Travel Angst…

Travelling is a stressful pursuit.

Especially when travelling involves an airport.

Even more so when travelling internationally.

Add in Covid 19 precautions and the stress factor goes through the ceiling.

We were prepping for a six week trip to England involving air bnb, cat sitters, bill paying, packing and…

…a trio of tests:

Two days before leaving so we could alight in London,

On arrival at our airbnb to determine whether we needed to self-isolate,

One day before being allowed back in the U.S.

I appreciate the caution but it did nothing to ease my stress.

Although I’d planned all kinds of activities straight after Christmas a call from Daughts announcing that her little family had the dreaded lurgy, lodged a spanner firmly in my gregarious gears.

The reality of failing the test just before leaving America hit home.

Every sniffle or cough or upset tummy became Covid!  As the day for our scheduled test drew closer so did our awareness of what could happen.

I didn’t want to bring the suitcases in…

“It may jinx us!” I said.

I didn’t start small piles of ‘take-with-me’ stuff,

“Don’t want to be too confident…” I explained.

I didn’t put any London plans on our calendar,

“Tempting fate,” I sighed.

We wore our masks obsessively, at church and the horse barn, along the lane and in the store, in the car and house,

“I don’t want to take any chances,” said Hubs munching on his biscuit under his mask.

Two days before our flight we showed up at the drive-through, took our tests and popped them in a lockbox.

We held our breaths for an hour until the results came through online,



The packing commenced.

The cats grew dejected, knowing not how long we were to be gone for.

We began worrying about the test awaiting us on our arrival.

What if we picked up the virus on the way?…

We were jet-lagged and on edge when we plonked our bags down in our bedroom in Beckenham.

Somehow we set up our laptops, logged on, read and re-read instructions, tracked down registration numbers and emails that had been sent weeks ago tucked away in some e-folder goodness knew where.

After an hour or two and still sneezing from whatever I’d swabbed my nostrils with, we made our way down the road where there was a priority mail box to post our samples in.

Now, in the hands of Her Majesty’s postal service, all we had to do was wait…

We popped off to get some groceries and had a celebratory cup of coffee and a bite to eat at a coffee shop along the high street,

The results came about 36 hours later electronically.


We took a deep breath and began making plans.

We wore our masks diligently.

My brother got Covid and self-isolated for 10 days; asymptomatic he suggested we apply for National Health Lateral Flow Tests.

The Brits test regularly so we picked up two boxes just in case we wanted to voluntarily test ourselves…we didn’t.

We trusted the colds we caught were just that and carried on.

Our return test was booked online.  A live video appointment with an administrator who observed every step of the process.

I sneezed again while swabbing my nostrils, my eyes ran while I squeezed four drops from the pipette containing the virus-detecting-enzyme that I’d swirled my q-tip in, onto the testing strip,

and watched the indicator develop a red line.

Rather like watching a pregnancy test.

I dated and wrote the unique code I’d been given on the plastic surrounding my test and my proctor hung up.

After 15 minutes I snapped a picture with my ID and uploaded it for analysis.

We both could already see our tests were negative so we started to pack and an hour later we received our ‘official result’.


Off we trotted to the High Street for the last time to have breakfast and a latte.

“Let’s not go abroad again,” I said somewhere between the poached eggs and bacon.

“At least until we no longer have to test,” Hubs said with a nod.

Now we could focus on the regular stresses brought on by travelling abroad:

Getting to the airport on time.

Worrying were our bags too heavy?

Would we be stopped at customs on arrival?

Was there a window seat available?

We and the plane were on time;

We snagged bulkhead with 4 seats all to ourselves;

and we weren’t stopped on arrival.

Travel angst over until the next time!

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2022-03-14 21:48:19 Reply

Whew! At least we made it together!

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