Traveling In Our “New Normal”

It’s been just over two years since we have begun living with Covid-19.

So many changes, so many adjustments to so many different parts of our lives that we have learned we are so lucky to still have two years later.

My last blog blog posts here were posted in October 2020 and I was thrilled to be looking forward to traveling again, very soon. As someone who craves traveling, to not have traveled for well over a year- 14 months to be exact- it was a very odd time for me. For 14 months my family and I never slept outside of our home, not even to visit a relative overnight. My last two trips before the Covid 19 Shutdown were business related, one I blogged about here and brought my family along. The other was a trip to Nassau, Bahamas and I went solo as it was all business- I was invited to be a part of a Travel Agent pilot program for the Caribbean Travel and Marketplace event, produced by the CHTA (Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association) January 21st through the 24th. The next time I stepped on an airplane was March 20, 2021.

My husband, son and I visited Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando for a weeklong Orlando stay that March of 2021. We needed the escape, quite frankly. It was a strange return with the same safety precautions as we have at home in New York (masks, distancing) but still odd to see the theme parks, that are so usually overcrowded to be nearly empty. We had fun, enjoyed each other and the parks so much so we were comfortable again when we returned 2 and a half months later with our entire family and even more family and friends with us (11 of us in total) back to Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando. Things had changed again on that second trip- but we all felt safe- and by then most of us were vaccinated which provided a sense of additional safety as well.

Summer of 2021 found cruise ships sailing again. Our family craves cruise vacations so much so we couldn’t wait to get onboard. Cruise ships require vaccinations and testing, plus (at the time) masks, distancing and very low capacity. We took our very first family cruise vacation onboard Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas from Nassau to Freeport, Cozumel, and their private island Perfect Day at CoCo Cay. We rented a floating cabana, and we all count that as our favorite day we have ever spent together, it was that glorious. The cruise was EXACTLY what we needed- we were relaxed, felt very safe on an incredible ship with outstanding customer service. We loved it so, instead of Christmas gifts, we booked a week onboard Odyssey of the Seas the week following New Years 2022.

Fall of 2021 brought me back to business travel- first to Disney’s EarMarked Owners Summit in Walt Disney World and then to Fort Lauderdale to attend the Naming Ceremony of Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Odyssey of the Seas. That seemed even moreso different as restrictions had lifted for such groups to be able to meet- but so great to be able to gather as an industry again and see so many smiling faces of colleagues who helped our industry survive the last two years.

In December, my husband and I boarded the brand-new Scarlet Lady, the first in the very new Virgin Voyages’ fleet, for five nights celebrating our wedding anniversary. A very different ship on a very different cruise line- and we LOVED every minute of it. It felt like date night every night with a new spectacular restaurant to try and entertainment to enjoy after spending most of our days napping in the sun- something I almost never have allowed myself to do on vacation before. Not sure if I was just exhausted from the last 20 months or just trying to find my happiness again…

Before March of 2020, everyone – or at least I did- felt happiness was trying to get as much pleasure as you could get from any and all situations. Right? What I learned from all of this, living through these past two years, and I hope you have too is, happiness is peace.

After not traveling for me, and then being able to travel- on that last trip in 2021- I was FINALLY at peace. I allowed myself to relax enough to allow for that peace. I relaxed enough to truly find my happiness again.

So, when we took that next cruise with my family in January of 2022- I spent some of my days napping again in the Odysseys of the Seas’ Solarium, on our floating cabana (that we had to rent again while we were docked in Perfect Day at CoCo Cay), and on the ship’s pool deck- even with the music and kids’ laughter, I still found my peace. I found I don’t need to be everywhere and do everything to be happy, I just need to be still and be at peace.

Now, this won’t work for everyone. Travel for me, has always brought me happiness- from seeing my parents more relaxed when we vacationed every summer when I was a child, to watching my kids’ smile and laugh while experiencing something new while we are on vacation. And yes, travel looks very different now- testing, vaccines, all sorts of new protocols that many find to be too much of a hassle, inconvenience, or even an intrusion. But for me, once you can embrace what you have to do to travel in this “new normal”, it has been worth it. Happiness is peace, at least it is for me. Travel, at the end of all of this… brings me happiness… and it brings me peace.

Have you found your happiness yet?

What are you waiting for?

Closing Magic Kingdom, March 2021
About to board Hogwarts Express, March 2021
Magic Kingdom, June 2021

Our Floating Cabana, August 2021
EarMarked Owners Summit with Tricia, November 2021
Perfect Day at CoCo Cay with Tricia, November 2021
Date night every night onboard Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady with my husband, Mike
Finding peace, Bimini, Bahamas with Scarlet Lady in the distance
Floating Cabana, January 2022

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