She’s stuck in Thailand.
Amidst the current crisis, of which we are all VERY aware, travellers across the globe are rushing home to loved ones as the pandemic continues to cause disruptions locally and worldwide. My rock climbing and planned motorbike adventures for Laos-Vietnam (upcoming blogs) were cut short, as serious decisions had to be made quickly to escape to Thailand before borders were fully locked down. Being stuck in Laos was not an option, with their limited emergency care and lack of an international airport. Turns out the day after I crossed, my border closed.
Finally accepting defeat and turning my gaze towards the red bricks and rolling hills of sunny England, I now find myself in a rather sticky-rice situation.
I’m waiting on refunds from three different airlines and coming to terms with the horribly inflated price of my winged journey home now scheduled for Sunday. If this plane doesn’t leave the country, that’s it. Trapped in Thailand.
Interestingly, the choice as to coming home or staying put is not so simple and many fellow travellers are similarly questioning their next move. I don’t have a job to get back to or rent to pay, the crags and climbing gyms are closed anyway, and my family are probably safer without me potentially carrying the virus back to them. Thailand is warm, cheap, and my accommodation situation actually allows me private outdoor space (a pool, no less).
So why am I so desperate to leave to confinement in England?
I would be lying if I hadn’t considered waiting it out here. But Bangkok will shortly be on lockdown too and who knows how long the travel restrictions will last. If I commit to staying, I have to COMMIT to staying. For months, even.
Not so bad though? I have a guitar, chrysanthemum tea, air conditioning, a yoga mat, jungle-esque scenery (despite being in the middle of the city), and all for a fiver a night. Plus, when this blows over, I can start moving again.
Add on travel insurance (mine expired, whoops). But then minus the extortionate flight ticket home. Add on the same confinements as at-home UK citizens (there’ll be no island-hopping; in doing so, backpackers only threaten to transmit the virus to smaller isolated communities). Add on the incessant uncertainty of changes to the country, NAY, THE WORLD. But minus the support network. Add on the psychological claustrophobia as all the other travellers also manage their own brain-turmoil regarding their own personal situation.
Add on that I have to drink my tea out of a bowl.
Finally, add on the prospect of my family being affected and me being helplessly 6000 miles away.
Personally, it becomes matter of physical comfort versus pragmatism and mental stability. Ultimately and to the relief of my parents, I have decided to pursue the latter. Though really, I’m still not entirely sure I’ve chosen right.
In this blog, I endeavoured firstly to summarise briefly my travel situation, and why Zoe may not be going to too many places in the immediate future (surprise, it’s Covid-19). Secondly, I wanted to address those who are lusting after confinement abroad into the mindset of someone actually locked in another country. Grass is always greener, ey.
I admit to being surprised at my yearning for England.
Nevertheless, IF I get home, I’m sure I will welcome maybe 2 days of relief followed by weeks of the same isolation mania as everyone else. I’ll make sure to re-read this entry when that happens.
At least I now have time to devote to more FUN and LIGHTHEARTED Dirtbag blog entries. Coming up… Ropes, falls, and funky limestone tufas: a boulderer goes rock climbing in Thakhek, Laos.
Zoe Allin: insta @zoallin