Like millions of other people around the world, I have been separated from family members who live abroad. I managed to visit my parents and brother in France with my partner and young daughter last July but that was the last time. After months of lockdown I have become more and more obsessed with the idea of moving to rural France to be near them – life in the city has become small, boring and claustrophobic, and a huge sadness has engulfed us. For my parents to miss their grandchild growing up is uniquely painful. The pandemic has forced me to reassess the way I am living and what I want from life, something I know I am not alone in. Searching for property in France became a nightly habit over the winter, and after many conversations with my parents and wife, we decided to seriously explore the idea of relocating. When the “Stanley Johnson loophole” came into play in March 2021 for travel overseas “in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property”, I decided now would be the time to attempt a visit to France to view some houses. As we all know, holidays have been banned but visiting an estate agent is clearly stated as a “reasonable excuse”, so I set about arranging some visits to farmhouses and chateaux I’d earmarked over the past few months. I printed out the viewing details and the “Bon Pour Visite” document from my estate agent as evidence for border control. I was anxious about how much I would be grilled over my reason for travel but when I got to the station, Eurostar staff were welcoming and helpful.