• tumithekoko

A Thousand Unspent Air Miles

Updated: May 3, 2020

an ode to the airmiles unspent, untaken and unforgotten in this COVID-19 pandemic

“Cause you know I’d walk a thousand miles
If I could just see you tonight.” 

From Me to The Airport

I’m guessing it started the same way for us all. The initial gravity of the situation was distorted by the COVID-19 jokes and memes. They were funny! So in the meantime we would post holiday throwbacks and hope that the whole Corona thing would blow over. But then the number of cases and death tolls kept on rising and the travel bans rolled in. 

Slowly, it began to dawn on us that this may not be a matter of just pushing plans back a few months but that travel was probably on hold indefinitely. 

With news about death, struggling economies and unrest regarding lockdown everyday, it feels trivial and almost insensitive to mourn travel plans. But a part of me feels like possibly the hardest thing about the lockdown is the weight of being deprived of seemingly trivial things that we actually hold so dear. 

The Anticipation 

At a time where we’ve even lost the excitement that comes with looking forward to the weekend. I looooong for the anticipation that comes with an upcoming holiday! More often than not, you look forward to a holiday for a great deal longer than the actual trip itself. I miss the countdown to a trip, relishing in every moment that I am asked what I am doing on [insert date here], to which I reply that I’ll be away. I miss getting lost in the intricacies of

making a travel itinerary I probably won’t stick to. Ploughing through blogs and instagram pages and mentally inserting myself in the scenes. 

The Airport <3 

I really miss the airport. I could really write the rest of this post about why I find the airport such a fascinating place to be. I  mean, firstly, there are few places you can suggest cocktails at 8.30am and have no-one put forward a motion to dismiss. And in the same bar you go to for said cocktail, a person can be found drinking in a suit and another in what are arguably pyjamas and yet neither is out of place. 

I miss the quiet self-satisfaction of creating a complete narrative about the other passengers. The characters so layered, I almost felt like I actually knew them. I really feel there is so much you can get from a person’s choice of airport attire and activity. The person in the smartwear tapping ferociously on their tablet would probably be going from boarding gate to boardroom. The person in the flip flops and hareem pants was probably on the 43rd flight of their ‘gap yah’. The parent stifling the screams of their two young children and actively avoiding eye contact with other passengers was probably about to become public enemy number one once that plane took off and the screams could be stifled no more.

Those shrill cries are almost a fond memory now.

I actually miss the ritualistic airport procedures! The sequence of familiar routine easing you into your journey of unknowns: Should you have brought more cash? Will the accommodation look like it did in the pictures? Would the holiday go to plan? Would you regret not bringing a 15th pair of underwear for a 7 day trip?

The Adventure

On holiday, just by virtue of being in a different environment, there is novelty in even the most mundane. You can venture outside of your comfort zone, explore new cuisine, new horizons, territories that are uncharted to you, meet people completely outside of your usual social network, wake up in new surroundings knowing you have the freedom to really do whatever it is you want, even if that thing is nothing.

These are things I long for on any given day of the week but this desire is intensified now I am away from my loved ones, confined to the four walls of my home and the places that are part of my essential activity. All of which are starting to feel far too familiar

All that being said, as we slowly adjust to our new normal, I am increasingly grateful for the things that afford me safety and security in this time: my health, friends and family, the weather (on the good days), the internet… 

And I channel that gratitude whilst I plan and wait painstaking till the moment I hear, ‘Passport and boarding pass please.'

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