Anything I write about the last year or rather the last 22 months or so will inevitably be a cliché. We’ve all been living through it and while everyone’s experience is different, this has affected us all.
I’m only qualified to talk about me and my experience. And I don’t know if I have the words. On a basic level, it has been tough – I’m not good at staying in one place, it’s not in my nature. But I did. I stayed home for 383 days. Didn’t leave town for 436 days. Didn’t catch a plane for 479 days. And I survived.
The pandemic certainly isn’t over yet but I’m starting to live my life again. I’m still not traveling freely but this fall I ventured away from home most weekends and that felt like normal to me. I bought myself a rail pass as encouragement to travel and it worked. But my trips were carefully chosen. My passport didn’t get a lot of exercise as I stuck within the country’s borders. It was my vaccination passport that was doing the hard work.
The hardest part of all this has probably been missing my people. I saw one of my closest friends three times in 18 months. Which is simply ridiculous. Some I haven’t seen at all. I missed my family so I went home for a month when normally I would be itching to get away after three days. It’s easier to see people now than in the beginning but hard to make the mind shift to socialize.
Let’s talk about working from home though. That wasn’t a new experience for me because of my years freelancing but the difference this time was that I was Working From Home (not working from wherever I happened to be, on a beach or under a tree). As I said when I started this job, I struggled with the fact that I would be back in the office five days a week. So after the initial stress of trying to set up home working under the circumstances of trying prevent everyone dying from a contagious disease, that part worked out well for me. And the good news is that the work paradigm has shifted and I won’t need to be in the office five days any more. It’s not total freedom but at least I’m no longer a caged bird.
And having a job has meant stability and something to occupy my attention and distract me from the world. My work/life balance has been crap but I appreciate the fact that I had work when I wasn’t able to have much of a life.
Overall, I’m grateful. Grateful that my life is okay, that the people I love are okay. Grateful for doctors and scientists but not for politicians. Hopeful that some of the positives we found when life was slower will carry forward into the future. Glad that some people had the time to discover what made their life joyful. Frustrated that I worked that out for my life long ago and a life without travel (or at least travel planning) isn’t the most joyful for me. But mostly tired. Just so tired.
Anyway for most of us, there is light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not just someone with torch bringing us more bad news. So let’s get out there and start living life again (in a safe and socially responsible manner) and hope that the powers-that-be realize that a global pandemic needs a global solution and perhaps nationalism is not the best path to take. And that’s probably as political as I will ever get here. This is my travel blog not my “how I think the world sucks and what steps should be taken to create a fairer society” blog.
So farewell 2021 and let’s hope 2022 is an improvement.