As small and vulnerable as this world has been for the last year and a half, it still kept its beauty intact. It is isolated in parts and deprived of people’s unrestricted joy, but their absence does not make it less extraordinary. The prospect of this life seems more vulnerable than ever, in my characteristic naive way, I’m struggling with a whole new sense of helplessness. But I’m stubborn not to give in. I can’t wait for the resolution of this pandemic to revive the simple delights of this life. I am constrained, I know, in many ways. But I adapt.
What has kept me sane this past year and a half was focusing on the few things that never fail to bring me hope – my family, friends, nature, reading, and writing. Quarantine took a lot from most of us but also gifted us with time. That is why I partially forgive this pandemic. I had the luxury of diving into a project that involved both nature and writing while bringing me close to old friends and closer to new ones. For a year, our friendship and love of books drew us together via email, Zoom, and WhatsApp messaging. Our collective spare time allowed us to give my last book, VACANȚĂ AMERICANĂ. 20.000 de km în vestul sălbatic, a chance at an English speaking public. Never have I ever thought or dreamed of my books being read in a language other than Romanian.
Translating a book (then having the chance to set it free into a whole other world than the one I’m used to) has been one of my few joys in these rigid times. Publishing AMERICAN VACATION. 12,000 Miles Into the Wild West has been even sweeter as I can taste it after a long time and a lot of work. I miss the perks of launching a new book, the events, and the attention around it. I especially miss having my family and friends there to cheer me on. But, just like everyone else in this world at the moment, I am learning to live without the things that I am used to and creating new opportunities out of what I have available.
Relocating to the States and starting a life here made me realize that my book deserves to be read in the language of my adoptive land too. Another reason for my endeavors was that most of the natives I have met here aren’t familiar with the Wild West at all. So, translating my travel book turned out to be desirable, achievable, and worth it.
My AMERICAN VACATION lasted 45 days, took me 12,000 miles through the American West. Only now, after having written and translated a book about it, is it starting to feel real to me. The summer in which M. and I hiked over 170 miles through 7 forms of relief, from 260 feet below sea level and up to 14,000 feet of altitude, through 35 national, tribal, and state parks, is now more palpable for me after revisiting every inch of its existence.
M. is the one who imagined this trip in all its complexity and who turned it into reality, giving me the most valuable gift ever received and the material for an entire book. My gratitude knows no bounds! Matilda is the one who allowed me 45 days of absence, which, as I had suspected, carried in them a longing that only a mother knows. Aurora, Rick, Danell, and Christina helped me adapt my translation and give it an American familiarity.
So, sit back and travel with me! Leave behind the apartment and social distancing, and lose yourselves for 45 days in spectacular landscapes, which took hundreds of millions of years to complete their flawless beauty of today. Let’s be hopeful that this pandemic will end soon, and we will be able to enjoy nature again. Then, we can check off all the places on our lists that have been waiting for us to discover them. Just a hint: you could start with the American West!
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