While it’s true that Emily Dickinson is known as a recluse who hardly ever left her parent’s home in Amherst, Massachusetts, she did in fact have several occasions to travel during her lifetime. *At 17, she was enrolled in Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in South Hadley, Massachusetts, spending a year there. Although she professed in letters to love the entire experience, her longing for home was greater. With her father being a Senator in the Whig party, in 1855, when she was 25, she and her sister Lavinia had the opportunity to visit Washington, DC and Philadelphia. Beyond those two trips, it’s believed that Emily never ventured out into the larger world and is said to have been quite content with her life in Amherst, where she never seemed to run out of inspiration.
Fast forward 166 years and that’s pretty close to how long it feels like it’s been since the pandemic brought our travel plans to a halt. Travel is “our thing”. My husband and I love to travel to new places and experience new cultures, foods, and vistas. I retired from teaching in June of 2019 and in the 9 months before the pandemic hit , we were lucky enough to take 3 trips and visit 10 different countries. It literally feels like eons ago, but the memories remain. The sights, smells and sounds live on forever in our minds, like those of our honeymoon 15 years ago in Hawaii, where the air is truly rare. Today’s Carol and Emily project remembers that.
*Information for this post gathered from A Timeline of Emily Dickinson’s Life and Legacy – Emily Dickinson Museum