Its been a couple years since I’ve traveled internationally as I’ve been too scared to book a trip. I’ve done some domestic travel but the fear of the world shutting down again lingered over me so I hesitated to book a trip outside the USA. I eventually worked through that fear and decided to go somewhere, anywhere. I decided to pick a country I have traveled easily to before and book a plane ticket. I’ve been to Spain twice before but felt like there was so much I didn’t have time to see on previous trips therefore decided that was a good choice for my starter trip post-covid-19 (yes I know covid-19 is not over yet). I recently received another booster shot so feel confident I am protected against contracting covid-19 (I was wrong, but more about that in a little while). So I begin creating a spreadsheet with possibly itineraries and start watching airline ticket prices. The tickets are way more than I want to pay and the prices are not coming down; it appears I waited too long to book. I am not giving up on this trip though. I close my eyes and book an airfare that is refundable. Who knows if I’ll be able to travel forever, its just money, right?!? I decide to do an open-jaw flight since there is virtually no price difference in booking a roundtrip from the same airport and I dislike backtracking when I travel. The plan is to start in Madrid then head south and finish up north to fly home from Barcelona.
A couple days after I book my airfare I start feeling under the weather. It is probably allergies I tell myself since 100% of the time up to this point it has been allergies – confirmed by countless negative covid-19 tests. This feels a little different though and I have plans to do a road trip to visit family and some friends in a couple days so I take my home test like I always do proactively. This time it comes up immediately as positive. I confirm it with a PCR test. I get sicker the next day so I cancel the week’s plans. I have had my first case of covid-19. It runs it course like a bad cold that symptoms are treated well by over the counter cold medicine. I don’t believe I even contract a fever. I get slightly worried that this sickness will interfere with my international travel plans. Thank goodness I bought refundable airfare. I test again 5 days in and I’m still testing positive even though I just have some congestion and tiredness lingering. I decide to wait until day 10 to test again so I’m not wasting too many tests. The CDC website says I am good to go in public now but I continue to mask up and avoid social events until I do end up testing negative. Luckily I still have a couple weeks left before my trip so I go full-speed into planning mode.
I’m definitely out of travel practice but I guess its like riding a bike since I am checking off my to-do list quickly once I begin. Many of the activities planned are ones I missed on previous visits so I make sure to book in advance many things. My itinerary is jam-packed and I am moving around way more than I like but its only for a couple weeks so I can handle it, right? (Note: Nonstop travel is a recipe for me getting sick while I travel. Luckily I already got the covid-19 immunity temporarily out of the way). I am packing way too many things since as I get older I need more things to simply survive. At the time of me packing USA still required a negative covid test in order to return to my home country so two of the things packed are two very large covid-19 tests (I pack two in case one fails as we are advised) that I order them off the internet because they have to be the kind that are confirmed online with a nurse. I had no idea how large they would be when I order them. I am super annoyed by how much room they are taking up in my day pack. Other than that I do have a good packing list though that has been developed from years and years of travel. I have 95% of the things I could ever need on that list. I just need to now go through the exercise where I narrow the pile of clothes I am taking to smaller and smaller piles.
I finally reduce things down to a sufficient size and do a test pack before the busy weekend before I leave. The flight is on Monday and the weekend before is busy with plans – I do end up canceling my Sunday plans though due to exhaustion since I don’t want to wear myself out BEFORE my travel.
Oh and I am using my old backpack that is falling apart since I can’t seem to find a new backpack that I like. A little sewing repair before I go gets it to a good enough state to travel ….
Can you see where I did my sewing repairs?