To travel, or not to travel?

Michael Guzder, VP Education on why he’s escaping the wish lists and green lists this summer.

  • “Last year, I came away from the vacation thoroughly bloated and ten pounds heavier, convinced I’d blocked an artery and possibly shortened my lifespan by a few months. But I was also deliriously contented, which is surely what it’s all about.” – Cash Peters
Photo by Olya Kobruseva from Pexels

There has been a lot of talk about the upcoming summer vacation. With 2020 being a total washout where vacations were concerned, any and everyone has been looking to 2021 to make up for lost time, and I don’t blame them.

At a dinner that I had the pleasure to attend recently, along with senior GEMS colleagues, there were eight of us at the table, and five were travelling to Greece, so I smiled, wished them bon voyage, and began to seriously reconsider my options.  

The newspapers over the past two or three weeks have bombarded us with ample information about the so-called ‘safe places’ to visit in July/August, and I must admit that they do look tempting.

Topping the list for my wife and myself was Seychelles with its tree houses, pristine nature views, delightful parks and amazingly tranquil beaches. We gave it a serious thought and decided to vacation there for two weeks. However, recently it is being touted as the ‘most romantic place for honeymooners this summer’. Not being in that category by a mile and not too keen about being surrounded by honeymooning couples, we have decided to give it a miss.

Spain, Germany, Greece, Sweden, Switzerland, Georgia, Greenland and Iceland were all on the ‘Welcome list’ and had been termed as safe for tourists. However, Pune in India is home, and hence we zeroed in on going home for a month, relaxing, enjoying the monsoons and catching up with old friends. However, as things stand today, what with the ‘Delta variant’ making the headlines, my wife and I are still torn between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Now this is so unlike me. Under normal circumstances, holiday decisions and dates are finalised by February, with flight tickets and hotel reservations confirmed by March. I am even packed two weeks in advance and usually get on everyone in the family’s nerves by continuously reminding them to get their packing done. To sum it up, I hate anything that is last minute and I put this down to being a bit of a nervous traveller.

No, it’s not the plane or the flying or anything of that sort – that’s the fun part – it’s just the thought of arriving at the airport late, having luggage that is overweight, having something wrong with the passport or missing the flight that stresses me out. Believe me when I say I have gone through all of the above!

Perhaps I should let you into a secret – in my heart of hearts I am actually relieved that we are not going on holiday this year. At least nothing has been finalised as yet. I have made plans and thought of plenty to do in the UAE that is less stressful and yet a lot of fun. At least I will be in control of my life. Just imagining being stuck in a hotel in Georgia or Iceland, and not knowing when I can return, gives me nightmares!

I know a large number of people who are travelling, and I wish them luck. I hope and pray you stay safe and return after an enjoyable holiday.

On a more serious note, even before we break for summer, ‘September and school re-opening’ is on everybody’s mind. Will schools reopen on time and what will the scenario be like – these are the million-dollar questions?

Blended learning?

Another partial lockdown?

Back to online classes?

Normalcy – with schools open, pupils back in classes and everything hunky dory?

Prize days, concerts and competitions?

If wishes were horses – beggars would ride.

Everyone is tired, frustrated and stressed out – not only in terms of Covid itself, but of the accompanying indecisiveness, the inability to plan and the actual loss of days, months and years of our lives.

However, I am positive and hopeful by nature, and who knows what may happen within the next month or so.
I sincerely hope that things are better soon and the world begins to heal.