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International travel, when will it happen for me?

If all was normal, I would have been on international travel somewhere. Enjoying the sights, the architecture, the food and what foreign countries have to offer to the visitor. Unfortunately, with the Covid-19 pandemic still raging, everything’s been at a standstill. Our lives have been greatly affected and being in the travel and hospitality industry, terribly, terribly disrupted.

It’s been 103 days since I arrived home in Cebu and been in quarantine here at home. ONE HUNDRED THREE. That’s how long I’ve been here within the confines of my room. Although I have occasionally went outside, these are mostly doing groceries for our food supply. To keep sane, I’ve been doing this five tips ever since but then, being an inveterate traveler, the thought of not going somewhere is taking a toll on my sanity! I’m even craving for a good bowl of char kuey teow, or a simple nasi goreng eaten at a streetside corner in Bandung, Indonesia!

Traveling abroad yearly

I’ve been traveling 3-4 times yearly outside of the country. A big part was attending Ingress events which enabled me to participate then extend a few days or weeks and explore. My last international travel was in Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia. I was supposed to go to Chiang Mai last February but had to change plans in part as there were already Covid-19 cases in Thailand that time.

As far as what is in the news now, it seems international travel, especially for tourism is out of the question. Yes, some countries have already opened their airports but mostly for repatriations of stranded citizens, sweeper flights, for transiting travelers and those who need to return for work. Tourism? No.

No. Not this year.

I don’t see myself doing international travel. Despite my plan that by September 1, I will start my long term travel as a digital nomad. No. Not this year. Countries are still closed to tourism with even Australia’s Qantas predicting that there will be few international flights till middle of 2021.

The high cost of travel is also a deterrent. Entering or returning to a country is expensive. One is most likely advised to self quarantine, at one’s expense for two weeks. That applies for returning back to the Philippines from abroad. Singapore, Malaysia and Cambodia are also advising visitors to commit to self quarantine upon arriving. With the great loss suffered by airlines, a ticket is never cheap!

What to do then?

Frankly, I don’t know. What I can see right now is just shelter in place. No international travel. No travel to other provinces. Probably stay home and wait this out. My city of Talisay right now is under GCQ (general community quarantine) while Cebu City, with the highest Covid-19 cases today, is in ECQ (enhanced community quarantine). These will be up till the end of the month. After, it will depend on the number of Covid-19 cases. If numbers are going down, we might transition to Modified GCQ, then, hopefully, to normal.

But we can’t tell. What we can do now is just hope. No. No international travel this year.

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