Things We Have Lost in 2020 – Travel

My husband and I share a great love of travel. In a normal year, we will generally take at least one domestic flight to a destination we would like to explore, one or two short road trips and a 3-4 night camping trip or two. We actually had to cancel a 11-day tour of interior Alaska for the summer solstice in June 2020. Covid has greatly curtailed our travel this year.

We did take a single camping trip last July. We had some family and friends join us, though some folks turned down the invitation despite our safety measures. At the time, we were all still getting used to what the pandemic “rules” were and how we could interact safely. Given the extremely low levels of virus in our area at the time, we were all totally fine. At this point, that trip feels like it happened 3 years ago.

Since that trip, we did escape to Port Townsend, WA for a week in October and had a lovely time. We went to Olympic National Park on multiple day trips, kayaked in Discovery Bay and visited with an old family friend at an outdoor cidery. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite spots to get out from Portland. It’s a 3 hour drive and really feels like a different place.

It sounds like we’re still getting out plenty, but it really is quite different. We aren’t willing to fly until the pandemic is over so I’m not sure we’ll get to rebook our Alaska trip and we won’t get back to Hawaii or to Europe for the first time until at least 2022-23. This gives us more time to plan and anticipate what we might do. On the other hand, there is definitely such a thing as too much planning. So much of travel is about spontaneity and living in the moment, seizing an opportunity for an activity that presents itself when you’re in the right place and time. My favorite example of a spontaneous activity was when, while on our honeymoon in Sydney, Australia, walking through downtown we passed a music venue where Portland band Blitzen Trapper was appearing the following night. We stopped at the box office and bought tickets right away, adjusting our plans to attend the show.

I REALLY miss being in an airport. I have a mild obsession with airports. Airports are places where you have at least one thing in common with everyone there: that you woke up in one place and will end up somewhere else by day end. I have had some of the best relationships of my life in airports, though they may have lasted no longer than hours. I can’t wait until we are able to fly safely again.

But I’m most concerned that even when we are able to travel with abandon once again, we will not have the local shops and restaurants to explore as we have in the past. We love to contribute to the local economy in whatever city we’re in, but because economies are being decimated by the pandemic, so many businesses and restaurants have closed. If we go to places we have been before, they may be unrecognizable by the time we get back.

Here’s wishing we all get back to safe and happy travels very soon.

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