It’s enough for me to leave my house from Monday to Friday, ride the train for a few minutes and go to work. I just can’t imagine travelling anywhere right now. For me, travelling anywhere, is on the back burner for a while.
Travelling is a privilege, in the best of times in my view. By this, I mean leisure travels of course. I am very aware that there are numerous people who depend on the travel industry for their living. I am from Jamaica where the travel industry is pivotal to the country’s GDP. I also know of people who work in this industry, who are suffering from the fall out as a result of this pandemic. It is heart wrenching to no end, so I understand why some travelling during this time is important. It is really like being caught between a rock and a hard place.
Why I have no plans to travel for this year
The big plan for December 2020 was to visit Ghana for the first time. Everything was set and I had all but booked my flight. Getting from Japan to Ghana would mean at least a 12 hour flight somewhere, with a stopover, then another flight of over 5 hours to get there. I am not the most enthusiastic flier at the best of times, so I do not see how I can comfortably wear a mask for those hours. In addition, how would this affect my already jet lag prone self? It is a lot to wrap my mind around mentally, so that plan is on pause until some point later.
I would so love to go to Jamaica and see family in December. However, I am wary of infections rising in these colder months and what it will mean for travelling with stopovers in different countries. I also do not have enough time to quarantine and be there to catch up with others. Hence, this too is on the back burner and I am sure hoping I can go next year. I am so thankful for all this communication technology because if this had happened 14 years ago, when I just came here, it would have been really hard.
Am I paranoid? I see people I know taking jaunts here and there on this archipelago. Again, travelling anywhere is out for me. Some say it’s the best time to enjoy Japan because the country is closed to tourists from outside the country. I just can’t get up the interest to go off exploring and it may just be that I have explored quite extensively over the last decade here. I am not even eating in restaurants since I am not taking any chances. I am also someone who have always liked making my meals at home. Again, I know there is a valid point that we need to do what we can to prop up these industries…catch 22. I do have take out from time to time to contribute in this way.
Can we travel responsibly in this pandemic?
It is no longer just a case of buying travel insurance and going off to explore on a whim. Well, at least not for me. One has to be hyperaware of their safety to protect themselves and others. This is challenging in familiar spaces much less the strange places we encounter on our travels.
I do think some people can and are travelling responsibly at this time. I am also pleased to see how industry players and businesses are pivoting to ensure the safety of travellers. I however, see pictures of the airport in Cancun, with a bunch of tourists trying to flee the island before the hurricane and I cringe. Thankfully, people are in masks but there is little to no social distancing. I am not ready for the uncertainty that comes with travelling outside my bubble. This is something that each person has to decide on of course. I would love to read some tips on travelling during the pandemic. I have watched some videos but they mostly focus on the flight and getting through airports.
Travelling is firmly on the back burner
This is something I know for sure. Much of this may be because my travel appetite had been quenching a bit over the last few years. I really do not enjoy flying, especially since all the places I want to explore are far away on the African continent. A flight to Jamaica is also pretty far and involves going through all the hiccups.
With all this, travelling for leisure is definitely something that is firmly on the back burner for a while. I am still taking time to follow what is happening in the industry and preparing for when I will fly to Jamaica to see family and friends. This I will not delay indefinitely.
I pray peace and protection for all who are working in the travel industry. I see the airline workers being furloughed and losing jobs. I hope we can all get back to travelling and propping up each other’s livelihoods soon.