Lately I have been daydreaming about the first real trip I will take when I emerge from sheltering in place. Traveling for me is always largely a matter of fate, but this time especially, the where and how of travel will be partly determined by factors that are outside my control.
I’m not sure yet when I will feel ready to venture out on a real trip. Circumstances are still changing on almost a daily basis. But the head of the CDC said if everyone wore masks we could get the virus under control in four to eight weeks. More people are getting behind that strategy, so that’s a good sign.
And there are other reasons to hope that it may not be so long before we can feel safe to travel again, with precautions. Some countries are already at that point, so we know it’s possible.
Meanwhile, I continue to watch events, stay strict about safety, and wait patiently for my opening. I reminisce about past travels and fantasize about future ones. Lately the fantasizing is graduating to a planning process.
My first real trip is going to be a major event so I want it to be really special. It will be a celebration. As I move slowly toward that moment, I find myself gravitating toward the idea of a reunion. I’d like to gather together with loved ones to celebrate our lives, our love for each other, and the fact that we are living and can still enjoy travel experiences together.
It would be a good way to draw this period to a close.
The Lessons of Crisis
Certainly one thing this pandemic has done is to make starkly clear what is really important. There is a kind of clarifying that takes place during a crisis, a flashing realization of how much you love the people in your family, your close circle, how important they are to you and how infinitely valuable is all the time you are privileged to spend with them.
A crisis shows you what is real in this life.
Time slips by so swiftly, accelerating each year. Subconsciously, in some timeless part of our being, we are aware that it’s flying by and some day we may wish we had spent more time with the people we loved when we had the chance. If only we weren’t so busy.
Ah well. Such is life. Who ever spent enough time with people they love? I submit that it’s not possible. Each year that goes by I have more questions that I wish I could ask my grandmother, my father. With each new round of experiences, I wish again that I could consult with them and find out their take on something. You never can take full advantage of such an infinite resource as a person you love and are connected to biologically, historically or experientially.
But that’s all the more reason to try to make the most of the opportunities we have, or can create, to spend time with those special people. As memories those times will carry a lot of weight, and draw many return visits in future daydreams.
Reunion travel is having a reunion in some specially chosen setting. It may include a travel itinerary, moving the party to different places. Or it may only include travel to the chosen destination. The choice of setting is a big factor in how the whole thing will come off. And it needs some kind of program of activities, an agenda or itinerary.
The Coming Reunion Travel Boom
As a marking point, a line in the sands of time to conclude this chapter of history, this age of untravel, I have decided that a family reunion would be the perfect way to celebrate the resounding victory over COVID.
As with nearly everything in this singular period, whenever a thought occurs to me I can be certain that the same thought is occurring to millions of others at the same time. I assume many people are having roughly the same experiences as I am and are being drawn to some of the same conclusions.
I was curious about that so I browsed around the internet a bit and yes, I found that my experience has indeed been widely shared by others who have been led to the same conclusion.
In fact, it turns out that the idea of traveling with a small group of friends has been widely recognized as an effective strategy for reducing risk as we begin to venture back out into the world. It’s been recognized even in such centers of higher education and science as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
MIT Technology Review published an article that said that “Holing up with groups of friends or neighbors or other families during lockdown has given many people, especially those stuck home alone, a way to relieve isolation without spreading covid-19. These groups are known as bubbles, and new computer simulations described in Nature today show they may really work.”
It’s really just a natural conclusion from what we have learned over the last few months about the way the disease spreads through communities through the air we share in close quarters. When you combine it with masks and social distancing, bubbling is a way to get out of the house and have social contact without increasing your risk very much.
If the reunion trip or event is set in an outdoors location, the open air reduces risk substantially, even in places where the infection is present. Bubbling in small groups of intimates will be one of the styles of travel that will be safest soonest.
For me reunion travel is perfect for the first venturing out because it is an extension of sheltering in place with family. It takes the best elements of sheltering in place with family and takes the show on the road. It’s a moveable feast.
Anatomy of a Reunion Celebration
Hey, if I can’t travel right now, I can dream, can’t I? I’ve been allowing this fantasy to play out in my head as I toy with ideas about how to create a great travel reunion and celebration, and how to make the most of the occasion.
The setting is a big part of the event. The choice of place is a huge factor in determining the nature of the event.
I want to hold my reunion in a place that will be very special to every member of the entourage, if not before the event, certainly afterward. But the choice of place will also depend on what places are safest at the time I am ready to travel.
This is one of those factors that is not totally under my control. The choice of place will depend to some degree on what places are safest at the time.
The field of possibilities of places that are safe to travel will gradually broaden. Some will become safe sooner than others.
Right now under the circumstances, I am happy to stay sheltered as much as possible. And I’m extremely grateful to be able to do that…
and stay safe
Your Humble Reporter
A. Colin Treadwell