Kopfkino is one of my favourite German expressions and loosely translates as “head cinema.” It implies the possibility of mental rather than physical travel. All it takes is to close the eyes and imagine the impossible, implausible and unimaginable. What better activity while self-distancing or self-isolating in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic?
In the absence of real travel opportunities, kopfkino travel can serve as an outlet for the restlessness bug. At the beginning of the current year, I was still planning for my backpacking trip to South-East Asia. The plan was to fly to Singapore, travel overground through Malaysia and Thailand and fly home to London from Bangkok.
Every night, before going to bed, I would browse my Lonely Planet guide, read blogs for inspiration and plan possible routes. The plan was not to have a definitive plan, but rather a rough sketch of the itinerary. But as John Lennon said, life is what happens, while we are busy making plans. My trip will have to wait.
Luckily, once can still dream and imagine. I continue listening to travel podcasts, reading travel books and my bucket list keeps on expanding. A well-described written or spoken narrative can breathe life into the dullest of Corona days. I enjoy immersing myself in reports of different destinations while trying to imagine myself in the streets of Montevideo or hiking in the Alps.
If there is one positive aspect of the current crisis, it has to be the absence of the distractive noise of everyday life. The outer world offers fewer possibilities so it’s easier to hear one own’s thoughts. I wouldn’t say that I think more deeply now or have found some mystical meaning of life. Since the world has slowed down, life is more basic and, for the time being, it suits me well. Getting rid of items on my to-do-list has never been easier. It’s not that I have become more hardworking or productive in the course of the past month. Far from it. Taking things slowly simply makes it easier to abandon tasks, I truly can’t be bothered to do.
If I had a story in my head, I would write a novel but my creativity sadly doesn’t stretch that far. It suits me far more to indulge in my kopfkino and think of snippets of informative insights into travel when not being able to travel. I will try to think of things to do at home or locally which at least conjure the memory of distant places and more exciting times.