The numbers are down. This is great! There are new variants. This is bad. There are vaccinations. This is great! The numbers are up. This is bad. When. Will. It. Stop?
Alas, that is not in our control. The “new normal” has recreated itself so many times, I have no idea which way is up at this point. Don’t even get me started on what is left and what is right! What I do know is that it feels good to travel, even in the pandemic. Safely, that is.
I have been fortunate to travel in the ever ongoing pandemic. I am not the only one either. According to the TSA, it seems our travel patterns are very much inline with 2019. People are traveling. Maybe more so domestically, but movement is a plenty. Where will travel bring you in 2022? While the destination is important, it is in the journey where we learn many lessons.
During the pandemic I have been to Aruba, California, New York, Florida, Italy, and Jamaica. Again, I have been very fortunate. I love to travel. I truly do. It does not faze me to be told to wear a mask or engage in yet another nasal swab in order to travel. How could it? I get to travel. Yet, not all share my approach. But I digress… I am lucky. In September, I wrote Returning to Adult Adventure, about heading back to Italy. This December I did. Reunited with my bad ass colleagues, Gina and Eleonora, and also with a country, culture, people I so dearly love.
Was it worth the wait? You betcha. Was it worth the 5 tests to get me there and back? Without a doubt. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat… or in about three months.
As I said, the journey is where the teachable moments lie. These moments in life that can shape and define who we are, for better for for worse. I must say that traveling in the pandemic can bring out the worst in people, but also the best. I hope for the latter but can understand the former, to a point. To be clear, I am no saint and I do not proclaim to be holier than thou however I did learn, witness, and more aptly understood a few life lessons that I would like to share with you. Take these as parting gifts from me to you on your next journey.
The Early Bird Is Less Angry
The concept of being on time is not one that people who know me would assign as one of my strengths. However, when it comes to travel, I do try (harder). In the pandemic, it is a necessity to arrive early. A necessity of the utmost importance. Lines are a given at airports, generally speaking. However in our current climate, there are even more variables out of our control. Staffing issues due to Covid is wreaking havoc in the airports for check-in, security checkpoints, and boarding. The earlier you can get to the airport, the less anger you may feel, or frustration, anxiety, or whatever you want to call it. You may be bored from waiting, but better to be bored than angry because you missed your flight.
Testing one, two, three… maybe four
Research, research, research. Testing rules and regulations change daily, especially on the international level. This is a new normal. Undoubtedly we will have to partake in this activity for the distant future. The more you arm yourself with knowledge, the more comfortably you will travel. The CDC has a great website to look over which gives information for domestic and International travel. For even greater peace of mind, buy a home Covid test kit to bring with you on your trip. It may make for a better night’s sleep.
Everyone is Everyone
The idea that we are all in it together may have gone by the wayside, but needs to be brought back. Immediately. First and foremost, if you have the ability, capability, and means to travel right now, you really do not have a leg to stand on to complain. There is so much travesty in the world right now. Wearing a mask, waiting in a line, not being able to have a glass of wine on your flight – these are NOT travesties. Be grateful. Be kind. Be nice. We are deserve to be treated the way we want to be treated, if not better.
First on – last off (obviously not you First Class people – what’s that like anyway?)
Just a reminder: You do not depart the plane until the rows ahead of you have departed. I repeat: You do not depart the plane until the rows ahead of you have departed. I do not know what happened during Covid, but this rule has been forgotten. The amount of people I have seen literally barrel through others to get out first, is mind blowing. If you want to get off the plane first, figure out how to sit in the first row. Otherwise, please follow the rule that dates back to Noah’s ark, depart the airplane in an orderly fashion. Thank you.
Flight attendants are saviors
I’m not even sure what else to write. These poor people are dealing with travelers with no common courtesy. Seriously, if there was something wrong with the flight, these people are the ones trained to SAVE YOU. How can anyone be so rude to our literal (potential) saviors? I am waiting for Helen Hunt and David Spade to re-appear and begin training attendants to act in accordance with Total Bastard Airways as depicted in Saturday Night Live years ago. I wouldn’t blame them! It is not their fault we have to travel with masks and tests. Please don’t treat them as such. And a heartfelt thank you to all who are in this industry trying to make travel great again!
I hope you have the opportunity to travel in the near future whether that is on a plane, train, boat, or by car. Travel nourishes the mind, body, and soul. It gives us an opportunity to gain perspective in this amazing world of ours. The world reminds us that it does not revolve around us, but that we revolve around it. Patience, gratitude, appreciation and joy are all byproducts of travel. Indeed there is a new normal in the travel world, but in essence, travel will always remain the same. If we don’t get in the way of our own good. Go forth and travel, safely, my friends.