I can still remember the feeling that I had in the pit of my stomach on two of the last flights I took before the world shut down from Covid. The first one was on a flight from Boston to Ft. Lauderdale mid-February. Our flight was delayed due to a tropical storm in the south. When we finally boarded my friend and I were seated behind a couple that smelled so badly the flight attendant was walking up and down the aisle with air deodorizer spray. When I signaled her, I didn’t even have to say anything – she knew what we were hoping for, and politely moved my friend and I to empty seats at the rear of the airplane. I remember thinking “great, we can finally start our vacation now”, but shortly after reaching our cruising altitude we hit horrible turbulence that lasted almost the duration of the trip. This was the scariest flight I have ever taken. The airplane was shaking violently and people were getting sick everywhere. Fear and panic could be heard in the voices of the flight attendants. It was only a three-hour flight, but it felt like five hours! When we finally landed, I felt so grateful to be alive. I had this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that told me something was wrong and that my traveling would be disrupted. I couldn’t explain or even entirely understand why I was feeling this way, but I knew it was bigger than just being scared from this negative flight experience.
The second flight was the first weekend in March of 2020. It was an international flight from Boston to Toronto. I got that same feeling in the pit of my stomach. We were seated directly across from a foreign man whom was obviously sick. He coughed every 30 to 60 seconds and had a look of sweat and distress on his face as he closed his eyes. At that time, I was keenly aware of what was going on the world with the coronavirus as we were actively trying to get my daughter home from a study abroad program in Italy. I drew attention to the sick passenger and the flight attendant gave us all masks, but told us we could not move seats. The sick passenger did not like the mask and would remove it to cough (obviously defeating the point of the mask). I again drew attention to the situation and finally got moved to a seat at the front of the airplane. I spent my entire time in Toronto nervous that we would become ill.
I miss traveling so much! I miss the feeling of excitement I get from finding a travel deal to a city that I have never heard of, looking it up on a map, researching the area – and then GOING!!! I miss the connection with friends and family that I haven’t been able to travel with.
I have gone on a few trips since the pandemic, but mostly have stayed within driving distance home. I still have the feeling that the time isn’t right yet. I want to book a trip so much, and have honestly been tempted a few times. I just haven’t gotten there yet – and I hate it! I have overheard people talk about their travels and I am so envious.
Although I feel lost without my passion, I am still trying to live a great story and make the most of my time that I have to wait until I can travel the world again. I have been using this time to dig deeper into local gems that I have missed while I was busy traveling. There are a lot of them! I have taken several trips to the ocean and found the most amazing ocean cliff walks. I have spent weekends in the mountains on gorgeous hiking trails and seen stunning waterfalls. I am visiting local wineries and breweries. I started training for my first marathon. I go camping. I have hosted small dinner parties. I am taking time to rest. I started this blog.
I am purposeful about doing these things because I don’t want to lose my direction and sense of self that connects me to my core. I always want to keep a fresh perspective. Perspective is something I have achieved through traveling. I want to keep my rhythm and connect with people. I know that satisfying social connections make people happier. I want to make sure that I take time away from my everyday routine.
It’s not easy. Traveling has been a lifestyle for me, and I am lost without it. There has been so much negativity in the world with little end in sight that it feels so easy to slip into a dark place. Avoiding the rabbit whole takes daily effort, and sometimes I feel myself slipping. I want to stay healthy, though. I know that the time to travel freely will happen again. This feeling in my stomach will subside. This storm will pass. When it does, I want to be ready. I want to take something positive away from what is happening during this difficult time in history. I want to do the very best that I can – so I continue to push myself to find happiness in the things that I CAN do now. I remind myself that there are still so many beautiful things and experiences around me right now to be enjoyed.