In March 2020, I was supposed to go on a trip to the United Kingdom. Our travel company was scheduled to leave the end of March. If you remember your recent history, that was about a week after the world shut down due to COVID. I did not get to go on that trip in 2020. Instead, I waited. But let me start at the beginning.
In 2019 I took a trip to northern Italy. Northern Italy was not a destination I had planned on going to ever. It came about because my brother became the CEO of our local Chamber of Commerce. For many years, our chamber participated in annual international trips. He inherited the task. I was unaware the community did such trips (most of the attendees are at the retirement age or close to it). He knows I like to travel and asked if I wanted to join. I did.
I figured I would not go on the international trip in 2020. Unlike most of the other participants, I still work for a living. I thought, and I even said, maybe a trip every two or three years. But not every year.
Then I found out they were going to Scotland. That changed everything. I hummed and hawed. Thought about it. Knew I really couldn’t afford two international trips in two years. The logical side of me said no. The fun side of me said why not? The logical side explained the finances. The fun side chose not listen and on the last day of signing up signed up.
The day I signed up for the trip was only three months from the scheduled departure. I took out a loan and tried to figure out how I was going to pay it back. The logical side tsk-tsked me all the way from the bank to the chamber office where I deposited the money and signed my name on the enrollment.
A couple of weeks from departure, I started following a newly launched COVID tracker website. Okay, it seems to be spreading in the big cities but Wyoming remained clean. Okay, Italy’s numbers spiked but I wasn’t going to Italy this time.
Everyday the number of dots on the map grew as confirmed cases were reported. Terms like “flatten the curve” became as hated as swear words. And then, places started locking down.
Our travel rep flew in from Seattle. She explained (while partaking of the free drinks offered at the venue) that the trip was going to be postponed until October. Surely by October, things would be back to normal, right?
Our trip was postponed. I requested two weeks off in October and worked (from home) all of March.
Spoiler alert, things were not back to normal in October. The trip was postponed for a year.
Another spoiler, in October 2021 the trip was again postponed for another 6 months.
March 2022, the travel rep came and shared that we were in fact going. Due to prevalent COVID cases and looming war, many participants backed out. Our group of 40 became a much more intimate group of 26 (and we lost a few more before we actually left).
March 14-23, 2022 I finally took my 2020 UK trip. Two weeks before we left, the UK relaxed their COVID restrictions and we did not have to be tested to leave the country. We did, however, have to be tested to return home. Out of our little group, one tested positive and had to be left behind. We also flew a couple of weeks before the mask mandate was lifted in the airports and on airplanes. Other than those two things, it pretty much felt like life as normal again.
After finally accomplishing that trip after two years of waiting I can’t help but ask, where to next?