Getting Back to Exploring the Globe

October 6, 2021
October 6, 2021 Daryl McMullen

Getting Back to Exploring the Globe

I love the planet! Its cultures and diversity and all the variety. There are so many places to visit and culinary delights to experience. I was reminded of that this month when I hopped on a flight to Milan, Italy. I have been accustomed in recent years to be able to do 5-7 International trips annually (sometimes more)! That came to an abrupt halt on March 15, 2020 for me. I missed being able to visit my international friends. I missed exploring new places and I really missed walking the familiar favorites.

With all the precautions and advancement that have been made; I decided to put my toes into the travel waters. I started to book flights…just like always…and realized…hmmm…it might not be like “always.” I made a call to my preferred airline and NO! definitely not like always.

Only 2 flights a day to Italy, and must fly out of JFK. (Or on another airline, Atlanta). You must fly into Milan or Rome which was not my usual route. I typically fly LAX-LHR-PSA. So glad I did my research. And of course all the protocols that change daily. I thought I was all dialed in and then I realized I was flying on Tuesday after a Monday holiday. I had to do tests inside my 72 hours, and a Sunday AM test would supposedly get to me in 24 hours… But my intuition doubted it with a Monday holiday, so I went to another site that got results in hours….thank goodness because those were the results I had to have to check in at the airport.

Now…if I had really done more research, I would have booked my flights on different days and I would have planned where I would get the test in Italy for my return. It’s all very simple if you don’t have to get tested on Sunday or if you plan to be in a city in the AM Monday – Friday (it’s when they do testing at MANY sites).

The awesome piece was that there were almost NO travel groups anywhere! I only saw locals enjoying their cities and contrados (city districts). I was able to see the villages and travel top to bottom and back through Tuscany. It was glorious. I saw so many beautiful sites. It was like a postcard at every turn. It is a wonderful time to get out and explore the planet.

I am already planning what’s next…Ireland? Germany?  I am following my 3 tips (see below).

I can’t wait to hear where you might be going next….

3 Tips to make it easy to jump back into the travel habit:

  1. Research the requirements for entering and exiting a country: Wow! This is bigger than you might think! Had I been left to my own devices I would’ve booked my usual flight from LAX-London Heathrow and been stuck! Not an approved flight, and no flights allowed in from UK without 2-week quarantine. Yes, this has now changed…but the point is made…be clear about what you need to do to get to where you want to go. As it turned out, there were only 2 possible flights on my preferred airline, and they had to go into Milan or Rome. Pisa was not an option. Know the specific requirements and ask questions before you book.
  2. Plan your testing out in detail: It is conceivable soon; testing will be a requirement to enter a country. Holy smokes…easy in your home country…not so much in a foreign land. Timing is everything. For me this turned into a comedy of errors. I even had an advantage! I had a very good friend, native Italian, able to research where to do the testing and all the 11 pages came back in medical terms in Italian! Here is what was tricky. The test sites are open Mon-Fri 8am-12pm. The lines are 100’s long at the obvious sites. They are closed on Saturdays and Sundays so if you are flying on Tuesday…keep that in mind. I had an early am train that got me to Milan at 12:30pm. Sites are closed at 12pm. My friend had found one that was a 15 minute taxi ride into a warehouse district. Had I realized all this. I would have booked my flight for Thursday…had my test on Monday morning and taken the train on Tuesday…smooth as silk… Plan out the details.
  3. Visit the places out in areas you haven’t roamed though: Rather than all the huge major cities, take a little giro (trip) through the countryside visiting and staying outside the large, cemented cities. On my excursion I stayed on the Piazza Grande in Arezzo and in the shadow of the Castille in Poppi. These towns are only minutes to Siena and Florence.

I encourage you to flex those emotional muscles of yours and get out there! It is a wonderful time to explore. Be sensible but go and enjoy!

Live your Dynamic Life!!