Pandemic Travel Series Part 1: The Backstory
How did COVID impact your life? Everyone has their unique answer to this question, as 2020 has been a year of unmatched unpredictability. Time has moved so quickly in the last six months; it seems like it was just yesterday that the mandated quarantine was announced and work from home was implemented. The pandemic has changed the way we live our lives forever, from our cleanliness habits to how we interact with those around us. If 2020 hasn’t turned you into a germaphobe, I don’t know what will!
The overall theme of my COVID story is travel. I was living abroad in Shanghai for the better half of 2019. As we all know, that is the country where it all began, which for me meant coming back to the US in a flurry of other concerned foreigners scrambling to make it safely to their home countries. This also meant I would have to separate from my boyfriend whom I had met just six months prior. We had spent almost every day together, exploring Shanghai and taking trips around Asia during our free time. However, the largest unforeseen challenge we faced was our different passports. He is German and I am American. While we knew our different citizenships could be a discussion for a later date, we never expected that it would cause a separation for months on end. With the travel bans that are still currently in place, Europeans and Americans cannot visit each other unless they are married or have very specific professions. We found ourselves navigating through a long distance relationship, which is not the ideal situation for any couple I would presume. So we were determined to find our way back to each other.
For all of quarantine, we closely monitored what government officials were discussing in relation to travel. We were trying to find the easiest and legal way to get to each other. Most days there was no positive news, or frankly, no news about it at all. Discussion of international travel had become almost obsolete during the pandemic. After months of signing petitions, and constantly watching the loveisnottourism.org page for updates, finally, a new policy was announced in Germany; beginning in August, unmarried couples were allowed to meet! They were following suit of a few other European countries. Although the separation was painful and lonely for myself and my boyfriend, many other couples were far worse off. Some had children who were separated from one of their parents; others had met online pre-COVID and never had the chance to meet in person. Our situation was not the worst, but regardless, a weight was lifted off our shoulders as soon as we knew we could be in each others’ arms again.
Since then, my free time has been consumed by preparing to leave the country. And, believe me, I know what you’re thinking: traveling during a global pandemic…not the smartest idea. Typically, I am quite the procrastinator when it comes to packing for a trip, however, this trip presented different challenges that required much more of my attention. Moving is stressful enough as is, especially internationally. Add a pandemic and risk of infection—I have had enough anxiety in the past three weeks to last a lifetime. COVID has changed the way we live, and I know anyone who has to travel during this time is feeling a bit uneasy. That’s why I want to start this pandemic travel series: a series of travel themed blog posts to help all our Tidy Spaces lovers get pandemic prepared for any travel situation. I will be posting blogs on all the various aspects of travel during 2020, so whether you have plans to travel in the near future or simply have the travel bug (even during the pandemic), stay tuned for my 2020 travel tips!
Written by Content Creator Sydney Goodrich