The World is Waiting
At this time last year I was looking forward to the dream trips I had planned for 2020. I was going to finally make that trip to Israel and Jordan, the destination that had been put on hold several times already because of wars and terrorism. We had a trip to an all-inclusive resort planned for R&R, a group trip to China with a side trip to San Francisco and Napa, and finally, to Scotland to see the Military Tattoo, something that had been on my bucket list for over 20 years. All cancelled because we find ourselves threatened by an invisible enemy.
This year was shaping up to be one of my best years ever in the travel industry. In fact, sometimes it seemed like it was too much because there were days when my agents and I worked 10 hours a day, and weekends and nights. But we have a saying, “We work hard so that we can play hard”, so it was worth it. Then the virus came, borders and resorts closed, flights were cancelled, and trips that took weeks and months of planning were terminated. People didn’t just lose a vacation. That word is too simplified. They lost their dreams. They lost the excitement in planning a trip, the anticipation, and the joy of the journey. Family trips, yearly get-togethers, reunions, graduation celebrations, honeymoons, destination weddings, badly needed escapes, and anniversary trips were all cancelled or postponed.
Someone asked me if I had ever been through anything like this. Yes, there have been other threats. I clearly remember 9/11. I traveled to Spain 10 days afterwards when people were still shell-shocked and my group represented the few people on that plane. I recall terrorist attacks in Paris, Istanbul, and London, to name a few. And I have seen SARS, H1N1, Zika, Norovirus, Ebola, MERS, and HIV, some of which are more deadly, and some of which have no known cure or vaccine. I have seen the fear each of these caused in my friends and clients. These threats may have slowed travel for a little while, but they didn’t cause a total cessation. For those with the passion to go, to see, and to experience the world, we are just on pause. God will get us through this also.
We know that travel will return, but it won’t replace what we lost this year, neither in the way of lost revenue for my industry, or in the memories it creates for travelers. It’s uncertain when everyone will feel safe, and each person’s comfort level is different. We have to respect that. We may have to learn how to proceed with this unseen threat because to do otherwise means that we would have to live in a bubble, and I find that unacceptable. I’ve been fortunate to have traveled all over the world. My adventures have led me to underdeveloped countries with poverty and disease that we will never comprehend, and some with sketchy areas that probably weren’t completely safe. I’ve dived in caves and with tiger sharks, skied black diamond runs, hiked up mountains, zip-lined, repelled down a waterfall, white water rafted the Colorado River, and abseiled into a sink hole. To me, it’s simply living. Each and every day is about my faith in my creator, and in taking calculated risks. The world is waiting for me, and I for it.