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The COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything the world has seen earlier. With lockdowns and quarantines becoming the new norm, the situation has been a major struggle. But on the brighter side, the pandemic made me realize the worth of all things I was taking for granted so far – the freedom to travel, to explore the unknown, the breath of fresh air, the thundering sound of waves, the cuisines, the never-ending snap sessions and my heart aching for more every time the holidays ended. What fun!

Today, I would give anything to re-live those happy moments of my trips – sipping on the morning coffee to eating those delicious meals, rejoicing in the culture of never-ever visited lands, and living every minute of my vacation. I am feeling much nostalgic even as I am writing!

The pandemic made me realize how travel enriched my soul and how much I missed it. During all this time, when I was at home, I would often take a trip down the memory lane and think of all the places I had traveled and how each one had left me with something to cherish forever.

My last trip was the one I took right before the spread of the virus. I visited my sister in South Carolina and it was such a delightful experience. South Carolina definitely has a breathtaking landscape, great food, intriguing history, and an unparalleled romantic charm. I spent my time exploring the varied terrain in the warm, pleasant weather. On some days, I would just lay by the soft, blissful beaches. Each moment of the trip is engraved as a beautiful memory in my mind.

The trip to San Diego in December 2019 was an awesome time as well. There is a reason people call San Diego America’s finest city. The beautiful city has everything that one can desire on a vacation. There are stunning beaches, pristine sand, spectacular nightlife, craft breweries, thrilling outdoor adventures, and most of all the splendid weather all year-round. The place has 100 days of sunshine. The overall vibe of the city, coupled with scrumptious Mexican food made me fall in love with San Diego.

Well, another trip that is etched in my mind is the one which I took with my family and kids. We had heard so much about the deserts of Egypt that we got our plane tickets to Egypt back in September last year. And the land of Cleopatra did not disappoint us at all. We witnessed the most distinguished ancient civilization, the exotic charm, and the ultimate grandeur of the once golden city. We certainly did enjoy the traditional meals, exciting camel rides, souq shopping, thrilling dune surfing. And since my husband is a history buff, we also explored the Pharaonic remains in the city of Luxor and Aswan.

There was also the family vacation to the Bahamas that I totally drool over. The place was magical. Words fall short to describe how spectacular the corals, ocean trenches, waterfalls, beaches, reefs, and forests of the Bahamas are. The place has a rich history and culture. Also, the kids greatly enjoyed scuba diving, snorkeling, and kayaking on the trip.

And not too long ago, was the vacation I took to San Francisco with my girls. Apart from all the beauty, food, and adventure that we all had on this vacation, the best part was the ocean festival we attended. The Ocean film festival in San Francisco is one of the most reputed film festivals in the world. This unique festival screens films based on marine life, ocean, and more. Well, it does offer more than just screenings and we were lucky to be a part of the numerous interactive sessions with some of the prominent filmmakers. It was both educational and entertaining. And we did not just stop at that, once the 4-day festival ended, we discovered San Francisco in all its glory. The city has a bit of everything. We enjoyed the amazing food, diverse culture, intriguing art, great fashion, and some breathtaking museums. Also, we shopped like crazy.

Such were the days when we cared less and enjoyed more. Quite opposite to the new world, where the pandemic has disturbed lives. But travel remains my dearest love. It’s what fuels my soul. And all this time, when the countries shut off tourism, I wished for the world to recover sooner so that I could go exploring and discovering again. The whole time I kept my spirits up thinking of all the trips I would take once the world returned to normalcy. The respite came when tourism reopened and I was free to go travel again. It was like a dream come true. So, I got my necessary documents, including my COVID negative report, and prepared to travel again.

And as I navigated through the new reality, I realized I was thoroughly ready to fulfill my spirits again with my most true love. I entered the airport after what seemed like years and made my way through the COVID safety and security checks. All the flight announcements that I never really paid heed to suddenly became music to my soul. The airport felt like home, and as they called out the boarding of my flight to Mexico, I gave myself a small cheer and a slight pinch, reminding myself of how far I had come and that it was time to fly again! Mexico, I am all set.

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