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Travel in the age of COVID-19

I have been in a massive debate for months because of COVID-19 about whether or not I should take my trip out to the west coast to see my family for my momma’s 60th birthday. My Europe trip has been canceled, I didn’t go on my NOLA trip, and traveling in general is highly discouraged right now... But this trip was a big deal: a surprise the family had been planning since last fall.

So. I went. Maybe I shouldn’t have, but I did.

I wore my mask and gloves, and flew Delta (which has already gotten a reputation for being pretty on top of things in terms of spacing out seating and thoroughly sanitizing). And I actually was pleasantly surprised that people were following the rules, being conscientious, staying 6-feet apart, and generally displaying more cordiality and calmness than I would have expected at any time - let alone in the age of COVID!

The surprise went wonderfully. The weather was amazing. Time with my family in a beautiful part of the country was lovely. But there was a tense layer - a stressed vibe - to the whole trip. Fear. Fear of getting sick, and fear of spreading the sickness. News reports. Wondering if I was going to be able to get back to Chicago with ease or if I was going to have to sit in quarantine. Arguments about face masks. Disagreements about current political unrest. Uncomfortable conversations about education, the future, and the wellness of the world.

Nothing is easy or simple right now. Everyone is on edge. The world is changing. However, I say, let change happen. Be a part of it. Sink into the discomfort and figure things out. Think things through. Have those difficult conversations. Stand up for others. Believe in the future, in science, in humanity. And maybe, we’ll come out the other side of these crazy times a better, more informed, kinder, more understanding people.

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