This post displays prettier on my site, so please go there to read it: https://gloabroad.com/2020/10/14/planning-2021-2022-travel
Towards the end of each year, I start to plan our travel for the following year, sometimes up to two. As you can tell, I live a pretty simple life and have a lot of time on my hands 🙂
I don’t use any fancy program at this stage – I just start an Excel spreadsheet and dump the calendars of the coming 12-24 months in there.
Firstly, I mark all our local public holidays (or an approximate since many of the holidays here are based on the sighting of the moon… or was it the sun…). Living in the UAE is pretty awesome in terms of public holidays as Eid often or not goes for a few days plus the weekend.
Then, I mark in special dates like birthdays, anniversaries, Thanksgiving (yep, not American but I have adopted this holiday), Christmas, New Years – especially noting any milestones.
Then, I mark in any special event dates – anything ranging from a family member’s/ friend’s wedding, or their milestone birthdays/anniversaries, the Olympics, World Cup, concerts/events I may have seen online and thought “I want to go to that one day”… etc
Finally, when everything is plotted in, I can better see where in the world we will/should be at what times, and how many days leave/PTO Husband has left.
I then start to brainstorm where else we would like to go that could be tacked on to an existing trip (eg, if we are going to the UK, we could add on a few days to France), and if it can coincide with a ‘special’ date, the better.
After all the above is done, my spreadsheet usually looks like fonts and colours projectile vomited all over the place. It is not pretty.
Most years, the travel I plot in have gone to plan. Until this year.
For 2020, our travel plans consisted of going to:
- Hong Kong
- Australia (again)
In reality, we made it to Singapore, Vietnam… and a hotel 20 minutes down the road from our apartment (yeah, I am going to count it.. I’d even count our trip to IKEA at this point).
We are approximately 9 months in on our stay-at-home/no non-essential travel abroad.. whatever you want to call it/us being hermits… and the rest of the year looks pretty much the same – there is a 1% chance of staying in another hotel 20 minutes from home…. woooo.
I do not think I have been ‘grounded’ this long since 2000!
Yet lately all I can think about…
especially after I listen to people complain about how ‘unreasonable’ it is that they can’t travel, or they “must” fly home for Christmas or else “stay here!?”, or that they can’t travel internationally (but have been taking loads of local trips)…
is how this situation has made me realize just how fortunate I have been… and I am so thankful for the travel life I have experienced so far.
I think we were very lucky to have been able to go to Singapore and Vietnam this year, despite the weird, unsettling adventure we had.
I looked through all my photos recently and just based on what I captured (which is not close to everything since I didn’t get an iphone until quite late on), I think I have more travel stories than someone twice my age.
I’ve been inside a church lined with bones in the Czech Republic, taken the same steps of Roman gladiators at the Colosseum, floated in a hot air balloon to see the sunrise over Cairo, seen (what’s left of) the Glaciers in Alaska, saw the Northern Lights in Iceland, eaten five lifetimes worth of calories… just to name a few.
I am also grateful for many things that have come to be during my lifetime that have made my travels a possibility. For example, online booking platforms significantly reduced the costs of flights and hotels, and the ability to do research online (back in the 2000s I was still relying heavily on travel guides and travel agents, and a large fold out world map).
Don’t get me wrong, I am as bored as the next person with staying at home, and have itchy feet, but I don’t share the mindset of some of my friends here who say they “need” to go home because they hate the thought of being ‘stuck’ here for Christmas, or “must” fly home to see their families as they haven’t seen them for a year, or have taken “escape” holidays because they needed to go somewhere for their ‘sanity’.
Like, come oooooon! It’s amazing how they think they must only be the ones not seeing their loved ones, or missing a family Christmas, or going insane (helloooo???). Yeah yeah… as you can tell, my opinion on reducing the spread of the Coronavirus has not changed since February.
I would also like to point out that Christmas here is not that bad. I could think of worst places. With the semi-luxury lifestyle available here, everyone can make their own fun. It’s warm (enough to go to the beach even), it’s safe, there are sales, malls go to big efforts to put out Christmas decorations despite it being a Muslim country, there’s plenty of places to eat at… people just need to stfu sometimes and whine about true injustices.
I think that when we can travel again, I don’t believe it will be the same as before. But just like how 9/11 changed certain things about travel, we will all get used to it eventually.
I am about to start my 2021-2022 travel spreadsheet because well, what is life without hope?
Thank you so much for reading this. I hope that you’re reading this while you are staying safe, and well.
PS: I watched this recently and found it interesting so have posted it here to share 🙂