Articles about traffic-light lists have as short an expiry date as a supermarket-bought tiger baguette. With updates coming thick and fast, I’ll leave discussions on where we can go to my expert colleagues. However, one thing that we can be (almost) certain of, is that we will all be able to go away soon (hopefully). But what does this mean? How does it make us feel? I’ve had a little think, and I’m very excited.
After almost eighteen months of being grounded, both physically and arguably metaphorically, we can play out. It can be a little daunting though, when we’re given (almost) total freedom. It can paralyse you into immobility. This global agoraphobia is kind of inevitable after so long spent with our feet firmly on the British Isles. After so long waiting until five o’clock for our parents to tell us what we can and can’t do today. We all know that human beings are extremely adaptable, but they possibly grow dependant upon external restrictions even faster. It’s hard-wired into us, so that we can survive in impossible conditions. But there comes a time when the fear of leaving home, or something like the anxiety we feel when confronted with self-reliance at University, actually begins to hinder, rather than help us.
I remember going abroad for the first time. I was about seven, and wildly anticipated our first family holiday to the Algarve. Months before, I was going into my parents’ room, bleary-eyed and agitated, unable to sleep, due to the sheer excitement of going on a plane for the first time. It was an excitement more acute than Christmas eve, and it lasted until about a week before take-off. My dad made the unforgivable mistake of falling asleep just before Final Destination came on Channel 4 and I sat through the whole thing. This is when the anxiety crept in. The rest of the week was spent nervously asking family members about flying experiences. They told me all the facts. They told me how flying was safer than driving and about the thousands of flights made daily without incident. But I was a child, and irrationality was inevitable.
Collectively, the nation has become that child waiting to go abroad for the first time. Fizzing with nervous excitement, we’ve googled forbidden getaways in the hopes that someday, one day, we will be able to go. Now that the time has come, the irrational trepidation, that childhood fear of flying has morphed into a fear of list-switch. Lounging by the sea, pina colada in hand, and the BBC News notification alert quickly pulls you out of the dream and into the COVID-19-self-isolation-lateral flow-PCR nightmare. It’s an understandable concern, but with double-jabbed travellers able to visit amber-list nations without quarantine, and more countries joining the Green List every few weeks, all of this jeopardy will soon be a thing of the past. With effective insurance, your holiday is essentially risk-free. Here at the office, we’ve had staff in Thailand, Ibiza and Corfu over the past couple of weeks and they’ve all reported seamless experiences.
So, for a moment, whether you’re waiting impatiently for your holiday that’s been rescheduled a thousand times, or your trigger finger’s twitching over that trip of a lifetime, just close your eyes and revisit that childish giddiness of going away for the first time. Consider that wall of warmth that hugs you as you step off the plane. Enjoy the thought that some day soon, you will be on holiday.
I don’t know about you, but that makes me incredibly, astonishingly, whole-heartedly, excited.
Dylan Langton - Writing for Destinology since July 2021