When the whole world is hunkering down, trying to wait out the Coronavirus, plans change and futures are put on hold. What was looking like a year full of travel adventures, is looking more like endless days trying to stave off insanity within the confines of our own homes.
But dwelling on the disappointment will only drag us down. We need to rise above and find satisfaction and order in the chaos that surrounds us.
The following are stories from fellow travelers, telling tales of cancelled trips and indefinite holding patterns, and how they’ve found new meaning and new adventures in these uncertain times.
Coronavirus: Strengthening Bonds
The Coronavirus has been a blessing and a curse. The original travel plan was for my father to visit me in Montreal from Idaho and spend half the time up north near Mont Tremblant ski resort to go skiing. My boyfriend was going to be with us in the Airbnb for a couple of days, but he had to go back for work. As I am a freelancer and work from home, I had the flexibility to hang out with my dad.
However, the days leading up to the trip, President Trump released a travel ban statement for the United States and then Prime Minister Trudeau released a statement. We discussed that potentially the resort would be closed. We decided we could always drive around the countryside with my boyfriend’s car if that was the case. Friday there was little to no traffic driving up and Saturday the resort was open and quite packed. It took us 45 minutes to get up to the top of the mountain. However, Sunday morning, everything shut down and Canada went into a panic mode buying toilet paper.
Change of Plans
Since my boyfriend’s office told him to work from home he ended up staying with us Monday as well as worked from my laptop since he didn’t bring his. My own clients took a backseat, so I didn’t have much work to work on anyways. Our travel plans changed in regards to skiing, but it was such a nice time at the Airbnb with the three of us.
It was the first time my dad met my boyfriend and they got along so well sometimes it didn’t matter if I was in the room or not they were so wrapped in the conversation. I got to spend some time with my dad and the Airbnb was a lot more comfortable than my apartment so it felt like a vacation. Seeing that this town is quite smaller than Montreal, it was as if we were in our own bubble.
Monday night we drove back down to Montreal in half the time it normally would have and we re-entered the Coronavirus fray. As things started heating up more in North America, my dad’s flights got changed from Thursday to Friday. Though we are confident he will be able to fly home on Friday, there is still a doubt he might be stuck in Montreal with me.
Coronavirus: Two Perspectives
So, you took all the necessary precautions, you’re working from home for two weeks now, your kids’ education is going down and you don’t like your husband that much anymore? Congratulations, it means you’re doing it right!
But have you talked to your parents back “home” lately? And, how are they doing? I’m sure they’re in either one of the two groups defined by my mother and mother-in-law.
Mother-in-law: business woman, lives mostly alone because father-in-law needs to travel a lot for work, believes in essential oils and the horoscope. She started working from home a while ago, which was not a bad idea, except for making her crazy and starting to ask us every two days if we’re okay.
She disinfected all the doorknobs and light switches in the house, even though she lives alone and almost never leaves the house now. She panicked when we went to Madrid when the number of cases there was 1.
She told us, almost ordered, I might add, that we should buy the things we need in house, like food, toilet paper and medicinal alcohol. Is very upset when she hears people making plans to *maybe* travel in August, when this calms down. The news channels she listens to all day might have something to do with this.
Entering, my mother: school teacher, lived her whole life in a small town where everyone knows her and she loves it. In the last few years, has started to care about the church and rarely watches TV. They shut down schools two weeks ago and it’s almost impossible for them to provide on-line classes.
First step for her was to not panic. She didn’t hoard anything, didn’t buy her weight in toilet paper, is pretty relaxed. Asked us if we liked Madrid when we came back and assumed we didn’t lick any doorknobs. I loved the first step!
Second step, while everyone is self-isolating. Schools are closed, but she’s meeting people all the time. Whenever I call her, she’s either at a neighbor’s house “just chatting”, either at an 80 year-old woman talking about when should they go to the church on Sunday, either at the church!
I don’t think she gets this social distancing thing. I love the fact that she doesn’t panic, but c’mon, stop visiting people every day, especially the elderly! Damn it’s hard being far away!
But, apart from everything, please call your parents these days! See if they’re okay. See if they panic. They are probably elderly, maybe have health problems, and also alone. This is not an easy time for them. Try to make it easier by showing your face more often. It’ll cheer them up.
Christina writes at Honest Travel Stories
Coronavirus: Unexpected Response
In June, 2020 my 76 year-old mother, my three kids (aged 9, 6, & 1), and I were heading to Nicaragua, Mexico, and Peru for a couple months. While I had the flights booked, I was booking the specific elements of the trip when we first heard of Coronavirus. It was sufficiently alarming to make me not make the deposits; a fact I’m glad of now. We haven’t actually cancelled our flights, but we certainly won’t be traveling.
Life without Travel
As I write, Australian kids are still attending school though most events are cancelled. Now that the decision has been made to NOT travel, we’ve stocked our cupboard in a reasonable manner, and I feel a sense of simplicity.
Yes, I am disappointed we won’t travel, but it is easy to accept when there is no choice – there are far bigger things happening in the world. I’m worried about humanity. As a sole parent who relies 100% on the travel industry for my family’s income, I have changed my expectations for the year from thriving to surviving. We’re going to have to tighten our belts and economize in order to not dip into savings.
What We’re Doing Now
When I told the kids that we weren’t going to be overseas they were happy! They were enthusiastic at the idea of going to one of our favourite nearby places later in the year which reminds me they like going back to places they have been before.
We are living day by day; I think being open minded at this point is essential. Gardening, long walks with the dog; crafting and cooking together are on our agenda. We love travel and we enjoy exploring new places, but I’m definitely recognizing that life goes on, and we will be richer (in both senses of the word), more grounded and more connected.
Once the Coronavirus pandemic is over, you may be interested in the post Fiji or Bali, which is best for families.
Ariana writes at World of Travels with Kids
Coronavirus: First Ever Cancelled Holiday
We are frequent travelers, every long weekend taken advantage of, every school holiday maximized with an adventure somewhere near or far. COVID19 has resulted in our first EVER cancelled trip – the world as we know it has changed and our passion for travel for now has had to compromise.
With a cruise from Adelaide to Auckland booked for departure on 6 April we had been crossing our fingers that everything would blow over and we would still get on the ship and enjoy six days sailing across to New Zealand. On March 14 the decision was made for us when P&O Australia grounded their fleet for 30 days.
I was not prepared to cancel the trip myself – however, when the decision was taken out of my hands it probably was a relief. I did not want to put my children at risk – but I also did not want the disappointment of cancelling – it was a conundrum that I struggled with.
P&O Australia have offered a 200% refund that can be used on a future cruise any time before December 2021, an offer I gladly accepted. Qantas however, has not been as generous, as our flights were one way from Auckland to Adelaide the flight credits are only valid for use with Qantas New Zealand! So, unless we pay to get to New Zealand out of pocket – the flight credit is useless!
So, for now we will comply with the travel bans and enjoy flicking through some old photo albums and retelling stories of travels taken until we can plan the net adventure.
Penny writes at Itchy Feet Family
Camping through the Coronavirus
The week of March 11th was the scheduled spring break for our two kids. Our travel plans included camping for three nights in Kolomoki Mounds State Park in Georgia, and three more nights in Three Rivers State Park in Florida. Because there were no flights involved, we proceeded with our trip as planned.
Making Travel Work
Keeping our distance from others was not difficult for the most part. We were able to do lots of our planned activities, such as kayaking, hiking, and letting our kids play together nearby with sticks and dirt.
While camping usually allows for social distancing, there were a few instances where we did have to come into “close” contact with other people. First of all, we were pulling a camper. This required a few extra stops for gas at gas stations. Of course, potty breaks during the trip were also inevitable. Lastly, even though we have a bathroom in our camper, we usually do not use it.
Whenever we had to stop for gas, use the potty, or take a shower, we knew we had to be extra cautious. We were meticulous about having hand sanitizer available in our car and in our site. We also took great care to teach our kids counting to 20 when washing our hands. Our kids have learned quite a bit about germs this week!
Looking Ahead to Better Times
Now, the state parks in Florida have closed for two months. We had another camping trip planned for next month, which is now cancelled. We are not upset about it as we understand the gravity of the situation.
On the bright side, this is allowing us to look into the future. In fact, we just booked trips for the end of summer and for Thanksgiving!
Rosanna writes at A Pragmatic Lens