After almost three months of various levels of lockdown I've begun to feel a little antsy. As we've downshifted from the clamped tight restrictions of level 4 through to the relative freedom of level 1 I thought that niggling feeling would subside. I just needed to get outside the house for a bit, see some people, go to the pub. Then all would be right.
Nup. I went for a walk outside and saw some people at the pub and it did nothing for me. Yeah, sure, it was nice to see humans that weren't my partner or our two small children but I needed something bigger than that. Something new. Something foreign. Something exciting. Something truly memorable.
What I needed, I realised, was a holiday.
Look, I'm proud as punch that our collective effort and sacrifice has pretty much stamped out covid-19. When you look at how this disease is infecting and killing other parts of the world it really is a bloody miracle. Yes, a lot of people here are hurting due to circumstances caused by the lockdown but, at the very least, they're not dying. New Zealand has always thought of itself as something of an oasis paradise in the world and now it really is.
Which is all well and good until you're looking to get away for a bit. It's only then that you realise you're trapped. To borrow the immortal words of Phil Collins; oh, think twice, 'cause it's another day for you and me in paradise.
And another. And another. And another...
It was in this state of mind that I watched The Trip To Greece , the fourth and final instalment in Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon's long running comedic movie series. I thought the high value escapism would squash the holiday bug biting me. I've never been more wrong.
Instead it only served to power it up, like the rage inside Bruce Banner that transforms him from a mild mannered scientist into the powerfully destructive Incredible Hulk. Only instead of uncontrollable anger it bubbled up into an inconsolable sadness.
As the two comedians ate, drank and quipped their way around their film franchise's trademark exotic sun-filled, seaside locations that are steeped in thousands of years of history I couldn't help but feel envious or prevent a mild sort of glumness from settling in.
This is not a comment on the movie. As you'd expect it's hugely funny with Coogan and Brydon's bickering one-upmanship and pitch perfect impersonation battles proving an endless well from which to draw lols. And while this instalment exchanges the series' previous moments of moroseness for a more straightforward morbidity that was not behind it either.
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Instead it was seeing everything that we won't be seeing for a long, long time. Seeing the experiences and opportunities we've lost. True, a lot of the historic places they visit resemble not much more than a crumble of rocks, but even that mild disappointment at something will be instantly recognisable to anyone who's been fortunate enough to travel abroad.
"Legoland costs a fortune," Brydon muses at one historically significant but underwhelming location the pair trek to, "but you get a lot for your money.".
Instead it's all the scenes at clifftop eateries and quaint seaside towns and close-ups of the food and drink they devour during their gastronomic adventure that saw the travel bug biting hard.
For me the escapism offered by The Trip to Greece was like drinking one too many pints of craft beer; hugely enjoyable at the time but afterwards I only regretted it due to that realisation that none of us will be going anywhere for a long, long while.
And while domestically we have more bases covered than most - sun, sand, surf, snow, shopping, cycling trails, hiking trails, adrenaline attractions, cultural attractions, views, landscapes, photo opps and very good coffee - at the end of the day you're still here. And sometimes you just want to be there.
Though, to be fair, if you're gonna be stranded anywhere, paradise ain't a bad place to be.