R Scott Jones

March 11, 2021

Cautiously planning our first trip

As more and more people get vaccinated and covid infection rates decrease, a glimmer of hope has started to emerge. We’ve cautiously started trip planning again.

It feels both extremely familiar, but also oddly foreign.

It’s been 16 months since I’ve taken any sort of trip to a new-to-me place, unless you count a quick weekend camping trip to a small unremarkable lake in Arizona, a state I already know quite well.

And beyond a long weekend? Well, it’s been a staggeringly long 20 months.

TWENTY fucking months!

It was June 2019 when we returned to Alaska to finish my national parks quest. That was the last real trip I’ve had.

That is downright crazy. No wonder I've been a wreck.

And luckily, that should change in the coming months. We’ve started plotting out weekend excursions, and have several big trips in the queue—though those continue to rest on the whims of the pandemic, of course.

Our first trip is shaping up to be a visit to Upstate New York in May, aimed primarily at finishing some national park units for Jen and visiting some friends. I’ll mark off a former park unit and a border crossing (or two), and maybe a state park as well. After dropping off Jen to fly home, I’ll spend an extra 2-3 days traveling, which will allow me to "re-complete" my national parks quest with a stop at the recently-established Eisenhower Memorial.

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After that trip, we're hoping for another "big" trip in June, July, and August—followed, we hope, by our belated honeymoon in December.

We're still not sure if my dad's health will allow all of this travel, but it's at least great to feel like these trips have a legitimate shot at happening. Travel is the primary way we unwind from stress, so the overlay of dad's health + pandemic + no travel + not seeing friends has been an utter disaster for our personal resiliency. I can't imagine how others in worse situations have dealt with all this.

But now, finally, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel. I can't wait until we can get back to not worrying about whether we can take a trip or not.