Needless to say that 2020 was not the year that I had planned, especially when it came to travel. Yet, it came to be a year that I learned how to be more spontaneous and willing to take long drives for high rewards. It is the year that my Colorado bucket list became shorter, but my hiking list got longer. A year that two days was enough to escape and have some fun.
I had hoped 2020, my 29th year, would be the year I met my last BIG “before 30” goal, which was to hike the Inca Trail. Little did I know, that my pushing it out until October 2020 would turn until April 2021 (after 30) and has now tentatively become November 2021 – if I’m lucky. Some of this is the pandemic, some of it is my health, some of it is being realistic about where I am going.
Travel has become less about, at this time, IF I CAN go somewhere, but rather IF I SHOULD go somewhere. I COULD get on a plane and go to Peru, especially with their recent changes to testing requirements. The bigger question is if I SHOULD go right now. Until I can get vaccinated, I think not. While I want to keep myself safe, it is of even more importance that I keep others safe too. As I want to visit rural communities and peoples, the irresponsible thing is to go into a rural community, one that has limited health resources, and possibly bring people a disease that they have no means to fight.
While traveling safer is important, it’s also important to understand where there is a very strong line that shouldn’t be crossed. It means listening to what locals ask of people. It means really checking yourself on your actions and what it could mean if you hurt that person as a silent spreader. While we have widespread hospitals (with obvious exceptions) and medical centers around the United States, much of the developing world struggles with even the most basic of things we take for granted. Add in a highly contagious and potentially lethal disease and you have the perfect disaster.
My hope is that vaccination will mean open borders and doors again. My hope is, in 2021, that we can bring numbers down to where cruises can run and Travel Advisors feel less like they’re the band playing on the Titanic. My hope is that I can go to Peru this coming autumn and enjoy every rich moment without fear. My hope is that GLOBAL vaccination can happen quickly and effectively. But at the moment, I am just planning on playing in the woods.