I Can Barely Think About Travel

(photo credit: Outside Magazine)

I’m sure glad we like where we are right now because I currently can’t even imagine getting on a plane and going anywhere. I don’t even know if it’s safe or healthy these days to even think about going anywhere.

When we first arrived back in Hawaii, all I could think about was getting back on the road again even though I knew it might be a while. But these days I wonder how long that while might be, and wonder if travel will ever be truly safe again. Because of our country’s initial and continuing mismanagement of the disease from the top on down, Americans are now persona non grata all over the world, including Japan, where our family lives. How long? I wonder now, will it be until we can see our grandchildren again?

For a while after we got here I had fun planning “big” trips, things like long driving trips through New Zealand and Ireland, but the fun wore off of that pretty quickly. They were just too far out there, almost beyond reality. I also began to realize that I didn’t want to be away from home for so long. I’m enjoying being settled again, and so is Brett. We loved our two years on the road and weren’t ready for it to end how and when it did, but we love being back on Kaua’i, with our suitcases fully unpacked and living with our own stuff again. We’re not as eager to hit the road again as we initially thought we would be. For now our primary goal is to stay safe and healthy, and Kaua’i is a great place to accomplish those things. When we left the island in 2018, we weren’t sure if Kaua’i was our forever home, but now we know it is.

We have our sights set on 2022 for our first venture off the island, to YaYu’s graduation in Pennsylvania in the spring. We also hope to do a six-week visit to Japan in the fall, and then go back again in the spring of 2023, with a short visit to one of the other islands in-between.

That’s as much as I can dream about now. Two trips to Japan each year, beginning two years from now, is enough for me to mentally and emotionally handle. Even those seem like a huge reach at present, but they give me something to work toward, financially and health-wise. We want to see our grandchildren.

In the meantime we will work at staying safe, and hope and pray our country can get it together to overcome this scourge.


24 thoughts on “I Can Barely Think About Travel

  1. I made a quick trip to Virginia last month. It really was for my own mental health. Living alone during the pandemic has been rough. I was incredibly cautious, masked and gloved with wipes and sanitizer. I wore my glasses the whole time to help protect my eyes. I paid for a spot in the American lounge to stay away from crowds. I’ve been home two weeks so I managed to do it without getting sick. It doesn’t mean I will be hopping on a plane any time soon though. I do have plans to go to Oregon in September and am hoping that will still be available. I’m so glad you’re happy on Kauai! For now, I’m good here in San Diego, and lucky to be living here. However, I can’t not ever travel again!


    1. I don’t even think I could manage a short trip to one of the other islands! The cases we have on Kaua’i now seem to have been brought when residents visited relatives on Oahu and brought it back with them. Our neighbors just went to Maui but so far they are OK and said they were sort of nervous about the flight, but they’re OK so fingers crossed. So, no trips for us. I’m already concerned about YaYu flying back to Pennsylvania too, and that’s not for another 6+ weeks!


  2. The world has changed so much in 2020 that I’m finding it difficult to get excited about what is ahead of us. Not a lot to look forward to as we are trapped at home. No travel plans are being made as don’t want to be stuck with cancellations and fighting for refunds. There is the fear of catching something if we do venture out. I just feel stuck in quicksand at this time. Tired of the highlight of my week being the grocery shopping and thinking about food which I am so over cooking.


    1. I think you said it perfectly – I am having trouble getting excited about the future right now. We’re focusing on making it through each day, each week here, and keeping ourselves healthy.

      Food shopping is our big activity here as well, although thankfully we can head to the beach once in a while for a change of scenery. Getting out for a walk at the golf course every days helps too.


  3. Hello Laura, we have reached pretty much the same conclusion regarding travel. We want to see our grandchildren and my husband’s CA relatives but do not see a way forward for quite awhile. I have toyed with an across country driving trip like we did in 2016, but at present not feeling positive about any travel. We do control our home environment but cannot control others. There are so many unknowns and so many who refuse to practice safety locally and otherwise.

    So glad you two are enjoying being home. We are working to enhance where we are by restockIng our flower garden areas, although it is a lot of work the pay off is nice. We did a lot of decluttering in 2019, and are heading towards a more concerted effort in 2020. There are many stages to process when all goes topsy turvy. And that’s where we all are for the foreseeable future. I do enjoy your blog and look forward to reading it. Thank you for continuing to post.


    1. Seeing our grandchildren again is a huge motivator for our staying put right now, and focusing on keeping ourselves healthy so that when things do open up again we’ll be ready to go and can enjoy the experience without worrying so much whether we or they will be OK.

      I am quite excited about getting our things (most likely next week), but still worry about where it will all go, mainly because I can’t remember all that we packed. Hopefully we’ll be OK though and can find a place for everything. We’re living pretty minimally these days, but in our small space I think it’s going to feel cluttered for a while.

      I’m glad to be able to write again – I missed it.


  4. We just received news that our daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughters will be moving to Germany in January, for a minimum of three years. While this is an excellent career move for my son-in-law, and my daughter is over the moon excited to live in W. Europe, we are quietly heartsick because, of course, Americans are not currently welcome in Europe, and no one knows how long the ban will last. It’s been a rough week for my husband and I as a result.

    I keep reminding myself that Dr. Fauci has confidence the virus will eventually burn itself out. Do I know if he is correct? No, I absolutely do not. But I have to have something to hold onto, and so he is it.

    All of which is to say that we are feeling your pain acutely. It’s absolutely heart wrenching not to be able to see family. There truly are no words.

    Hugs from California.


    1. I feel your pain too. It’s exciting for your daughter, and like you said, a great career move for your son, but it does make getting together a whole lot harder, and that’s without adding this pandemic into the mix. I think it’s going to be a long while too before we are welcome back anywhere again – there’s a long ways to go before this virus burns itself out, and we (as a country) have done from little to nothing to rein it in. Seeing our grandchildren again is the biggest motivator we have for being careful and staying healthy.

      I believe Dr. Fauci as well. Do you follow Laurie Garrett – she is also an excellent source on how things are progressing with the virus. She was one of the first to warn of it, back when it was just getting started in China.


  5. I had been planning to go nomading for two years starting in November 2020, but those plans are kaput!

    I am grateful to live in CT where the infection rate has finally slowed and people take precautions very seriously, but there are so many out-of-state plates in my area (NY, NJ, PA, VA, FL) that I predict a resurgence in New England.

    Speaking with two scientist friends last week, their advice was don’t plan any international travel until 2022 at the earliest. Even though my passion is travel, I am very thankful to like where I live and literally count my blessings on my fingers every night before falling asleep.

    Walking one-on-one with different friends has saved my sanity and reduced my waistline! I’ve taken a page out of your book with the “slow travel” around your Tokyo neighborhood and become much more observant of what is around me. I love changing up the walks and exploring different neighborhoods.

    One thing I’ve learned from a 12 step program is to imagine putting a hula hoop over my head. Everything inside the hoop is my responsibility and I can control or influence and I have no control over anything outside of my hoop. Sigh….I wish we could control this pandemic.

    I’m so glad that when the music stopped in this worldwide game of musical chairs that you found yourself in stunning Hawaii.

    Sending you love and light


    1. I felt a deep sadness reading that you had to cancel your nomading – it’s an amazing experience, and I hope you can pick it up in the future. It sounds like your plans are made, so that part is done, but I believe things like airfares, rentals, etc. are all going to have to be refigured.

      I am enjoying the walking too, although I am a “hard walker” as Brett says – I pick a pace and never let up. I have found though that too slow and my bursitis acts up, and a faster pace is better for some reason. But, it’s tiring so I have put myself on a five days walking, one day off schedule to see if that helps. I have no idea if I’m losing any weight, but we put our bathroom scale in our shipment (I think) so I should know how I’m doing next week.

      We too are enjoying exploring what’s close to home now, but mostly we continue to self isolate and stay indoors.

      We really wondered when we left in 2018 whether we’d ever come back. Our daughters’ advice last December to come back played a strong role in our decision to return – as they said, “you were very happy there.” And we are.


  6. We too are both glad and sad to be back from our 2.5 months in Japan. We plan to go back in December if possible- hoping that japan will open up by then – hopeful and optimistic at this point. We are both in our early 70’s and getting to where travel is more and more risky even without the virus. Fortunately the current surge there is mostly Tokyo ( the kids are in Kyoto) due to bar hopping and hostess clubs from what I read from there. Hawaii seems like a great place to land for now. Enjoy.


    1. I end you being able to return so quickly, if you can go, that is. Who knows at this point though? It’s impossible to make plans. Financially, we need to focus on getting our youngest through the next two years of school and we’re hoping in the meantime, if things get better, that our son and family can come over here for a visit during the next two years.


  7. I am totally on the same page as you, I am wondering when I will see my grandchild again. I can get in car and drive approx 2,000 miles, but I would quarantine myself for 14 days, so I will probably have to retire to do that. Your situation is even more complicated because you have to deal with the logistics and restrictions of another country. Life is difficult for long distance grandparents, at the moment. I think you made a fantastic choice for your forever home. A year ago you probably were not even considering it much. Life can change rapidly. We just, despite our plans, have to hold on for the roller coaster.


    1. Oh, if we could only drive to Japan – hahahah! It doesn’t matter where we might live – we still need to get on a plane to get there. I keep telling myself that we now have the time to plan a “better” visit, find a maybe better place to stay, etc. It feels a bit like time is dragging right now as well, but I know in reality that’s not the case – there are things coming up that will be here before we know it. As you say, we just need to hang on right now and finish the ride.


  8. Same here on wondering when we’ll get to see our grandchild. My son is transfering to the AF base in Anchorage in the fall and the invite is open, but will it be safe to visit the states then? As much as I appreciate our daughter-in-law sending lots of pics and doing video chats, it’s not the same as being there. I fear it won’t be anytime soon for a trip across the pond.


    1. I think Alaska is in good shape, better than Hawaii maybe, but getting there from Italy is a whole other thing. Maybe this fall things will get better, who knows? And then you can go.

      Hawaii is getting ready to find out if this is the right time to open to visitors again. Everyone here wears masks, no complaints, but I’m not so sure about visitors. I believe that the governor will shut things down again pretty quickly if things get bad again, and thankfully county mayors can set some of their own boundaries (curfews, masks, etc.) if they need to to keep the virus from taking hold.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. We have settled into a routine. My kids are all working at home. Grands will be homeschooled. We each have two stores we go to. Now we travel between the three houses for company. Radiation starts next week for my sil. Social Bubble away!
    Rowena, I think Alaska has done very well. It might be worth it to come while the weather is nice….


    1. We have a routine too – two stores, once a week. Walk in the afternoons at the golf course and visit with others while we’re there. Socialize with our neighbors once in a while. But otherwise we stay home and isolate ourselves. Getting YaYu back to school though is going to make my gray hair grayer!


  10. I also have settled into a routine, and that plus the current warm weather, yard and enough to do has me doing better than I thought. I think on some level nesting and rehoming is good although it may not seem so now. I agree that the worst part is being seperate from family for me but I think for the youngers, they have to face so much more-lack of social interaction, no contating schooling nd so much more.


    1. I am so grateful that we have such beautiful things to look at from our small apartment, a beautiful yard, palm trees, and blue skies when they feel like showing up. Even a beautiful sunset once in a while! The girls are great about checking in once a week or more with a video chat, and we hear from our son and family fairly frequently too.

      I do feel for our youngest though, trapped here with us for the summer. Getting together with friends has been problematic though – one lives fairly far away and works almost daily, and her other group has turned out to still be grounded in some sort of high school mentality and YaYu does not enjoy their company. She’s eager to return to school, even with all the restrictions she will face there, and we can’t blame her. She’s been a trooper, but we know it hasn’t been easy for her.


  11. It’s interesting you’ve realized you’d rather be settled right now instead of doing the constant travel. When this pandemic began, I made a list of places I’ve never been to that I’d like to visit, and I still want to do that, but I also realize it’s probably at least two years off. Someone I know just returned from Europe and said it was quite an adventure getting back, but the airline and airport workers were all very nice and they felt safe. He is concerned they are all going to lose their jobs because there were so few people flying. He’s supposed to go back in September (he works there) but who knows if he’ll be able to if Americans are still banned from some places.

    I’m sure it’s difficult for those who have family in other parts of the world. At least we have Zoom and other ways to communicate these days, although I know it’s not the same. All we can do is hang on until this ends and try to stay positive.


    1. I wonder if my feeling like I want to settle in is a side effect of the continuing pandemic conditions. I see staying healthy now as far more important than getting out and seeing things. I have to admit it’s also been fun fixing up our apartment to suit our tastes rather than staying in someone else’s place like we did for the past two years.

      The flight attendants on the plane we took back from Tokyo were all being furloughed – that was their last flight. I can only imagine it’s gotten worse. Daily flights into Kaua’i have resumed though so things are starting to pick up again . . . for now. I’ve heard horror stories as well about people trying to get places, even in the U.S. Hopefully YaYu’s trip to PA won’t be too traumatic.

      I can’t begin to express how grateful I am for all the apps we have these days to help us stay in touch with our family . . . for free. What a difference they have made!


  12. I used to be so happy here in Arizona. Now I am afraid for my life since we are the fastest growing place in the entire world for Covid. We have an awful governor here who is just letting people die. I never imagined my retirement would be like this. Or that my life would depend on incompetent leadership. And I always assumed I could go back east to visit my family. Or they could come here. Now my world is upside down and I am heartbroken thinking I may never see my family again. 2600 miles away never seemed so far away until now. Stay well……


    1. Roberta, I really feel right now for all those in states like Arizona, Texas, and Florida, whose governors did not shut things down fast enough. It just makes me sick to see this virus continue to explode across the country, and no leadership on combatting it from above. We’re just supposed to “get used to it.”

      I also deeply understand how you feel about not being able to see your family right now. If 2020 is the crazy/bad year, I have a feeling 2021 is going to be the L-O-N-G year. Hopefully our country will be on the mend by then though.


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