It’s been about three years I haven’t travelled before embarking on the Yellowstone trip.
Ever since Covid happened, I’ve been stuck in Hong Kong for quite some time, and quite frankly, I’ve been feeling jaded, monotonous, and slightly depressing. I’ve travelled on average about twice a year, and to succumb to find different things to do each weekend in Hong Kong was firstly humbling to see how much Hong Kong has to offer, but at the same time it was all the same – new restaurants or cafes popping up each week, same areas, try going to different sightseeing places. Zzz.
I felt pretty suffocated wearing masks all the time, and I felt bored. As the world started to open up to accept the new reality and to realize that Covid was more studied and that Covid was less deadly over time, less so than we first started and presumed, even my views softened and I felt it was time to open my eyes and see how the rest of the world was cohabiting with Covid.
Over the years, the mandatory quarantine period of Hong Kong went from 21 days, to 14 days, to 7 days, then 3 days in hotel, then eventually 0 days in hotel but 3 days of amber code, which restricted us from visiting many public venues such as bars and restaurants and event spaces (but not workplaces). When we booked our Yellowstone trip, we actually were booking during the 3 days in hotel 4 days home quarantine schedule, but slightly prior to our departure, the government announced that we would only need 3 days home quarantine, so we got pretty lucky. I’m someone who is capable of enduring even the 21 days hotel quarantine (I can always find ways to entertain myself as long as I have my phone, laptop, and internet, then I’m pretty good), but it was the cost of booking the hotel that was a huge factor.
By 3 years, I knew I was too much in my comfort zone. To go to United States and to go everywhere without a mask, wow that was very refreshing and comforting. It was also great not to hear about the daily cases of the number of people that got infected, the politics (didn’t really watch TV), and to get away from the heat and the humidity.
From HK to US, no doubt I was going to experience jet lag. For some reason, jet lag always makes me feel very productive, because I’m usually awake during the hours no one is awake, and it gives me so much quiet time to catch up on my work. The poor habits I developed during my stagnation period over the 3 years in Covid, I felt going back to US gave me a “reset” mentality and made me pick up some productive habits once I got back to Hong Kong. I reset about the views of the world rather than being confined to just to the little bubble of Hong Kong. I felt free again, knowing I can travel to places.
Besides a reset of productivity and habits, I know travelling can be a reset of many other things too. It can be an escape for some, whether it’s from a heartbreak or from career burnout. Maybe just like me, you’re stuck in one place too long and you feel you need to look for outside inspiration to get creative ideas.
Travelling itself is quite tiring. We planned a lot of activities throughout the day, during the evenings we have to prepare for dinner or research for the next day or catch up on work, you sleep, you wake up again. I brought my music laptop with all the gear and equipment, only to never have touched my music once throughout the three weeks there. OK, a fair bit was due to my laziness, I could have pushed myself to work a bit more, but at the same time I was quite occupied with visiting all these different places and feeling pretty tired after returning to our accommodations.
Then there’s the stuff you have to do prior to going on a trip. You have to book plane tickets, you have to find accommodations, you have to rent a car, you have to see the best dates to visit each of your places and whether they were going to be open on certain days or certain months. When you have multiple people going, you have to accommodate to their needs – is it too expensive for them, or do they want something more luxurious, do certain dates not work for them, who needs their own private bedrooms who doesn’t and the list goes on and on. Then there are millions of choices and you have to force yourself to make finalise to a few options and make a decision on the best option. You then have to go on multiple websites and compare the prices to find the best one. It is seriously a full time job in and of itself. For foodie trips, you will also have to book ahead your favourite restaurants. You have to think about insurance (travel and car), you have to communicate with Airbnb hosts about checking in and checking out and filling in their forms etc. The research part of a trip is often vastly underestimated and very under appreciated.
Then of course for bloggers like me, I have to go back home, choose the best photos amongst my collection for each post, label them correctly, and write a blog post for it, then post it on social media, which all consumes a significant amount of time.
I might be slightly whiny here, forgive me, but the big question we must ask is, was it worth it? And I have to say, it was. It gave me the reset I needed to snap out of my comfort zone and be productive again. It gave me an open perspective on where the world is at this moment. And the world is beautiful and fun.
It’s time to plan ahead for another journey soon.