How I Tackled Wanderlust in the Time of Covid

I’m tired of talking about it, thinking about it, and being paralyzed by it. But, Covid has been top of mind for the past year and a half and it appears to be settling in for the long haul. So, how does one tackle wanderlust in the time of Covid? 

That is a question I have wrestled with since Summer 2020. I’ve taken a few local trips – one of which I wrote about in my Trips with Pip series. There’s more of that to come, because Michigan is worth writing about. I live in a beautiful state with many treasures to uncover, for sure. 

I’ve enjoyed taking the few trips I have done this year and felt quite safe doing so. Here’s my check list for travel these days:

  1. Is my destination relatively safe?
  2. Is my mode of travel safe?
  3. Is there a risk of getting “stuck” in my destination?
  4. Is the experience worth the risk?
  5. By choosing to travel, am I putting anyone else at particular risk?
View from my airplane window – Anticipation!!

I’m vaccinated. I wear a mask when appropriate or mandated. I get tested as required. I take other appropriate hygienic precautions. I think the key is that you live your life with a little added consideration for those with whom you might come into contact and follow the law of the land you are in and/or from. That’s about all that you can do. Would I travel to a place that has a dangerously high incidence of a deadly disease? Nope. Will I suspend traveling until Covid is gone? Nope – because I don’t think that day will come anytime soon.

These days, not only am I considering travel while a pandemic is still very much present, but I am also trying to shift away from expecting my kids to be my constant travel companions. I’m seeking out other styles of travel that don’t involve them. So, last winter – and February in Michigan would give anyone cabin fever – I was itching to travel and ran across an opportunity scheduled for August. It seemed like a safe bet – 6 months down the road.

A Facebook group I’m in was offering a small group tour to Romania for women over 50. Romania? Who goes to Romania? Well, I decided that I would go to Romania. The itinerary was compelling and the group size (max. 12) was appealing. Next thing I know, I am chatting with a friend over some wine and cheese. I brought up the tour to her, asking if she would like to join me. I had no expectations that she would agree to go, but after skimming the itinerary, she promptly said, “Yes!” We booked the tour the next morning. That was that.

I waited anxiously for a few months, agonizing over the possibility of the tour being cancelled. I was chomping at the bit to book flights because the prices were great. “Hold on”, they said. “Let’s make sure the tour fills up”, they said. So wait, I did. Finally, I got the go-ahead to book the flights. I’m no expert, but I’ve booked a few flights in my day, and I was really happy to end up saving $200 per ticket by researching online and then calling the airline directly. Who knew that I would be quoted a cheaper price by the agent than the fare I’d found online?! Score! Flights were booked and we began to feel like this would actually happen.

Fortunately, there wasn’t much else I had to do to prepare. I had my passport and my vaccination card, and I was already pretty well equipped for travel with luggage and such. I did purchase a couple of things – namely some no-wrinkle, water-wicking tops and pants and some new sandals that felt like a dream on my feet (they are Skechers, which I know aren’t for everyone, but my wonky feet love them!). I knew we’d be doing a lot of walking and that the weather would be similar to Michigan – which, for August, means hot and humid. 

I also spent many evenings working through the DuoLingo Romanian language course – not much else to do when it’s winter in Michigan and there’s a pandemic, to boot. I learned some pretty useless phrases, like, “I am a woman and you are a boy”, “I am not a child and you are NOT a man” and “the woman has apples”. Try slipping those gems into a conversation, why don’t ya! All I really needed to know were some niceties and a few necessary things like “where is the bathroom?” and “how much for the beer?” DuoLingo failed me on that front, I’m afraid. I’ve a mind to write a note to them to explain that many of us take to learning a new language just so we can get by in a new place. We don’t need to tell people what they are or what they are holding… Ah, well, the course was fun, just the same.

So, all of that to say that I tackled wanderlust in the time of Covid by: 

  1. Dreaming and planning – isn’t that half the fun?
  2. Reminiscing over past travels – taking the time to organize photos and putting my impressions on paper
  3. Traveling locally, and
  4. Making plans for international travel that seems doable. 

Of course, the fact that airlines and accommodations are being pretty liberal with their change fees and refund policies made it much easier to consider than it might have been in the past. Here’s hoping those policies don’t disappear anytime soon! 

I just returned from my tour of Romania, and I have to say, it was one of the best vacations I’ve ever taken. Stay tuned – I’ll tell you all about it soon.

What have you done to tackle your wanderlust over the past 18 months? I’d love to hear about it!

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