Lockdown nostalgia

Melbourne has started its fourth lockdown and aside from the inevitable déjà vu, I have found myself choosing nostalgia over frustration. I am certainly not nostalgic for ‘lockdowns past’ but with the announcement of this lockdown being extended, I can’t help but think about the opportunities I used to take for granted – the main one being overseas travel.

Photo by Sheila on Pexels.com

My parents love travel so I grew up with the great privilege of being able to travel quite a lot. Since becoming an adult I have continued to develop my wanderlust and married someone who loves to travel (and eat!) as much as I do. Our last trip overseas was our extended honeymoon to Malaysia, Hong Kong (+ Macau), Turkey and Portugal.

This lockdown instead of focusing on the future opportunities I may be missing, the plans I will inevitably be cancelling, I hope you will indulge me as I take a trip down memory lane and perhaps find some unexpected pearls of wisdom from my travels.

When I think of being stuck indoors, unable to leave my home and go wherever I want, the first place it reminded me of was Cappadocia.

Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

What? The place with all the hot air balloons? THAT Cappadocia?

Yes. Whilst there were few hot air balloons during our visit (it was the middle of winter) it was definitely a place that fills you with awe.

Cappadocia is a sprawling region filled with caves and underground dwellings that previously housed the early (and heavily persecuted) Christian church. Many of these caves and underground cities were built as a necessity for safety; a hiding place away from enemies.

View of one of the valleys in Göreme National Park, Turkey.

We visited Derinkuyu underground city and was amazed at the detail and thought put in to creating a sustainable, multilevel underground living space. There were air shafts that reached all levels to ensure that breathing was comfortable regardless of how far below the surface you were. We walked through stables, wine cellars and classrooms. On one of the levels, there was a chapel in the shape of a cross.

Above ground, we explored caves carved into mountain sides. Churches and chapels found deep within the rock. I was amazed and comforted by the recognisable features of different rooms and spaces once used for gathering and eating.

To bury yourself away for physical safety and yet find creative means of continuing life now feels strangely familiar.

When I reflect on this past year I note that many of us (myself included) are looking back and lamenting at the freedoms we seem to have lost, while others still are looking forward to a distant future where the present will simply be an anecdote. This recent bout of nostalgia has reminded me that our situation is not unique in history, nor will it be the last.

So for now, I will try and remain in the present with the occasional trip into nostalgia – not to grieve but to find solidarity with those who have faced solitude before us.

All images are my own unless credited otherwise.

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