We started hearing about the new Corona Virus back in January, first it was travel restrictions on a few places, then a few more. By the time we left March 1st, there were already reports of clusters of infections around the world, including here in the USA. In getting ready to leave the office the end of February, I brought home the materials I needed for work my first week back home, at that point I was planning to be in Atlanta this week for a conference, that was still reporting as being on schedule.
Flying out was fairly normal, a little bit of nervousness in the airports. I slept a couple of hours on the outbound flight. Within a couple of days of our arrival in Ireland, infections were being reported, first a cluster in a school, then in cities. We then traveled to Wales - no cases had been reported as yet is Wales and other than reminders to wash your hands nothing was unusual. We went onto London, and London was unchanged from the last time. I was being a little more careful about distance, and contact and washing my hands. We returned to Ireland, took a train across the country, picked up a rental car (the rental counter squirted hand sanitizer on my hands before handing me a pen to sign the paperwork) and checked into a nice hotel for a couple of nights. At check in everything was routine, within 24 hours hand sanitizer appeared on the reception desk. By the time we checked out, the front desk staff was standing back at a distance.
The next hotel was more obvious about being concerned. At breakfast the next morning the self service buffet was closed, a waiter with gloves on getting you what you asked for (the only mediocre breakfast we had on the trip.) We drove south to the next hotel, check in was very normal, we were there three nights. The next morning hand sanitizer was everywhere around the hotel. By the time we checked out three days later, there was a rope line keeping you three feet from the front desk, and we were asked to simply drop the key cards in a fishbowl, please don't hand them to the desk clerks. The last two days public places were closed, museums, some churches, and archeological sites. Most of what we wanted to see in Waterford was closed. So we took a drive along the coast. There was a gale blowing in off the ocean, the coast is absolutely amazing, I am so glad we had time to go drive very slowly along the south coast.
I already wrote about the airport experience and the trip home. The virus made this a bit of a different experience. The closures changed what we saw, but there is so much to see that we had a an amazing experience.
This is not the first time I have traveled in unusual circumstances, I went to Amsterdam and Paris the week the first Gulf War started. That was different, enhanced security, this time places were closing and there is a higher risk to the man on the street or airplane. Will this stop me from traveling, only temporarily. Epidemics come and go, the influenza epidemic of 1918, Polio in the 1950's and early 1960's, (tuberculosis?) These changed our behaviours, some permanently and for the better, sanitation is better than ever before, understanding of isolation to limit transmission. We know how to stop the spread of a contagious illness, if we practice what we know we will endure. Advances in medical treatment have happened and we will learn more from this.
I will travel again. Good sense dictates not traveling today, or next week, of even next month (my March and April conferences have cancelled.) When this threat has passed, I have a ton of frequent flyer miles to start the next adventure.
What will be your next adventure when this threat has passed?