With annual leave stacking up and only 4.5 months left of 2020 in which to use it up, it's time to plan another holiday. Personally I don't find much value in taking time off to sit at home, like I have been doing for much of this year due to covid-19 enforced lockdowns, and so I've decided to 'risk' another trip to Spain.
Boat trip to Cadiz - August 2020
I recently returned from Spain, and 3 days later the country was removed from the UK Government's travel corridor list, meaning Brits travelling to the European destination would need to quarantine for two weeks on return to the UK. Even though I arrived on home soil prior to this announcement, I spoke to my boss who agreed that it would be sensible to work from home for a few weeks.
Since then, various news reports have reported a rise in new cases of coronavirus in Spain, and it looks like another wave could be on the way. Reports also state that the country is unlikely to go into lockdown again, but will choose to do this in towns and cities faring the worst.
When I booked the August holiday, my employers were happy that I was using my annual leave at this time as many staff still have weeks and weeks to take and the worry is that there will be no-one around towards the end of 2020. This time though, the circumstances are different.
I booked the time off early last week and the next day booked the flights. A few days later I spoke to a friend who suggested that flying to a country on the UK shit list could be breach of company policy, hmmm, yeah. And so for a few days now I've been been wondering if I've just thrown a hundred quid down the toilet, and even wondered if I should just go anyway and stay home for a few weeks on return.
Today an email was sent from a director with the latest copy of the Employee Handbook, and here's what it says with regards to 'other' travel:
Staff who are planning to travel via airplane or other forms of public transport must consult local government guidance related to travel prior to their departure and again immediately upon their return...
Sounds easy enough, anything else?
...Based on government guidance, additional holidays may need to be requested if there is a requirement to self-quarantine on return. Notify your line manager and HR prior to the travel taking place if a self-quarantine is a requirement upon your return.
So, with this email fresh in everyone's inbox, today was the day to find out if I was flying anywhere or not. If i had to take two extra weeks off following the trip, no thanks.
I spent some time composing an email to my line manager, and sent it just as our daily team catch-up was ending. Less than a minute later, he video called me and said 'no problem mate, your working at home most of the time anyway and so just let HR know'.
Nice! And so as long as the flight is not cancelled (Ryanair haven't done that much so far this year compared to other airlines flying in/out of the UK), I will be heading back to the south of Spain in less than a month. And on direct flights too this time, which will save around 6 hours each way including layovers.
One month to learn some more Spanish and work on my handstands. Progress with both of these feels slow, tiring, and frustrating, but I'm sticking at them. I'm currently listening to a collection of podcasts, sometimes whilst practicing the handstands, which are progressing to my current level, which I would say is just above beginner. I've still not fully forgiven or come to terms with countries in objects have a sex, 'the' just makes so much more sense!
And the verbs, what is going on there. I went, you went, she/he went, they went, we went - easy! Yo fuí, tu fuiste, ella/él fue, Ellos fueron, Nosotras fuimos - well at least they all start with the same letter...
Anyway, that's cheered me up no end and is something to look forward to as the British summer comes to an end.
Would you travel to an 'at risk' country if your circumstances allowed it?