Sure did. I don’t expect anyone to understand, but I did travel during, and will still continue to travel. See, travel to me, is so much more than flocking to the beach, getting drunk and stumbling back to my room. Don’t get me wrong, I have done that plenty of times.
My life keeps handing me all sorts of surprises. I am actually a very private person, and rarely talk about any of my trials and tribulations. There’s a chance you lucky readers will hear about it someday. So many people go through such shitty things in their lives, I never ever take for granted any trips I take, even if its just down the street because I wanted to stay in a hotel to get closer to earning Hilton Diamond Status. So, if you think I’m selfish, or disrespectful for traveling during a pandemic, that is fine.
I hate pity, I hate attention and I really hate people trying to offer some empathy. When life gets hard, I don’t whine about it, (most of the time)I just travel. Travel is my escape, travel is my therapy and travel is the fuel that allows me to push on.
I had some fabulous trips planned before our good friend Mr. Covid arrived. I was going to explore the Washington State National Parks, A Scandinavian Cruise and was hoping to enjoy Edinburgh’s Hogmanay again. I rebooked the Washington trip for this year, you can read about it here. The Scandinavian cruise, will happen, in time, and for Christmas/New Years I will find something equally as fulfilling to do as the World learns how best to reopen.
As you all know travel was completely halted for months. This takes a heavy toll mentally when you are someone that’s current life purpose is just to travel. I working on that “life’s purpose” thing, cut me some slack.
JetBlue to the rescue. When travel started opening up a bit, I stumbled upon one of JetBlue’s flight sale emails. Some states were still closed, but I was determined to go somewhere, anywhere. Oh, hello $50 round trip to Chicago! Without a second thought, I booked it. The timing worked out so I could have time after the trip to watch for symptoms before returning to work. I didn’t tell anyone where I was going.
I’m not even a city person, so I didn’t spend anytime in the Covid hotspot of Chicago. Instead, I made my way east and spent some time in Indiana Dunes National Park and Cuyahoga National Park.
I’m not going to lie, travelling while the entire world was shut down, wasn’t the best of trips. The two best parts: empty flights and just being outside. My flight to and from Chicago was empty, the plane had maybe 20 passengers. My rental car was squeaky clean, there was no traffic in Chicago, and hotels were pretty cheap.
However, not a whole lot was open. Restaurants were take-out only, stores were closed, and the biggest bummer, National Park Visitor Centers were closed. They still made it possible to get park passport stamps, but I REALLY enjoy the Visitor Centers and the park movies.
At Cuyahoga National Park, it was a really long drive for a good 20 minutes around the park. Weather or construction had closed one of the roads, the Visitor Center was closed, the main hiking trail was closed and besides the three other people lurking around, it was pretty much a ghost town. I walked around by the river, and snapped some photos around the train tracks and decided that someday I’ll have to come back to fully enjoy the park and take a ride on that train.
Indiana Dunes was a different story. Again, not busy, no visitor center, but the beaches were open! I swam in that lovely water everyday. The temperatures in and out of the water were fabulous. Lake Michigan is so big, you feel like you’re at the ocean, waves and seagulls included. The beaches offered gorgeous views of the Chicago skyline, and I stuck around every night for sunset.
Overall, this trip was just what I needed. A little time away, some nature therapy, two parks checked off the list and a happy, Covid-negative heart upon return.
Stay tuned for my next pandemic trip and see how this old hag turned 40…..