iyosayi14 Reflections Leave a Comment

I think I’m having travel withdrawal symptoms. My entire being longs for a change of environment. Going through old travel pictures and clips doesn’t help anymore. Heck, it feels like torture lately, aggravating my wanderlust.

The virtual travel thingy people are promoting these days is more or less a faux front that doesn’t cut it. The thrill of landing in a new place and taking in the different air that hits can’t be recreated through some 360 degree VR movies. But it’s a good effort still, I mean, it probably works for some persons.

Right now, I’ll appreciate even the shortest local travel. I need to leave this city I have been stuck in all year! This is crazy! For the first time since 2017, this will be the longest I have gone without traveling to another State within Nigeria or another Country.

I know I use travel as escape when life feels overwhelming but truth is, travel is a huge part of my life. It’s a part of me, has always been and always will be.

Here’s a back story;

I was always super excited about excursions in primary school, though my overtly cautious parents were the ever present kill joys. Fast forward to secondary school, I lived through my junior secondary days anticipating the Geography excursion that was customary with SS2. Long before I got into senior school, watching my seniors line up in excitement as they filled up the buses, I made up my mind that my parents were not going to prevent me from having this experience. I made good on this promise.

I remember the sober look, late that night when I stepped into the house after returning from the Geography excursion to Delta State. My parents has been worried sick when I didn’t return from school on time, until a neighbour asked if they were not aware of the class excursion. Lol

The young explorer that refused to be held back

After this hard lesson learnt by my folks, I think they finally got it that travel was a huge part of me. They never objected to me going for excursions during my University days, even when we made a road trip to Benin Republic. Though after my graduation, they tried it with me once again. One evening I didn’t come home, they called to inquire where I was. I responded I was in Lagos. The silence at the other end of the line, priceless.

Ever since then, I haven’t had issues with them when I want to travel. I have since learnt how to deal with their unnecessary worries and several calls to find out how I’m doing when I’m away. Maybe when I’m a parent I will finally get this.

Travel started actively for me in 2016. I love to explore new places, I’m team see the world. But to a large extent travel helps me find balance. Those periods off my reality helps me recharge and find renewed purpose. I have been fortunate to visit 11 countries and I planned to take that to 18 countries by ending this year, but Covid-19 has other plans.

2020 is fast looking like a no travel year, no thanks to the novel Coronavirus. A huge part of my life has been taken away (against my will) and its heart breaking to say the least.

My initial Easter travel plan was for Singapore, but that had to be cancelled ‘cus at the time, they had the second largest number of cases after China. Their cases were just below hundred. If only we knew we would be talking of millions of infected persons worldwide in two months’ time.

By March I was looking forward to plan B, being Easter break in Cape Verde. I even made part payment. Flights started getting cancelled here and there by airlines. My Cape Verde trip also got cancelled. One thing I have since learnt about traveling is, always keep an open mind as plans can easily go awry. I started looking out for alternative travel deals within Nigeria being that most countries were shutting their borders.

Plans for local travels got cancelled as well when the cases in Nigeria began to rise. Incase I decided to be brave and still embark on the journey, the universe made sure to seal my fate as lockdown was announced in several states with their borders shut.

I ended up spending Easter at home. It’s crazy that I haven’t been to a beach this year. This isn’t funny anymore.

Fast forward to post lockdown, which started with a glimmer of hope that soon all this will be a thing of the past, in good time to plan for an end of year trip. All that hope has since been quenched with the directive from my Organization’s Human Resources department, mandating everyone to proceed on 2020 annual leave before June 30th. This is the final blow to my 2020 travel plans. The end.

I give up. ‘Rona’ has won.

On the bright side, I’m going to take this as an opportunity to execute the idea I have been contemplating regarding funding plans for my travels. I have been considering one year of no travels, such that I’ll save for the coming year’s travel plans. The budget for the next year’s trips will be pegged to whatever was saved up the preceding year, and whatever is saved that year as well, will be the budget for the next and so on and on. (My travel budget is different from my normal savings target with each having their dedicated revenue lines).

I think this will be a nice reset to how I fund my travels, though I don’t know feasible this will be considering I’m starting this plan second quarter of the year. However, it’s still worth the shot. Whatever I save will definitely ease up my cashflow for next year’s plans. Here’s hoping the pandemic will be over by then and it will be very safe to travel.

I need to feel the rush while doing adventure filled activities off of my bucket list. Mostly I crave another hike through the woods! I need to explore and finally do the adventure filled trip I have been dreaming about (one trip where I will knock off a number of bucket list items).

While I’m praying for this pandemic to be over so we can all have our lives back and also, so travel can resume, I don’t think I will be bold enough to embark on a trip till after three months when it’s over, especially international trips. I can manage local travels, but outside the country? Not so sure. I mean, even after the rain stopped, Noah had to send out a bird from the ark to survey the earth to be sure all was well before disembarking.

“And he waited yet another seven days, and again he sent the dove out from the ark. Then the dove came to him in the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked olive leaf was in her mouth; and Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth.” Genesis 8 vs10 – 11.

No one knows when all this will be over, or how long the new normal will be for. But I’m hopeful that soon enough, a vaccine will be found and the world can heal/recover on all spheres and living will once again thrive. Right now we are all just trying to survive.

This pandemic has helped me evaluate a lot of things. So many things we took for granted, like freedom of movement. The first trip after this crisis is going to be special. It will most likely feel like a rebirth, a gift and I bet almost every avid traveller will not complain about the mundane stuff we usually throw tantrums about. We’ll take off our shoes at check points without grumbling. Some may probably give the immigration officers a broad smile and gladly fill the landing cards.

But till then, stay safe, and keep maintaining social distancing.

We’ll get through this.

Love, Sayi

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