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  • Writer's pictureLena Jennings

Traveling during the time of COVID

COVID changed everything. There is no part of life that looks the same at this point in time. 2020 has been the year where everyone learned the lesson that no matter how much you plan you cannot control the outcome of what happens. It was the year of 2020 vision and then boom, that vision got real hazy and we ended up hitting a brick wall. But we found our stride and 6 months later, things feel "normal." Whatever normal is to you, the 6 months of sheltering in place have allowed a routine to take place. For me, my normal includes traveling again.

I actually made a trip in July right after the 4th of July holiday to Park City, Utah. I went with two friends from college for our annual trip and stayed at a family condo in a ski town. I remember my first flight post COVID & being absolutely terrified. I was nervous about sitting next to someone, having my skin anything, and literally breathing. I had my mask, gloves, face shield, and was covered head to toe. My first flight pre-COVID I was ready ready to go.

I entered the airport and it was empty. I head to security and I was one of two people in line. TSA was a breeze, I took off my mask for 2 seconds for the officer to check my ID and went right on through. I get to my gate and there was a small crowd of people waiting to board but all socially distant. The big difference was they loaded the plane from the back to the front to avoid unnecessary contact. Instead of boarding by group numbers it was by rows. What I found was that once you get on board it felt pretty "normal." The only thing that made me anxious was when the flight attendants served beverages and people began to take off their masks to drink. I kept my mask on the entire time, even though I was parched for the sake of safety. But CNN Travel ultimately released an article titled "The odds of catching Covid-19 on an airplane are slimmer than you think, scientists say." According to their findings, and assuming everyone is wearing a mask, the risk of catching the virus on a full flight is just 1 in 4,300. Those odds fall to 1 in 7,700 if the middle seat is vacant. The title said it all and I felt comfortable with my decision.

Although I was anxious I still felt safe. It was the first time in a long time that I was in an enclosed place with strangers. I hadn't been around new people or even saw friends or family at that point. So to be on a flight with any ounce of new people was stressful. What I realized that traveling isn't the dangerous part, it's about what you do when you land. Since my first flight to Park City, Utah I've been able to travel again to Seattle and Palm Springs. Each time I get more and more comfortable with flying, I'm still incredibly cautious but mask wearing & sanitization of anything I touch has become apart of my new normal.

Traveling for me is the thing I need to reset. My days are so busy and while sheltering in place the days just all seem like a blur. So why not break up the monotony and experience something new. If nothing else, shelter in place in a new set of 4 walls. You don't have to get on a plane to experience something new, you can find adventure in your own backyard. But do something that will help you reset and unblur the lines between a Wednesday or a Friday. Life isn't stopping, we're just adapting. So yes travel but wear a mask. Avoid large gatherings and be contentious of where in which you go but live your life.

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