This morning I got up and did what I’ve been putting off for several days now thinking that a miracle might change the trajectory of the COVID-19 crisis. The very name of the virus strand is becoming like nails on a chalkboard for me. After skimming social media and the major news headlines, I made myself an Ethiopian blend coffee and then headed upstairs to the office to start canceling travel plans.
I started with requesting the refund on a previously cancelled Princess cruise through Alaska’s Glacier Bay that would have departed three weeks from now. The 7 night cruise, complete with a balcony room, would have completed my 50 states American tour. My first true quest was to visit all 50 states before turning 40. I had resigned to the fact that my last state, Alaska, was going to be late (I turned 40 last month) but only by a couple months. Now, it seems unlikely to happen anytime in the near future. Additionally, I waded through cancellations on Alaska Airlines, Delta, Southwest, and a three-night hotel stay in Vancouver I was looking forward to. The plan was to take Callie to Victoria and catch a ferry or a seaplane to Vancouver.
Moreover, I previously cancelled a stay at Yosemite National Park and a night in San Francisco. Earlier in March, we were forced to cancel a long weekend in Belize, and Easter weekend on the Gulf Coast. Now, I’m gritting my teeth at the thought of cancelling my 2-week language immersion scheduled for June in Guatemala. Oh, and we had cancelled a trip to Europe after finding out in February that we were expecting a son in August. What was supposed to be one of my best travel years yet, 2020 has turned out to be no more than a mirage.
I know what you’re thinking…these are first world problems. Yes, they are. But, I had been saving up a lot of time, resources, and credit card points to make these happen. Everyone has different priorities in life. Travel is mine. Now, I sigh in disbelief of the world around me and wonder when we can get back to normal. Is there a new normal? How long can this go on? Will this be a more common occurrence as our world gets more populated?
Allow me to reign it back in for a minute. The quarantine has not been that bad for the Archers. We have completed house projects, nearly completed the nursery for Baby A’s arrival, caught up on work and reading, and enjoyed each other’s company. We’ve had more meals at the dining room table, saved a ton of money in fuel, dry cleaning, and dining out, cleaned our house from one end to the other, cleaned up our cars, watched movies together, zoomed with our family, enjoyed coffee and firepit dates, and made some financial decisions that will put us in better shape for the arrival of our son.
Still, I long for the days of meeting friends for happy hour, weekend getaways, and not having to awkwardly stand 6 feet apart and use gloves while pumping gas. If there’s a silver lining in all of this, it is learning how to adjust to change and understanding that we live in a fragile world, which can be uprooted by our carelessness and blatant disregard for the severity of our actions. I hope this causes us to realize that a little sacrifice on our part can go great lengths at protecting everyone. Perhaps we can begin to apply these same principles towards the environment and saving our planet. Perhaps we can slow down our lives from time to time and take in the beauty that is all around us.
When this is over, travel for the Archers will resume. We will spend the first few months of Baby A’s life training him for exploration and conditioning him to travel along with us. We will set out on new adventures, both domestic and international, and we will resume our attempt at making the most out of this life. Jimmy Buffett sings the song, “Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season”.
“And now I must confess
I could use some rest
I can’t run at this pace very long
Yes It’s quite insane
Think I hurt my brain
But it cleans me out, then I can go on”