Travel lovers are having a plethora of epiphanies during this unprecedented time of worldwide quarantine. Some of my own great realizations have gone far beyond grieving the loss of the ability to simply press the “buy” button on an airline site, pack my bags and hop on a flight to another amazing destination.
As I write this, I am currently at home with my husband. I have only gone out once during the last week, and that was to buy enough groceries that I don’t have to go out again. I love being here with my favorite travel partner, we have gotten work done on the bus (for those of you who don’t know, we are renovating a short school bus and plan to spend about five years traveling the Pan American highway from Alaska to Argentina and exploring South America), but that’s another story.
The problem is, he is working remotely, so even though he is in the house, I don’t see him a lot during work hours, which is really no different than when he was at the office, except then the prospect of seeing him was off the table, which somehow made puttering around the house alone a lot more “normal.”
I have four children and eight grandchildren. Three kids and seven grandkids are local. I haven’t seen them for nearly a month. We stay connected through social media, and there have been times I have gone this long without seeing them in the past but losing the “option” to see them feels foreign, and I miss them even more.
My sister had plans to visit her daughter in Italy in April. My daughter had plans to move to Australia for a year. I had plans to host a book launch party for my new book (shameless plug: No Return Ticket available on Amazon-you’ve got time). Kendi World Adventures was in the process of setting up a tour for August. My husband’s family reunion is the first weekend in August. I belong to writer’s groups and meetup groups. We had hoped to leave for the Pan American trip in late summer. Right now, our options for these things have been moved to a state of limbo. But we still have plenty of other, beautiful, life giving options.
I have the option to finally downsize and minimize my “stuff” to get more ready the Pan Am (I haven’t done it, cuz laziness, but I have the time). I have started an online yoga class. My husband and I have more time to meditate together in the morning without watching the clock. I have been getting creative in my cooking and am having fun trying different recipes with what ingredients I have, like a quarantine episode of chopped. I have the option to read without feeling like I should be doing something, “more productive”. What is more productive than reading, right?! I started a 500-piece puzzle—yeah, that wasn’t the best idea.
I have a loved the pictures from past trips popping up on Facebook, and reliving those moments with clarity and detail, possibly appreciating them more now than when I was experiencing them.
And that’s just my own personal growth. Look at what’s happening around the world; this is proving to be the great reset for the planet we love so much. On my local community Facebook page people are reaching out and volunteering to help strangers. I have seen offers to pick up groceries for those who may be elderly or have health conditions that put them at risk. I have seen offers to donate extra TP to those who didn’t get ahead of the hoarding curve, even though store stocks are unreliable. Some have stocked up on bullets and toilet paper, but most have stocked up on compassion and loving their neighbors.
Families are reaching out and checking on one another more than in the past. I am no longer taking family members for granted and realizing just how important they are to me—and telling them so.
The world is healing. Photos from space have shown worldwide improvement in air pollution. The waterways are clearing up. This is an opportunity for me, as a travel addict to take a step back and really examine the way I travel. To make a smaller footprint on our beautiful planet; to learn how I can contribute to the environment rather than exacerbate the problems.
So, I’m gonna sit tight for the time being, and I’m gonna do it with faith, hope, and peace that everything is happening for all of us and our planet, to take a deep breath and reset ourselves, our environment and our choices. I will take this time to nurture my relationships, with both people and travel.
I will take my Pan American trip, I will celebrate the publication of my book, one day.
Stay safe everyone.