Ulises Corvetto| unsplash | travel in the new normal

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“We sense that ‘normal’ isn’t coming back, that we are being born into a new normal: a new kind of society, a new relationship to the earth, a new experience of being human.”

― Charles Eisenstein

  Like the butterfly emerging from the cocoon the new normal will emerge from the ashes of the old. Change is inevitable. I will go back to living in a world populated by people I can see regularly, perhaps even with hugs and shake hands. But it will not see the world as we knew it again.

While everyone is eager to reach a new normal, my world will change radically during the next twelve months. I will travel from New Mexico to see my children- one in Phoenix, one in Kansas, and one in New Zealand. Then I have friends I want to see in person in Oregon and Albuquerque.

I am embarking on a  year of travel. After adding a thousand miles on my car, I’ll venture into the air to fly to different parts of the world with flights to Oregon and New Zealand. Despite being vaccinated I will still wear my mask and avoid sizable crowds.

Traveling to Phoenix will not be the same. The destination has changed. My son and his family have moved since I was last there. At least two of his dogs have died. Did my favorite Ethiopian and middle Eastern restaurants survive? According to Fortune magazine, over 110,000 restaurants and bars have permanently closed in 2020 with a loss of 2.5 million jobs. Will I be able to find the places that I used to stop at along the way?

I don’t know if my favorite stops along the way are still open, but I will venture onto the road, anyway. I want them to be open so I can stop at our favorite mexican restaurant in Deming and remember the last times my wife and I went to see our son. It is scary and exciting as we venture out into the world after Covid. We are on an adventure into the unknown to reconnect to our past.

I don’t feel comfortable taking longer road trips to Kansas (3days) and Oregon (5days)yet. Will I be able to find lodging on the road? How will I know which are safe and which ones are faking it? A lot of public trust has to be rebuilt in order to rebuild the travel and leisure industry. I will save the longer road trips for next year when things are more predictable.

 Air Travel has its own problems. Am I willing to travel on a full plane without an empty middle seat even after I have had my vaccinations.Will I be able to bring my infusion medications and supplies with me? For my trip to Kansas that isn’t as much of a concern, but when I go to New Zealand I will have to take five or six weeks of  medications. The supplies contain needle sets which I will have to separate and put in my checked luggage. Despite my own concerns about flying, it will be worth it. I haven’t been to New Zealand for several years. Since I was last there my daughter has bought a small farm and spends part of her year as a farmer growing organic vegetables for the farmers market.

New Zealand currently requires a two-week quarantine period in a hotel upon arrival, which must be booked before you get on the plane. Will that be lifted after I am vaccinated, as Iceland recently did? We all live with the fear or anxiety of the unknown.

Before I can leave New Mexico I need to figure out what to do with my  trusty companion Zane (my cat of 19 years). I want to find someone to come in and feed him each day rather than board him in a kennel. Since no one is going outside their apartments, it might be  difficult to meet and find someone who I know enough to trust. However, once the weather improves I will meet more people and I am confident I will find someone to come in and feed him.

As my year unrolls, I will enjoy seeing more of the world than what I can see out of my window. I will be happy to see my children.

 A new energy will flow as I get to build relationships in person, look  someone in the eye and watch their body language unfold as we talk together. A great year is coming!

“If I’d learnt one thing from traveling, it was that the way to get things done was to go ahead and do them.Don’t talk about going to Borneo. Book a ticket, get a visa, pack a bag, and it just happens.”

― Alex Garland, The Beach