Is it okay to call it ‘post-pandemic’ given that there are still 2,000 to 3,000 daily cases? I don’t know what’s the situation for you in your part of the world but it seems to me that slowly but surely, the world is finally opening up, despite the still rather significant numbers which may not be a true reflection of all the asymptomatic cases and self-isolated cases but.. let’s move on from the numbers and perhaps ‘celebrate’ the potential recovery of tourism and the economy.
A month ago, the government announced this special concession known as ‘Vaccinated Travel Lanes’ which allows fully vaccianted travellers to freely travel between two countries without the need for quarantine. It started with two countries – Germany and Brunei – and over the next few weeks, the lanes expanded to more than 10+ countries, with many more being in the 7/10 day ‘stay home notice (SHN)’ in your own residence requirement.
Alright, so I guess I shall stop beating around the bush anymore.. I am finally going to take a plane for the first time in 20 months! I tried to recall the last time I had a travel dry spell and the previous time it happened was 6 years ago from Jun 2014 – Mar 2015, for a period of 9 months. Back then, I started a new job and I was working on a project (from its infancy stage) where taking leave wasn’t a responsible thing to do when you’re working in a small company. Anyway, if you’re keen, I have a list of travel history in this link over here. Looking at the list makes me feel happy as I will be going for a trip before the year 2021 ends, which means that I will not have a ‘gap’ year in my travel. It might sound like a pretty lame ‘achievement’ to you but it somehow means a lot to me as travel is pretty much more than 30% of my life. Since my first self-paying trip to Taiwan back in 2009 (where I worked part-time – doing admin work and working in a candy shop), I’ve concluded that travel (going overseas) is something that I derive a lot of happiness from. You know how people buy branded bags/watches as it makes them happy? I’ll splurge that same amount of money on an overseas trip. [My yearly expenses for travel is about 20-30% of my income, in normal years]
So.. I bought my first air ticket 3 weeks ago (for a 2022 tentative trip) and just last weekend, I booked my second air ticket for a trip next month. Ever since I paid for the tickets, I’ve been feeling the excitement, the adrenaline and a tiny bit of nervousness as travel is gonna be something so familiar yet unfamiliar at the same time. The last time I took a plane was flying home from NZ 20 months ago and I actually forgot about the checked-in baggage rules and my power bank got confiscated. Can’t imagine what stupid blunders I may end up making but I’m really excited at the thought of it. I also recently renewed my passport and perhaps it was due to covid, the immigration has decided to increase the validity of passport from 5 to 10 years. It used to be 10 years but they halved it some years back and now they are doubling it again. Anyway. I’m not sure why but more and more countries are removing passport stamps from their immigration and opting for the e-gates. I guess biometrics can’t lie? Oh wells, I don’t know why.
To be honest, the decision to travel now (when covid-19 isn’t exactly gone) is not an easy one and in fact, I’m still wondering if it is a wise decision. Being an overthinker (if you haven’t already realised), I do face many thoughts of the ‘what-ifs’. I think I’m the first person in my department to be going overseas, possibly the only one this year-end holiday. I also do get thoughts on whether I am ‘selfish’ for risking myself in a foreign country. What if I contract the virus and bring it home to my loved ones? What if I fall sick and cause disruption for my colleagues at work? Was it really necessary to be making leisure trips given that the situation is still pretty bad? Somehow, such guilty thoughts do keep flying by in my mind but I try my best to keep it aside and hope for the better. Thankfully (for now at least), being single and having no commitments is putting me in a very good position to do whatever I want, and take such travel ‘risks’. If I wasn’t working a full-time job and perhaps have access to spare money, I would have probably ventured on the first flight out (like many travel influencers) and become a nomad somewhere around the work. Then again, the thought is a little unrealistic as I wouldn’t want to put myself in a situation that worries my parents. Did I mention that my dad actually thought I would return from NZ to SG in 90 days or less? Before I departed, he ‘gifted’ me with an annual travel insurance which has a limit of 90 days per trip. Relieved and amused, the 90 days became 268 days =p
I’m very excited about travelling yet I’m scared at the same time. There are many things that I haven’t had to stress about in a long while. Well, first up is definitely travel insurance! I did my research and ended up buying the most premium plan from a somewhat reputable but cheaper insurance company. Travel insurance is very important in such times as it will cover the uncertainties if you can’t travel and the airlines/hotel is not willing to provide free cancellation. Another thing that I have procrastinated for a really long while is that I have yet to repair my kickstart luggage – the pulling handle broke when I was dragging my luggage to the further bus stop in an attempt to save $4. I’m not willing to let my luggage go into cold storage as NZ was the first time I used it and I kind of customised it with all my stickers. Yep, so I got to get it done this weekend – finding a shop that is willing to fix that handle for me at a reasonable price. If it is not possible, I need to re-look at all the other luggage options I have and figure out which one is gonna join me on my adventure ><
Well, today is 11/11 (oh actually it is past midnight so it’s 12/11 now) and I’ve also snagged up one winter jacket from Uniqlo. I was planning to just depend on my single Kathmandu jacket investment which I bought in NZ for a bomb but I guess.. having more options/choices for clothes is always a good thing. I made some other purchases too and crossing my fingers that they can reach me before I fly. In addition to all that hecticness, I also need to prep myself up for covid travel – to ensure that I bring enough masks, sanitisers and wet wipes. I have to make sure that I book my ART/PCR tests, ensure that I have all the necessary documentation and everything.
I’ll probably drop by with another post before I fly! Are you excited as I am? ^^