I Can't Travel Right Now and That's Okay
Why I’m taking this travel restriction due to COVID-19 as an undercover blessing.
On January 1, 2020, I wrote out my news years affirmations. I don't call them the resolutions because, well, they rarely get resolved.
My new year's affirmations this year were mostly travel related. I had some career goals I wanted to achieve, but I was primarily "jet set" focused. I sat down in my Airbnb in Ghana and made a list of destinations I'd set off to this year. Some, extremely attainable like my trip to Tulum and my return back to Ghana. Some were definitely...out there. I wanted to take a road trip across Central America, see the flaming asteroid pit in Turkmenistan, and spend my 25th birthday discovering the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt.
What can I say, I love adventure.
Over the past 3 years, I've traveled to over 20 countries. I, like many others, thought this would be another successful year of gallivanting across the globe. And boom, a devastating pandemic arrives, decimating cities across the world.
With a global pandemic comes unmeasurable loss. Students who've worked diligently no longer get to physically cross a graduation stage. Couples have postponed their dream weddings. Concerts and music festivals have ceased to exist. But most strikingly, thousands of people have lost their lives. These are scary times.
I have several inherent privileges. I have a home and loving family members to social distance with. I continue to work remotely for my job and my income hasn't wavered. And most importantly- I'm healthy. These are all blessings and I'm grateful to God.
When I first heard about the virus I told myself it wouldn't stop me from seeing the world. My opinions was based off of uninformed news, and honestly, unadulterated selfishness.
I went over the facts. Like many, I thought COVID-19 or coronavirus was simply just a flu. I was wrong. I knew it greatly affected older and immunocompromised populations and I, a 24 year old with no conditions, would not have much to worry about.
After many introspective conversations, I had to remind myself the world is not about me. We are told to stay home for the protection of our health care systems and for the protection of others. I could contract the virus, be possibly asymptomatic, and infect my friends and loved ones.
So yes, we have to stay in the house. And no, we can't go hang out with friends or leisurely travel around the world.
This break from the outside world has forced me to really slow down and think about the things that I value most in life: my family and my health.
Before the virus, I traveled at least once every month. The constant travel turned into me neglecting relationships with my friends and family. It’s hard to cultivate relationships when you’re never home to do it. I couldn’t even focus on my personal next steps because I was too busy focusing on the next country to visit. This virus has forced me to sit my butt down and really come to terms with my path in life.
I decided to turn my social distancing frustration into fuel and see the positives during such a negative time. Although my family can be as melodramatic as a reality TV show, I get to wake up every morning and see their beautiful faces. I get to cook and bake daily. I have time to work on getting to a healthier me. I’m restarting projects I never finished and even learning more about myself.
I’m going to be honest, sometimes this ”positive outlook vibe” feels you're smiling while the entire world is on fire.
But nevertheless, we persevere. The great pyramids of Egypt will always be there. Travel isn’t gone for good, it’s just not available at the moment.
So no, I can’t travel right now but I’m working on myself. And while I can’t explore new cultures, I can rack up memories with my loved ones. I can grow. I can work on becoming stronger mentally and physically.
I’m coming out of 2020 with no stamps on my passport and that’s okay.