My last trip overseas was in August, 2019. When I stepped off the plane from Mexico City, I had every intention of returning within the year. It had been my third trip to Mexico in two years, and each time I came home with a longer list of places to explore on my next visit.
Besides my own trips to Mexico, I had fallen into a cycle of spending free time every fall researching the many travel and learning opportunities for teachers, narrowing down my list, sending out applications, and waiting to hear the results.
Last year was no different. I applied to four programs and was accepted into three: TEACH Bahrain, the Korea Research Trip, and the NEH Fellowship to Heart Mountain, Wyoming. All three have been postponed due to COVID. I can’t help but wonder if they will ever happen. In the meantime, I’ve adjusted to a life without travel. Here are a few things I’ve realized.
Travel has always been about learning for me. I love exploring new cultures, eating new foods, meeting new people. So, with the pandemic, I’ve continued to focus on learning. This summer was largely devoted to reading books and attending webinars around equity and justice in schools, antiracist teaching, and abolitionist education. I’ve learned a lot and have a lot more to learn.
I am working on posts to share resources, set goals, and document what I am doing to make my classroom, school, and school district a more equitable and just place for all students. Stay tuned!
Getting away for two days to Cape Cod felt as good as a two-week trip to Mexico. How can that be? Mostly because I was able to spend time with friends away from the distractions of home. Great conversations, amazing meals, beautiful scenery, and complete relaxation made for a rejuvenating trip. And the outdoor shower was the icing on the cake!
I didn’t want to include this section because it shows my materialistic side, but if I’m being honest . . . . I knew I’d be home a lot this summer, so I treated myself to some pretty nice deck furniture. I love my new outdoor living space, even if it’s been too hot on most days to spend much time out there. I’m lucky to have had the means to afford this bit of luxury. Stop by if you’re in the neighborhood!
Look on the Bright Side
One of the best things about not traveling this summer has been being able to spend more time with my grandkids. We used to go to museums, playgrounds, and libraries all the time, but not anymore. It hasn’t always been easy keeping them entertained during a pandemic (I overdid the hiking early on), but we’ve fallen into a rhythm of enjoying time at home.
I know I’m not the only one who goes on Google Flights to check out prices for everything from last-minute deals to the cheapest flight to Mexico a year from now. It’s fun to search, and tempting to buy a flight (my friend got a $20 flight to Puerto Rico from Boston), but for now I’m just enjoying the hunt.
Sometimes I sit on my couch (or outdoor recliner) and imagine I’m on a flight. Doing that makes me feel like I have this extended block of time to fill with reading or writing and helps me ignore the basket of dirty laundry. How can I wash clothes if I’m on a flight? Now if I could just have someone pass by with a beverage cart!
A friend has been asking since the pandemic began, “What if you could never travel again?” At first, I was horrified by the question, but now I’ve come to realize that no matter what happens, travel will never be the same as it once was. So, I do think of the “What if” scenarios and become more comfortable with the possibility of limited travel or long periods of no travel. Getting in the right mindset, and realizing that life will go on, and that I can continue to learn and dream and reap the benefits of staying home, will help me adjust more easily to this uncertain future.