Travel in the time of Corona Virus
It’s official lockdown time here for me in Seattle. For a bird who’s been all over the world on a frequent pattern of new countries, people, places and experiences, this is beginning to feel very real to me. I feel grounded, as if my wings are clipped and I can only hop a few feet away from my nest. When I’m traveling I tend to be out exploring and less connected to the daily barrage of CNN and Wall Street Journal notifications and it’s much more difficult to get pulled into the tractor beam of 24-hour news cycle. So here in my home with the quiet around me, I feel very succeptable to the constant noise going on in our country at the present time.
Only a few weeks ago a normal life, although not a conventional nine to five, consisted of a lot of activity and not much quiet. Besides travel, my life in Seattle centered around hosting people from all over the world via Airbnb. My home was full of mostly joyous travelers visiting Seattle for a variety of lovely reasons — to meet newborn grandkids, explore the sights of the town, prepare for a cruise to Alaska or to take an art course at a nearby creative academy. I met new people from all over the world every day in a way that brought to life the things I love about travel. I literally crossed the globe only to return home to cross the globe in my own living room.
Now my space is physically empty, bedrooms made up for guests who will not come for the foreseeable future, and I realize I’m presented with opportunities to fill the space with newness — new things, new energy, new ideas and a new optimism for what is to come in our city and the world. I want to be careful not to fill the space with too much CNN or push notifications on my phone, because that leads down an almost endless road of mental unrest.
I can fill the space with love — FaceTime calls to friends I haven’t seen or spoken to for months — communicating in ways that open connection for both me and the intended recipient. Recently, in my quest to find a sharpie pen to mark all my new food with “born on” dates, I uncovered a drawer with a stack of greeting cards purchased likely two years ago. This was a subtle reminder of the good intentions to reach out to friends and family but no longer the perceived lack of time to do so.
The key pillars of what I love about travel still exist, and will be reimagined for the current times we live in — connection, meaning, curiosity and love.
Whether physically grounded by a mandate from the governor or other circumstances, remember that travel is a state of mind that brings to life key components of existence that drive us and humanity forward. So keep traveling, in your own way.