I didn’t actually go to any of those places. I didn’t feel the breeze or the jet lag. I didn’t take in the views. Because I couldn’t. Two weeks before I was due to fly to America for a monthlong trip across five states researching the history of women’s rights
, President Trump
announced a travel ban in response to the arrival of COVID-19
. A few weeks later, much of the world was in lockdown
. As it stands, US borders are still closed to travellers from the UK. British Airways refunded my flight, apologetic emails were sent to those I’d arranged to meet and I wore my Bruce Springsteen T-shirt repeatedly, a sad substitute for the Americana I was chasing. I was heartbroken. I had hustled hard to make this trip happen. I had worked extensively to organise it, to find the right people to contact, to jig-jag my way across unknown places, alone, in what was both a professional and deeply personal project. I had finally pushed myself over the edge of my own self-doubt and into the free-fall of having the kind of adventure I had always dreamed of.