It’s not like she never traveled.

She’d been to Narnia. She’d strolled the yellow brick road of Oz to the Emerald City. She’d been to London multiple times, crashing at 221b Baker Street. She’d even dined at the restaurant at the end of the universe.

Still, over the years Joan wished she had gone to real places which, she imagined, offered richer experiences than even the wonderful world of books.

Now, later in life, regretting her unadventurous existence, year after decade in the same town, she began writing her travelogue. She’d keep a journal of her experiences in the many places she’d never been.

Ah, but where to go?

Feeling adventurous, she took a grueling 20-plus hour imaginary flight to Australia. The flight itself was torturous—there was turbulence, and then that unpleasantness at airport security—but she told herself that it was worth it. After all, there would be koala bears and kangaroos!

She touched down in Brisbane or Melbourne or someplace sunny with beaches and very white people talking in charming accents wearing very little clothing. Joan played volleyball with amiable strangers, and watched some guy wrestle with an alligator. The alligator won and it was hard to get the bloody image out of her head. Nonetheless, this was far more fun than small town living.

After a few weeks and a few rounds of tennis with the children of Rod Laver and Yvonne Goolagong, Joan felt she’d “done” Australia and was ready to move on. She dutifully recorded every detail in her journal.

Next, Italy!

She drank red wine and ate pasta—and oh, the gelato!—until she could barely move. She threw coins into a fountain, lingered among Roman ruins and watched tiny Cinquecentos zip along the streets like a crazy video game. The sound of opera filled the streets. 

An old woman with a donkey passed by for no apparent reason.

Joan somewhat enjoyed her discreet passionate affair with a debonair mustached gentleman. That was required. I mean, the whole country is so romantic!

Oh, Italy—was it Rome, Milan or Florence?—was everything she could have dreamed and more! She wrote up her experiences in her journal. That was that.

Before she knew it, Joan was in Africa, on safari!

Of course, Joan wouldn’t kill anything (although she mused about shooting an elephant in her pajamas), but she would see amazing wildlife

Giraffes, elephants, lions and beautiful leaping gazelles. Rhinos. It was like living inside the National Geographic channel.

Seeing the animals was marvelous, but the gear she wore and carried in the jeep was even better! The tan “explorer” outfit make Joan feel adventurous. The binoculars were so powerful that she winced when she caught a tiger’s eye. And the helmet was really stylin’!

A bit dusty and tired, and yet energized and joyful, Joan looked to put her latest experiences into her trusty journal. But it was gone!

She must have left it by the lake or maybe an animal ate it or it’s in the pocket of her other jacket. But, no it was gone forever. Joan was crushed. The adventures were over and all she had now was her memories of all the escapades that she’d never truly experienced.