Brief Thoughts on Traveling During COVID-19

Realizing the absence of travel means the absence of restoration

During the pandemic, I’ve gone a few trips to visit family in Rhode Island and only recently visited New York City twice within the past few weeks.

But going on a trip-trip?

The last time I was on a plane was in Spring 2019 (?) for a short trip to Paris and Bretagne in between grad school trimesters.

The last time I had planned a trip-trip was in March 2020 and until the world becomes *slightly* less insane, I do not have another trip-trip planned for the forseeable future.

It’s not that impossible to travel without a plane, train or car. It certainly takes a bit of imagination and creativity, but a traveler’s curiosity never dies. There are plenty of books and documentaries. There are conversations to be had with those you love and those you haven’t met quite yet. There is still a world around us that is very much alive and engaging if you open your eyes to see it.

Newport, Rhode Island sunset on Bannister's Wharf

For a while, I was fine enough not being able to travel during the better part of the pandemic (which is still happening), but it’s now reached a point where I feel restless and am not sure how to keep the feelings at bay.

My perspective on the inability to travel abroad mirrors my general outlook on things since the COVID-19 shutdowns began. The past 18 months have played out like some bizarre, unbelievable simulation until the moments of reality either strike at extreme high points of happiness or rise under an unspeakable veil of sadness.

Transformations make us realize what we truly value. Like travel, transformations can shape us to move forward, slow down, pause or stop something altogether.

Transforming—changing—is not always pretty.

Like the more deeply emotional travel experiences, the most powerful transformations may not be the most graceful. Those transformations—the ones with profound impact, the ones that force your mind to split in nearly every direction to try to find the real truth behind what you’ve learned—aren’t shareable in a blog post or a status for everyone to see.

Not every travel experience needs to be deeply transformative, but it is a transformative experience nonetheless.

For me, travel is also a restorative experience.

While many aspects of my life first-class—family and friendships, a relationship, career growth—there are a few parts that feel like they got lost in transit and I’m patiently waiting for baggage claim to call me let me know that they’ve been found.

I have no idea when things will calm down or get easier. Life has taken me on enough transformative journeys since 2020 to make me keep my guard up.

One thing is for certain—I could definitely use a vacation.

Anthony Bourdain quote - travel isn't always pretty

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