Travelling in the time of a pandemic

Travelling during a global pandemic seems, at best, controversial. Some travels, mostly for business or family emergencies, are still necessary. Though even business travel can often be substituted by a video conference or some such.

Still, at no point during this pandemic was there no travelling whatsoever. Most people, I dare say, travelled only the bare minimum, visiting family for major holidays (even skipping birthdays) or such business travel that requires people to be somewhere.

Many long-term travellers were stuck at their last destination because flights were grounded internationally. Getting home was difficult, if not impossible.

Last summer, when the first wave was over, people went on holiday. It was different than how we’ve experienced it before because all travel destinations were also pandemic destinations, where certain rules applied.

But on holiday people tend to be a lot more careless and so, the second wave was mostly blamed on holiday makers returning home with a Covid-19 infection.

This year is meant to be different. The third wave has been broken in Europe and many other parts of the world, vaccinations are progressing at least in Western Europe and North America, and the spread of the Delta variant doesn’t seem to deter anyone from going on a holiday.

So, here we are, wondering whether to take a vacation, sit the summer out at home, or perhaps just holidaying in ones own country, taking the car or a train to a nearby destination instead of flying into a high-risk area.

The need for some diversion, to get out and see something else outside of one’s own four walls or hometown is understandable. But it is also a luxury problem to have. A huge number of people around the world don’t get to take a vacation, go on holiday or travel beyond the immediate vicinity of their villages, towns or cities.

I love travelling. It is a part of who I am. I’ve done two trips around the world and have done tons of travelling in between. I am privileged beyond compare in this regard.

And, yes, I’ve missed it terribly. Though I don’t travel all the time, I leave the country for various trips several times a year. Last year, I took a motorcycle trip to the middle of Germany, riding a total of 1,000 km in five days.

I even went on a one-week holiday to Crete with my brother, though I wasn’t entirely keen on flying and all that. Still, all went well.

This year, I have only been to Berlin to visit my parents on two occasions thus far. I am not likely to fly anywhere anytime soon, though I hope to visit friends in England at some point. But like many others in need of a getaway, I decided to take a little motorcycling trip again. This time going north. The south is drowning in a deluge right now.

I am staying fairly close to home, exploring just within a 200km radius. I’m by myself, keeping my distance as necessary and I’ve been vaccinated once already as well.

I don’t feel like throwing caution into the wind. I don’t feel like catching Covid-19 now or ever. I don’t feel like jumping on a plane to party at a beach somewhere.

And I do not understand how others do.

Already quite a few people returning from holiday are reportedly coming back with an infection. Is it worth it? You get two weeks away, have fun and relax, but upon your return you must quarantine, potentially be hospitalised, and perhaps even end up with long Covid. Not to mention the potential for infecting others.

I do believe it is possible to vacation or travel safely even during a pandemic. I’ve managed to do that last year, never taking unnecessary risks. This year I wouldn’t do it again. We’ve been through three waves already and I am not keen on a fourth.

At the very least, people should get their vaccinations before heading out into a high-risk area.

We all want to enjoy a life without a pandemic again, which includes travelling. But if we are not careful now, things are unlikely to get better soon.

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