I have a mixed relationship with uncertainty. While it can be a marvellous travelling companion, bringing us unexpected pleasures such as finding a pretty village on a fantastic walk or stumbling across a fair when we only stopped in the town for coffee. The uncertainty I experience when there is a problem or after something goes wrong is less enjoyable. Problems with our campervan, such as our little Greek incident, send my anxiety levels sky high. These days I am struggling to stop my brain from descending into a worried spiral as our plans to travel in our campervan are regularly disrupted overnight.
I have written before about the travelling plans we had made for the spring BC [before coronavirus] and how these were ditched during lock down. As restrictions relaxed and then campsites re-opened DC [during coronavirus] I tentatively began to pencil in some trips away in our Blue Bus. We decided to stay local and we enjoyed some wonderful active and safe holidays in the Lake District through July, knowing we could get home in an hour or so if we needed.
I understand that we are still in DC and that this virus has not gone away. We continue to socially distance, we wash our hands thoroughly as often as possible and we wear our masks when we need to. Looking forwards in June, I imagined that life in the UK would have settled into a management stage by now as we learned to live with the virus. I thought this would lead to a bit more certainty and our future travel plans could be more concrete into the autumn. Apparently not! Although I had accepted that we would be unable to visit the wonderful country of Portugal this year, I had started to get hopeful that we would be able to travel around beautiful Spain in September and October, using the ferry booking we had made in those carefree January days. My cautious optimism was dashed on the 25th July when it was announced that the Foreign Office no longer recommended travel to Spain.
I like to think of myself as adaptable but this skill has been severely tried this year. I find I dare not even write about what our plans are now, firstly because they change so often and secondly because putting it in black and white might jinx things. What is certain is that we will not be packing until the day before our next trip [having to unpack without going away is too depressing] and if we do get away we won’t have any activities even pencilled in. Perhaps I am being too pessimistic and cautious but in these ever uncertain times it is hard to dream that anything will have a positive outcome.
Does it help to keep up-to-date with the news, or is that just another source of anxiety? Sorting the rumours from the truth is important but takes time and these days my own careful assessment of risk means nothing if the Government decides to show their resolve by stamping down on what I can do.
I don’t have a crystal ball, I don’t know what tomorrow will bring but I do know that even the uncertainties seemed more certain in my BC world! I could worry about illness or mechanical problems almost carelessly, confident that the risk of those things happening was small. My over active imagination never conjured up anything like the constantly changing restrictions and rules we have been living with DC in the UK.
Uncertainty and certainty are both part of life and I know I can’t control everything but at the moment all I can really try and control are my thoughts. I could disappear into a pool of my own despondency. Instead I make myself sit with my uncertainties and anxieties and write about them. This does help. I feel all the emotions and then send them on their way, leaving me to focus on staying in the present, co-operating with the inevitable and accepting that this new super-charged uncertainty is here to stay.