About a week ago I woke up with a bad case of itchy feet. It’s been ages since we travelled somewhere new and outside of the UK. Our last international holiday was in February 2020, to Morocco. I still think that was one of the best decisions we made that year as the world shut down a month after we got back home.
Since then, we have kept ourselves grounded and any trip we planned was within the UK. And don’t get me wrong, we saw quite a bit – we had a weekend away in Kent, then one in Dorset, we did a 9 days long road trip through most of Scotland. And let’s not forget our only trip out of the country, to Croatia, to see my side of the family and explore the coast.
At this point, I probably seem ungrateful and complaining about nothing. I am fully aware that in some aspects we have it better than a lot of people; some haven’t been on a trip in years, even before the pandemic. But once you get bitten by the travel bug, it’s hard to stand still for too long. And I feel we haven’t moved “properly” in years.
This got us thinking about where to go next. It’s been five years since our big, 2 week-long holiday on Cuba. It was high time for another “exotic, far away” trip.
Here are some of the destinations we are thinking about:
Thailand – it was never high on our list, but it has grown on us. You can find return flights for under £350, it’s warm, accommodation is cheap, and Thailand is famous for its street food. Pandemic wise, there is the Test & go option for all fully vaccinated travellers: you arrive, stay in your booked hotel room for 1 night while you get your PCR results and then you are free to go. This option was suspended end of December* so the only options available at the moment are Sandboxes (Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga Bay…) – 7 days stay at the approved hotel with the 1st night in quarantine but you can’t leave the sandbox province, and you can’t take a flight that stops in Bangkok. This threw a massive spanner in the works – we continued searching.
Costa Rica – gorgeous nature with options to book accommodations in the middle of the jungle. Waking up listening to a waterfall nearby, enjoying a cup of local coffee under a big green leaf while a sloth hangs on a branch nearby. Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Plane tickets cost more than the ones to Thailand, but accommodation is quite affordable and there are no covid restrictions! But, apart from jaw-dropping nature and beaches, there doesn’t seem much else to do (I asked my colleague who sold holidays to Costa Rica and has been there). We are all for relaxing and chilling but I have no idea what we would do for 10 days/2 weeks there. Any ideas, please let me know 😀
Japan – not even going to say why we want to go there, it has been high on our list since forever. From the architecture, language, culture, sushi… Oh we could eat sushi all day!! But it is completely closed off to foreign travellers so let’s move on.
USA – great idea, but WHERE?! We love the idea of San Francisco, but then again also New Orleans, Nashville, New York, Washington, Chicago… Too many choices, we might pick the one with the cheapest flights.
Tanzania – loads to offer, from beautiful beaches to Kilimanjaro and Serengeti. No quarantine for vaccinated travellers, plane tickets are more than Thailand, but less than Costa Rica, it depends a lot on the period of travel. I am quite interested in this destination but the husband doesn’t seem to be. I may yet make him change his mind…
Cuba again, this time the south part of the island (Baracoa, Santiago de Cuba…). But the tickets go over £600 as we would still have to go through Havana. Because of this, I didn’t really check restrictions but we might revisit, depending on the money left over after finishing some works on the house. It’s a lot of money for plane tickets though 😦
Cambodia – high on our list. We always wanted to explore Vietnam and Cambodia on a motorcycle – it has to be a Ural, says the husband; I think he’d be happy with anything we find. Plane tickets are super pricey for the period we were looking for so we haven’t entertained the thought too much. We will check again when we know our budget and dates better.
This might sound weird but some of these countries make me feel anxious about even starting to plan them. They sound too much out of my comfort zone. Isn’t that the point of travelling? It is. However, we have been in lockdown for almost a year and a half. UK/England only got its freedom day end of July last year. And those months of isolation and lockdown changed me. They changed both of us. The pandemic and lockdown changed ALL of us.
The biggest change? I realised I am more of an introvert than an extrovert.
After working from home for 14 months now, I am turning into a bit o a hermit. I like being home and not surrounded with a lot of people. Some days it takes an extraordinary amount of willpower just to leave the house. So when I say some destinations seem too much out of my comfort zone, that is what I mean – they seem too daunting.
Instead of planning a trip that excites me and makes me can’t wait to go, it gives me a sense of dread. I need to find a good balance between “not that into it” and being blocked by fear. And the best way to do this is actually go on a bigger trip that scares me just the right amount 😀
But first, we both need to figure out how much money we have to play with and what period we’d like to travel. Then it’s time to get the whiteboard out, crack open a bottle of wine and get planning!!
*I signed up for the Thai embassy newsletter and the Test & Go will resume on 1st February. There is hope yet for our Thailand trip.
What destinations are on your bucket list? Are there any you think everyone should visit? Gives us some more ideas and help us scratch this itch!