Red lists. Vaccine passports. Fit to fly. Quarantine.
Among the many changes wrought by Covid-19 over the past 14 months or so, the language used to talk about travel is perhaps the most jarring.
Hardly the breathless travel-vocabulary we’ve come to expect from those who spend every waking moment dreaming of distant lands and adventure.
But that’s why now, while travel shows tantalising signs of opening back up, it’s worth recalling the moments that made us fall in love with this pursuit in the first place.
The ecstatic moments of culture shock. The dizzying excitement of stepping out of that arrivals’ door to a breath of foreign air. The people. The places. The sheer thrill of not knowing what tomorrow will bring.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of some of the things we’ve really – like achingly – missed about travel over the past year of being stuck at home.
Any you can add?
Getting that cheesy shot
Yes, it’s a cliche. And, yes, you promised yourself you wouldn’t do it.
But now you’re standing in front of Machu Picchu with a grin as wide as the Urubamba Valley, you can’t help but face the camera, stick two thumbs up and revel in the crowning achievement of the Inca Civilisation.
I mean, sometimes you’ve just got to forgo that seasoned-traveller cynicism, right?
Making new friends
Your friends back home will never understand. There’s just something about shared travel experiences – both good and bad – that can forge instant bonds between disparate groups of people.
I mean, who else is going to be able to reminisce about that taxi driver, the insecurely fastened mango smoothie and a sudden bump in the road?
Discovering your new favourite food
Gluttons amongst us will know that new a culture means new flavour combinations, novel ways of combining cheese with pastry and entirely new customs around the consumption of that resulting deliciousness.
But that’s not all.
It also offers a guilt-free chance to stuff yourself silly without the nagging obligation to eat healthily. I mean, you’re on holiday, right?
Getting completely lost
Navigating is a great travel skill. But sometimes you want to throw caution to the wind, hop on a local bus with a destination you’ve never heard of, and see what fate has in store for you.
Worst case scenario? You end up in a dead-end town. Best-case? You’ve discovered the fabled off-the-beaten-path location of your dreams.
Deciding to do this forever
There’s nothing more life-changing than that moment when the sudden realisation strikes you: I could just do this forever.
It’s then, of course, you start looking at remote job opportunities, about starting your own online business, about travel blogging, or teaching English, about opening a beach bar or marrying a local.