Traveling During Covid - 19
Updated: Dec 12, 2020
As a person who loves to see the world, the travel ban has been one of the more difficult parts of this pandemic. I wasn't one of those who didn't believe COVID was real or something we needed to protect ourselves from. I planned to travel the week of March 9. I second-guessed the trip for a moment and wondered if I could get a refund. I reached out to my hotel to see if they were going to be open. The hotel told me that they were open and, therefore, would not offer refunds, so I traveled.
Airports are usually such lively places, packed with people spilling out into the concourse, loud from noise pollution because of all of the different conversations. However, this trip seemed to provide plenty of space, and the quietness was hard to maneuver around. This was before masks were mandatory. The ones I saw made me anxious. People were strangers sharing the same space, and from what I could tell, there was almost no conversation inflight. It was as if fear had stolen their voices.
I usually enjoy the entire trip, from arriving early at the airport to skillfully making my way through TSA, waiting at the gate, the inflight movies, and talking to my neighbor. The fear had gotten me too. I traveled with Clorox wipes and 4–5 bottles of the travel-size hand sanitizer. I sanitized everything I thought I might touch, including the seats next to mine. I hoped getting to my destination would fix the anxiety and fear that I was about to surrender to. This time I looked forward to arriving at my hotel more than anything else.
I arrived in Belize and waited in the longest line I had ever encountered there. The Customs agents seemed comfortable and unconcerned with "Rona," and that made me feel relieved. I still had an hour and a half boat ride to get to my destination. I made it through customs and got in a cab to the dock. Once I reached the pier for the water taxi, it was as if all the energy being sucked away by coronavirus had been restored. The sun was shining, restaurants were open, people were moving around and engaging each other. At that moment, I was happy that I decided to make the trip. It gave me a break from being bombarded with the fear and dread that the coronavirus was causing.
I finally landed on San Pedro Island, rented a golf cart (the preferred mode of transportation on the island), and headed to my room at Tres Cocos Resort. Having stayed there before, it was familiar and comfortable, and the fears of Corona faded as I sunk deeper into my trip. While others may have felt it was the worst possible time to travel, I can't imagine anything better — I got back just before the travel and shelter-in-place orders, and I was refreshed and ready to "hunker down."
An international vacation before a shelter-in-place order that prevents you from leaving your home, let alone the country seems like the perfect way to go into quarantine. When I arrived in Belize, there were no reported cases of Corona. As I was leaving, there were still no confirmed cases; however, there were talks of closing the countries borders. Belize didn't experience its first confirmed case of COVID-19 until May 22 nd. I traveled there to get away as the people of Belize were just entering the space of anxiety that I was escaping from.