So I’ve had a writing hiatus these past few months. A blink in time in the wake of this unwelcome era of trepidation and immobility which COVID has imposed upon us. I’d drafted and tossed multiple rhapsodies touting the allure of traveling now with fewer crowds and attractive price points. Then I’d wake up to yet another country locking down again and felt handcuffed in actively promoting “living in the moment” getaways. I’ve had numerous multicultural adventures myself but could not see fit to put impressions to paper. During this time out, I’ve relearned the value of voice memo on my phone, to record thoughts when I’m out for a run or walking my dog. It’s handy and valuable to record these ideas as they happen, not wait till I get home, only to recall cerebral fragments. Or none at all.
But I digress. This space is not about the writing process. It’s about exploring our beautifully complex and fragile planet with the challenges we currently face in mapping out where next to explore. Like most global gadabouts, I live for stuffing my backpack, grabbing my passport and heading to the airport. Destination Anywhere. While I have traveled some this past year, most recently to Amsterdam and Paris with hotels, a river cruise, city to countryside tours and rail service in between, the regulations were fluid, the process more methodical, but preparation paid off. I toured 3 countries in 2 weeks, returning home successfully without a trace of illness myself or among any travel companions. Alas, unlike previous years, it’s been a lighter trip schedule. There was a time when I was taking off nearly once a month, zooming to new places of exploration to report back on. Yes, there are more steps involving vaccine apps, testing, health forms, but in the end, it’s a worthwhile endeavor if we can wake up to a French croissant or Italian espresso, right?
Call me the perpetual optimist but I do believe we’ll all be traveling more frequently this year and taking that back burner trip. Professional travel services are certainly in demand. If these past 2 weeks are any indication, I’ve booked more trips in this new year than the past 3 months of last year. Some clients are annual gallivanters, others just tired of waiting and finally committing to their dream getaway, typically upping their budgets with unspent travel dollars gathering dust.
Upcoming travel conquests include Budapest with a Danube river cruise in March, followed by a Rome to Greek Islands cruise in May and Mediterranean cruise in November. I get pushback from many who feel cruise ships of any size are the worst place to be. I say pas de tout! In point of fact, cruise lines small to large have some of the most stringent policies for both guests and staff. Yes, there have been cases reported, how could there not be? Given that megaships carry four to six thousand plus passengers and crew onboard and 58-90 Covid positive cases emerge, it’s still a pretty low number for that population, much lower than our individual state percentages. Our November Netherlands/Belgium cruise experience included roughly 400 passengers across 2 ships. Zero positives. Ergo, I am a verandah loving cruise fan.
I enthusiastically promote my reliable mantra of book now, fly later. Get that dream trip under deposit. Think outside comfort zones for a refreshing change of scenery ~ Galapagos, Antarctica, Peru, The Maldives. What are we waiting for?