2020 was been painful for everyone. We weren’t able to see friends and family. We couldn’t enjoy nights out for dinner or movies in theaters. For those of us who live to travel, the loss of new adventures has added to our sorrows. A year without travel seemed unheard of before 2020.
In February 2020, I gave notice to my employer that, after 12 years with them and many more in the industry, I was leaving property management. After a significant life-changing event, I’d finally gotten the courage (and financial security) to make my hobby my career. I was ready to jump into travel writing and this blog 100%!
Then in March 2020, most of the world closed its doors to protect us all from COVID-19, the “Pandemic,” and everything came to a screeching halt.
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Our plans last year had us taking our first Transatlantic Cruise. Sailing from Fort Lauderdale to Copenhagen with stops in the Azores, Brest and Cherbourg France, and Skagen Denmark. We combined the sailing with a two-week driving tour of Portugal from Porto through the Douro Valley to Lisbon. This four-week jaunt was supposed to kick off our year of travel. You can guess what happened … all canceled.
Instead, we spent the last year following “stay at home” orders like many of you. This made getting my travel blog going that much harder. What do you write about travel when you aren’t traveling?
Some Carefully Chosen Trips – Not Totally A Year Without Travel:
It’s been almost a full year since we last “traveled.” It has been quite an adjustment for us; we usually travel out of the country at least twice a year and supplement this often with domestic travel.
Full disclosure, we did take some trips in 2020; the year was not totally without travel. I’m sure the same can be said for most folks. But these were not the type of trips that expand your horizons or expose you to new and different cultures. For the most part, these weren’t the types of trips you write about. Here’s what we did:
- For the 4th of July weekend, my husband and I flew a small airline JetSuiteX from our local airfield (Buchanan) to Burbank to visit our daughter in Los Angeles. We tested before and after our visit.
- In August, we traveled up to Alaska to help my SIL relocate from Anchorage to Bend, Oregon. A move made necessary to be nearer her aging mother. Again we tested before and after the trip. A negative COVID test was required at the time to enter Alaska. You can read all about the drive out of Alaska if a 2800 + mile cross-country trip through the Yukon is on your bucket list.
- Later in September, we made the fast drive down I-5 to LA to bring some things back from our daughter’s house. And my last trip since the lockdown? In October, I drove myself from SF down the 101 to LA to spend a week visiting with my daughter.
Aside from these short getaways, we stayed home. Everyone stayed home (well, some more than others). We all know people who traveled to Mexico or the Caribbean. Or if you are in Europe or Asia, or Australia or South America, those touristy destinations that are closer to you.
My personal choice was to stay home. I feared catching the virus and being sick, also that I may catch the virus and be asymptomatic. I don’t want to infect my 85-year-old father-in-law or anyone else unknowingly. With the choice between a year without travel and staying healthy, health won for me.
What People Of The World Did In Their Year Without Travel
What did everyone do with all the newfound time? How did they all cope with “everyone” being home? I love my husband and family, and I’m sure you do too. But do you really want to be with them 24/7?
The Internet: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google, and so many other networks, kept us connected to the rest world. In our travels, we’ve met and kept in touch with people in Turkey, Greece, VietNam, China, Japan, England, and all over North America. Seeing their bright faces in posts and pictures warmed my heart and gave me a sense of connection.
Many people took advantage of YouTube. They focused their extra time on learning how to do things like play the guitar or speak a different language. Baking became an obsession with many of my friends. The fixation on getting a good sourdough starter to grow was crazy. For a while, you couldn’t find flour or yeast at your local grocer.
I joined groups online that invited people everywhere to connect and share their view of the world from their homes. These groups focus on photography (another hobby of mine).
And it seems that with so much time being spent in our actual residences, we all felt an overwhelming need to improve these places.
Here in the US, at least, we saw people moving. Freed from having to be in an office, many moved further away from the cities to find larger and more affordable housing. Everyone wanted more space. Maybe needed more space. When you are trying to have an office, a schoolroom and a bakery in your house, you need more space.
And if you didn’t move, you upgraded your space. This one thing, “home improvement,” I’m sure has had an enormous impact on keeping the economy from totally collapsing. Seriously, HomeDepot stock was up 62% year over year, and Lowes was doing as well or better. Wish I had bet on that horse!
Heading Back Into Normalcy?
In January, the “Vaccine” started rolling out around the world. In California, everyone 16 and up was eligible now to get their shot. So does this mean travel is going to be a thing in 2021?
The world is slowly recovering from this long, lonely pandemic. Countries are opening up their borders slowly and with conditions. I understand we can travel to Iceland now! I’m feeling more optimistic, but I’m not letting my guard down.
My Hubby has made and canceled more trips during this past year than I can count. He even has a 3-ring binder to track the cancellations and credits to make sure we don’t miss using a flight or cruise credit. With “vaccines” in our arms (Hubby is done, and my 2nd shot is on April 29), we’ve made plans.
We are tired of staying put, and I believe the light is getting brighter at the end of the tunnel. So Hubby booked a new Transatlantic cruise on the Celebrity Reflection, this time coming home from Rome.
We plan to head over to Italy before the cruise and travel through Tuscany by car. Wine, cheese, and all that outstanding Italian food are in our future.
Travel probably won’t look the same for a while, but the gradual return to travel is already happening. Pent-up demand is growing. The travel industry will have a rebound, the likes of which we’ve never seen. Just wait. Someday, we’ll look back and say, “Remember when we had a year without travel…?”
I’m ready to go, are you?