So, the borders are open…
Let me tell you, it’s one thing to pine, wish and hope for something and another thing entirely to have that something in your grasp and be confronted by the realities of using it.
That was me and our border reopening.
Before the pandemic I would travel every other month or so – a combination of longer 2-week jaunts to far off places and weekend getaways to the US (mostly New York).
These last 15 months, I have not even so much as even stepped foot on a Dash 8 to Tobago.
So when the border opening was announced, my spirit greeted the news with a combination of jubilation and dread.
The jubilation should be self-explanatory. The dread is the part I’m grappling with.
Dread at the prospect of our COVID-19 situation on island becoming even worse now people are allowed to come and go (albeit with conditions), dread at how different and quite likely less enjoyable traveling as an experience was going to be as we still ride out this pandemic, dread at putting myself at risk of contracting one of the new variants of this virus and exposing others to it. Dread that I’ll fly out and the borders will close once again at short notice and I’ll be trapped outside my country indefinitely. You get the picture. Lots of dread.
Now I’m still tentatively considering a trip before the end of the year. It won’t be far and it won’t require more than a direct flight to get to and from Trinidad and Tobago, improving my chances of getting back home quickly if the situation changes rapidly.
I’ll spend the next new months evaluating the situation, gathering all the information I need to make an informed choice, probably buying a hazmat suit or two, and just generally preparing for any and all outcomes.
One of the things I loved just as much as actually going on a trip was preparing for one. I love the leg work, the research, building itineraries, mapping routes, etc.
I loved this enough to consider starting a business doing it.
I appreciate that it will look VERY different now as we continue to live with this virus. I also appreciate that it’s probably going to be a lot more challenging with a lot more risk attached, not just from a health perspective but from a financial once as well.
In spite of all the challenges, though, I’m still excited to get back to traveling.
The destination I had tabled for April 2020 – Vietnam – its borders remain closed to international travelers for now. Even when I am able to go I know it’ll be a very different Vietnam from the one I spent four wonderful days in back in 2018. And that’s okay.
A lot has changed in this pandemic. Perspectives have changed. Priorities have shifted. The same way 9/11 changed the way we traveled forever, I suspect so too will this pandemic, even if not on an industry scale, certainly on a personal one.
But one thing will always remain the same – if you love adventure and going to new places, experiencing different cultures, eating new food and in the end learning that we always have more in common than we do differences…even halfway across the world – I don’t think that can be lost.
Also if you just like going to New York for boozy brunch and shopping (hello it’s me) I think you’re safe too lol.
So for those of you who are booked on the earliest flight out, safe travels and I hope it’s everything you’ve been longing for. For those waiting to see, take all the time you need. As I do my own research and figure out my own way forward I’ll be more than happy to share any insights or help anyone plan a trip they want to take.
Tell me, now that borders are open, when are you flying out?