“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” – Proverbs 16:9
Three weeks ago in this column, I shared a story about how we as vaccinated elders managed the outward journey (Trinidad to Barbados) of our first COVID-19 pandemic travel experience. We transitioned painlessly, arrived safely, and prayed for a healthy visit and seamless return travel.
Now that we are home, back to the accustomed status quo, I am continuing the story to chronicle the rest of the refreshing experience.
I was thrilled to receive feedback to my story from friends in the UK who travel annually for a winter change, stating “We are booked to fly 9 November, but the passenger form is an awful challenge. Where did you go for your quarantine hotel?”
We engaged a concierge logistical service to relieve us of additional stress, on the return journey as well. It was a superb decision.
Also, help from younger, more patient relatives also expedited the completion of the TTravel Pass online. After assistance with mine which seemed to take hours, I got the hang of it and the completed Judy’s in 20 minutes.
We had only seen our respective families, in some cases, for over two years. Even though WhatsApp and other modern communication mechanisms facilitate regular virtual video interaction, it is not the same as seeing children, grandchildren, elderly relatives, and friends in person.
In Barbados, the effective national vaccination percentage is rapidly approaching 50 and restaurants and beaches are all open. We enjoyed many in-dining experiences in idyllic settings. What a change!
Of course, 3Ws is not only a cricket stand at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown but it is foremost on the physical or electronic banners which precede the public health protocol promotion – “Wash your hands, Wear your mask, and Watch your distance.”
I packed in many medical and business appointments but was not as successful with dips in the sea – my therapeutic cure all.
Now that we as fully vaccinated travelers have safely returned to Trinidad, I appeal to all to get vaccinated because the life you save might be your own. In any case, it hastens the time when we shall resume to the lifestyle to which we have grown accustomed.
We can report that pandemic travel is no bother at all if you are aware of the requirements – passport, vaccination card, negative PCR test, TTravel Pass online, and ED card for immigration and customs.
I commented to the immigration officer on arrival in Trinidad of duplication of information among these requirements. His immediate response was: “Sir, the Ministry of Health running this country now.”
We were then off to collect our bags, pass through customs and on our way home. No second PCR test nor quarantine requirement, as was the case on arrival in Barbados.
Schools are mostly in virtual operation, which means greater discipline for children and parents. We observed four grandchildren under heavy manners. The obvious challenges are not all students have access to laptops and Wi-Fi service; close restricted space at home; and the lack of socialization and friendship. Let us all get vaccinated and put an end to the loss of life, livelihoods, and unnatural schooling for our children.
On reflection, it was as if we were free in Barbados compared with the “stay at home” experience in Trinidad for the best part of 18 months.
What a wonderful change. We shall soon be ready for the next adventure.
(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is a Change-Engine Consultant. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. His columns may be found at www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com)