I have done two extended backpacking adventures – one for four months and one for almost six. On top of that I have undertaken various other trips – month-long adventures to Europe and Africa, two week sojourns round Australia and Asia, overnighters, weekends away, and everything in between.
Despite over a year of living with Covid (or hiding away from Covid), we’re all still up in the air about what the future is going to bring. What’s the right thing to do? Should we be in Australian-esque-style lockdowns, or should we be celebrating Freedom Day? The government has an opinion, the scientists have an opinion and the people have an opinion… they don’t always agree, and no one really knows who’s right… if a ‘right’ actually exists.
In Austria, following the removal of almost all our measures in early July, our numbers are steadily increasing again, which is hardly surprising. So what do we do now? Half the population is already vaccinated, yet Delta is threatening to plunge us back into chaos.
I tell you what we do. We get in the car and we drive to Italy.
There was one thing I was terrified about when embarking on my first solo travelling adventure back in 2011. Was it that I was flying into Egypt shortly after the Revolution? No. Was it that I might get mugged and lose all my stuff? No. Was it that I would run of money? No. Well… maybe I had slight fear for those things, but the overwhelming thing was… I was scared of being lonely because I was convinced no one would like me.
In my then-group of many acquaintances and a few very good friends, some were connected to my childhood, and a lot of the rest were also my brother’s friends. What if no one actually really liked me, they just liked my brother, or were just stuck with me having played as kids?
What if I had to spend four months travelling completely on my own?
Like many people out there in these times, I am required to take all of my holidays this year. There goes my secret plan of saving them all up and taking 6 months off next year!
This requirement is kind of sucky, because holidays to me generally involve getting on aeroplanes, visiting other countries and changing time zones. And in Covid time there is none of that. I’m used to packing a bag, and packing as much as possible into every day, tasting new and exciting foreign foods, and running on empty. Usually my holidays end with me needing a holiday from my holiday.
I realise it’s a first world problem, because I am thankful to have a job and also to have holidays that I can actually take. So I figured I was better off taking the bulk of them in summer, when the weather was warm.
In a world without COVID-19, this past week would have been very different. On Thursday afternoon, a picture-perfect summer day, I would have picked my parents up and delivered them to our house for their (almost) yearly sojourn to Austria.
There would have been lots of hugs and probably a few tears. We might have had a BBQ on the back terrace, listening about how their trip had gone so far – a cruise from Prague to Berlin – possibly they would have had to deal with colds or other difficulties, but they would be in good spirits because they had finally arrived in Austria.
Yesterday morning we got up early, grabbed our already packed suitcases and loaded them into the car for our flight to the UK.
Oh… except that we didn’t.
Yesterday was our 5thwedding anniversary and we had plans to spend a week driving around the gorgeous Welsh coastline, stay in cute BnBs, enjoy English big breakfasts and drink lots and lots of beer/cider/ale on tap.
But instead we found ourselves home, like much of the rest of the world.
Coming from Australia, there’s often no real need to carry cash when you head out of your house – credit and EFTPOS all the way, baby. At least it was when I was there (who knows what new ways there are to pay these days). Sure, you might use a few coins now and then for small things, you might come across the occasional cash only establishment, but otherwise, tap and go.
During our recent trip to Australia, hubby suggested we take some time out for ourselves to see a little bit of the country. When you use up a big holiday period to visit home, it’s often hard to see it as a holiday, as opposed to hopping between the same places and people each time.
The place that came to mind instantly (remembering that we have to be practical, we can’t venture too far from Melbourne), was Halls Gap, a place where I used to go camping with the family as a kid.
I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting from Bangkok when we arrived for a 4-night stopover on our way to Australia at the end of last year. And maybe it was because we’d been in India just a month earlier, but what struck me immediately was how clean it was, how sweet-smelling and how super organized.
Look… I know it’s a big city, and also a big tourist city, so that’s probably what most people would expect, but I hadn’t been. We arrived very early in the morning, and after breakfast in our hotel at the Lamphu Tree House, were delighted to have access to our room just after 9am for a quick nap after our overnight flight.