There have been so many things to adjust to, and so many changes have occurred, since the coronavirus pandemic invaded our existence and altered our routines. Among other things, COVID-19 has caused me to violate a longstanding rule of personal conduct: for the first time in I don’t know how long, I don’t have a vacation or interesting travel to a new place on the immediate horizon.
Global pandemics really have a way of messing with your plans, don’t they?
A decade or two ago I realized that I felt better about work if I had always a trip on the calendar for the near future. Since that day, I’ve made sure that I have some impending travel to anticipate that will break up the daily routine. I’ve tried to plan the trips so that they occur regularly at the intervals of a few months. They don’t need to be big trips, either — maybe a weekend trip with a group to a new place, or a visit to see friends for a few days, or a wedding, mixed in with a longer vacation now and then. I found that having something fun and different to look forward to allowed me to avoid getting stale and ground down by work and helped me to stay sharp and maintain a positive mental attitude.
But the coronavirus changed all that and scrubbed the social calendar clean, like a giant hand wiping off one of those dry erase boards. A weekend trip to Austin earlier this month was the first casualty, followed quickly by the cancellation of a wedding in Chicago in May and an annual meeting in Asheville in June. And even the plans that remain on the calendar are fraught with total uncertainty. We’ve got a trip overseas planned for the fall that we hope will go forward, but who really knows? With the predictions of a second round of COVID-19 and talk of potential foreign travel restrictions, I’m not betting my bottom dollar on anything travel-related right now.
I freely admit that, relatively speaking, this is a very minor thing, and one I will gladly accept in exchange for making sure that we and the friends we’d be seeing all stay safe and healthy. But it’s another way that the pandemic has upset the apple cart and forced unwanted changes. I’ll manage without a trip or two on the calendar, but I definitely look forward to the day when I can feel, once again, that I am working steadily toward some enjoyable travel on the horizon.