Well, who would have thought it? Here we are ten months down the Covid19 track and the World is still in a holding pattern.
I put my hand up and admit to being one of those ‘Pollyanna’-types, at the start I was thinking that it would all be over in a couple of months and we would be back traveling and adventuring in no time. But, No.
It has been a year of travel sadness, disappointment and frustration. As much as I tried to rationalise this in my little brain that it:
- is ‘just’ travel
- is a first-World problem, and
- is really an optional extra in life’s landscape,
I still couldn’t help but grieve for what could have been.
So, what did travel in 2020 look like? And will we ever be able to travel internationally again?
Nepal: We started 2020 very excited with a trek to Everest Base Camp scheduled for mid-March. Our timing could not have been worse. One week before departure we got the fatal email. CANCELLED.
Being Eternal Optimists, we rescheduled the trip to 20 November 2020. Surely Covid19 would be a dim, dark memory by then? What planet was I on? CANCELLED.
Reality has finally dawned and now we are not game to plan any international travel for 2021. Instead, we will use our travel credits for an Aussie walking adventure and chalk up our losses (about $800) to experience.
Spain: I was beside myself with excitement to walk a combo camino – combining the Camino Madrid, Camino San Salvador and Camino Primitivo – setting out from Madrid in early May. CANCELLED of course.
Qatar Airways have given me a long lead-time to rebook, so the dream is not dead…just in hibernation for a while. I am not looking forward to the hoards of pilgrims, just like me, stampeding back to Spain in 2022.
Exploring My Own Backyard: The upside of Covid19 (if there is one) is that it has encouraged us to explore our own backyards. While it is not the same as jetting off overseas to an exotic destination, it has been just as enjoyable and has opened my eyes to the many wonderful places we have in our own state of New South Wales. I can’t include ‘Australia’ in this description as most of our country’s internal borders have been stubbornly and strictly closed all year.
Highlights of the year include:
- a reunion of fabulous friends in fabulous Hobart, Tasmania (squeezed in before Covid19 became a thing)
- a mini culture-break in Canberra, ACT
- two days of sublime walking in the sea air along the Kiama coastline
- some interesting day trips to places around my home town.
Not a bad list when you think it has been a time of lockdown, social distancing and general uncertainty.
Blogging Challenges: From a blogging perspective, I have struggled with the fact that I write a travel blog and yet I can’t travel. How interested will my readers be in a blog that doesn’t have lift off to far flung destinations? Is plain, old Australia exotic enough?
I have done my best and have kept plugging away with a renewed focus on domestic travel posts, and refuse to revert to the almost daily sharing of flower photos like some of the travel blogs I follow. Yes, they are pretty flowers, but they do not feed my wanderlust.
So, how will I travel in the future?
Gratitude: I will travel with even more gratitude that I have in the past and treasure each, and every, opportunity to travel as a true privilege.
Quality vs Quantity: I think I will travel more consciously and attempt to connect more deeply with the destination rather than skimming across the surface in pursuit of colourful stamps in my passport.
Safety: No longer will I take for granted my ability to step onto a plane in one country and leap off into another. The focus will now be on the safest way to travel with an eye on health and hygiene driving the ultimate destination choice. Travel insurance will not cover us for any Covid-related illness, so we will need to choose carefully. I wonder if that will create a whole new classification of tourism destination winners and losers? And how will that impact their people and their economy?
Packing: Hiking boots, shorts, hat, walking poles, hand sanitiser, wipes, mask, vaccine. I am not sure what I will need to leave at home to make space for all the new hygiene gear in my backpack, but it will be a small price to pay to get on the road again.
Travel Planning: Being in the +50 (cough, cough) age group, Covid19 has made me highly conscious that we need to prioritise adventures and the kind of active travel that we want to do while we are fit and healthy. I have no intentions of shuffling off this mortal coil anytime soon, but who knows when ‘normal’ travel will resume?
2020 has been a real learning year. All that non-travel has provided plenty of spare time to reflect on:
- Why do I write a travel blog? And should I keep going with it even when international travel is off the agenda?
- Why is travel so important to me? Why does it make me feel so complete? And bring me so much joy?
I am not sure I have the answers to these questions yet, but I will keep working on it.
Happy travels to you all.
What will your 2021 travel year look like?
#dreamingoftravel #exploringyourbackyard #travelinspo #travelplanning #bucketlisttravel