’s – despite the fact that it was a weekday and there was ‘no special occasion’. When the sky turned warm I took myself off to Elwood Beach and splashed in the sea, surrounded by tourists who’d had to bear their own $2000 flight + 14 hours of pressurised cabin-fever for the promised land that is Australia. Look what is at my doorstep! I’m glad I never indulged in that self-pity.
I cooked, I slept in, I devoured two books – fiction! -no less. I went to a magazine launch and a dear friend’s birthday I would have otherwise missed. Melbourne’s CBD sparkled like never before. I bought myself a new jacket like anyone who would have researched our weather, better suited to the light Autumn chill than the my usual heavy one.
I took my 9 year-old nephew to a media preview of ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ and from the happy hug he gave me that was a far better perk to my job – in his mind, anyway – than Jordan.
And when I got home to my cosy flat, snuffly with flu and fever, I thanked my lucky stars I wasn’t blowing my nose on a camel, toppling off in dizziness.
It was a great week.
And it wasn’t anything like I’d planned it.
Louisa Deasey is a freelance writer and author of Love and Other U-Turns.