It has been a very long year—no, more—since I put fingers to keyboard to write. A year for the history books. A year of trouble and strife for so many around the globe. A year in which we’ve had to confront the frailty of the house of cards on which we, humankind, have built our lives. Supply chains have broken. Healthcare systems have hit failure point. Children have been socially isolated, bereft of in-school education. Small businesses have disappeared. Economies have been rocked. The death toll stands at over 3 million.
And yet. The planet enjoyed a brief respite from our punishing ways when we were all locked up in our homes in the Spring of 2020. Air cleared as traffic stopped. Nature ventured back out into spaces that are usually claimed by humans, and along the way we learnt that a lot of today’s jobs can be done from home. Vacation spots were quiet, allowed to rejuvenate their natural beauty. Instead of traveling, we improved our homes, wanting them to be “just-so” if we had to be ‘locked-down’ 24/7.
And so it was that back in the gloomy, Second-Wave days of December, I thought: “‘F**k it, I need something to look forward to,” and on a whim booked two tickets to Maui for June. I had no idea whether we’d actually be able to go, if vaccinations would be a reality, if Hawaii would welcome visitors. I prayed that Monkey would have graduated high school the week prior—it already seems like a lifetime ago—and this would be a good week to take-off. The prospect of this trip has kept me hanging on by a thin thread. The glimmer of its promise has been so necessary to get through these past six months.
2019 was dominated by the passing of my dad. Any significant travel we did that year was in service of his memory. A funeral. Burying his ashes. Mourning in the cold, damp British November. Starting to divide his belongings. Family disagreements. Since then, I have been grateful, numerous times, that he didn’t live to worry himself to death about the pandemic.
And so June 2021 rolled around. As we got our expensive Covid tests, and answered all the endless survey questions, and downloaded apps, and agreed to be tracked while on Maui, I just kept thinking: This is my first real vacation in almost three years, how did I let that happen? Grief, burnout, world chaos. These things have a habit of disrupting the normal patterns of existence that we come to rely on to get us through. And we moved house in the process. Enough said.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, as I sit on the plane home, planning to write a nice little piece about some of the fabulous things we did on Maui – it just didn’t feel like I could put up a travel post out of nowhere. The last 18 months demanded to be acknowledged in some way or other. And so, there it is. It’s been hellish in oh, so many ways. But as I travel back home, after a blissful week of being reminded how life used to be (albeit while donning masks) I am hoping that the week of June 7 will mark a line in the Hawaiian sand and we will leave much of the fear, angst, heaviness and tough times behind that line, and propel ourselves forward.
I have been reminded of what it is to take a break. Read a book. Nap. Lay in the sunshine. Drink a cocktail in the afternoon. Walk on the beach. And I highly recommend you try it (again).