Should I stay or should I go?

I missed that holiday however. On purpose I should add. Satan’s airline – Ryanair – being as cheap as a Lidl special offer, had cancelled its free rebooking option for flights, by September, when the revised trip was meant to occur. Meaning it would cost another 90euros to postpone the trip again. As I’d initially rebooked it back in March, before the free option had even come into play, were I to repeat this process I’d be 180 euro out of pocket – but still with no guarantee of actually traveling. Cancellation with reimbursement was not an option. Latvia and Lithuanian health regulations required a fortnight’s quarantine upon arrival into those countries. This meant travel was impossible. My trip to both countries was less than a week combined. Ryanair’s attitude was that as the flights were operating and I had paid for a ticket then it was caveat emptor for me. I could either board the flights or lose the money I had paid. I chose the latter.

An internal debate was held about a week before departure however. How strictly would the authorities be monitoring their quarantine restrictions? I could risk it surely, if they were anything as relaxed as Ireland? What’s the worst that could happen? I could get arrested? Unlikely. I could catch the Covid? Well sure, but I live in Dublin. It seemed far more likely that I’d catch it here, as the infection rate is way higher in Ireland than in the Baltic countries. In the end as I was traveling across an international border I decided against taking the travel risk. Exciting as an imaginary international campaign to free me from captivity from a perfectly safe and pleasant EU country sounded, my mother would be worried.

Instead I went to Kilkenny for the weekend and stayed in the B&B where Daniel and Majella O’Donnell had resided on their national tour of Irish guesthouses for RTE television. A very pleasant weekend away was enjoyed.

A November trip now looms. Back in the early days of the Plague, as we were confined to within 2km of our abodes, I experienced dreams of airplane travel. I’ve always been excited by intermational journeys. Much as I pretend to loath the blue and yellow airline, I still scour their website for deals to far flung, exotic places like Kyiv; Marrakech and Liverpool. Being possessed of borderline OCD tendencies when it comes to travel, I always prefer new destinations – which allows me to update my list of countries visited. Having availed myself of almost all options from Dublin airport (which are extensive) I discovered that Ryanair would take me to Banja Luka in Bosnia-Herzegovina, were I willing to travel via Milan. It was an easy decision. I’ve always wanted to go to Bosnia. I’ve never been to Milan. I could do a combi-tour. Three nights in Milan – see the Duomo; visit the Last Supper in the monastery, and check if I could get a cheap last minute ticket for the Scala (I have a vivid imagination.). Then fly to Banja Luka for an overnight trip, see the town, and then board a bus to Sarajevo for a few days.

This all seemed so exciting and possible when I booked it back in April. With four weeks to the travel date, things are looking rather more precarious. I am in the horns of a dilemma. Do I forfeit the money already paid? Should I throw caution to the wind (while wearing a mask; washing my hands and maintaining physical distancing) and board that plane? If I do this then I will be ignoring government health guidelines. But I live alone, have no dependents or garden. I am a solitary person so my risk level is minimal.  Or do I rebook a weekend away, to somewhere in Ireland where I am permitted to travel? Somewhere like Balbriggan…?

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