by Colin Campbell
”YOUR passport application has been approved” an email told me a couple of days ago.
This came from the Passport Office. I went through the passport renewal application process with a very efficient member of staff at the Queensgate PO a week ago.
I imagine the folk there are not exactly inundated with new passports requests these days.
Who’s travelling abroad? We still hear about airport queues and passenger activity. But no one I know is even thinking about it.
Virus related complexities, even if you’re not much worried about the virus itself, and I’m not, are still too daunting.
My passport application had nothing to do with travel. Rapidly approaching 65, and with nothing else to hand, I needed a valid current passport as ID for private pensions which will soon kick in.
Ah, the long awaited joys of the private pension payday, when many people use a sensible proportion of cash to treat themselves at the end of a long working life.
I had planned a six month world cruise in a luxury upper balcony suite of the six star Seven Seas Explorer, which makes the QE2 look like a North Sea trawler. But alas, it’s not going to happen. And alas, it wouldn’t have happened anyway. But a long weekend out of the country would been nice.
But it just seems too much hassle. I’d say you have to be really, really determined to travel abroad at this time if you want to do so, and still be prepared to take risks with ever changing rules. It doesn’t seem worth it.
Given the much more acute difficulties some people are facing in these hard and difficult times, we will not spend too much time bemoaning the problems of going abroad on holiday. But that is one lingering consequence of this virus to which there seems no end in sight.
Long haul trips that could formerly be fixed up in a week in most cases are an impossibility.
In the UK the virus crisis is all but over but in favoured destinations like India, Thailand, Brazil, it is still running amok.
Having spoken to my contemporaries we agree that in age terms our travel time may well be running out. Even if we are able to afford it, who knows how long we will still have the health or the energy to go abroad.
This cursed virus could mean our chance to see more of the world is lessening all too quickly. A number of older people I’ve spoken to have said just that. This may not be at the top of the list of national concerns, but concern us it does.
I’ll get my shiny new passport and I hope for the best. But at the back of my mind I do wonder when or even if I’ll ever be able to use it.