I started 2020 thinking this was going to be my year. It was the first time I’ve ever started a new year so hopeful. The only reason why I was so sure 2020 would be great: I was going to Canada.
I know it sounds bizarre, but let me explain.
Canada has been my dream since I was a kid. It has always been my way of coping with things. When something terrible happened, I had a bad day in school, I was depressed or heartbroken, it didn’t matter because this wasn’t my life. My life hadn’t started yet. My life would begin in Canada, once I moved there.
I’m not sure when my obsession with a country I’ve never been to started. But as far as I can remember, planning my move to Canada has been my escape of reality.
When I was younger, I made a plan: I would move to Canada before the age of 25. And guess what? I’m 25 right now, and while I did leave Spain, my home country, I only moved as far as England.
I guess the older I got, the harder it was to leave everything behind and move to a new country, something that my younger self hadn’t thought about. It’s pretty crazy to move to a country you’ve never been to when the only things you know about it, is what you’ve seen in films.
So in September of 2019, during my 25th birthday, I decided I would go to Canada before I turned 26. Not to move there yet, but to explore the country and see if my life-long expectations were worth it.
I bought my plane tickets on January 1st, which I ended up cancelling in March. Because after all this time, that awful pandemic that scientists had been preparing for and talking about for years, had finally happened.
The pandemic is here
I heard about Wuhan on January 3rd. At that time, the virus didn’t have a name yet. I ignorantly thought the Coronavirus would stay in China. Even when it started spreading around Asia, I wasn’t worried. I kept planning my trip as if I was immune to this reality. But in two months, the virus had spread through Europe and North America.
On March 16th, I read that Canada had closed its borders to all foreigners, and that’s when it hit me. I’d been working from home since the beginning of March, and I was following the rules imposed by the British government. But in my head, I could still go to Canada in late April, because by then, this pandemic would be fixed, right?
But for the first time in my life, I could not escape to Canada to ignore my reality.
It’s a weird situation to be in, and it’s made me realise how privileged I am when my only problem during this pandemic is that I can’t travel. I’m lucky enough that I can work from home and I can afford to pay rent. My family is healthy, safe, and working from their homes. I should not be complaining.
2020 is not going to be my year. It won’t be anyone’s year. 2020 is the year for cancellations, disappointment and losses. I probably won’t go to Canada this year. I’ll be 26 soon. I’m still young, but why do I feel like my time is running out?
P.S. I wrote this post on Medium in April 2020, back when people were still not allowed to travel. It’s August now, Canada’s borders are still closed, I haven’t been able to visit yet.