I thought long and hard about writing this because DUH, I make travel itineraries.
I’m not here to tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t do, I can’t make you or not make you travel during this panoramic/Panasonic/panny etc. Whatever social media name you want to call it. It is the time of a pandemic and doesn’t matter what you call it – if you’re traveling or not traveling, there are many conversations to be had.
This is the longest time I have spent in Canada in a very long time. I try to leave about 5-6 times a year for trips elsewhere, even if it isn’t something fancy. I try to at least make it to the United States to visit family or go to Chicago for something to do with sports. Well Coronavirus came along and said ‘NOPE‘ and there goes all my gallivanting. I haven’t been out of the country since my trip to Trinidad Carnival back in February. It is now November and I am most definitely growing impatient. You didn’t come here to read about The Patient Tourist though did you?
I miss travel. I usually have many trips planned up to 12-14 months ahead, and now I have nothing. I remain grateful that throughout this process I have stayed healthy and kept both of my jobs, I know many people who got sick and lost jobs. I’ve been very fortunate and I’m not here to say I deserve any sympathy, because I don’t.
But my mind? Soul? Now that area is a little cloudy. To me, travel was my happiness and my joy. I may work 6-7 days a week, but I always knew there was a reason for it because I’d always have a trip planned. I always had something to look forward to. Now I do not, I haven’t in a while. The luster in my life has completely gone and I feel like I merely am existing currently, instead of actually living.
As we get older we realize the most precious thing we have is time and 2020 has felt like a complete waste of my time. I try to live my life with a very ‘it could all end tomorrow‘ attitude and now it has all either paused, or ended? I guess we won’t know until this shit is finally over or we have a vaccine.
I don’t feel happy. It’s not that I feel unhappy either, it’s just I remain in a constant state of middle or purgatory in my feelings. There are no severe lows nor are there any highs, I am existing and surviving. Again, I am eternally grateful that I am physically and financially able to do both of those, but I just wish I had more. I guess I am greedy. Simply existing isn’t good enough for me since I really felt like I was living it up and making the best of my time on this planet seeing as much of it as I can.
I have not traveled since February.
There are people who are traveling during a pandemic though, they made that choice because there really isn’t anything or anyone to stop them. Actually, I’m damn near jealous of the ones who took off for extended trips either to be with family or to ‘work from home’ but in a country where there’s a decent beach. (HATE YOU, BUT LOVINGLY)
If the country they live in is allowing it and the country they are traveling to is as well, they are technically following all the rules of travel during a pandemic. Whether that is right or wrong is not my place to judge. I have chosen to abstain from travel because I couldn’t live with myself if I got to an island in the Caribbean only to find out I had Covid and now the local population is infected because of me. No way I could have that on my conscience.
The Ontario government will likely bring in rapid-testing soon so that the two week quarantine requirement upon return from travel will no longer be needed. I legit was waiting for this! I can’t even tell you how much I wanted rapid testing and this would be my time to finally escape again. Unfortunately, a lot of my thinking changed once I had to go into two weeks of isolation myself, due to coming in contact with someone who has Covid.
It was explained to me by Public Health that it didn’t matter what my test said (negative or positive) I had to self-isolate because over two weeks the virus could still develop in my system and therefore I could be contagious. Now I thought about that in terms of the rapid-testing and I was like wait, so I could land back in Toronto and have a negative test upon arrival, but maybe three days later I’m possibly spreading it to people? Crap. I don’t want that on my conscience either.
So here I am with the rest of you, stuck on what to do.
If XYZ rules of testing, contact-tracing, social distancing, mask wearing and isolation are followed for departure and arrival – you’re bless right? You can get on that airplane and go live your best life elsewhere.
For some reason, I just can’t get myself to do it. I can’t describe it, but I feel a sense of guilt even considering it. There are places that rely on tourist dollars, but what about tourist diseases? I think about how I can happily return to Canada and our health care system that has everything I need to get me better if I should get sick, along with a job that will pay for my sick leave. Are the people whose country I visit privy to the same privilege as me? If I get them sick will their healthcare system be able to help them? If I get them sick, how will they provide for their family? This is the stuff that goes through my mind and that overwhelming feeling of guilt shoots through my body and I can’t even describe it fully.
There are things more important than what I want. I don’t feel this is the time for be to be selfish and just focus on what I want, but think about what MY choice to travel could bring to a place that is welcoming me as a visitor in their land. I don’t take that lightly one bit.
I don’t want to shame anyone for their choice to travel, that really wasn’t the point of this post. I’m not here for the guilt trip. I do tell people that (just like packed parties) if you choose to participate and post photos/videos on social media of you doing it during a pandemic – don’t be surprised if it becomes antisocial media real quick.
People have been shamed for much less.
Even for my itineraries, I am trying to post them further and further into the future as I can. Maybe March or April, May and June 2021. Praying that maybe by then we will have a vaccine or a safer way to travel around the world. But I never posted itineraries thinking people would hop on a plane for every single thing I post………I’m here because I’d like all of you to still have an imagination of when we can finally get back at it.
We may not be able to travel how we want and have things to actually book, but we still have our imaginations. No fucking pandemic can take that away from us and we won’t let that happen. I’d like for dreams and fantasies of the Bahamas, Bali and Maldives to stay in our minds. Covid already took away our reality, don’t let it take away our fantasy.
Stay safe. Keep those around you safe. Let’s all eventually get back to travel together.