Today, I’m on my way to Illinois, by car.
It’s about 17 hours of driving, one way, including minimal stops. This is a trip that my Massachusetts-based sister and I do almost every year, together, with various children. This year, we’re adding in our Spanish daughter, hoping to make this odd spring a bit better.
We have thought very hard before we decided to do this trip. We are determined to be “responsible travelers”, and we will wear masks and maintain social distancing as much as we possibly can.
Still, we do have to get gas. Use the bathroom. Grab food. It’s impossible to go that far without those necessities.
Our first stop is just across the border into New York. As we walk into the bathrooms, we see multiple sinks and stalls marked, “Out of Order”. Only one restaurant is open—and not the one we were hoping for. Picnic areas are closed.
I return to the car, muttering to myself, “Gee, New York really needs to step it up.”
Eventually, a rest area posts signs, explaining how they have purposely closed stalls, sinks, restaurants, picnic areas–all because of COVID-19.
Only a few hours into our odyssey, we realize that 2020 traveling is all about acceptance. We are happy for working toilets and running water. We choose from the menus available. We eat in our own bubble of a car. We appreciate what’s open. We are grateful to the friendly eyes of the workers, which is all we see above the sea of masks almost everywhere.
Learning to let go of expectations… having a newfound appreciation for all that we typically take for granted….this is today’s silver lining.