Monday, 2 March 2020

TRAVELLING IN THE SHADOW OF THE CORONAVIRUS

One week today, God willing as my mother used to say, Jim and I will be in beautiful Barbados. Christopher and Stephanie fly in from St. John’s the next day and Matt, Michelle, Morgan and Zachary arrive on the Saturday for Spring Break.

This trip has been over a year in the planning and is eagerly anticipated by our whole family. Christopher has even taken a partial sabbatical in order to be present. No celebratory party, we told our kids. Our chosen 50th Anniversary celebration was to return to Barbados as a family, to spend time with Christopher and Matthew where they grew up enjoying their Spring Breaks and a Christmas and to watch our grandchildren, Morgan and Zachary, experience for the first time the island of their heritage. What I did not anticipate was how emotionally I would become invested in returning to my island in the sun.

And then COVID-19 cast its menacing shadow over the world of travel.



How does one remain informed but not glued to the mood-dampening, often panic-creating media coverage? Get off the internet; turn off the news? Will that calm my mind? But then how do I remain informed? How do I find the balance between obsessive worry and taking this health threat too lightly? A number of our friends have already cancelled European cruises scheduled for this summer. I totally get it. Jim and I are of the at risk age group. Matt and Michelle justifiably worry about Morgan and Zachary. Damn. Why now?

What was it that the Roman philosopher, Seneca, said? We suffer more often in imagination than in reality. Dig deep, Daf; let those nightmarish worries go. Be practical, I tell myself. Be 100% aware, educate yourself, take appropriate precautions and then get on with living. A frantic bunker mentality is also not healthy. Jim has always lived by the philosophy that it is a waste of emotional energy to worry about whether the sun is going to come up tomorrow.

Modern Canadian passenger jets have HEPA filters which filter the air of respiratory droplets. That said, packed in our carry-on bags will be hand sanitizer and Lysol wipes. We know the many areas to wipe down on and around our seats and to avoid the washroom, but if nature insists to immediately use hand sanitizer when we return to our seats. Common sense tells us to stay away from anyone coughing or showing signs of respiratory illness. I can only hope that such a person would be not allowed aboard. Thus far that has been Canadian airline policy.

Our destination accommodation is not of the sort ripe for spreading illness. It is not a cruise ship, currently referred to by some medical experts as floating petri dishes, nor is it a giant resort where we would be surrounded by strangers. Our two apartments are directly on the Caribbean and fully open to sea breezes. Little time will be spent indoors. Our modus operandi in Barbados has always been outdoor activities and living. The vast majority of restaurants are al fresco. We know to wash, wash, wash our hands. Hours of swimming and snorkelling in the sea should assist with that. Sunshine, laughter, exercise, sea breezes, fresh air, and healthy foods can only bolster our immune systems. Oh, and although she may be scrubless, we have our own personal lovely nurse.....Stephanie. ❤️



Excuse the language, but f**k you COVID-19. I will be alert. I will be cautious, but I refuse to be paralyzed by fear. Bring on Barbados. I am soooo ready.


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