Transatlantic Flight Post Pandemic

In the past I viewed myself as a wanderluster, perhaps I still am.  I was on a plane nearly every month during the 6 ½ years I had been an expat, before the pandemic started.  The pandemic hit, and although it is still ongoing, so must our lives.  Now, I have been an expat for officially 8 years and 1 month, and I am travelling for several weeks back to the USA.  Luckily my work has afforded me a complimentary flight home for a visit.  It’s been 20 months since I have been to the states, or seen any family or friends.  And it’s time for a trip.  Jet setting was such a breeze before.  There was limited anxiety, I slept on a majority of the flights, but now things have changed.  

There is so many essentials to be taken care of before one even takes off.  A negative covid test the day before, upload it, and wearing a mask the entire time from after I park my car until arrival.  I was hoping to use my lounge passes from my credit card, but even the lounges were closed.  When I got through security, I wanted to cry.  This was not out of sadness, but out of relief.  It’s easy to focus on the little things that go wrong, which today included a nearly flat tire which needed air in, one of my dog crying as I drove to the dog minder, and other tiny bouts of frustration that arose.  Yet, little do we focus on the amount of things that go right, that we depend on.  The tire filled with ease and luckily I left the house early enough, I had a negative covid test, no traffic, ease of getting though security and re-adjusting my bags that were slightly over-filled, kind staff throughout the day, free magazines at the airport, and a cappaccino as I waited.  There was a multitide of things that went right, and I wanted to cry as a form of release from the stress of travelling, even though it barely just begun. 

There was a recognition that for weeks, I could not let myself be too excited for this trip.  At any moment it could have been cancelled with either a positive covid test, or the state of the UK, the USA, or the world.  I simply bought a ticket, hoped for the best, and held my breath.  This was the moment of release that was emerging. 

 I finally boarded the plane, and could not fall asleep.  Was it excitement? Anxiety? Stress? Novelty?  I generally was such a good traveller, but what happened? I wasn’t relaxed enough to journal, had no intention to glance at a magazine, or interested in my book to devour it.  I simply sat and watched a film.  Eventually a thirty minute nap arose, which I was grateful for.  But jumping on planes would take some getting used to again.  It’s a necessity and a benefit to being a human at this time of life.  We have taken it for granted before, but now a new normal has arrived.  How will you adjust to finding ease in the skies? 

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