It has been AGES since I have last written. It seemed like I had nothing to write about – I guess a pandemic will do that! But now here I am sitting on a couch 7660km (4760mi) away from home. The trials and tribulations of how I got here are a story for another time but let’s just say the few weeks leading up to my journey were Top 3 in terms of the most stressful and anxiety provoking times of my life. I have a newfound appreciation for people who experience severe anxiety on a daily basis!
So, how did I get here? Well, with the world opening up a little bit combined with having summer holidays it seemed like now was the time to finally reunite with Coen. We had survived being apart since March 26, 2020 but neither of us wanted it to be much longer. So, I bit the bullet and booked my flight! As we all know travelling is a lot more complicated these days and non-essential travel is not advised by many countries, Canada included. For a major rule follower like me, booking a flight was a struggle- it felt like that little message on the Government website advising against non-essential travel outside the country was directed right at me! But, seeing that Canada and the Netherlands both have exemptions to their entry bans for partners in long distance relationships, I figure reuniting with family is deemed essential.
The Netherlands added Canada to their “Safe Country” list on July 8th. This made my travel SO much easier than if I would have had to travel under the relationship exemption (paperwork, testing, quarantine) or as a fully-vaccinated traveller (our proof of vaccination doesn’t include everything the Netherlands requires.) Travelling from a country on the Safe List means you just travel as usual. The only things that were different were filling out a Health Declaration during check-in, having my temperature taken before security and wearing a mask at YVR, Schiphol and on the plane. Easy peasy! Saying that, the woman at the check-in counter asked me if I had a PCR test. After a split second internal freak out I informed her I didn’t need one because Canada was on the safe list. She doublechecked with the woman next to her and I was on my way. YVR was super quiet. There were people around of course but NOTHING like what it usually is, especially during the summer. Starbucks didn’t even open until 11am! There were seven people waiting in line for it to open, haha.
The flight itself was great, as usual. I highly recommend KLM if you’re travelling to the Netherlands or need to transit through somewhere in Europe to reach your final destination. The plane was mostly full but I got lucky and sat in a row of four with the two middle seats empty. It was nice to have extra space to spread out and put my stuff! Anyone who has ever travelled with me knows my backpack is always stuffed with things to keep me occupied and with snacks galore. You’ll never go hungry with me if you’re stuck on a runway for hours! Service was back to normal throughout the flight and the flight attendants were friendly and attentive. Everyone around me was great with keeping their mask on throughout the flight. I’m also fully vaccinated so all of this made me feel very safe.
When I arrived at Schiphol it was unbelievably quiet. There were two agents working at Passport Control and I walked straight up! The guy asked me the usual questions (purpose of my trip and how long I was there for) and then I was on my way to Baggage Claim. There were only a handful of people waiting for luggage from my flight. My guess is that most passengers were continuing on to other countries. The whole process was so quick it took less than 30 minutes from when I got off the plane to finding Coen!
I wasn’t really sure what to expect but all in all my journey was pretty similar (if not better lol) than flying to Amsterdam under “normal” circumstances. Going home will be more challenging with PCR testing and the ArriveCAN stuff but fingers crossed it all goes smoothly. I’m trying not to think about that too much!
Wherever your travels take you this summer, HAVE FUN and BE SAFE!