This article originally appeared in Travel+Leisure.

A rosy pink and orange sunrise maneuvered its way through dark clouds as my husband and I drove away from Dublin Airport — a sky pretty enough to quell the effects of jet lag while sending a giddy reminder: “This is why you love to travel.” Tossing our face masks and gloves in the back seat, we settled in the rental car, happy to have made it to the other side.

It had been six months since I’d been on a plane due to COVID-19 — too long for my taste — and the immigration line necessitated new levels of patience as each officer inspected virus-related documents for incoming Americans. Their procedure seemed to be working. The Republic of Ireland had, thus far, resisted the higher percentage of case numbers in America and some of its European neighbors. (At the time of writing, Ireland has 362 COVID-19 deaths per one million residents, compared to 624 in the U.S. and 614 in the U.K.)