Tomorrow I'm getting into the car and setting off on a road trip to the other end of New Zealand. It's a trip we were planning this time last year, before the lockdown. Throughout those seven weeks of captivity I told myself that as soon as we're allowed, I'm going for a good long drive out of Auckland.
But oddly, when the lockdown was lifted, I didn't. Didn't feel like it.
Months went by, and another lockdown, 2020 turned to 2021 and still I didn't feel the urge. What on earth had happened to someone who had always loved travelling? I felt like an institutionalised prisoner or a whipped dog afraid to leave my open cage.
Lockdown had hit me quite hard in the head, undermining what I thought were the limits of government in a liberal democracy and surrendering so much hard-won economic success to a health scare that seemed to me exaggerated. It didn't help to discover mine was a minority view.
So I suppose my post-lockdown inertia was unusual, it seems like half the Aucklanders I know have been to Queenstown over the past year. It has taken a planned family gathering to entice me to do my bit for the southern tourist resorts deprived of their overseas market.
The enthusiasm has returned, thankfully. I'm looking forward to visiting people and places I haven't seen for a while. But I still wonder what happened. Might the social and psychological effects of lockdown outlast the economic damage?
I worry when Seven Sharp has reported the lack of progress on a transtasman bubble and Hillary and Jeremy agree they're happy where they are, they don't feel like going anywhere. I know the feeling.
Unless your livelihood is invested in tourism or you have family in Australia, you are probably not anxious to open the border. The re-emergence of the virus in Brisbane this week was a reminder that quarantine-free travel will be an unreliable proposition until both countries are vaccinated.
Our Government has given tourism operators no idea what level of immunity it will require. Its Covid-19 website says, "At this stage it isn't clear how the availability of vaccines here and around the world will influence changes to New Zealand's border controls.
"We know the vaccines protect individuals from the effects of the virus," it says, "However, it's too early for researchers to confirm whether a vaccinated person could still transmit Covid-19 to someone else. Until we know for sure, we need to keep our current border settings."
What does that last sentence mean? Does it mean that unless a vaccine can prevent transmission the borders will remain closed indefinitely? Or does it mean travel will resume if there is no hope vaccines will prevent transmission?
I hope it is the latter. If the vaccine does no more than protect individuals, it is doing enough. Once it is readily available to everyone who wants it the borders could be opened. We don't need to worry about anti-vaxxers and the fearfully hesitant. Those who choose not to be vaccinated cannot demand the rest of us remain confined for their safety.
The few who cannot be vaccinated should be protected by means less drastic than closed borders, while children under 16 are not eligible for the same reason they were not in the trials, their susceptibility to this virus is negligible.
So the date that matters most is the day that every eligible New Zealander who wants a vaccine can get one. The Government should be able to give us that date right now. It has ordered enough Pfizer double-shots to inoculate the entire adult population and knows the delivery dates.
What it seems not to have done yet is work out precisely how to distribute the deep-frozen vials nationwide. A quarter of its "year of the vaccine" has now passed and the Covid-19 website still cannot tell everyone definitely when, where or how they can get a jab.
If this was a Government with any experience of running a business, it would have done this planning. Hotels and cafes and excursion operators in the southern tourist towns have been pleading for some indication of how long their struggle might last. It's easier to endure anything if you can see an end to it.
But the Government prefers to promote vaccination as a collective responsibility, not a personal choice. It worries needlessly about hesitancy in its aim for herd immunity, though nobody yet knows what proportion of a population would need to be immunised.
It's under no popular pressure to step up this languid "roll out" because we've lost the overseas travel bug. We're too safe in our managed isolation. That is what scares me.
• John Roughan will return on May 1.