This existence in a COVID cellblock has reminded me of my appreciation for and love of travel. And, at this point I’d really love to go somewhere – make that anywhere!
“Locally,” I have been fortunate to have been to 37 of our glorious states. Each one has been a gift of its own, and when I hear of a flare-up in Louisiana or see Bourbon Street looking like it was visited by an apocalypse, I tend to take it personally.
I’ve also been lucky to have visited five of our globe’s continents, having been to cities and countries like Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Kyoto, Melbourne, and a Whitman’s sampler of Europe, including Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam and a two-fer in Rome.
Having seen the Great Barrier Reef, the Eifel Tower, the Great Wall and Sistine Chapel does something to you. Hearing an opera in the Sydney Opera House, a choir of school children singing “Ave Maria” in Mexico’s Shrine of the Virgin de Guadalupe, a Strauss concert in Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace, the “King and I” in London’s Palladium, or a gondolier serenading along Venice’s many canals, changes something in the way you hear.
One thing I have noticed is that wherever you are, in whatever country and whichever language they speak, human beings have the same inherent traits. We’re all pretty much the same, even though our languages and customs may differ.
Seeing a courtyard full of Italians dancing in the golden glow of Florence’s Piazza della Signoria, listening to a collective “ohhhhh” in a Japanese elevator when an out-of-towner gets his armed banged by a door while squeezing in, or having a non-English speaking stranger on any street in any country try and provide directions, shows our collective commitment to wanting to help or at least to share in a community as a human race.
This spring we were slated to go to Egypt and Greece. I was genuinely saddened when we learned we could no longer travel abroad lest we run the risk of being quarantined on a Nile cruise ship for 14 days – or worse yet, being hospitalized in a country not known for its use of the English language.
Pre-COVID 19, I had spent the winter pouring over the internet and a book on Egyptian history and sites. I was finally beginning to understand why King Tut was such a big thing, and I was debating the desire to ride a camel. Then, somebody got sick, and then a lot of people got sick. A few travel advisories later, it was all shut down.
For now at least.
So, we’re making plans to go next year, and I’m already excited about it as I have done the research. I have a feeling air fares will stay low for a few years after this thing ends as folks may be timid to fly, so that will mean even more trips!
If there’s one thing, anything, that this pandemic has taught me, it’s the importance of being in the moment, the now. There have been far too many painful reminders of late that we are not guaranteed a tomorrow.
So, best to get on the back of that camel when you can.
And, with that, I end this as “poolside from PS.”