What It Means to Be a Traveler When You’re Quarantined

If you would’ve asked me six months ago about how I thought 2020 would progress, I guarantee you that a pandemic was never something I predicted or imagined. COVID-19  has disrupted life in nearly every corner of the globe, and we don’t know when it will be over. 

For someone who loves buckling her seat belt in an airplane, who loves checking out travel guides from the library, who loves watching YouTube videos about different destinations, this situation has been hard for me to digest. Last summer, I wrote about my Chase Sapphire Reserve and how much more I’ve been able to travel. I also mentioned that I used points to book a flight to Japan. It’s scheduled for next month — a month from today, actually. But unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like my trip will happen. In fact, I don’t know if any of the trips I’ve been planning or thinking about this year (both personal and professional) are going to happen! 

My disappointment is deep, and I’m anxious about how the future will progress. What does this pandemic mean for the economy and everyone who’s currently suffering? What does COVID-19 mean for the travel industry? Since 2013, I’ve been able to hop on a plane or a bus or a train and go. Maybe that won’t be so easy anymore.

That being said, I often feel guilty for feeling disappointed. I don’t have the virus (as far as I know). I have a great job and can work from home. My significant other is healthy and with me. Air and water quality around the world have been improving. I repeatedly tell myself that I shouldn’t be worrying about this! I know that Japan isn’t going anywhere. But it’s natural to grieve unfulfilled expectations — the idea that I was supposed to be at this place at that time. 

So what’s a girl who loves strolling up to the TSA PreCheck line, who will spend hours researching to make a perfect trip itinerary, and more importantly, who just loves being around other people, to do? How can I stay positive knowing so many people are in difficult situations and worrying about their health and finances?

Staying in touch with friends and family has really helped. Taking (socially-distanced) walks outside. Reading books. Watching American and Turkish movies with my SO. Supporting local restaurants. I’ve even started watching The Voice. Whenever things go back to normal, or whatever the “new” normal becomes, this extrovert definitely won’t take simple things like going to a concert or taking a quick weekend trip to another city to see a friend for granted again. 

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