Ajit JohnWhen Conal Lobo a resident of Mumbai decided to get away from the pollution and traffic jam that marks life in that city, he hopped onto his bike and rides down to Goa. It took him all of nine hours on his fancy bike. The fact that he has a house in the north helps him considerably. Goa, he says helps him get into an alternate space. It helps him relax and think calmly and sort out problems facing his business. He visits Goa a minimum of four times a year. Then there is Uttam Naik. A resident of Goa he has been stuck at home for more than nine months. This year he managed to spend some time at Dandeli just before the lockdown was announced. Last year he visited Sri Lanka and enjoyed it but this year he is stuck. Goans welcome the world but many of them are stuck in Goa unable to travel abroad or even within the country because of the virus.Uttam said “I love travelling and seeing new places every year and it has been very frustrating this year. I am planning to get married this year and will now leave it up to the wife to decide where we can visit. I am reading and watching trends. You only live once and I would like to see much more of the world before my time is up.”The virus is a factor that is proving to be detrimental to peoples plan to travel. That, however, does not mean that travelling within the state to explore parts unexplored has stopped. Sipali Raikar has no plans to travel abroad. She said “I had gone over to Dubai for a short break but ended up staying there for months on end due to the virus. I also visited Thailand and Singapore but now I intend to stay put for a while.” She said she liked indulging the travel bug in her and had recently visited Chorla last weekend. She said she had to think twice before going anywhere because it would mean she and her family would have to deal with crowds. Sipali said “When we visited the Canacona waterfall, it was crowded because everyone turns ups on a weekend. Popular spots all over the state are crowded and we have to be prepared.” Vinod Vernekar an employee in a local construction company said he was feeling quite frustrated having spent more than eight months at home unable to go out on a short holiday. He said “We plan short breaks to areas close to Goa but now it is just not possible with the virus spreading so aggressively. Next year I would like to go abroad to Malaysia perhaps on my first foreign visit but I will have to gauge the situation on the ground. ” Another one who was stuck in Dubai but is now back in Goa and planning a stay-cation is Nicole Dsa. She said “The number of cases is so high and it is a bit too risky but I am planning staycations for the family. One has to be careful and it is good to have a short break from work and the drudgery of everyday life. It is frustrating with the virus but I suppose that’s life.” For Rhea Narvekar the demands of work ensure she is unable to travel but she likes visiting undiscovered places in Goa. She said “I explore hidden places in Goa and have seen more of Goa during the lockdown than I would have in regular times. I think it is important to know and understand your own state before you step out to see the world”. The demands of modern corporate life have increased as one works from home. Surabhi Kamat a corporate executive who is based in Bengaluru but is now living in Goa said she takes breaks on weekends and goes over and sits on the beach for a couple of hours. She said “It means fewer people, clearer mind and you can enjoy the sunrise. Life is full of small joys like this. I would like to go on breaks like I did earlier but not anymore.”Sonali Pandit an executive who has just started working said she was unable to go on holidays out of Goa or the country because of the virus and that was very frustrating. She said “We would go as a family to Singapore or Malaysia. We had plans to go to London but all that has been scrapped now because of the virus. It is frustrating and all we can do is wait and hope for better and safer times. I hope the situation improves because travel certain broadens the mind and I like travelling”.One can only hope the situation improves quickly so that life can go back to something that resembled normalcy.