I realise that travelling during Covid- 19 might not a great idea, and I must admit I did it once before non-essential travel was lifted. I did it to see my family in my home country of Ukraine. I don’t think people realise how lonely it is to be a foreigner during a strict lockdown with no family by your side and nobody to take care of your elders back home. Ukraine is not a country that could comfortably go into a lockdown as it simply does not have the healthcare and social care that Ireland does.
I went back for two weeks, and I have to say it felt great to be able to go home. It’s so strange being in an airport for the first time since Covid began and to be honest I was a little scared. This was before I was fully vaccinated, so I had to pay 130 euro for a PCR test and then pay for insurance to be able to visit home and be protected against large medical bills, if by chance I became sick while visiting. The flight was also a little off-putting as there was only one seat between me and the person in my row which didn’t make me feel super safe considering that the number of cases was still quite high at that point and time. Wearing a mask on a two and a half hour flight was torture but it was all worth it to see my family in the end. This was my only travel since lockdown began and I had forgotten what it’s like to be in the air. I was forced to come back due to some personal health issues and my father’s health, which was a large concern for me, so I did feel as though my trip was justified.
My second trip was quite recent, and it was to Venice, Italy. At this point, I had both of my vaccines and restrictions were fully eased. I must say that the journey back from Italy was a little concerning as we were not checked for our EU certificates upon arriving, just our passports. It seemed that due to the easing of restrictions social distancing was a little neglected too. In Italy the Covid-19 restrictions were, in my view, loose. In Venice there are no roads and no road transportation which meant every long-fetched journey was done by boat buses. I gave them the nickname “sardine box” as it was incredible shocking how little people cared for social distancing. At one point I was face to face with some lady I did not know and at least three other people who were squished alongside me. It was frightening to see so many people on one little boat squished together during a worldwide pandemic and a rush of foreign tourists hungry for travel. I still have no idea how we avoided getting Covid-19 during that trip, it seemed pretty much impossible.
Although travelling restrictions have eased, I do feel as though we still need to be super careful and aware of our surroundings. A new train of the virus is spreading and not everyone is vaccinated. If you do choose to travel, make sure to follow all of the travel guidelines before and after you arrive to make sure you are at no way a risk to those around you.