I feel like I am going COVID-19 pandemic stir-crazy
OMG! Is COVID ever going to end? Will I go COVID-19 pandemic stir-crazy?
No one is having a good time during what feels like an interminable lockdown period. I am going pandemic stir-crazy. Fully vaccinated and boosted, here I sit in my apartment. Yes, I have been lucky enough to live a COVID-free life. However, I am still hesitant to fly on a plane, much less take a cruise. I could never have imagined my life changing so radically when I returned from Mexico only two years ago. I assumed I would be off and running within a few weeks or a couple of months. But it was not to be. I started looking at my United Frequent Flier Million-Mile status with increasing nostalgia.
The idea of dealing with mask-mandate critics and bad behavior rage on planes held no appeal to me. My traveling sadly ground to a halt and I am pandemic stir-crazy.
What to do? Sure, I can take a road trip, but somehow that lacks glamor or real interest for me. Reservations to go to NYC were made. Then I backed out of my visit to the Big Apple when the COVID-19 count jumped. Friends in California didn’t want houseguests. My plans for a stay in San Miguel De Allende, Mexico, where I’ve rented houses during the cold winter months, were tossed out. The activities, arts, writers’ workshops, lectures, and concerts I love to attend simply aren’t happening because of virus protocols.
As a person who loves to be with others, I kept telling myself it was silly to travel either domestically or internationally, only sit alone amidst warmth and beauty. Or, I think about having to isolate if I contracted a breakthrough case of COVID-19. And, during the past six months, I lost track of whichever varient it might be that may infect me.
So what am I doing other than spending too much time connecting with friends online?
Participation in ZOOM lectures and MS Team presentations hold little fascination for me. I am watching way too much television and streaming far too many movies. While I fantasize about travel and curse COVID-19 I feel life passing me by. In reality, this virus is usurping my active travel years.
I’m no longer 18 or 43 (or 63) and how many more active travel years do I have? After all, I am now over a certain age when I might not be able to rent a car. And realistically, do I want to get behind the wheel and drive through the French Alps? Today, I no longer have time to be pandemic stir-crazy. I wouldn’t have had any hesitation a few years ago. But now, I am not so sure.
Reflecting on my years in Paris is painful. Now, I feel stuck in DC.
For so many years when I lived in Paris, I had zero hesitancy about hopping on a plane and taking a last-minute weekend trip to other parts of Europe. Heck, I would head to Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, or wherever. My friends would comment that I was so well-traveled. I’d remind them that it took less time and cost less to visit Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East than going to Martha’s Vineyard (MA), where so many Washingtonians go on weekends. Or, heading to Las Vegas for a long weekend to find poor copies of what I had the ability to visit after a short flight.
Now that I’m stuck in Washington, DC, watching the snow begin to fall, my pandemic stir-crazy symptoms begin. I find myself getting increasingly angry that what I love to do most has been put on hold. It’s no longer sufficient to read books about travel, much less watch travel shows. I now realize that I used to spend a lot of time researching and planning trips because that’s what can make a great a trip. Reading about destinations allowed me to absorb the essence of exotic lands. Knowing the history, culture, and art of these destinations always added a new dimension.
The uncertainty of travel plans makes it difficult to do the necessary research to make a trip perfect for myself and others
I have planned a family vacation to Tuscany this summer and rented a house. I actually signed on the dotted line and sent a deposit in May 2020. Never did I think the trip might be canceled because of COVID-19 or the Delta or Omicron variants. But, what I have not done (and yes, there’s plenty of time) is do the research that’s required to make a three-generation trip a success for everyone.
We will visit the neighboring towns, based on which market is on what day and where are the best places for lunch. Being somewhat more cautious, (OLDER), I suspect we’ll sightsee and shop during the days. Evenings will be spent around the pool tasting the wines we gathered visiting the Tuscan vineyards.
Yes, there will be cultural sightseeing, since teenage grandchildren will be with us. It’s important we give them things to complain about, such as, “We were dragged to so many churches and even a few monasteries.” Actually, they’re at the age that they appreciate art, architecture and culture.
I know I am not the only one who is feeling travel deprived based on conversations with friends. I am curious to know how others are coping. Are you simply getting up and going? If you have traveled, have you encountered unpleasant situations? Have you arrived at your destination to find that things are closed? Have you contracted COVID and if so, what did you do?
Karen Fawcett loves to travel anywhere. Karen was a founder & president BonjourParis.com while living in Paris for more than 25 years. She has traveled across Europe and the rest of the world. She is now based in Washington, DC.