Taking Another Look At PLan B

With a new Covid variant, named Omicron, making its name known while concurrently remaining mysterious, Brett and I figured this might be a good time to take another look at our Plan B, or at least come up with a couple more Plan Bs, just in case.

Much remains unknown about the Omicron variant, but scientists are working hard at figuring it out, looking for patterns, how infectious it is, and for other factors. The variant’s numerous mutations are the major cause for concern, and it’s unknown whether these make the Omicron variant more transmissible. It’s unknown whether this new variant will be as deadly as previous variants, such as Delta, and resistant to the antibodies produced by previous vaccines and boosters as well. And, because it is spreading around the world, it’s unknown at this time how the variant might affect cross-border travel long term. The current travel bans in place offer only short-term solutions, but may slow things up enough to give scientists and doctors time to get a better handle on what this variant brings to the ongoing COVID pandemic and what needs to be done to fight it.

We’ve always had a Plan B whenever we make travel plans. Plan B for our upcoming travels was to buy a car and drive around the U.S. for a while staying in Airbnbs at each destination. However, this option no longer seems as fun or exciting as it once did, especially as we have been looking forward to being outside of the U.S. for a while. The plan could be adjusted in a myriad of ways; for example, we could rent a car for a few months versus buying, and then travel internationally when it’s viable again, but mostly it just doesn’t interest us much any more and would also require a lot of work to pin down the logistics.

A new Plan B is taking shape though. This one has us moving to our settle-down location, renting an apartment, and changing future travel plans from full-time to occasional. We learned a lot of valuable lessons on relocation during our abrupt move to Kaua’i in 2020, and there were (expensive) mistakes made then that we know how to avoid this time. We’re not particularly crazy about this idea either, but it would be the most practical.

Our feeling right now is that we’re going be able to travel as planned next May. We’ve been vaccinated and boostered, and even if the Omicron variant requires a new vaccine, pharmaceutical companies (Pfizer, Moderna, etc.) have said they can move into rapid development and roll out new ones in a short amount of time as much of the research needed in creating a new vaccine is already done. Most are already working on new vaccines/boosters for this variant. A bigger fear for us is getting started on our travels and then a destination we’re booked into will shut down or the border will be closed (we can deal with quarantines and mask mandates). We’ve always been very flexible and able to roll with the punches, but something like this happening would affect us financially, and not in a good way.

We’ve decided that now is not a time to be fearful, but to think positively, and have faith in science and in our plans for the future. No matter what happens, we will still be leaving Kaua’i in May of next year. There are many unknowns right now, and we’re preparing ourselves for the possibility that changes may be required but keeping positive thoughts for the future.

18 thoughts on “Taking Another Look At PLan B

  1. Have you read Poppin Smoke? They are in Rota and have stayed there for extended lock downs with country. It may provide a good back up for winter months.
    The interesting twist on the studies I have read is that the current vaccines do provide us with helping keep us too sick, but does not prevent us from spreading it. Of course they would come out with this right after flying to see mom….Our boosters are done- and we plan to be in the experiment group for the booster for the booster…

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    1. I have read Poppin’ Smoke, but not recently. I wouldn’t mind being locked down in Portugal if it came to that, but still thinking positively that we’ll manage somewhere.

      Winter is always a rough time when there’s a virus about. The girls are vaccinated but we’re concerned about them traveling here for Christmas – we’ll see what happens. Not sure if they’re gotten boosters or not.

      Maybe COVID is segueing into something more like the flu, where a new variant arrives almost annually, and vaccines are targeted for the current variant. After the first couple of years though we are all scared and skeptical whether we can stay safe, vaccinated or not. Delta really came for the unvaccinated.

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  2. I’m glad you posted this because I was going to ask about a Plan B. I’m sure it’s disappointing to even have to think about it, but being overseas during a lockdown and being stuck wherever you are could be very expensive, and also probably pretty scary, so I think your plan makes a lot of sense. Although I was hoping you’d stay on Kauai a bit longer!

    I mentioned in a previous post that I’m thinking of coming to Kauai early next year and had just started planning the trip, but I put that all on hold when I heard about Omicron. It’s just so difficult to make plans these days. It’s also incredibly frustrating, but at least we live in a time where science can adapt the vaccines to the various strains, which is remarkable. Just have to remain patient.

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    1. We’re not going to stay on Kaua’i, although we could if it came down to it. For now we’re getting rid of things we don’t need, but will make a call in early April about whether to let the furniture, car, and other necessities go. Hopefully we’ll know more then about what’s going on.

      The flu vaccine is different every year based on the prominent variants out there; I think the same will be true of COVID vaccines going forward. Phamaceutical companies think they can have a new vaccine ready in about 100 days for this new variant. So far the good news seems to be that while it’s easy to catch, there have been no reported deaths from it. Delta variant is still the killer.

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  3. So alarming-another round of virus! We were just getting comfortable with the idea of traveling abroad next year- maybe Spain and Portugal- and now not sure what to do. Our Plan B will probably be traveling in the US, if that’s possible. Here’s to a healthy, happy, traveling new year🤞🤞🤞

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    1. I believe this is going to be the new normal until enough people world-wide are vaccinated. So far it seems that while this variant is highly transmissible (no one seems to be sure whether it’s vaccine resistant or not though) there do not appear to be any deaths associated with the variant. That could all change very quickly though.

      We’re keeping our fingers crossed and hoping for the best. We still plan to be traveling next year.

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  4. Life throws curveballs. I had been contemplating retirement in three yrs, but a close relative is seriously sick so I retired from full time work yesterday, and will start part time at same job early next year. I have decided to be satisfied with traveling by plane to visit daughter’s family out west, two to three times a year, and otherwise, for a quick vacation, just go to the somewhat local beach a few hrs away for the next three yrs. I want my youngest kid to graduate from law school also. I hope to do some international travel in three yrs but I really do not want to deal with sickness and quarantines, border closures, etc., if I can help it. I figure this time frame will give the powers that be time to get all of this under control. If not, I will just continue carrying on as usual, if possible. I really do not know what else to do. So, I am not going to stress over what I cannot control, and just do the best I can. I admit, I really want to go to Mexico, South America, etc. and I am trying to not dwell on the fact that the trips may be delayed, even in three yrs. It is what it is. I am also very sad about my relative. At least I am still healthy.

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    1. Cindy – congrats on your retirement, planned or otherwise. You did what you needed to do when you needed to do it, and I’m sure it will all work out, although the transition may be bumpy for a while. Best wishes to your family members, that the recover and/or stay well.

      We feel that it’s worthless to stress over what we can’t control, but we have two paths to follow now and will just see how things shake out this winter. We’re mainly concerned now about when and if we can go back to Japan to see our family, but it’s out of our hands so we’ll go along with whatever is safe.

      And yes, at least we are still healthy, and our family too. I give thanks for that every day.

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    1. The expense of our abrupt relocation to Kauai was compounded by the fact that the island was in complete shutdown, so we were forced to buy what we could at whatever price was offered. There were no yard sales, Craigslist sales, etc. – we had to buy from a couple of (expensive) local furniture stores (which thankfully opened up for us), Costco, and Amazon. The big mistake we made was buying everything rather than thinking about what we could have purchased gradually, which is what we’ll do next time. What do we need right away? What can wait for another month? Two months? Six months? Etc. We’re in the process of setting up a timeline for purchases if we have to go to Plan B, and figuring out what are priorities and what are things we can wait on. Doing it all at once was EXPENSIVE; gradual will save us money. (Also, if we put down roots elsewhere it will be somewhere we don’t need a car, also another big expense even though we bought back our old car).

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  5. Like you, we’re thinking about a plan B in which we go to Alsace in September rather than May. Delta has a whole bunch of our money from the cancelled trip in 2020 so we need to use it or lose it by a certain time. It’s frustrating.

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    1. We have talked about whether we should (or could) just push things back a few months, but that would depend on our Airbnb hosts being willing to push back our reservations. I hear you about the plane reservations. We have managed to get everything back except for one short Hawaiian flight, but now have another flight with Air Canada that we may have to change. It seems to be always something.

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  6. Having a plan B ( or several ) is probably a wise decision given the current circumstances. My oldest daughter-in-law, who is British, just returned from a trip to Portugal and she’s raving about how well Portugal has handled this pandemic. So if you’re in Europe and there is a surge, Portugal would be a good country to fare the bad wave. It’s a low-cost country compared to England or France, the weather is good, it is an alternative worth considering.
    The last time you’ve visited this topic I remember you mentioned Washington state as being your choice if you were to settle down somewhere. Meanwhile, New Hampshire has also become a no-income-tax state. I thought you might want to take a look at it as it is close to the girls.

    As you said, there is no reason to panic ( at least not yet) but it’s good to be prepared. Keep calm and stay safe😃

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    1. We could happily stay in Portugal for a long while, although cases of the new variant have been discovered there (all of them in members of a soccer team from Africa). For now though we are just going to sit tight and hope for the best. We are a little over five months out from our scheduled departure, and we’ll just wait and see what happens.

      We have strongly considered New England and New Hampshire. Weather and distance from our son are two big factors against it, but we’d love being closer to the girls. If the move happens, all will be revealed!

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  7. Very timely and realistic, I think! But not easy or happy to have to adjust our life’s plans like this. I think I’m around your age, and in the public health nursing field, we’re pretty much assuming that this will be affecting us for the rest of our foreseeable lives. The dreams of COVID-19 just going away and everything going “back to normal” are basically gone. So we have to make lemonade, I guess. And bloom where we’re planted. But how difficult it is to try and make reservations and plans! Just when I figured out that financially and schedule-wise, in fall 2022 I could visit a relative in England and maybe see more of Europe (I’ve never been), it looks very questionable. But I will say that driving around the US in a car with a beloved husband sounds very wonderful. Or even by myself!

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    1. The planning part of Plan B has been fun to think about, the reality of it, not so much. But, we will do what we have to do but thankfully have time on our side now.

      COVID is not going away; it’s the new flu and will be with us going forward. How bad it will be as it mutates and new variants appear is the great unknown. I’m all for getting a vaccine/booster every year or twice a year if it keeps us healthy.

      There is a bit of romance to a driving trip that still appeals to us, but it’s the upfront preparations that are discouraging: car purchase, reservations, figuring out daily costs for gas and lodging, etc. It’s not a very cost effective way to travel these days, and we have no interest in taking on the expense of operating an RV of any sort, although we know we could adapt and adjust to the the minimalist lifestyle.

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  8. You are wise to have a Plan B, as much as you don’t want to have to implement it. There just seems no way of knowing how/when things will settle down. And people who refuse to get vaxxed — or countries without sufficient vaccine — just make the whole mess last. I am again feeling like I got back home just in time with the UK reimplementing mask mandates. The whole situation is tiring. I sincerely hope your plans don’t need to change. Winter is typically the worst season, so let’s all hold a good thought.

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    1. It’s the unknown right now that’s troublesome, but we’re feeling surprisingly calm about everything because it’s out of our hands. All we can do is have another plan ready to go if necessary. Hopefully by next May we’ll have a better sense of what’s happening and where we’re going.

      We’re a bit concerned about the girls’ long flights here and back with the new variant making its move, but all are vaccinated and are careful about mask-wearing, hand washing, etc. so we should be OK.

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