Blog, Travel

Bella’s Travel Guide to Coronavirus


I’m what you might disdainfully refer to as a ‘traveller’, and since I’ve become stranded in truly the worst place on planet earth – New Zealand’s South Island – by a virus sweeping the globe faster than you can say “Don’t lick that door handle,” I clearly have nothing better to do than erroneously proclaim myself an expert on this brand new (ish) COVID-19 thing. Due to my newfound internet-based wealth of coronavirus knowledge, plus 819 days and counting on the road, I am clearly well positioned to advise other travellers on what to do during a pandemic, as well as people who aren’t travelling, or in fact anyone bored enough to read this article. So sit back, grab your hand sanitiser and allow me to guide you through what was once the stuff of Hollywood movies but is now your foreseeable future.


October Horoscope

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It’s been a really, really long time since I wrote some horoscopes. Too long, some would say. Not long enough, would say others.

Around the 2nd of the month you’ll develop a ringing in the ears which, by the 8th, will turn into a full cacophony of ear-splitting white noise and screeching that nothing can relieve. Driven to insanity, you cut off your own ears in a Van Gough-inspired stunt but then discover a gentle and soothing passion for blobby landscape oil paintings.

Avoid honey, cartography, bridges, cotton wool, good intentions and radio 4 this month. A scabby, incurable rash will engulf your body if you don’t.

You accidentally join a satanic cult by entering the wrong room at the local university and being too polite to leave once the meeting has begun. Three hours later, you’re a fully initiated member and leave worried that this may damage your chances of getting into heaven. I can assure you that it does. Have fun in hell.

Every day this month will be a Monday.

This month, while walking in the forest, you’ll discover that unicorns are real. But, despite photographic evidence, no one will believe you and as you become increasingly fanatical, one by one your friends and family leave you. You’ll be forced to live alone in a tent in the woods as all you have left is your… “unicorns”.

You happen upon a small Irishman lost near a rainbow and, convinced he is a leprechaun, you try to sell him on eBay. Big mistake.

Remarkably, you solve the mystery of why there is only ever one shoe at the side of the road. Well done you.

Virgo, virgo, virgo. On the 1st of this month it will dawn on you that everything you do is worthless and nobody loves you. The rest of the month will follow suit.

There will be an alarming incident around the 15th that will leave your co-workers unable to look you in the eye ever again.

Nothing can prepare you for the level of tedious monotony that will consume every waking second of this month. Honestly, October will make the M6 motorway seem exotic and invigorating.

I know I’m usually pretty hard on you, sagittarius, so you’ll be pleased to know you’re off the hook this month. However, don’t park your car under any trees because, well, you’ve upset the bird kingdom.

You come up with the idea of a septuple-decker cookie-doughnut-waffle-ice cream-marshmallow-whipped cream-chocolate coated sandwich of joy. The early prototypes are good and you decide it’s the best idea you’ve ever had. You taste test the final sugary monstrosity in front of a substantial internet audience but this grand unveiling reveals, to your bitter disappointment, that the end result is inedible and disgusting and it leaves you wondering what on earth you were thinking. The whole endeavour finally tips you over the edge into diabetes.



Forgetting Things

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I like the concept of forgetting things.I also like the concept of losing things:
You own something, it exists somewhere – you just don’t know where it is. You did, at some point, know where it is because you put it there – and, chances are, being an inanimate object that cannot move by itself, it’s still there… yet its resting place eludes you. I like to imagine what the thing you’ve lost is doing right now, usually while you’re looking for it. It probably watched you storm past, angrily throwing things out the way in your tempest of fury and lateness and for God’s sake, it was here earlier, where is it?!
I like to imagine it looking puzzled, wondering what all the commotion is about.

It’s less funny when you lose something because you put it somewhere and someone else moves it to some stupid place where you don’t know where it is. That’s really annoying. It’s also slightly unnerving because it brings to light the fact that most things happen when you’re not around to witness it. In fact, pretty much all of the stuff that’s ever happened, including stuff happening right now, happened without your knowledge. Maybe don’t think about that too much.

Forgetting things is funny because you can go the whole day, bumbling through your normal activities, thinking about all the hundreds of things you think about but all the while forgetting something really important that you remembered yesterday. Then, while you’re chopping up carrots for dinner you look out the window and see an eagle fly past holding an ice cream and you think “Shit! I was supposed to pick up a card for my Mum.”
Memory really is a strange thing.
I have an alarming number of memories where I have no idea if they really happened or not. I’ve gone days thinking that something happened before it becoming abruptly apparent that it was actually a dream and I don’t, in fact, have to find a pair of shoes for a persuasive king cobra I met in Memphis. Now my default assumption is that is probably didn’t happen, then it’s a nice surprise when someone else remembers the same event and it turns out that it did happen.

Or did it?


Horrible Old Shoe

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I found this horrible old shoe at the beach. For some reason it pleases me. For years I’ve marvelled at the concept of a horrible old leather shoe that looks exactly like this one (I’ve even drawn pictures of it!) and suddenly, there it is in the flesh! I mean, even when it was new it was a God-awful shoe, but washed up and alone gives a strange ugly charm.

It made my day, and, since discovering it, I think about it every now and then.

I wonder what that horrible shoe is doing right now?