Travel in the Time of “You-Know-What”
Let’s be honest, we all know what it is by now!
In the past couple of weeks good news could be read on headlines all over the world (with the exception of a few countries where unfortunately the curve hasn’t been flattened yet).
And at the dawn of good news, when the fear that has made every single one of us a compliant citizen is receding to leave room for a void in the stomach, the headlines have started to change.
We’re still stoked at how humanity is successfully dealing with the contagion and no matter where we’re from, we’re cheering from the bottom of our heart every time we hear of declining numbers of casualties…
We’re also frowning every time we look at a different set of numbers.
You don’t need a Master in Economics to understand that we’re in big trouble.
This crisis has sent every country in the world in what looks like it’s going to be one of the worst recessions in a long time.
As usual I spread a bit of hope, if not downright optimism.
Yes, the numbers are bad and the unemployment rates are high, especially in the sectors most impacted by the travel restrictions our countries had to implement when it became clear that this virus was no joke.
And yes, the future is still pretty much uncertain when it come to the various measures that will be adopted to re-start our battered economies, but in the last 10 days I couldn’t help but notice that something is moving, fast.
So fast actually that for the time being there’s a lot of excited chatter and not much in form of official rules.
Are you as tired as I am of reading confusing guidelines about what you can and cannot do and especially WHERE we can and cannot go?
“Greece, Portugal, Italy and Iceland are welcoming tourists!” GREAT, LET’S GO THERE!!!
“Nope, it’s only for EU residents”
“Aussies will be able to travel to London” I’M BOOKING IT NOW!!!
“Not so fast! You’ll have to undergo 14 days of quarantine once you get there… except that possibly in July this will be scrapped but only for Aussies… and maybe Kiwis… but you can’t actually leave Australia because the International travel ban is still enforced, and it was only for repatriation flights anyway…”
All right, no booking…
“But that’s ok, because Australia is a wonderful country!” LET’S GO TO QUEENSLAND AND SNORKEL IN THE GREAT BARRIER REEF!!!
“Nah, Queensland borders are apparently shut till September…”
But we can definitely ski in New Zealand!!!… maybe….
I mean, while I appreciate how difficult it is to reach an agreement about International and State borders guidelines, we absolutely want to travel and we’ve called upon our lucky star to make our wish come true!
We’ve decided on a set location and did all the research, put together an itinerary, contacted people about taking care of our pets while we’re gone, checked on the gear we’re going to need, made arrangements at work to score a couple of weeks off… and now we’re all left scratching our heads here!
Have you tried booking a trip lately?
Every single booking engine has a COVID-19 warning that makes you gulp in fear and reach for your travel insurance hotline to check for the millionth time if they really REALLY cover your cancellation costs for ANY reason…
“What if I test negative until one week before I’m supposed to leave and then I get a cold and my doctor sends me to get a new test and I test negative again but I only get the results AFTER I was supposed to fly and so I didn’t actually cancel the trip because of the virus because I’m negative but I had to cancel anyway what do I do now do you still cover the costs??? Do you?? DO YOU??”
BTW that was (not) an actual conversation I had with my travel insurance guys…
Anyway, I’m ready to go. Whenever and wherever, hopefully to a warm place now that Sydney is heading towards a bleak mid-midwinter.
In the meantime, if you live in the EU and have never been to Iceland, this is a photo of the Kirkjufell (or, for GOT fans, “Arrowhead”), taken in December.
Iceland is a magical place, whether you go there to chase the Northern Lights or to hike amongst its breathtaking landscape, you will never cease to admire the unique rugged peaks and the majestic volcanoes peacefully (or wrathfully, depending on Thor’s mood) covered in snow, the magical sagas of the Icelandic people and the stunning wilderness of the coastline.
Till we meet again…