We’ve done our best to be good. We laughed at the problematic Tiger King and celebrated growing old, alone in a room in front of our laptop (the “Zoom Birthday”). Our dreams of conversational Italian and completed novel manuscripts were swiftly deflated as the false hopes they were. God, we were humbled. We rode the coronacoaster of moods and emotions and claw-your-fucking-eyes-out boredom with at least a tiny bit of beauty and grace. Don’t you think we deserve just a…little…something for surviving it all? A little…holiday?
Look, the reality is that 99 percent of people are planning some sort of holiday before the second wave of the pandemic hits. We’re looking down the barrel of a possible autumn and winter lockdown – months and months of staying inside again, seeing no one, doing nothing – and it’s going to be worse than the first one. You know why? Because we know exactly what’s coming. The gag is over. The worst few months of our lives – those ones that just happened – are all but destined to repeat themselves.
So in the absence of a gap year, a fortnight in Mexico or any of your other cancelled fun life plans, you’ve decided to do one of the below. This is what your holiday screams about you.
CHEEKY SEASIDE WEEKEND
You’re a leftie in your late 20s to early 30s and know that posting an overseas holiday on social media would make you look like a selfish prick. You have, by anyone’s standards, an active Twitter account and went door-stopping for Labour for the first time in 2019. You’re either in a long-term relationship or going for your first trip that’s not a field or your bedroom with your lockdown romance.
This trip to Brighton/Margate/Eastbourne is mostly OK in your books because some of your mates are doing it. The brave ones went first, posting on Instagram Stories as soon as we were out of the strictest lockdown, which you secretly did think was a bit out of order, to be honest. But thank god they did! Now you and all of the lads are out of the woods.
SPAIN OR TURKEY ALL-INCLUSIVE, BOOKED FOR SEPTEMBER
You’re a 50-year-old mother-of-three. Your hot tub holidays with the girls got cancelled this year and you’ve had it up to here with this flipping pandemic! As you’ve told Facebook, you’re considering taking the hubby with you if he behaves, otherwise it’s going to be a girl’s gone wild one: #tbt #slipperynipples #NotJustThoseslipperynipples Tenerife ’17. One of your daughters told you it’s stupid to book a holiday in this climate, because of a second lockdown something or other, but that’s nonsense. They’re doing the local lockdowns now and anyway, if Boris has said flights are fine then that’s good enough for you!
You are a mid-tier influencer and you booked Ibiza last minute when you saw Amber from Love Island was there. You’re excited to get your trackies-n-blazer pic in front of the Ryanair desk at the airport, which you will caption “high life [plane emoji]” to the tune of 1,308 likes. You are also excited to do a story on the plane with a neck pillow, which you will caption “making moves [plane emoji].” The flight is two hours and thirty minutes long.
Your holiday will essentially consist of going to the beach and taking Boomerangs which artfully avoid the signage reminding holidaymakers to be mindful of social distancing, and your boyfriend doing unpaid hours as your photographer while you trot to your room and back in different outfits, having your picture taken in various bits of the hotel. Because let’s face it, you’ve just had your hair done for what is realistically the last time this year (you also got your eyebrows laminated illegally at home for a handsome premium, but we don’t mention that), and this is the best it’s going to get.
You will be chucked out of at least one restaurant for taking your mask off for a photo.
CAMPING IN THE PISSING RAIN
You’ve camped before at festivals and on family holidays as a kid, and you’ve always taken to it pretty well, so you decided to go on the ultimate socially distanced holiday. So what if your girlfriend asked if you could “please stay in a place with walls”? You’re a citizen of the earth!
You’ve been taking social distancing pretty seriously on the whole – you’ve not been to the pub yet, and you’re not too bothered about restaurants or meeting up with big groups of mates or anything like that. But you did feel like you needed a change of scene – so you packed up the car with your Glastonbury tent, a crate of lager and a sense of adventure in your heart.
Now you find yourself cooking beans over a stove in the horizontal rain on a camping ground in Kent which hiked its prices as soon as it heard everyone wanted to holiday in the UK. It’s also boiling because of climate change, but you keep an open mind, embracing your real self: outdoorsy and at one with nature baby, even if that means eating diluted canned goods for dinner!
Sadly, you have to go home a few days early after you eat a “foraged” mushroom, get the shits, and long for a real toilet.
ILL-JUDGED CITY BREAK
You smugly booked very cheap flights to somewhere like Rome or Barcelona thinking it’d be amazing “to see all the attractions without a queue” but now you’ve got there and the novelty has worn off after a day and a lot of things are still actually closed, so really you’re just sitting in the hotel eating weird flavoured crisps and watching dubbed episodes of Friends until you can go home.
"JUST OFF TO MY PARENTS' PLACE IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE TO GET AWAY FROM IT ALL"
“Lockdown has been so hard.” You are sitting inside the pub, right next to your best friend, the £15 glass of Sauvignon (“I’m not drinking that fucking house white”) swaying dangerously in your hand as you tell her how tough things got. “We couldn’t get any shopping delivered for about a month, and it was absolutely awful without the cleaner. Obviously everything’s a bit better now, but I’m just so over working from home. Weirdly I miss Pret???? Isn’t that weird?? Anyway, so yeah, just feeling like we really need to escape. It’s so oppressive in the house, you’d think five bedrooms would be loads but it’s just not? So we’re popping over to the farmhouse in Provence to see Mum and Dad, because everything was just getting a bit much.”
You have a garden and we hate you.
BACK TO YOUR PARENTS' ACTUAL HOUSE
You’re single and/or understandably depressed or anxious re: pandemic. What you’re passing off to friends and social media and yourself as a nice trip back home to see Mum or Dad is in fact a cover for what a therapist might call "underlying issues". You’re taking enough stuff to feasibly allow you to stay for three months, or until your lease runs out and you can pop up to exit your rental gracelessly. Despite this being a real personal low, you try to remain positive in the knowledge that thousands of other twenty- and thirty-somethings are behaving similarly. Or at least, that’s what we’ll tell ourselves!
Your work forced you to take paid leave. You, as well as the rest of your team, were going to ignore the emails from HR about using 15 annual leave days by end of the August but your bastard manager told you all it was a real rule in your last Monday morning meeting.
A REMOTE AIRBNB
All your clothes are from Toast and you dodge offhand questions about how you afford them. You announce via social media that you’ll be going on holiday (you call it a “trip”) and unplugging from your phone to get a real sense of detox, and to "write" and find some headspace in this “roiling ocean of a situation”. You bring a typewriter with you and arrive at an extremely picturesque cottage. You spend the entire time taking photos of the typewriter and trees and, like, your own feet on the beach, in order to post them as soon as you get home. “My digital detox was so restorative,” you type into Instagram.